When things fall apart, is a book by Pema Chodron, Buddhist Nun and teacher of meditation. She has the best book titles, another is The wisdom of no escape. I read her in Varanasi, India when a sadhu told me to ‘Pick a guru’ *realising this could sound rather pretentious* anyway, back to the everyday present:
I had two weeks leave from work, unfortunately I had a bad cold which began in my last days at work and finished the weekend before I returned. It did make me slow down though, and that was a good thing. I binge watched Succession Seasons One and Two, and rested.
I went to Norfolk for health checks- blood tests and a consultation with the GP, having put this off for months, while worrying almost 24/7, and everything came back clear. I saw a couple of friends and did some Christmas shopping.
I returned to work to find three members of staff were leaving: my manager who interviewed and recruited me; one of my favourite people; and a new member of staff who had barely started.
And just like that, it seemed, work fell apart. Everyone got stressed, moany, demanding, and less likeable. (I include myself in this too, as despite my high ideals, I am not Buddha)
The foundation and the heart seemed to have vanished. An alternative job appeared in my inbox and I applied; chatting to the agency on the phone in the garden at work feeling like the beginning of an affair. (I didn’t get it)
I know, I know, I always know, that all I have to do is stay steady in the face of upheaval and things will settle. In fact I didn’t stay steady and things did settle.
A member of staff who had been off for weeks suddenly reappeared as good as new, like a good omen. Them, me and the favourite member of staff who is leaving shared some laughter and an emotional moment, eyes filing with tears. My manager’s replacement has been appointed.
I have at last started to become fully reacquainted with swimming, going regularly, building my strength and experiencing occasional moments of flow when the stroke really comes together. I’ve also been doing yoga at home.
After stagnating a bit (or as I call it, having a fallow period) due to both having long lasting colds, we have set new goals to switch off Netflix and talk about a topic at least some evenings. Last night we spent a happy evening on travel plans, excited by India and then Cambodia lifting tourist restrictions.
At work we have begun saying goodbyes to the dear member of staff; she has requested we all write her letters! Maybe this is what this will be?!
What I’ve really enjoyed about knowing you is our meaningful chats about spirituality. I’ve really benefitted from the company of someone who is religious. I have found it inspiring and enriching to hear your stories and to talk about your perspectives on mental health, which includes your own personal family experiences which you have been kind enough to share; about Islamic perspectives on mental health and the challenges faced by ethnic minorities in a predominantly white-European-centric system.
For example, I appreciated you telling me about the non-colour-blind mental health services assessment, which specifically asks questions about individual’s experiences of racism. I have found these conversations enriching and educational.
But I’ve also just really enjoyed being around someone who has such strong values, such a strong personal spirituality, and someone who continually reflects and tries to be a better person each day.
You have lit up the team. The staff love you, the patients love you. I always said when we did our groups we didn’t really even need to plan an activity (although you always did bring such lovely, beautifully presented and thoughtful activities for the patients), because they would have been happy just to see you.
I will miss you, it won’t be the same without you. If you want to meet for coffee on a Saturday sometime I would like that very much.
The Verse of Light (Arabic: آیة النور, romanized: āyat an-nūr) is the 35th verse of the 24th surah of the Quran (Q24:35).
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp,
The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star,
Lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people,
and Allah is Knowing of all things.
— Translation by Sahih International Wikipedia
Thank you very much for visiting
Since August I’ve been keeping a stream of consciousness document going, some of which gets loosely edited into blog posts. Along the way I make a note of spin off ideas to come back to in the editing. It’s part work memoir, part meditation on boat life, and life in general. Working title Triangles are the strongest shape
My memoir of a year of travel in India and Southeast Asia- I fell in love with you and I cried– is complete and will be published sometime next year
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