"Curiouser and curiouser" is a regular mantra for me these days, together with a wry smile and slow nodding of my head. And curiosity, I am finding, is an extremely useful and positive tool to keep fear at bay, no matter how menacing the apparent threat or danger of a situation.
Instead of last year's responses of panic or despair when hit with unexpected happenings, these days I find myself instead surrendering to an inner calm. A place of peace. A position of safety where I can watch the next chapters of my adventure unfold. Wondering about how it will all come right, and at the same time knowing and trusting that all is working out for my highest good.
It's when I recognise this process that I feel as though I must be in Alice's Looking-Glass House. For everything appears to be the same, and yet it isn't. What looks like a perfectly normal, run-of-the-mill sort of a day, is in fact a time where nothing is as it seems to be. I know I cannot change what is happening, and I also acknowledge that I've come through so much over the past year, that nothing now can threaten or derail me any more. I have survived - and more than that, I'm actually thriving now even in the face of adversity. So now, these days, I simply take a deep breath, relax, and wonder at the intricacies of the master plan that is surely guiding me through this maze of twists and turns.
Just last week, for example, I had wanted to give a spare key to a French friend of mine. She was having a rough time at home, and I had offered her a bolt-hole if ever she needed some space. I didn't have a spare key left, so instead I asked another friend to return a key she had been holding for me. Why? Because I didn't have enough money to pay for a new one to be cut, and also I doubted that I'd have enough petrol in my car to get me to the key cutters and back as well as complete the trip to the airport I had to make so that I could fly to London for business the following day. Yes, I'm totally used to living on the edge these days!
So, mission accomplished, I was working at my computer and minding my own business later that afternoon, when my friend appeared on my doorstep in tears. It had happened. She'd told her partner she needed some space, and had walked out of their home. Good job I had followed through with my offer and secured a spare key just a few hours earlier!
The following morning, after an evening of chatting and bonding, I had an instinct to check the level of my heating fuel before leaving for the airport. Here in rural France, my main source of heating is oil, and in this cold weather the boiler has been unusually thirsty as you can imagine! I was right to check it, as it was down to just a few inches left at the bottom of the tank. Any less and the boiler would stop. That was all well and good, I now knew the situation, but I didn't have the money to do anything about it. So, curiosity kicked in again, and I just wondered to myself how this situation was going to work out! I explained to my friend that she would need to call the fuel company and arrange for a delivery. I pulled out my two french bank cards - my current account and my credit card. I knew there was next to nothing to squeeze out of them, but told my friend to order 300 euros worth of fuel (my normal delivery is in the region of 1,000 euros) and see what they could get from each card. I smiled to myself, thank goodness she had turned up when she did, for I would have had no way to order fuel if she wasn't there.
While in the UK I had another amazing week of business meetings and opportunities. I couldn't help smiling at the irony of the situation. Here I was pitching The Top Banana Bunch to major companies - and winning work, by the way - and yet all the while not knowing whether the balance on my Oyster travelcard would actually allow me to get back home. Worry? No way. There's no point. Instead I smile, nod, and wonder at the magic of guidance and timing as the solutions unfold in front of my eyes.
It was the Wednesday morning when I had a breakfast meeting with another living Guardian Angel. This wonderful lady had offered to lend me a hand while I get the business going. And the hand she offered me that morning was financial. A cheque for 5,000 euros that I could put straight in to my French bank account and repay to her once I'm on my feet. Once again, I have been looked after, and made safe in the nick of time.
Back home, I find that my French friend had moved back home to mend her relationship, and that the oil had indeed been delivered. So it seemed that between them, the cards covered the bill! Remember, though, that like Alice's Glass-House, all is not as it seems. Because a couple of days later I received a phone call from the oil company to say that the cards had been refused. That few days of grace had meant that the heating had continued working while my friend needed shelter, and in the couple of days since my return the cheque had hit my account. So now I was in a position to order more fuel to see me through to next winter, and also pay the outstanding bill at the same time.
Timing. It's a wonderful thing. And I could never have planned for everything to work out so perfectly in the way that it continues to do. My job is just to relax and enjoy the ride.
At this moment in time, I am filled with awe and gratitude on a daily basis. I wake each day expecting surprises and miracles. And each day I experience exactly that - some days more than others, but every day something wonderful happens. I know, beyond any question of doubt, that I am not alone. That I am connected to something more powerful than I can ever begin to imagine. And that this connection is bringing people and opportunities in to my life at exactly the right moments, in exactly the right places, for exactly the right reasons.
I've said this before, and I think it's worth mentioning again. My everyday life, my surroundings, my situation, really haven't changed that much. The battles are still in front of me. The creditors are still chasing me for the debts that have been left to me to settle. Indeed, from the outside things appear much as they were a few months ago. But as for my inner world... well, it's like I've been transported to another country - perhaps even another planet, another galaxy! I simply do not recognise who I was in the days when I lived under the spell of my estranged husband. I've finally found the inner peace and contentment that I've been searching for all my adult life.
And you know what? It was here all the time. Within me. Just waiting to be found and welcomed in to my life.
I've been regularly told that I did some amazing life-changing work through the original Top Banana. Now I know with absolute certainty that the personal growth I'm experiencing means I can be much better than I ever was before. The Top Banana Bunch is going places, and I'm leading it there. And that only means one thing. Fulfillment, happiness, and an inner joy that shines like a beacon.
Oh yes, I am finally home.