When was the last time you asked yourself that question? Why am I here? Or the more usual variant or adjunct: what am I doing here? What's the point?

I'd guess it's probably not all that long ago. But when did you last give yourself time to listen to the answer? We need to give ourselves time - to hear whatever it is we want us to know.

Some seven frantic months after a bereavement and the leaving of full-time employment (completely unrelated life-changing events) and a few weeks after a further emotional sideswipe, I finally took the time not only to ask the question, but to listen to the answer. This is what I discovered, when I managed to be quiet enough to listen.

You are here because…

…this is where you need to be; you avoided the pain of losing a soul mate, you had to lose someone else in order to see that you cannot avoid this; your pain had to be compounded to force you to really feel it;

…you avoided the fear of being alone by allowing yourself to believe someone else's fantasy that meant that you wouldn't be…but you need to be; for now.

You won't be alone forever. You are too precious and too much loved and too warm and giving to be abandoned to loneliness. You are here now so that you can learn that aloneness is necessary and not fatal and you will not only survive it, but thrive because of it.

You are here because you lost your way when your soul-mate left you, you allowed yourself to be swept along by someone else, and it was joyful, and needed, but you did lose yourself in the process…you lost the you, that they loved. You are here so that you can acknowledge the need to find your own way home, so that you can build the home and the life that you want. You are here so that you can learn that there will be space within it for friends and lovers and friends and family and helpful strangers.

You are here to heal.

You resisted when you were told that you needed time and space. You are here because resistance is futile.

You are here, because this is your home, for a little while longer. It is filled with things useful and beautiful…and far from dismantling the past life, you are on a salvage mission through the wreckage, capturing fragments. The clock ticks loudly, and is comforting in its presence. Its chimes are clear as crystal streams. It is a link to a shared past, but older than either linking into unknown history even as it tock-ticks its way steadfastly into an equally unknowable future. You are melding your home and his and leaving-creating space for whoever or whatever comes next.

You are here to learn to let go, which still you struggle with.

You are here to learn how to shine.

You are here because you are now fearless enough to try to simplify life.

You are here to preserve a friendship that may or may not be a stronger, deeper love. You are here to give yourself the opportunity of finding out.

You are here to plan the beginnings of an adventure.

You are here because people around you want you to be. You are not necessarily here to serve them. Your service lies in your spinning of words and words are free-birds, you are here to send them out into the world, but you cannot aim them, nor know where they will alight, nor whether they will help or hinder.

You are here to gather your strength. Even the heroes needed to rest now and then.

You are here because this is the life you have, and you know you WILL NOT waste it.

You are here because you are your father's daughter.

You are here because your departed soul mate wanted you to be free always, and strong, supported when necessary, but able, resilient, happy. In leaving you too soon, he gave you the gift of time for yourself and the resources to be able to use it well. His smile echoes in the clock chimes and his spirit watches over you. His spirit knows that when you weep for others, you weep also for him and for all your other losses…and it knows that sadness is not the same as pain.

You are here to learn. You are here to remember. To learn and/or remember that you are not hurt or damaged or angry…you are simply sad. And so you should be. For a time.

You are here to be held for a time – not swept away this time, just held. You are here to realise that it is for you to tell them HOW you need to be held. How else can they know what you need? You are here to learn how to ask for help.

You are here to learn patience. This is the work of a lifetime, not of a season.

You are here to feel the tick-tocking, tock-ticking, in all its warmth: a blanket of comfort in continuity.

You are here to accept the comforts that are offered, but only where they align with what you need – because you are also here to leave the river bank and dive bank into the flow of life with exuberance and confidence. No-one is ever ready for an adventure – but the fearless head out anyway – and often they do so in the company of strangers.

You are here to understand that you can only salvage so much and that the remainder of the wreck must eventually be left to settle into the sands and pass into time.

You are here to forgive.

You are here to be grateful.

You are here to begin.

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