February 21st, 2020

speaker, consultant, coach

Love

"Feeling is the secret bridge that penetrates solitude and isolation. Without the ability to feel, friendship and love could never be born. All feeling is born in the heart. This makes the human heart the true jewel of the world." — John O'Donohue, Benedictus 

At the deepest level of our humanity resides love.

There is nothing else.

Sadly, nowadays, it (largely) gets twisted to suit our needs and wants.

If I think about the most loving people in my life, it's my grandparents, Peter and Lorna. He was a hospital porter who looked after Gran, who was blind and deaf, for over 50 years. I never saw them argue less still have a crossed word — and whilst I know you've heard that before, seeing it in action is an entirely different thing.

My relationship with love has, I'm bound to say, been tainted by my parents' relational and not absolute view. It's taken me a very long time to disentangle myself from that infestation. 

I wish, much like the 60s generation advocated for, that we could rekindle the love conversation once more. It's sorely missing across all areas of our lives, especially in politics, commerce and, yes, even in the third sector. Just imagine it: to lead with love in every conversation, every interaction and every situation. 

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speaker, consultant, coach

When a loved one dies

I lost my Gran nearly 20 years ago. She was 84.

Her last place was a pretty little nursing home overlooking Torbay, but she didn't get to see much of it, sadly.

I don't know the cause of death, but the last time I saw her, she was fast asleep and was troubled by that horrible, slow breathing called Cheyne-Stokes; I knew she didn't have long.

Gran was an extraordinary lady. She was blind — glaucoma got her aged 30 — and practically deaf. But it didn't stop her having an opinion on most things nor being interested in life. Far from it. Sure, she was a bit limited in what she could do, and once her husband Peter died she knew that she'd have to go into a home but that didn't mean she gave up.

If I'm honest, I hated going to see her in the nursing home. It wasn't that it was any more awful than other homes I'd been to, but it was always the prospect of leaving her alone there for another night that I found deeply upsetting. If I've one regret, I didn't spend more time with her. Likewise all my grandparents. I could have learnt so much but, at the time, I just thought they were, 'old', and didn't have anything to tell me — what an arrogant young man I was. 

Gran didn't make a will. There was no need: she had no money or assets but even so her daughter, Josie (Jo), still managed to give my brother and I a cheque each for £1,000. I suspect, knowing Gran, she'd been saving her pension which by the time she'd paid for her nursing fees meant she had about £20 left for the entire week. 

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