I wrote this about a month ago. It rang so true that it scared me, so I didn’t post it. The scene along Kings Parade has changed with the passing of the month, but not my sentiments.
4th April, 2012, late afternoon
I’m looking at the Senate House of the University of Cambridge as people pass by on Kings Parade. I see strolling day trippers, meandering cyclists, wandering gaggles of French and German students on holiday. During term time this promenade is filled with urgency and bustle. But this is the week before Easter, and the pace is easy, almost languid. For many who visit this city on a break from their busy lives, who walk these ancient streets gazing with wonder at its spires and grandeur, finding delight in its unexpected sundials and gargoyles, it is dreamtime.
Yet I sit here and let go of dreams. I set them down like leaves and twigs on the river Cam, watching them float away. I bless them and release them. They do the same to me. Namaste, we nod to one another: the divine in me salutes the divine in you.
And what are some of these visions that, with the breath of kindness, I am gently blowing away?
A desire for some kind of established and obvious profession. An easy answer to the question of ‘what do you do?’ so often mistaken as a substitute for the infinite and impossible question of ‘who are you?’ The high profile, the catchy tagline, the snappy elevator pitch. To all that – adieu and adieu.
A certain version of myself – a naïve and breathless innocence of always looking forward, looking forward. So much of my life I have been easily intoxicated with the happy anticipation of what is coming. This is bittersweet to release. But I take comfort in exchanging the giddy excitement of ‘what’s next?’ with a deepening awe for ‘what is now?’
A habit of second-guessing and the urge to justify. There is very little to justify. There is very little I can justify. Instead, I am more willing to shrug and proceed with a strong, if not articulate, instinct.
The need to be good, to be virtuous, to be seen as such. The need to be discovered, to be praised, to be followed or read. In truth, I simply need to be.
To each of these dreams, I whisper:
I bless you. I release you. You have served me well. I have served you well. We have grown together, we have grown with each other, and now we grow apart.
Later I stand on a bridge with a handful of leaves and twigs. I drop them over the edge and watch them drift with the current, twist in the eddies, and disappear around the bend of the river.