Three weeks ago, my partner moved abroad for a project. She’s going to be away for a while, so we’re both dealing with the challenges that this experience brought in our lives.
Obviously, the biggest one is the distance, but there’s another one I wasn’t expecting; the loss of rhythm.
We’ve been apart before, but it was always for shorter periods. This time we’re talking months. And something happened in my head since the very first week.
My flow and productivity got disrupted like never before. Since day one, I’ve been struggling to keep my routines and habits.
It took me a while to realize what was happening.
I’ve lost my rhythm.
Over the years, we built our own unique rhythm. A rhythm on which I can improvise, create and follow the flow without getting lost. A rhythm that keeps me grounded.
I feel like I’m without my metronome.
And it is clearly affecting my energy and my flow.
Everyone is unique, but I’ve learned how important it is for me to have a basic rhythm in my life, on top of which I can improvise and move freely.
So, now my new challenge is to find a new way to keep the beat until she’s back.
Over the weekend, I had a few conversations about the ending of things.
We give a lot of attention to the beginning. We remember and celebrate the first moment of something; a relationship, a job, a project, life.
I feel we are not as good at dealing with the end.
I’ve been taught how to start something, but I can’t remember anyone teaching me how to end anything.
Though, the end of anything is a crucial moment. One that will have a defining impact on anything that will come after.
The destination plays a vital role in giving meaning to a journey.
I see so many people, and I am one of them, doing their best to avoid the end. Sometimes running away, or ignoring it. But mostly just jumping on new things. And in doing so, they drag the unfinished old ones with them.
But how can you live fully what you have in the present when part of your energy is spent carrying the past?
The end of everything is so important. There should be classes at school on how to properly end or deal with the closing of something. So we can take all the value from the experienced that we lived and use it to nurture the present and build the future.
“A wise man once said; When you come to the last page, close the book.” — Mr Wu from The Love Bug
I was this movie when I was a kid, and this scene at the very end is the only thing I remember. There are really lessons in the most unexpected places. The space on my desk is limited. So, if I don’t close a book when I get to the last page, after a while, I won’t have enough space to open a new one.
For months I’ve been seeking the answer to an important personal question. But the answer eludes me. Even worst, the harder I try, the farther I feel from any clarity.
Being entirely honest, it’s not the first time. Many times in the past, I found myself lost in a quest for an answer or a solution. And too often, I got so entrenched in the problem that I couldn’t see any way out.
Ironically, most the time it is when I give up trying that the answer emerges.
With this awareness, at the turn of year, a voice in my head began saying “then why are still looking? Just stop trying and wait for the answer.“
But, I’ve been there before, and there’s a caveat.
A thin line that we must pay attention to.
The thin line separating the passive waiting for something from the active creation of space for something to emerge.
The universe is actively invested in our journey, so it tries to help, giving us signs and hints. But it does so using its own language.
So we must engage in learning the language of the universe. We must open up, expand our senses, actively listen and observe. And then act on the signs we read.
If we cross that thin line and we passively wait for the universe to speak our language, we may dry out in the wait.
Today, in my morning meditation, I focused on listening.
Considering that I’m going to facilitate a group on listening and that I picked a card saying that “a deeper level of listening is needed”, it was a natural choice.
While I was breathing into this thought, I realised that lately I’ve been talking and thinking and about listening more than I’ve been doing it.
My recurring struggle aligning what I know with what I do.
I tell a friend to take some time off and walk in nature, while I spend most of my time sitting with my laptop. I write about the importance of having clarity about who we are to guide our steps, and I don’t take time to explore my own identity.
How easy it is to get trap into the doing. When our intentions and actions are not in sync, that’s a good sign that we are losing the connection with our true self.
Listening is a good example. It is easier listening to others than to my self.
Yet, this apparent weakness hides also an opportunity.
If it’s easier to listen to others, than maybe we can help each other in this.
We can be the listeners for others while others are the listeners for us.
Through meaningful conversation and trust, we can create a space of mutual listening.
July 1987, early Saturday morning in a little town in the North-East of Italy.
The town is almost empty. It’s too early for the kids on holidays from school and too late for the workers. In the churchyard, a family of four and an old nun are waiting.
The boy is thirteen, even if he looks younger. With his thin legs, the square glasses and the narrow shoulders, it seems like he is trying to hide from the world. He is timid, and he would prefer to be lost reading some adventurous stories than being there waiting with his family. A few other families join them in the square, just before the arrival of the bus. The boy has never been anywhere before without his parents. Yes, in his dreams, he has already travelled to plenty of exotic places, but that doesn’t help in the present situation. He is going to go away to a summer camp for a full week with his smaller sister. And he doesn’t know anyone else. He steps into the already full bus, this is the last stop before heading to the mountains. With his sister behind him, he walks towards the back of the bus looking for empty seats. He feels as if all the eyes are staring at him. Sure they are. They all know each other, and they must think he is a nerd from the countryside. The only two seats left available are at the very end of the bus. Behind them, on the last row, a group of guys who look older than all the others. All so confident and relaxed. Among them, there’s a boy whose voice stands out. He is the taller and the louder of them all. With his long hair, he looks like he came straight out of a movie. And he has a prosthetic arm. The boy has never seen a prosthetic arm before in his life. The bus leaves the square, with the cheering parents, the sleepy town and everything familiar behind. The boy is scared, but he wants to play the big brother with his sister. Even if, to be honest, she looks a lot more at ease than him. The cool guys on the back seats are having fun. The guy with the prosthetic arm takes out a portable cassette player. And this song started. A song he never heard before. He can’t understand the lyrics, but that line of bass and that voice carve their way into his heart.
I still remember how I felt that morning.
So, when this song started while I was listening to random stuff on youtube, for a few seconds, I was that shy and innocent boy again. Obviously, a lot of other songs have been played during that bus trip. But this is the only one I remember.
I know it’s just a small event in my life. Thou, that trip is one of the defining moments in my life. It was my first time really out of my comfort zone, opening up to the world.
That summer camp spent with plenty of other guys and girls on the mountain has been such a fantastic experience that I kept doing it every summer for the following ten years or so.
And in that week, I also fell in love for the first time that week. Oh yeah, a proper love story even if she never knew about it.
Definitely, this song will always have a special place in my heart.