I remember clearly the moment when kissing a girl became a possibility, having my mind fill with images from the films of the time of how various romantic leads went about the process, and wishing that it hadn’t.
But we can’t help this. Every time we consider doing something our minds are already pre-filled with the narratives from our families and our culture of what we should do and how we should do it.
There is no point agonising about this, as this is all we are. The me that feels that it is in control isn’t. It only exists as a combination of genetics, previous experience, and learned narratives. We retrofit a sense of control that doesn’t exist.
This isn’t avoidable but nor is it “bad”. It is life happening in us and around us. We are not separate from it. We are it. We can learn to accept it and not fight it.
In each moment we can get better at kissing life.
It is waiting…
Remembering drinking French coffee and eating a crusty baguette with unsalted butter and jam in a cafe as the sun starts to warm up on the south coast of France knowing that you have nothing more challenging to do all day than to lie on a beautiful beach getting browner.
Sometimes such a strong sense of place just hits you out of the blue and evokes all sorts of memories.
In a field near our house there is a large, almost exactly circular crater. Over the years I’d become convinced that it was where a bomb had fallen during the war. There is also a plaque on the wall of a local garden centre commemorating Polish Spitfire pilots who had been killed in a dogfight overhead. But I could never work out why bombs were being dropped this far west of London.
But then I got an answer. This area used to be the centre of the British furniture industry and those skills were required to make the Mosquito bomber, built in a local factory by De Havilland. The Germans had been trying to destroy the factory – hence the bomb craters and the dog fights.
This row of semi-detached houses were built in the thirties and so the owners would likely have been its first. Given the original two up two down configuration possibly a young family with children. The bomb crater is less than a quarter of a mile from our house. It’s a big crater and must have been a big bomb. The bomb blast would almost certainly have taken out all of the windows in the house.
I often think of the family sitting in here, terrified, during the raid. I will be thinking of them today and of the relief they must have felt when it was all over.
Where do you sit?
At one end of a spectrum you have libertarians in the US defending their right to catch and spread disease and at the other employers planning how in the future they will be able to track your every move.
We are all going to have to decided where on that spectrum we sit and what we are prepared to do about it.
This is another of those situations where “oh, I don’t do technology” is the least viable response. Learn enough about the NHS Coronavirus tracking app works and what the alternatives were/are to know how you feel about it. Learn enough about what your organisation plans to do with you and the space you work in when you go back to work.
Big decisions are going to be made on our behalf in the coming months and years and knowing how we feel about it will matter.
You know that feeling when you are driving a long distance and realise that you haven’t been aware what has happened for the last few miles. You drove on autopilot. You missed what was happening around you.
This is how we spend most of our lives.
Organisations are not machines, they are organisms.
Healthy organisms require the cells in them to be healthy.
Instead of fixing your machines, help your cells to become healthy.
They will then work out what they have to do.￼
And the only place to start is with yourself…
Our whole lives we have been made to feel that we don’t have enough, that we are not good enough, that we don’t do enough. This dissatisfaction engine has been seen as essential to keep the wheels of modern society turning.
But it just fell off the tracks and as result we are currently recalibrating “enough”.
When we realise that we have enough, do enough and are enough we have more.
We have more time.
We have more patience.
More of us are focusing on those we love.
More of us are helping those around us.
The more we remember this the more chance we have of a better future.