‘here’ is the only reality there is.

And yet I find myself almost always with ‘there’ occupying my soul, my mind, my gaze, my dreams.

‘There’ is where everything is better and easy and I am better and easy. ‘There’ is where I have made sense of the mysteries of the world and it is all neatly packaged in labelled boxes with thick brown tape with nothing swelling out of the edges. ‘There’ is where I am free from the weights on my ankles that sluggishly hold me, and free from the weights in my soul like swallowed rocks.

But ‘here’ is the only thing that is real and the only place I am.

‘Here’ is where I feel pain in my shoulder, so I touch it, prodding at its tightness, releasing its knotted anger a little. I notice that I don’t feel the soft flesh, just the anger underneath. I notice how much pain is in the space around the knots and the anger.

‘Here’ is where my rounded body lives. The body over there is smaller and more acceptable. She is tighter and firmer and probably loved and held and desired. Not here. She is fleshy and sad. This body here has been told she is unacceptable and should go and hide herself. So she does. Sometimes in sweaters and sometimes in shame. Always with a shroud of loathing. She is stupid and should try harder. She always lets us down, and yet here she is. Right here, always with us no matter what. I wonder if maybe I let her down? Maybe the world let her down? I don’t know. I just know that if I allow myself to dare to feel her fleshy sadness, right here, just as she is, she weeps.

‘Here’ is where I don’t know. Where beliefs and dogma and doctrine that were once a beautiful mat for me to stand on and pray on are now a ball of twine, jumbled and deconstructed. I cannot stand on these threads, or pray on them for that matter. But this is the truth of my faith right here. Just threads, blues and reds and golds and greens. Unravelled and messy. Unsure what they are supposed to become. I know from the outside this looks a lot like failure, like what you find at the bottom of a slippery slope. But strangely, here they make sense. The not knowing makes sense. Just me and my threads and a lot of external misunderstanding.

‘Here’ is where my heart is bruised. She has been offered but not taken. And so she longs for either softer hands or a metal box with padlocks in which to hide and be safe. She senses bravery is needed but sometimes just beating feels hard enough.

‘Here’ is where joy is found in blankets and books and silence and sleep. Unlike ‘there’ where I’m altogether and awesome, where people love me and adore me and I’m changing the world, ‘here’ is quiet and has no fame. Here is soft pyjamas and coffee in tall mugs and cuddles with my daughter that make no impact on the world. Or maybe all the impact I’d ever want. The dog is curled in the arc of my legs as I read Irish words of love and pain on real pages that smell like wisdom and hope.

Over there where I’m perfect and beautiful and sure and people know who I am feels exhausting. And yet so much of me seems to grasp for it, until I stop thinking and yearning for there and love the soft, warm, roundness of here with all its imperfections and anonymity. As I look here, instead of there, I finally realise this is all I have. I can move, for sure, but only once I allow here to be all I have in this moment.

Helen Cottee Coaching 2015-2020

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