Emma and I have come on holiday. We've come to our apartment next door to our house. We built it and we let it out to holidaymakers and friends. If you haven't been I suggest you come - you can find details here. Its been quite busy at home lately so we've taken a few days respite, to relax and recuperate. We're lazing, meditating, watching films, listening to uplifting talks on t'internet, Tara Brach in particular. Generally recharging our batteries and re-sourcing.
And in taking some time out to be with myself and my thoughts, I'm reminded how things we want quite often do come to pass. Even if we don't focus on them too much. If we just hold conscious desires, nestled away in the back of our minds, they can become reality. May not be quick, but it happens, and when it does it's glorious.
Let me give you two examples. When I moved to my house in Hove back in 2001, I bought an enormous dining table. Not that big, in the scheme of things, but big to me. I had a dream for it. The dream came from lazy afternoons at university watching Thirty-something instead of studying, where all the thirty-somethings, no matter what was going on in their lives, would gather together for something to eat every so often and in doing so, to me, epitomised the joys of life and friendship. Well I wanted that too. Secretly I dreamed of lovely, interesting people, sharing food, stories, love and life together at my table.
But I wasn't able to manifest it. Sure, we often had friends round, had some lovely lovely times, but it didn't quite hit the quality I was looking for. At the time, I didn't know what that elusive quality was, or how I could get it.
10 years on I found myself, last weekend, finally, at such a table. In my own house. Full of new friends and old from all over the world - Brighton, France, Italy, Thailand. Sharing everything from making a lasagne, through the challenges of co-parenting, to dreams of freedom and independence, to new songs that had been written, to the building of businesses and the development of new projects to do together. A happy, laughing, interested bunch of people with exciting futures.
Ok so I may have to rename it forty-somethings for myself if not others, but I got there in the end. And I figured out the quality that was missing during my Hove days. The quality was my own contentment and joy at life - being able to give freely and welcome people with an open heart. Instead of focusing on whether I was good enough to be there, competitively looking at how I was doing in my life and my career compared to everyone else, being overwhelmed with my own misery, I just sat and drank in the greatness of it all. I felt the gratitude of having so many wonderful people in my life, those in front of me and those that weren't. You are all welcome at my table. Just bring a full heart and an empty tummy.
My second example comes from a time when I was at school. When I was 17, I had a couple of free periods on a Tuesday morning. We were supposed to use the time to study, but I often used to sneak off into town for an hour or so. There was one shop in particular that I used to hang out in. It was a wine shop called Wadsworths. Its still there now, in St Ives High Street (in Cambridgeshire, not Cornwall.) But now its a big modern store. Back then, it was a dark, dingy place, full of tightly spaced shelves laden with dusty bottles of different shapes and sizes full of coloured liquids. And in my small untried life, it was the most exotic place I had ever been. For me, every bottle contained a promise of another life, far away in deserts, jungles, bazaars. I had so many exciting adventures in that shop, just by finding a new strangely-shaped bottle containing dangerous liquid, and imagining where it had come from and how it had ended up in this tiny backwater. The bottles in that shop told me that there was a whole world out there waiting to be explored.
Last night Emma and I talked bout our new project. A new building, to host people who want to take time to figure stuff out. An extension of what we do already - offer refuge to people who need and want it. We talked about the building we will create, and that in the heart of it will be a big dining room and next to it a small snug. For quiet, private time. I told Emma (not for the first time) about old Wadsworth's wine shop and what it had meant to me and in both our minds we formed a picture of the snug. A place for dreams, a place to imagine and have adventures. And we knew that we will build it.
So there we have it. Things that I dreamed of becoming real. I think it happens to all of us - what we think about and the future we dream of becoming the real future. So I guess if we want a good future we have to focus on the good things we want to happen. Because there's a high chance that the future you want is the one you will get. Lets make it a good one.