The phone rings and a disembodied voice says to me “We need the weather in 5 minutes”
“Sure” I say, “no problem”. I know that I am supposed to be reading the weather on the radio
I hang up and realise that I have no idea where my weather script is! My anxiety kicks in BIG time and my heart rate increases, my breathing becomes laboured, my body temperature soars, I am in full panic mode. My brain is screaming “What am I going to do????” I can hear the clock ticking…and I wake up, in a cold sweat with an overwhelming sense of terror.
That was me at 1am this morning.
But then, as my breathing slowed, and my bedroom materialised around me I had a rather wonderful experience.
You see, I have a secret ambition. It came to me about 2 years ago while I was working with my coach and friend Ian. I want to do a Ted Talk. I want to stand on that red circle and share something profound, something inspirational. Something that might help even one person feel better. There, I said it out loud again.
Well last night in that moment between the panic of my nightmare and the clarity of wakefulness I received the script. Fully formed. I know what it is that I want to say.
Some of it I have said before, it involves me sharing some of the stuff I have left behind so that I can tell people exactly what I see now. I need to revisit some of the pain that I know I do not need anymore. I need to do that because I need to share that I get it. I get how painful it can be. It is necessary to acknowledge the crap so that I can point the way to something so much better, so much bigger. Something innate in all of us. I lay quietly, running through the script in my head. And smiling.
An hour later I find myself outside in my street with two elderly Labradors who decided that 2am is the perfect time for a toilet break. It was cold, the cars in the road were lightly frosted as we walked along, accompanied by both my cats. Standing waiting for the dogs to do what dogs do, I looked up at the sky. It was so beautiful it took my breath away. So many stars reminding me of the vastness of the universe. Back in bed I lay quietly, blown away by a glimpse of something so mindblowing, so infinite. But also an incredible sense of who I am. Why I am. A sense of wonder about our existence on this tiny rock spinning through the universe.
I know. Maybe you had to be there! But something has definitely shifted in me. Unfortunately, the new me was still awake at 5:20 am, and the alarm went off just over an hour later. Today is proving a bit of a challenge. But that sense of how awesome we are persists.
I believe that every now and then we are given glimpses of something rather wonderful. Standing on a beach at sunset, or on top of a mountain. Gazing at our new born baby. Poetry, art, drama. If we are lucky we fall in love, share a friendship, experience a passion, realise a dream. Its about being open to all those experiences whilst knowing that we are part of something greater, something very special. It’s a feeling that transcends some of the more unpleasant things that our experience in this world brings us. It exists in that quiet space before sleep or just after waking when we are close to touching our spirit. The quiet roar.
Last Thursday I happened to catch The One Show on BBC1. It was a humdinger. The lovely Ben Fogle talked about standing on top of Everest in a humble and awe-inspiring way. Noel Fitzpatrick, the supervet, talked about animala, their bond with humans and his desire to make this world a better place for them. And then we met this year’s rickshaw challenge team. Six similarly awe-inspiring youngsters who will brave a long and difficult journey in all kinds of weather to help other youngsters. I cried.
My Ted Talk would appear to be about me. And it is, but only because I am an ordinary person going through an extraordinary experience that is inside all of us. The best talks I have watched have not been by experts with letters after their names. They are by real people, ordinary people who have triumphed over adversity, or discovered something inside themselves that they didn’t know was there. By sharing we can inspire, and we can learn. There is so much to learn.
Coming to a You Tube Channel near you soon…
This song is probably overused in this context, but no apologies as it is glorious and so appropriate for that script I am running. And much of what my talk will be about.