Or not having "it" sussed!
I recently returned from the Three Principles annual conference in London, four days spent with the most amazingly special community. Not only was it a chance to listen to some incredibly wise and beautiful souls, but also to actually be in the same space. Up and close and personal, so to speak and literally soak up something wonderful.
I attended the conference last year, in fact I was a volunteer but it was conducted totally online. It was also a very moving experience, listening in real time to speakers who I have been following for years. But I remember having a lot going on in my head, worrying about the tech side of things; hosting break out rooms on zoom, introducing speakers, managing the chat and questions from listeners and so on. I “met” lots of people and many of whom I have continued to connect with and even work with, but mostly digitally or remotely. In spite of all the noisy thinking, it was still a profound experience, as I gained a deeper understanding of how life works. Life changing really as it was the catalyst that led me to the charity iheart. That inspired me to train as an iheart facilitator and find myself teaching an amazing programme in schools. Who’d have thought it!!
So attending the conference this year in person was such a treat, an opportunity to actually meet people for real and I was really looking forward to it. I was also volunteering this time, helping out a two lovely ladies on the bookstall. We had actually only met once before, very briefly a month or two earlier, when the idea of me helping out was suggested. All the following arrangements regarding shared travel, accommodation and actual volunteering duties were also conducted via email or text. Somehow, this time, I felt much calmer about the “doing” bits, there seemed to be much less noise in my mind. Yes, I was excited about meeting old and new friends in person, but overall definitely more peaceful and relaxed. I kinda had the thought that “ You’ve got this Sharon, you’ve sussed it”.
Indeed, it did appear that way, particularly when travel arrangements were scuppered by train and tube strikes, and booked accommodation turned out not to actually exist. Obstacles, challenges and lack of sleep were negotiated with a level of acceptance and humour that probably a few years ago would not have been available to me. Book stall duties were simply shared effortlessly between the various talks, and it was so lovely to catch up, listen, talk and exchange views in person.
Then, on the third day, something changed. There was a Q and A to start the day, I don’t remember what was spoken about but I realised that I felt completely different. Sitting in that room, with all those people something shifted, I suddenly felt a deep, overwhelming quiet and calm and a connection. With everyone. I (quietly) laughed out loud. There was no comparison between this feeling I had dropped into and my experience of the previous two days, they were worlds apart.
I suddenly saw how much personal, noisy thinking had still been going on. How much I had still had me on my mind. The lovely thing was that there was no judgement, just a recognition of how unsettled my personal thinking had still been. Sure, maybe more settled than most of my life before, but in that moment of connection and stillness I got a glimpse of the peace and wellness that is really on offer. Always.
It stayed with me, for the rest of the day and that night I slept “like a baby”. The next day I woke with a clear head and a so obvious plan of how to cross London during a tube strike, that had totally eluded me up until that point. I spent the last day listening to two of the wisest souls ever, and I know I had a smile on my face the whole time.
The world looks and feels different, again. Slower somehow, or is it that I’ve slowed down, just a tad? I’m still laughing at my innocent but naive thought of having “got it sussed”. I’m so grateful for the lesson, the experience, I don’t know what to call it. I know I don't have to search for or hold on to it. It's always there, a deeper wisdom that just gets drowned out by the noisy intellectual workings of our personal thinking. Having me on my mind.
There is space between all those thoughts and dropping into that space, even just for a moment, is like waking up, knowing that though you'll never Get "It" Sussed', something amazing has got your back!