About not sleeping at night,
About getting so frustrated they can’t think straight.
About putting themselves under impossible pressure.
And I thought the life of a ten year old was free and easy.
No worries, no regrets, nothing to do, no heavy expectations to live up to.
Looks like I had no idea.
I have no idea if life is tougher now that we’re in the future,
But after this morning, and sitting down to write, I now actually remember a similar time as a kid.
I was never more depressed than when I was 11-12.
I thought the world was going to end,
I only had 2 friends,
I found no joy anywhere, nothing but fear and doubt and struggle.
And the only reason I didn’t kill myself was because I didn’t want my family to be hurt.
So I suffered in silence.
At 11 years old.
How crazy is that?
Crazy. Messed up. All that stuff.
I'm actually glad for it because it made me determined to find a way out, to never go back there
But what I really want to tell you is this:
I do remember being around certain people really helped me.
There were a few teachers, my swimming coach, the mum of one of my friends …
They had a lightness of being, a warm heart it felt like.
They looked me in the eye and made sure I was seen and heard.
It wasn’t what they said or did, but how they made me feel.
I felt like they had all the time in the world for me.
Even though they must have had their challenges,
I felt a solid certainty in this world when I was around them,
An oasis of … okayness … or goodness, I guess …
A kind of force field that meant fear and worry and that feeling of the end couldn’t come in when I was near them.
Those times meant everything because I had a glimpse of what life beyond the chaos of my mind felt like.
Despite all the madness and busy-ness and questions in your life -
You being calm and present and content and alive,
Isn’t just for you.
You touch everyone around you.
Everyone has a chance for sanctuary by just being in your presence.
And if you only stop and give that kid a smile,
Or really listen for just a second …
You might be saving their lives.
Go well, ok? Arjuna
I’m giving a free talk tonight, over in Guisborough.
Full details here, be great to see you: