In 2007 I came across the most powerful lines I have ever read. They were from Oriah’s The Invitation. The good people at Mombasa Serena will tell you I have been known to check in - sleep, read, go to the spa, walk the length of the beach at 5:30am and again at 6pm – all alone. They probably don’t understand, but over time they’ve accepted it’s something I do and they not only let me be, but they ensure I’m well taken care of.
It was on one of those breaks that I read Oriah The Mountain Dreamer’s 'The Invitation'. So imagine my shock and surprise when I walked into the Alabastron Open Day in June 2011 and saw the opening lines from 'The Invitation' on the wall. It reads - “It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing”.
I went for the ALABASTRON open day skeptical. I don’t do anything the “crowd” does and I’m not good at being part of a movement or grouping. I’ve never been that sort of girl. I’ve never understood the purpose of sitting around and talking about things or issues without the need to make decisions or offer solutions and then finish the day off with empty phrases like “joy will come in the morning” or “it is well”. What utter rubbish!
I went into St Andrews that day with a clear mind. If this turns out to be “self-help” thingy with no purpose other than to get women to kid themselves that whatever issues, shortcomings, unmet dreams or goals they have can be blamed on someone or something else – I’m out the door. I was so skeptical that I sat at the back of the room ready to make a quick exit. I have no patience for nonsense no matter what package it comes in and more so when it comes to women.
Suffice it to say I stayed for the Open Day, I signed up and I went through the enter 12-week process. “A grueling-soul searching - aha inducing - damn I knew that -process” that left me feeling centred, validating what I always knew in the back of mind to be true and equipping me with some fabulous tools.I need to add that I also came to the Alabastron process very aware of myself and very in-tune with my spirituality. I wasn’t looking for a place where we could hide behind scripture and pretend our lives away.
I may live in a world where people harbour illusions (sometimes grand ones) about me, I have none about myself – it’s the reason I stay in short supply and rarely hang with the crowd. People who don’t know me have a hard time distinguishing between the job and me. I’ve always been clear about never buying into the hype about the image that comes with this job. Through the years of watching people and especially women in media lose themselves in the hype, the attention and the “fame” of the moment, I’ve learnt to take the head-phones off at 10am and get on with the rest of the day and my life. I know me and everything else is more or less irrelevant.
As such, I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum – I don’t waste my time worrying about what people are doing, or buying into or worse still, what they’re thinking. It’s a sure way to go nuts and waste a lot of time on rubbish. Alabastron gave my drum beat rhythm. By the time I was in week 7 of Alabastron I couldn’t find a reason to meet, or bother or argue with certain people. Not because I didn’t like them, but because I knew without a doubt it was pointless.
The last line of The Invitation by Oriah is where I find my soul humming to. “I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments”. Most women can’t. It’s why we have the pity parties, the bar, the chamas, the keshas and spend our most useful hours looking for anything that will tell us “it’s not you, it’s him, it’s them, it’s your boss, it’s that woman, it’s …it’s….. and at the end of it all you’re asked to plant a seed. Nktest.
So, if you signed up for Alabastron, take this journey aware that like me, when you hear the truth you will know it because you’ve always known, and in that moment you will be elated and at the same time scared. As The Invitation says – “do you dare to meet your heart’s longing”?
Take this journey because you are afraid of what you will unleash of yourself, but aware that what you are now is not the best you can be. Take this journey aware that at some point you’ll want to quit because it makes no sense to do the time and not change how you’re living your life – that is the really scary part. But I say, feel the fear and do it anyway.
There are pivotal moments in my life when I’ve made a decision that no-one understood, but in the moment when I stood still and took the step, it reverberated through my body. There’s a calm and stillness that comes with doing what your heart desires. Your soul, your heart, your gut knows when it knows. What worries me on the odd day, is what if I had not gone to the Open Day in June and what if I had never taken this journey. Thank God, I did.