When I first began writing these tips just over ten years ago, it was in response to a comment a mentor made on learning that we were about to move to Los Angeles from London.
“The problem with you”, my mentor said, “is that you come up with all these great ideas, distinctions, and techniques for your clients and students. But then you get bored with saying the same thing and you come up with a new one. So unless someone in the room writes it down when you say it, it disappears forever.”
While I didn’t really have the level of self-belief it would have taken at that time to believe that any of my ideas, distinctions, and techniques had any value beyond the people I was sharing them with in the moment, what he said struck me. And on the day we moved to America, I resolved I would begin to write down some of those ideas, distinctions, and techniques and would continue until I got bored or it started to feel too repetitive.
Four books, two CD programs, and 685 coaching tips later, it’s moving day again. I am writing this on my laptop on the kitchen table, hidden from view by stacks of boxes marked “KIT” and wondering how long I have before they tell me they need to take the table and chair out from under me.
What began as part of a tip called The Possibility Game only six weeks ago has culminated in our moving into our dream house today – and while Nina and the kids are settling into our new home, the dogs and I have remained behind to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
And wonderful though making your dreams come true can be, like most transitions the excitement is tinged with a touch of sadness. We have loved this neighborhood, and wandering around it one last time last night for Halloween reminded us of what good friends we have made and how much we have enjoyed living here.
At one point in the evening, Nina was tearing up as she told one of the neighbors how happy we have been here and how much we will miss it.
“Then why are you leaving?” asked the neighbor.
Nina paused as she tried to answer what was a seemingly obvious question.
“Because we want to be even happier?”
We all laughed, because we recognized one of the great paradoxes of being human. A life well lived is filled with curiosity and exploration, and you do not have to be unhappy with where you are in order to want to experience being somewhere else.
The new house is lovely, and I have no doubt we will be very happy there. But I’m sure we will also be very sad there, and occasionally frustrated, angry, or even a bit frightened. That is, or so it seems to me, a part of what it is to be happily alive – to experience the full range of human emotions against a backdrop of innate mental health and well-being
This week of joyful transition has brought with it transitions of another kind, as no sooner did we find out that my uncle has gone into hospital with a potentially fatal condition than we were told a day later that Nina’s aunt has unexpectedly died.
In other words, life is and will continue to be “a contact sport” – and that means we will continue to come into contact to things we love and things we don’t, and feel feelings we like and feel other feelings we don’t.
And at another level, I recognize that while everything around me is changing, nothing is different. Our lives will carry on in a similar rhythm as before – school runs in the morning, clients and writing in the day, homework and bedtimes and cuddles (and the occasional hot date) in the evening.
I have been reminded several times this week of one of my favorite questions to contemplate during times of transition and change:
Are you the ocean, or are you the wave?
As I consider it afresh in this moment, I celebrate the peacefulness of the ocean, the excitement of the wave, and the impossibility of being one without the other.
This has, for me, been a very moving day indeed…
Have fun, learn heaps, and may all your success be fun!