Five journeys with my Guide – Part 1

The Odyssey begins … 

Today was Tuesday in early November 2016. A week ago I was in Cornwall and had driven to Lands End, following a previous day of momentous personal connection working intensively all day with my coach, my Guide.

It all started out as I took a rather circuitous route from Falmouth to Camborne, and then made my way towards St Ives. There was brilliant sunshine and the roads were busy as there were lots of holiday visitors – as this was the schools’ autumn half-term week.
Although during the coaching day I had experienced some Insights, light-bulb moments and realisations of clarity, essentially I knew that the greater number of these would begin to arrive after the event. It is rather like a performance by a sportsperson or a musician, say, when they are in The Zone. It IS where they are in the present, and their consciousness is absorbed and attending to the dimensions of every moment and not attentive to any reflections of deeper meaning or significance for them. This next day of driving around, I knew, was when the revelations and Insights would really begin to emerge.
Now, before I start, I must tell you that the sleep I had the night before was fitful and agitated. This was in no way due to the comfort of the bed at my overnight accommodation either – it was down to a level of brainwave activity that had begun to build through the evening after the Coaching session had finished. I had sat for about four hours, reading, listening to music and doing a crossword puzzle when
I found myself nodding off. So I went to bed drowsy and the moment I turned out the light the endless trains of thoughts began to rattle around in my head. I gave it a good hour in the dark and then put the light back on and finished the crossword.
Now when our volume of thinking is of this magnitude it is very, very easy to get the ‘overwhelm perspective’. Plus the middle of the night can easily be where we examine every thought for clues, and when the answers don’t come we start to question things – and our imagination runs scenarios at first and then finally it runs riot. For me, this was a rare occurrence. For the last eleven years it had been part of my job to help my clients deal with situations like these – not myself. Imagine a dentist trying to treat his own toothache … and, yes, no it doesn’t work!
But I digress from the story …
St Ives was stunning and beautiful in the bright sunshine – yet, as I slowly drove past the town’s Park & Ride car park I said to myself – sotto voce – perhaps I should have gone in there. Fifteen minutes later I realised the meaning of ignoring the “nudge from the cosmos” that I’d felt, as I found that it was impossible to park in the town. Everywhere was full!
And thus it was that I drove south out of St Ives, through Zennor, Morvah and St Just, making my way towards Land’s End.
I’d never been to Land’s End in my life before – so here I was, now, navigating myself into the “Unknown.”
It was a journey of physical, metaphorical and psychological discovery. And I was embarking upon this voyage in a state of tiredness, of unsure and unresolved thinking – on the face of it. In the midst of the aftermath of a day of talking, listening, questions and answers, smiling and laughing, eating and drinking and just thoroughly enjoying the company of someone who I hold in the highest regard – I am beset with more questions than answers about where I am, where do I best need to go, if I am going there alone, AND who on earth am I?
By the time I had driven through St Just the mist was rolling in off the Atlantic Ocean and I arrived at Land’s End where everything was shrouded under a thick, damp cloak.
The metaphors of this day, so far, matched completely my state of mind! Yet, my working experiences with metaphor also told me that I needed to park up and walk – rather than quit the whole Land’s End experience and come back on a sunny day. There was much to be
learned here and I needed to engage and attend.
Curiously enough, as I took a deep breath and “togged up” for a walk, I was reminded of the Beatles song “Blackbird”.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life You were only waiting for this moment to arise
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life You were only waiting for this moment to be free
Blackbird fly
Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night
I set out on the coastal footpath to Sennen Cove accompanied by the repetitive sound of the fog horn from Longships Lighthouse. The shapes and sounds of other walkers rose and fell as I made my way along the rocky way, with the engulfing mists swirling all around.
My thoughts at the start of the walk were as confused and uneasy as the physical nature of the land and sea at this point. The unease had been borne aloft by a series of challenging questions by my Guide, at the end of the day before. Questions that got me to examine my needs and my identity. I was unprepared and was unable to give her any cogent answers.
This was deep – and I, the “me the coach”, couldn’t answer. I could only peer into the abyss.
I took a deep breath – for it always starts with a breath – and I took my broken wings and sunken eyes and stepped into the “Unknown”. And what followed the leap of faith, the trust, was that I sensed the feeling of my hand being in the hand of my Guide. In that moment I was reassured, and I knew every step was safe – though I couldn’t (at that point) have told anyone, including myself, WHY I felt so safe and at home.
I thought I knew about “following my bliss”, the kind of bliss referred to by Joseph Campbell. It was what I had done when I had “quit the day job” back in 2005. Could this be happening to me, here, again, yet in a context much closer to my core, the inner me?
“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.”
And then as the path began to drop, a view of Sennen Cove emerged from the mists.