What Matters Most?

This is not a newsletter update that I ever imagined that I would write

Dear Curious Friend,

This is not a newsletter update that I ever imagined that I would write, nor is it the usual emoji-laden collection of intriguing links.

There are events in life which nothing can adequately prepare us for. Whilst most of our fears and worries never come to pass, it's the unexpected blows that have the capacity to obliterate us. 

I received one such blow on a late October morning, when I heard the news that Sophie, my beloved partner and fiancé had taken her own life. The ensuing weeks felt like treading water amidst a Great Storm; waves striking with an increasingly devastating ferocity. 

I've noticed how my mind, and perhaps our culture more generally has the tendency to turn away from, numb or fight emotional pain. As these waves cast their blows, it has been a constant process of learning not how to 'stay strong' but rather how to surrender to them, and sink into previously unimaginable depths. This has required a vast reservoir of courage, at times more than I've felt a capacity for. 

I'm aware that in many ways, this journey through the inner landscape of grief has barely begun, yet already there is a sense of surrendering an old identity, like a protective armour being stripped way, which has left me feeling exposed to the world.

I've been learning how to let others in rather than feel compelled to face everything alone, which for better or worse tends to be my default setting and cannot overstate how immensely grateful I feel to the friends and extended family who have loved and supported me every step of the way. I've gained a sense for what the late luminary Leonard Cohen meant when he wrote: "There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

I wanted to share one final kernel of a thought that I keep returning to: the fact that our time on this earth and with those whom we love is limited. None of us truly know how many days we have left. Understanding this not just intellectually, but really feeling it deep in the fibre of our being, I believe lends clarity to what really matters. It seems obvious, yet we seem somehow predisposed to lose sight of this insight amidst the day-to-day necessities of existing getting caught up in the games and roles we play.

So as this tumultuous year comes to a close, my invitation to you is this: try zooming the lens out a little and get curious about what really matters most to you. For me, I think this will involve not setting any specific resolutions but finding ways of getting out of my own head, paying more attention to my senses – keeping Sophie's adventurous and brave spirit alive and learning how to fall in love with the world anew.

Sending love, love love.

J.