It’s 9.20am, central European time. I’m sitting outside, sipping the blue-skyed morning, clean air and fresh coffee. The sun has just risen above the roof of a barn to my right. Behind me is the main building of a converted farm that is now a country retreat hotel, that looks nothing like a hotel. To my left is the building where 65 coaches will soon gather to see, in depth, how well they are made; then help wake others up into the same realisation. I’m an hour’s drive north of Prague. It’s gorgeous here. It's moments like these, when I’m quiet, that I taste aliveness at its fullest. I’m filled with peace, humility and gratitude. In moments like these I remember that all I’ve ever wanted I already always had. In moments like these, my life is full. And I didn’t have to do anything to feel it. I had nothing to do to be who I always was and who I always will be.
Sometimes I have doubts about what practical use me realising these moments of aliveness have on my life, my work, my relationships, my business, and my clients. Then I remember. This, is the best of me. Where I feel connected to everything and everyone. Where fresh ideas always come from. Where my presence to what is, right now, holds the greatest leverage I can have in every part of my work and personal life. My mind wanders back into all the decades I was lost. The insecurities, bouts of depression, and days of despair when I hated being me. I still feel some of those things. And when I do, it doesn’t have the same gravity in me than it used to. Unless I forget what I’ve seen. I know that sometime, I’ll remember again. And wake up. Returning home to this quiet mind, A deep, peaceful feeling. Back to feeling these moments of aliveness. A few weeks ago in Central London, I was with a group of people in a company who work across 6 divisions of their marketing services organisation. The 24 of them came from various parts of the UK, western and central Europe. It was a fun two days of getting people out of their heads and back into the joy of the work, their colleagues, and their clients. All we discussed was how we, as humans work. Where every single feeling comes from what I think right now, not from anywhere outside of me. Where what I think looks real, permanent and personal. And the truth is the opposite: illusory, temporary, and universal for all human beings. Where my feelings look like they are telling me something about my life, and they are only ever telling me what I’m thinking, right now.
The group's insights and realisations wowed me. The effects of these have already had a significant impact on their results, engagement, activity, quality of work and their sense of wellbeing. Towards the end of the first day, one of them talked about her work in one division of the company, how well the people in that division worked, how well the division was doing and how warm everyone was. I remembered a conversation 9 years ago with the head of that division. It was struggling. People were tired, stressed, underperforming with a high level of staff turnover. He asked me to come to see if I could help. I could tell how much these issues mattered, and more than that how much he cared for the people in his team. We ran a series of half-day workshops over the next 8 months. That leader retired from work 5 years ago. The change he instigated remains to this day.
A few years ago, I learnt he’d died with Covid. The reason I’m writing about him right now is that I was so moved by realising that he lives on in the team’s feeling and performance. I was struck by remembering that the good we do can have unseeable, long-lasting effects in others. In seeing that, I was reminded that I have no idea where the ripples of love and presence we express can reach. Even when I doubt myself and my work at the end of a day where I’m not sure if anyone heard anything meaningful – I have not idea of the impact it might have down the line. In remembering this man, I had a moment of aliveness, and his aliveness, beyond the physical life he had.