This phrase came to me last night when I was meditating at the end of men’s group. Undoubtedly its appearance in my consciousness was influenced by our conversation. Now, I can’t tell you what that was – what happens in men’s group, stays in men’s group! – but I thought I would reflect a little on this two line thought.
In the last five months I have been writing blog posts that explore a little of my experience of living through a health crisis. I took the decision to write honestly and share personal photos, partly because it just felt the right thing to do and partly because I had to change something. I’m not sure I knew that then, or even that I know it now, but it feels like it might be a truth
And that’s the thing. When you start being more honest with yourself and sharing, it changes the world around you, which then changes you. Once the door is open, and you’ve taken a step outside, there is no closing it.
The most interesting thing that has changed are my relationships and friendships with men in my life. Not only has a men’s group started in this period, but my friendships with men have changed. Once I started talking about how I felt and sharing some of my vulnerability it gave my friends permission to do the same. Then once they were through the door and in the same space as me our relationship started to change.
I am not sure I want to completely understand what and why it has happened. It is enough to know that it has happened. The benefit is shared. And that benefit is a snowball rolling downhill.
This week I have spent three days on my own, with the occasional company of men. I have been writing and editing content for The Mindful Photographer – hopefully ready for a January re-launch. I have also been filming short videos as part of the courses’ content. This is an unexpected benefit of my recent minor operations on my throat: my voice is reasonably strong and breathing stable.
I am aware that I am doing this, not just because I can, but also because I may not be able to in the future. The proposed future major operation to open my trachea further will improve my breathing and therefore reduce risk. However, it will lead to reduction in vocal capacity. Filming videos now captures a version of me that may not exist in the future.
Then any video or photograph we create does that. Each moment exists but fleetingly. We rarely reflect upon that truth. It’s a little scary, a reminder of our mortality. Perhaps that’s why I am exploring my experiences openly and honestly. I am more connected to my mortality. More aware that the game has changed. As Carl Jung said, “We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning”. Recognising that and making changes is the challenge and the opportunity.