Thursday, 18 December 2014

Survive and Thrive - Day 19

Day 19
19 is the atomic number of Potassium
Bananas are a good source of potassium (if you have an ailing rose bush
bury banana skins near its roots - they can be a great way of restoring health)
Potassium is radioactive - a truckload of bananas is capable of causing a false alarm
when passed through a Radiation Portal Monitor at ports or airports.

Julie Drybrough, better known to many as @fuchsia_blue on Twitter, is the author of today's post. It is raw, honest and moving - Julie has had a tough year. She lives in Edinburgh and is an organisation and individual development specialist. She is a great facilitator, coach and an engaging blogger - read her words and learn more about her work here. Julie works with clients around the UK and across Europe and so we are able to meet up occasionally in London. She is independent, values-driven, passionate, happy to speak her mind and makes me laugh (excellent traits in a friend).


How can it be December? How? How is that possible?

I’m not sure I'm ready to look back over 2014.

December has arrived, somehow faster than possible, and I find I’m not ready to reflect, review, rejoice. I will make it to the end of this year, but I'm ragged and tested, sore and battered in many ways.  Bone weary.  Soul-tired, afraid….

I’m also hopeful and determined, curious and discovering, anticipating….

Light ahead (picture of solar cycle path)
This is my second attempt at the Advent Blog. The first was sent to Kate in early December – my words were not forthcoming and I was struggling to articulate anything much that would be coherent & publishable about my year, my paths, my perceptions.  Eventually I wrote something at 3am – sending it to her that morning….

Good rule of thumb – be cautious about Gerry McGuire moments. What seems true at 3am rarely survives the onset of daylight and morning tea.

3am Perception

At 3am on a wintery December morning my perception was this:

Long year. Divorcing. Reconfiguration of home, identity, relationships, rhythm. Sadness with that, along with an acceptance that this is as it is.

fuchsiablue – What am I to do with you? – much loved business, created over years, but what substance does it have without me?

I wrote:

“fuchsiablue and I eye each other suspiciously. In a market saturated with freelancers, consultants and rapidly changing tech, where do it & I belong?

fuchsia blue. A riot of colour. Pink and fluffy meets blue and practical. I never really meant to set up a business - Happy Accident, Opportunistic Move, Active Experiment. Now I listen to my start-up clients and hear purpose, minimal value and ambition and I wonder.... where will my pathway lie, going forward - where can I contribute well to the current conversations about organisations, work and the future of work? “

and then and then.... heartrendingly life alteringly there is death. In the aftermath of the passing of Bill Drybrough, my beloved Dad, in September our family crossed a Rubicon. Yet more reconfiguration. A irreplaceable loss. Here I find myself untethered and unsure of action. 

photo credit: Irish Rain Photography
What shocked me most was the physical toll of grief. My ability to think fast, move fast, respond wisely has gone. My tolerance for bullshit is significantly lowered (in a way which is, at times, kind of making me giggle). My love of others, of life itself and all that it brings, is heightened. 

My 3am writing:

I am a stranger to myself

I can't read for any length of time. I'm sluggish, running on half speed, with cloudy vision and sudden weariness. I ache all over at times. I can't seem to run or swim or cycle anywhere - I walk. A lot.  I try to tend to my poor, shocked, saddened body. I work to keep perspective that I am not the only one who has gone through this... and yet his absence is profound. An intolerable truth that must be tolerated.

The temptation to wail, to gnash my teeth and curl up sobbing and spent under a carapace is counter-balanced by a deep and primal urge to live, to survive and then to thrive.

And then daylight….

There is another 2014. A year filled with joy. A Graduation from Ashridge, surrounded by dear classmates, wise tutors and beloved family. Climbing my first Munro, followed by another 2 on the same glorious, blisteringly hot day (Thank you Mike – I just loved it). The inaugural L&D Unconference ran in Edinburgh, followed by a second in Glasgow – the deep, humbling delight at watching folk gather, talk, learn, share. First ever Conference speaking event. Uncontrollable giggles on a YouTube video with David Goddin and Sukh Pabial when Sukh’s daughter photobombed our google hangout. A year in which I really build my coaching portfolio.  My ongoing passion for change work – pushing clients to be clear, honest, authentic to make positive differences, even when tough. A year I had killer Vesper martinis in Dukes hotel, Champagne in The Ice Bar and Aberlour from a plastic cup round a campfire at Happy Start Up Camp.  A year I dressed as Minion, a Witch, and an extra from Frozen for various niece/ nephew/ god-kids' requirements. My 15 year old God-daughter and I at the Larmer Tree festival, singing and dancing to Tom Jones and Tom Odell at, frankly, very different ends of the Tom Scale. Visitors to my home in Marchmont & how much I love that. Great conversations with DDS, with Sarah Boyd, that have left me hungry for What Next. My beloved friend leaving a job that took so much from her, we barely recognised who she was.. the relief watching her blossom in a new role. My treasured Posse, Dialogue Practitioners, their unerring strength and beauty, my gratitude for their presence in my life. My brothers, my big dappy, soppy sentimental love for them both that extends to their partners, their kids…

Both perceptions are, at the point of seeing, true for me. Parallel paths that intertwine and co exist.

Twisted parallels
(Inner structure of a coaxial cable)
What I recognise, here, at this point on the path, is a need to go more slowly for a time. Right now I just need to survive.  Loss has rendered me less able to live life to the full – I have wounds and bruises that I would be wise to let heal a little – my way to heal is not to withdraw from the world and rest, zen-like and isolated, but to choose where to be and who to be with and to draw strength from the world I occupy.

With a Little Help From My Friends - the Beatles

My mantra over the past months has been “no sudden moves” – the temptation to cut my hair short or dye it dark, to diet, buy a new wardrobe, move house, move South, move country, get a job, train as a midwife, be a journalist…  all of these things have been my responses – I’m sad and I’d rather not be – it’s not who I see myself as being (though I’ll take “Intense” as it was offered to me). But I’m going slowly. Not rushing to renew myself or change things too rapidly – in the long run, this is change as I espouse it – small experiments, what feels right? What is bringing the good stuff?

Slow and gentle change
for now, I will survive 2014.

Beyond that, it may be time to thrive.

Harebells thriving beside a path in Scotland

"Every little thing gonna be all right" (Bob Marley)

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