A Lighthouse, a Warning, a Beacon

A Lighthouse, a Warning, a Beacon

My courageous life
has gone ahead
and is looking back, 
calling me on

– David Whyte

I am leaving Nelson.

This home I’ve made for the past five years has kept me safe. Too safe.

And I don’t want to be afraid of my own freedom.

I don’t have an easy explanation for what’s happening, only that I want to get to know the stranger in me again.

Who is she now, all these years on?

I’m prepared not to know. I see it as an invitation toward something larger.

Besides, like you, I know what I love, and I love this constant invitation for radical simplification.


“The need for change in the Ordinary World is announced by a dream, or a knock at the door,” writes Gregg Levoy in his marvellous book, Callings.

Mine arrived as the sound of crashing glass.

I was standing at my kitchen sink. Nothing unusual.

In fact, the day was quiet and rather melancholy, like so many were last Spring.

Then a thunk, and the awful sound of something shattering.

I tiptoe into my living room, scanning the space for clues, then finally notice the picture on the top shelf of my bookcase has gone, smashed on the hardwood floor.

The image of a Cornish lighthouse, now a jigsaw of glass shards, the black frame cracked open. Splinters of glass flung across the room.

I almost forgot how fragile life can be.

Only minutes earlier I’d flipped through, The Suitcase and the Jar, seeking out the exact wording of a memory. Odd; I rarely pick up my book these days.

Slowly, I pick up the sharp edges with a kind of reverence, something once whole, now broken.

Yes, I took it as a sign.


“Nothing,” writes Sam Keen, “shapes our lives so much as the questions we ask.”

I know questions are a prerequisite to change, and without them there is no discovery. Still, the questions…the questions!  

Who do I want to ‘be’ in this next chapter of my life? What’s my intention?

Can I stay open to everything, and to everyone I meet?

How will I finance my time away?

Can I keep my expectations (reasonably) low?

How will the change in proximity impact my relationships: to my daughter, my grandchildren, local friends, coaching clients?

Can I take Rumi’s advice to ‘live the questions.’? (So often I prefer answers over questions.)

The shattered picture felt like a challenge, spurring me into action.

A lighthouse – a warning – a beacon. A magnet for my attention.

Painting of lighthouse in Cornwall

Can I rediscover that same vitality I experienced 10 years ago, when I’d gone traveling with Rachel’s ashes?

Why did I not see what was right in front of me?

That aliveness can be mine again if I want it.

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