A while ago I felt really moved (in a 'Corinne, this is your deepest, truest essence speaking, and if you don't book those tickets, I'll have something to say about it' kind of way) to book myself a ticket to Spain and go and live in a tipi for a while with some really beautiful souls where we danced and ate veggies from the garden and pointed out the eagles (yes!) and the vultures (40 of them in a huge swirl!) to each other, in between dances and swimming in the river...
When I booked that ticket I had no idea I was going to do all those things, or what I was really signing up for, but I knew I just had to be there. This was an interesting feeling in itself as I hadn't felt it for sometime, so I was curious, and wanted to see where it those Spirity breadcrumbs might lead.
I'd needed a new suitcase for my trip so I looked online and scrolled through loads of perfectly nice, perfectly functional luggage options. Meh...Then something caught my eye: a bejewelled little beauty, the veritable suitcase of my Dreams. I bought it, and soon it was on its way. Eee!
Now this was where it got interesting. The suitcase arrived, and rather than rip open the parcel in the child-at-Christmas type frenzy you might expect, I let the huge cardboard box sit in my hall, not just for one day, but for two, and then three. I was ignoring it.
One day, coming through the door and manoeuvring my way round what had literally become The Suitcase In The Room, I knew I had to face it. What the dickens was going on here?
I took a breath and listened, scouting around inside myself to find out. Ooh, interesting: I didn't want to open the box.
'Why not Corinne?' (talking to myself in a kind and gentle way, so as not to scare myself off the trail...) 'Well, when I open it, I know I won't really like it and it'll be a huge disappointment and I'll feel rubbish.' I suddenly recognised I'd been in very similar situations before, Dreaming something into life, then pushing it away by telling myself it wasn't what I really wanted, and feeling hugely let down and upset. And here, in the middle of the floor was this box, like an enormous present containing something beautiful just for me, and I was already getting ready to reject it. Hmm. (How I love these little inner-stalking missions...)
But it didn't stop there. I dug a little deeper and found the gold: underneath lay a little part of me that believed I didn't even deserve anything beautiful, that it would just disappear anyway, so pretending I didn't really want it was the best way to proceed. Gosh! Whilst that might have been true long ago, it wasn't what I wanted to believe or do now, so I gave that little version of me a hug and we decided to move bravely on.
So, ceremoniously brandishing the kitchen scissors, I cut through the tape and slowly opened the box. My heart was beating, and I think I may even have been sweating a bit. I could feel myself not wanting to look, putting off the inevitable heart-sinking 'Oh, it's not as nice as I'd hoped for...' moment, but I pushed through and pulled out the suitcase.
Right then, I felt the temptation to reject it. It was interesting. I felt the possibility of convincing myself it was garish and ugly, feeling stupid for wanting it and now having to lug around this lumpen reminder of my disappointment and failure for the rest of my days...But that approach actually felt a bit boring, so in that moment I chose a different one. I saw its beauty. It was beautiful. It was an awesomely beautiful suitcase, but, friends, indulge me, it was so much more than that.
I was experimenting with actively saying Yes to something gorgeous, welcoming Beauty and Lovely Stuff into my life, and celebrating it. So I chose to choose that, and every day I would stroke this little suitcase as I passed it (at one point I even hefted it up into my arms like an unwieldy and squarish child so I could dance with it) and started to see it as my magic carpet, my travelling companion to unknown and mysterious places, and it would kind of twinkle back at me with the delicious promise of adventure in its suitcase-y eye. I started declaring, ostensibly to myself, but just in case the suitcase (or Anything Else) was listening: 'Welcome, Beauty! Welcome, Love! Fantastickness, thanks so much for showing up!'
This was the true Gift: I'd spotted an old pattern of behaviour that didn't fit me any more, loved it into a happier shape and had consciously begun to welcome Lovely Things into my Life. And so, my magic carpet flew me all the way into a wondrous adventure and back, and afterwards, as I came into land in Everyday Life, things felt a little bumpy, and there was some definite turbulence as I made the transition from slow-motion-off-grid-tipi-experience and onto the nail-biting-single-mum-of-teenage-boys rollercoaster. I guess at some point I'd booked myself onto both.
But the great thing about magic carpets is that from all the way up there, you get a whole new perspective on things, so returning from my journey and in the face of my two boys healthily pushing boundaries all over the place (it's their job, I know that, and they do it so well...), I was more able (mostly, when I wasn't leaving the room to take a breath or have a little weep) to remember the Big Picture and connect to the deep humming frequency of Joy.
It's challenging but helpful to do this when you tidy up a boy's room and find something weird (then realise what it is, and you wish you hadn't), or when your teenage son answers your polite request to move a sock with a whirlwind of roars and expletives that leaves you blinking slowly and wondering, 'What just happened there?' And it's ongoing, this challenge to hold my centre in the centre of a little whirlwind here and there, but actually I wouldn't want it any other way - it hones my Commit To Joy skills in a way that just wouldn't be happening otherwise, and I'm a better person for it, I know this.
Like so many of you have expressed recently, things can feel simply overwhelming and crazy at times, and we're all feeling it, both in our home lives, and when we look out to the wider world we are all part of. Let's remember that the small steps we each take to bring more Calm or Love or Joy to our own small experiences might be rippling out and making a difference to the Bigger Picture, and as we calm ourselves, talking gently and with tenderness to those parts of us that are sad or hurting, maybe that's us also doing our bit to soothe the world.
So, lovely friends, as we encourage the presence of Beauty in our lives this week, say Yes to Love, and start to really believe that we are all worthy of this, let's share how things unfold for us, encouraged by knowing that we are all in this together. Yes! And watch out for Magic showing up in its many shapeshifty forms (this post was going to be called 'When Is A Suitcase Not A Suitcase..?') because who knows what breadcrumbs might start to appear on the path, to lead us into Goodness knows where..? Magic carpets, ahoy!