For all that we might berate the ways in which our lives are susceptible, nay wide open to corruptive influences, we should also notice and admire the benefits of that wide openness for it teaches us. Everything teaches us, both the perceived good and the perceived bad if we acknowledge that nothing is as it seems viewed from our own limitations of fear. Yes, there is ‘bad’ out there but there is far more good. This visibility also allows us to see further, look deeper and accept our small place in a very big world. We might be tempted to hide from being so seen and I am not saying this is wrong, not at all if it is mindfully considered, but if it comes from a place of fear, we are forgetting to love, to love the way our young are finding their stumbling way along paths we have never walked, at least not as young innovators. We might remember that we were just that once, recalling the tuts and the warnings of our own elders and so-called betters whilst dancing off into what, hippiehood? reckless decisions? risk taking? And more, and more.
This day at midday on Radio Four, You and Yours, my son Ruari is being interviewed. From oil broker to One year No Beer entrepreneur, founding a business to encourage and support anyone wanting to cut down or quit alcohol, risking everything, he and his wife are finally finding recognition and I am so very proud of their passion and their determination. It has been a rocky road, and still is, the one they have chosen. Losing the income they enjoyed, moving home more than once, building on through Covid when the consumption of alcohol elevated considerably according to stats, when nobody wanted to think beyond just coping with the restrictions, the fears, the tension, they persisted, changed shape, adapted, kept going. I have followed every step and I feel nothing but admiration. To stand for something you really believe in and then to walk away from comfort and predictability in order to lead from the front takes a great deal of courage and then to keep walking out front as followers fall away presents a test many would fail. This isn’t working. Where is everyone? But they didn’t give up. They kept walking and now their followers number thousands and worldwide. Wild tundra is being tamed, not from the desire to control, to develop for personal gain but from a passion for people, a belief in the individual’s ability to rise from circumstances as a powerful game changer.
I wax lyrical on this in order to show the good side of wide openness. Without social media, without vulnerability, this entrepreneur would have struggled to gain such recognition. In my days of no television, bad radio reception, no Facebook, instagram and other animals, how could it rise in the way it has? It would have taken decades had it been limited to the paths well travelled. Yes there is risk out there as I know all too well, but without risk and the opportunities that come with it, it is impossible to discover the extent to which we can adapt whilst still moving forward. Fear is a killer as we know. Instead of retreating behind our protective walls, saying nonsense things like “It was better in our day,’ we might take a moment to seek the good in this generational change. And, when we do this seeking thingy we will amaze ourselves. I write a list at times when I am confounded and afraid of wide openness and as I note a negative, I consider the positive aspect of that perceived negative. It laughs me because one comes almost immediately. I decide I have a choice about how I see what I see. It takes brainwork, yes. It can feel almost impossible at times but I am determined to employ my innate intelligence, to thwack the sleepy dwarf into a tall and wide open woman, to stretch those mental limbs, to flex, to look around at the very big world, one I am more than happy to be a tiny part of.
Good or bad? Retreat or walk forward in vulnerability? Learn or refuse to listen? The choice is yours.