And I am filled with gratitude. None of that namby pamby teary "oh you really shouldn't have!" sort of gratitude in response to somebody's kindness. No, this is a deep inner peacefulness and contentment. This, to me, is the feeling of a low hum of an engine - perhaps a boat just about to pull out of a Mediterranean marina - a core inner knowing that all is well and I'm on my way. And that all is becoming even better, in every possible way. The gratitude I'm referring to is one of total acceptance - and at the same time one of expectation. For while certain dreams and plans have yet to materialise, I absolutely know within my soul that they're already happening - in fact, it feels to me as though they've already happened, and I'm just waiting to experience them in the here and now! Why else would I be having these wonderfully satisfying sensations?
This past week has been amazing on so very many levels that I don't really know where to begin. So let's start with the most obvious shall we? Thursday 22nd April 2010 was, as you'll know, the anniversary of the day I found out the truth about Cam, which also happened to be the day I outlived my own mother (and, therefore, had officially lived longer than either of my parents). So it was always going to be a big day anyway, but coupled with the trauma of my horrific discoveries, no wonder the shock-waves ricocheted so many times in the times that followed. No wonder the undulations of change have reverberated their contractions so strongly and so relentlessly over the past 12 months! For over that time I have been re-born and re-vitalised as a result. And it's been a testing and at times exhausting journey navigating the pitfalls and treacherous twists and turns that threatened to throw me to my death or suck me down to something much worse. But I've made it.
And this year, the first anniversary, was a testament to just how far I've come since then. Proof of the abundance of possibilities in my life and in my future. For this year found me leading the very first team event for my new company. This year was the inaugural meeting of The Top Banana Bunch, and I spent the day surrounded by the brightest, warmest, most talented and inspirational people anyone could ever hope to meet. These people knew and accepted the trials of my past . They understood that I'm still on a journey, that I don't know how everything is going to pan out. And, like me, they felt curious and drawn by the pull of something bigger. Something that holds so much promise, that has the potential to enrich and inspire people. Something that I'm now calling "the magic of Top Banana".
I didn't know exactly how the day was going to pan out - and neither did the group. I had expected that we would end the day feeling like a team. Wanting to help each other. And knowing that together we can achieve so much more. And, for me, all of those were achieved - and how!
I watched the open mouths and warm smiles as people shared their stories, experiences and skills. I heard the laughter, and noticed the gasps as they found the most extraordinary links between each other. I felt the sense of pride and achievement as people did things they hadn't thought they could - or would. And I thrived on the growing sense of connection and commitment between us all. And I felt grateful. Grateful that I've been given the opportunity to grow and become myself. Grateful that I'm able to convey my belief in what we can do together. Grateful that the right people have turned up at exactly the right time. Grateful for the continuing signs and "coincidences" that tell me beyond any shadow of a doubt that I'm absolutely on the right track.
Back at home I was reminded of how I'm surrounded by love and friendship. Anna had very kindly dropped me at the train station on Wednesday, taken Hamish home with her while I was away, and had then agreed to drive for 2 hours to collect me from the airport on Friday morning. At midnight on Wednesday I received a "Happy Birthday" text from Matt reminding me that the cycle was now complete. Thursday found me surrounded by friends - some old some new, and all of them filled with a wonderful warmth and openness towards me and this new venture. I had woken up at 4.30 Friday morning to catch my flight, and Audrey had chosen to wake up with me to wish me well. This is the same Audrey who, by the way, had driven down from Newcastle for the event, and had brought me food, wine and a beautiful card ready for my arrival! Once home in France, Julie came round in the afternoon for a coffee and catch up. Later on I collected Dylan from the bus stop, and in the evening Anna came back to join me for dinner and a bottle of fizz. During that time I had seen numerous emails already going backwards and forwards between the team, already referring to themselves as "The Bananas".
So now, with the sun still warming my face, the birds still singing, the smell of blossom from the apple tree wafting over me as I type, and my clean sheets waving on the washing line in the distance, I am deeply thankful for everything that I am and for everything that I can become.
To quote a favourite phrase from an affirmation by Louise L Hay that I keep by my bed "All IS well and all IS working out for my highest good".... and now I know for sure that it always was, it always has been. I just didn't know it. Life is good indeed, and I for one intend to stay grateful for the rest of the long and fruitful life that lies ahead of me. Thank you!