The Wool Game
One week ago, I emptied my London home of my personal things, handed over the keys and left, with one large and one small suitcase. Right now, my heart is gently buzzing to the sound of rain, a river, and a clock ticking. I feel joy bubbling up, an inner smile breaking, as if amused at life. This melts into wonder at the opportunity I have, the possibility of deepening my experience of living in the world.
When I conceived the plan to embark on a journey into the unknown, I felt I should take something with me that had no apparent purpose. Something that would travel with me wherever I went and would carry in itself a spark of joy. The first object I considered was a handpainted ceramic mug, bought on a holiday with dear friends. At home, if I'm honest, I find unmatching mugs mildly disturbing. I prefer my uniform rows of dark blue Denby pottery. But another part of me revels in unique beauty; perhaps the same part that is compelling me to leave behind the safety and familiarity of home. However, when I realised my journey would have multiple stops, it was obvious a breakable mug was not the companion I was after!
I obtained this ball of wool a week before I set off. I'm not a knitter; I needed it to play 'the Wool Game' with an eco-tech company for whom I was running an away day (gratitude to the fantastic SafetyNet Technologies). I learned this game earlier in the year, when planning a leadership retreat for On Purpose participants. I don't remember what it was originally called, but I dubbed it the Wool Game because the only, and defining, equipment is some wool. I won't give away the rules because I suspect having any time to think about it in advance would diminish the richness of participating. Suffice to say that it is wonderfully revealing of team dynamics and how we feel about them.
Packing for several months was easier than one might expect. I asked myself if I actually wanted a given thing with me, and was able to fit all the yeses in my bags without difficulty. This ball of wool was the only thing that made me pause: I don't anticipate playing the Wool Game with the people I meet on my travels (although who knows). Yet I didn't want to put it into storage. Then I remembered my allowance of one pointless item, and I tucked it in among my clothes, uncertainty banished.
It was only after I left that I realised the significance of taking this beautiful ball of wool with me on the next part of my path. It connects me to two of my dearest experiences of facilitating groups, and it may remind me, when I feel unmoored, of my strengths and passions. This year has been the most professionally joyful of my life. I have been paid to do things that are a complete pleasure, through and through. Being trusted to design and hold spaces for groups and individuals to flourish has been a dream. I have seen magic emerge through people's presence.
Coming at this time of professional satisfaction, it feels pretty vulnerable to leave London. However, having left my profession as a barrister, and stable employment, in 2020, I sensed that I was not done leaving things. I needed to leave my home city and I needed to leave my comfortable and independent life. I must wade into the world river and enter its flow. It feels essential for me to understand, in an embodied way, events and contexts that are much bigger than I am used to. This is intimately connected to my calling to work that helps others to be in inner and outer harmony. I have no predetermined output, but I believe something good will come out of it.
The shape of the next year is not clear, and I think that's entirely appropriate given I have so much to learn. The compass is pointing towards communities of people who share a spiritual awareness and a desire to help others. I plan to visit Awake Uvita in December, and the Monastic Academy for the Preservation of Life on Earth (MAPLE) sometime in 2023. I am excited about what will emerge and I feel a momentum towards writing on the journey.
And here is another reason I have the wool with me (which seems full of purpose, after all). I don't know how it all unfurls; I feel a tug on the thread, towards the next step, and I gratefully respond.