15/52 Stage Combat
I’ll begin with this: the stage combat workshop was brilliant!
But, that’s not what I'm going to talk about today.
It’s a glorious Friday. My boss says we’re to finish early and head down to the pub for a drink. I’m delighted to get out of the office building. We’re not made to sit indoors behind a laptop all day long you know. That’s not a life. We finish our drinks and I decide to head down to Trafalgar Square where I’m as excited as a kid in a candy shop about the thought of reading my book in the sunshine. I find myself a perfect spot on the bench facing the centre of the square. I take out my book and sigh at how glorious it is to be alive right now.
This moment of bliss doesn’t last long as I’m interrupted.
“Beautiful day isn’t it?” I turn to my right and a man wearing paint stained trousers, drinking coca-cola out of one of them old school glass bottles that always makes me think of Mad Men for some reason smiles at me.
“Yeah.” I say quickly before turning back to my book.
But he insists on having a conversation.
Immediately, I think back to earlier that day when I was half way through a huge mouthful of tofu when a New Zealand lad asked me to take his photo. I was like. Dude! Can’t you see that I’m eating!?
“Sure” is what I actually said but what followed was me being extra cold and monosyllabic (that word is literally unpronounceable. Seriously. Try it.) to the millions of questions he insisted on asking. Anyways, I left feeling kinda bad. Like, we’re on this earth to connect so why not grab any chance you get throughout your day to have a small interaction with a stranger.
So the world obviously heard those thoughts and was giving me a second chance.
“Okay world. I hear you.” I think to myself.
So I put my book down and throw myself into the moment I find myself in. The man tells me he makes stained glass windows -that explains the paint - And that he’s one of the few in the world who has this skill. He’s been training for 15 years. When he first moved to London from Albania he spoke zero English but was determined to learn and make a life here. After convincing his now boss to hire him he worked on improving his skills every single day. Now, he’s the one everyone looks up to and turns to for help and advice. But it took courage to leave what he knew behind.
“It takes a lot of time to become great at something. It takes daily effort and commitment.” He says.
I share how I’ve got a play on in a couple of weeks and that I’m re-entering a stage of my life where I just want to make things.
“You have to believe you can do it.” He says.
After a good 30 minutes I finally tell him “I’m gonna get back to my book now. Thanks so much for the conversation though. It’s been a lovely random encounter.”
He walks off and I get back to my book. I’m reading The Alchemist at the moment. The first time I read it was years ago. It’s a funny thing how you feel a pull towards the things you need in your life. The book is everything that I’m going through right now. It’s about dreams and destiny and overcoming fear.
I get two pages in and another guy walks up to me and asks “Is this seat taken?”
“Oh Jesus here we go again” I think to myself. He’s pointing to the spot next to me and I think, no obviously it’s not taken. Just sit down man. I’m trying to read.
“No go ahead.” And back to my book hoping that he’ll pick up on the fact that I’m in deep concentration mode.
“You look incredibly concentrated on that book.” He comments.
And I think YEAH! I’m trying really hard here.
He asks me about the book and well if there’s something I love more than reading a great book it’s talking about a great book.
He asked me if I was currently on a journey of transformation. I tell him about how around this time last year I was in Vietnam and found myself in a post it note cafe:
“I sat down in a cafe covered in post it notes and I turn to my right. There’s a window. Only you can’t look through it because it’s covered in post it notes. And the first one that catches my attention is a quote that’s been spread across three post it notes and it’s The Man in the Arena speech from Theodore Roosevelt. Do you know it?” I ask with excitement.
“I’m not familiar with it.” He says intrigued.
What followed was me expressing everything that quote stands for and how that moment made me realise what kind of life I personally wanted to lead. As long as I’m doing what I feel sets my heart on fire and that I'm living in the arena all that other stuff doesn’t matter. It’s only the timid souls, who are too afraid to walk their own path who have the time to sit and judge other peoples decisions.
With these two encounters I was reminded of all the things I needed to hear as well as how sometimes the world is trying to send us a message via our surroundings. It also got me thinking about where I’ve come from and how I’ve evolved over the years, how we must be willing to live in each moment with all that we have but also be able to let it all go when it’s no longer right for us. Committing to our hearts, the people around us, daring to care more and allowing the world to affect us yet not holding on to it all too tightly when it wants to slip away. This is a powerful skill to develop. By following our instincts we know where we need to go and what steps we’ve got to take. It’s almost our duty to ourselves to get back in touch with that part; the part we spend most of our childhoods trying to suppress; Instincts and honest feelings towards situations.
For the first time I feel really grateful towards all the decisions I’ve made and not made. Rather than beat myself up and get frustrated about everything I can see how it’s all equipped me with insight and knowledge I wouldn’t have had otherwise. In The Alchemist they talk about turning lead into gold. It’s a process. Just like our own personal development there’s a process we have to respect. One that takes time and doesn’t have a shortcut.
The other day a close friend said to me: “You’ve got massive wings. You just don’t seem to realise it yet but when you do you’re going to fly!”
If you don’t have someone in your life who’s reminding you, let it be me right now. You too have wings. We all do and it’s our responsibility to build them and nurture them. Then, when we’re ready we must take that leap of faith, jump off the edge of the mountain and trust that after a few moments of free falling, these wings we’ve built will work and take us to all the places we’d like to go. The crazy part is that there are no limits to how far we can journey except for the ones we set for ourselves.