Summer '23

I know it’s changed to Autumn in the last week and Summer is over. I went out into the garden the other day and I could feel it.

The temperature has dropped and the light is drawing in, I’ve been ill which has happened on the last couple of years when the seasons have changed.

I’ve not been writing much recently, to those that read my newsletter, I am still here. I’m just in one of those phases where I feel like I don’t have much to say.

I’ve been continuing to struggle with a bit of “what’s the point” syndrome this year. I’ve flip-flopped between feeling purposeful and purposeless, between the point and “what’s the point?”

I underestimated how much my life would change and I’ve been anxiously waiting for “it” to come and it’s not come yet. I’ve waited to feel settled, to feel “ on track” yet those feelings haven’t all arrived. That’s meant I’ve been in my head a lot, especially the last couple of months.

A lot of thinking, a lot of ruminating, a lot of questioning, analysing and a sprinkling of judgement on myself.

The blessing of doing loads of personal development and ‘working on my mental health’ has been that I’ve been able to support myself through a period of transition and I’ve been able to dislocate myself from a life where I felt trapped in a rat race that I couldn’t see the end of.

The curse is that when you do an initial deep dive on your mental health you go in and reflect on what’s happened to you in your life and strip back all the mess that’s been muddied and interlinked. There’s what’s happened in your life and then there’s how you responded. Things become clearer and you build a stronger sense of you. That’s very powerful and my life is so much better for doing that work. 

What’s harder is the realisation though, that the world does not, in fact, revolve around you, once you’ve moved through the stuff holding you back, limiting beliefs and done your best to resolve any trauma. In fact, we're a minuscule part of something much greater.

There’s then a reflection on what’s my own responses and behaviours that impact how I feel, and what are the factors that I can’t control?

I can control the diet I eat, the self-care routine I have. It’s harder to control the climate crisis, the behaviours exhibited by world leaders, the holes in the roads, the late trains, cancel culture, the addictiveness of social media and rising interest rates.

I may have done the work to manage the individual factors that impact my mental health. The work to manage the environmental factors that impact my mental health seem so far away that it’s easy to lose hope.

This rambling segue is an example of where I’ve been the last few weeks. All it takes is an article in the Economist highlighting the failing of the British state or anther celebrity accused of sexual assault and my head is in the shed.

7 years on from starting Sanctus and still we run from the word depression, I’d partly describe what I experience as a malaise, a melancholy feeling, a dark view of the world. This bleakness doesn’t frighten me like it does some people. Actually I think it’s my gift to be able to sit and articulate what I see in the darkness. So here I am and this is where I’ve been. Tomorrow it’ll lift and if I wrote this again it would glow gold, not black.

In my home life I feel very grateful to have a wonderful home, wonderful partner and healthy family. With 4 stags and 4 weddings this year I’ve felt surrounded by love. People say nice things and the love we all knew was there rises to the surface.

Thinking about it, the season of weddings I am in aligns aptly to how Ive been feeling. Change. Weddings are full of celebration and are full of change too. Couples beginning a new chapter, many preparing to start families and friendship groups altering, just check the seating plan.

Creatively I feel clearer yet not as clear as I’d like. Stoke, Health, Masculinity are the broad brush strokes of my interest. Yet I’ll be honest I wish one would just take hold of me so I could get my teeth into something and feel alive again.

Nothing is fully grabbing me, nor is anything fully grabbing the world. It’s what I do when I’m not thinking that really matters and I’m not doing much without thinking at the moment. When I'm working on instinct, that's where the good stuff is.

The fact I’m writing this in this way proves to me that I’m not fully in alignment for what I want to work on. Not yet, I am closer.

Underneath all of this rambling reflection and lovely life I have is something that sits deep and is hard to access. I know I am meant to be here. I know I am meant to be here writing this. I know that each step I have taken, from Sanctus, out of London, into running, into writing, into Mission Stoke, into the Chase - I know there’s a thread that I am following. I know there is a pattern. I know there is something essential guiding all of that.

It’s frightening to trust something so small and so impossible to explain. Intuition, purpose, God, spirit. It’s called many things, intuition is the closest for me. It’s like a faint light at the end of a tunnel and I’m walking towards it.

All I can do is keep walking.