The Flow of Fruition Story

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By GILL BENTHAM

13.03.2020

I’m thinking of developing some fiction! As a creative writing challenge that has you suggest a possible ending. And open to suggestions of a plot, characterisation and ending.

I stalled last week when I came to share this snippet of an old manuscript. Now I feel a bit braver, how about I give you a taster and ask for some feedback. Why not?

Maybe we could try some co-creation in the direction you see this extract taking?

It could be a kind of casual writing MOOC. (That’s Massive Open Online Learning Course for those in digital learning).

Or rather a Modest Open Online Creation in our case.

Let’s write. Here goes. Who knows where?

The Platform

I returned to the spot where I had absent-mindedly rested my baggage. Everything seemed different from a few moments before. Strategically dotted rather than scattered over the platform were numerous cases, holdalls and tote bags. Each was of shiny, new brown leather, stiff and creaseless, pungent with newness and of luxurious quality. Zips and mouths of the bags gaped open. Every one of them was begging to be used and filled and carried away.

I found myself kneeling beside the first, plunging elbow deep into a neat pile of soft jerseys, stacked multi-coloured knits and fleeces. There was everything and more than one could ever desire for a special trip or holiday. The best of one’s wardrobe, the most carefully considered co-ordinates and combinations of complementary jewellery. Each of the bags now bulged with indulgent attire, detailed purses and elegant boots. There was a rainbow array of cosmetics, an exquisite long coat and delicious treats, volumes of fascinating stories, pictures to hang and canvasses to paint.

Whose were they?

Everything was excellent, waiting for the occasion or specific person they had been placed there for.

A stooping character with a doubled back in an awkwardly hung fluorescent tabard vigorously and clumsily swept the platform where it sloped down to the oil-soaked rubble of the track bed. I sped up, curious to see what he was removing.

A sense of incompleteness nagged me. I sensed that I had mislaid or overlooked something. Something inexplicable had happened while I wasn’t attending to my baggage. He must have something to do with it. He might know something to help explain away my confusion.

Squeezing around increasingly dense groups of waiting passengers, I emerged opposite the lost property room, only to find him gone. Peering over the freshly painted white line of the platform edge I saw evidence of his morning’s activities. A pile of glass shards, rags and dust; crumpled, sodden cardboard, bags the articles themselves had been gathered into, split and torn; shreds shifting in the turbulence of a passing train.

Urgently brushed out of sight in the hurry to beat the spilling city crowds, they would be conveniently forgotten about even though it had been merely a temporary solution to deposit them here. A shrivelled brown tampon lay discarded on the greasy sleepers. The scene was distasteful and yet poignant. These remnants of somebody’s ordinary life and habits, used and worthless, were fit only for the underbelly of a monstrous locomotive.

Spinning around, upon a sensible instinct to retrieve the curious set of luxury luggage, I discovered every single bag had been left exactly where it was. This was strange in a contemporary industrial, provincial town with its fair share of opportunists.

In the commuters’ crush for the stairs, not even a handle was displaced or piece askew. I chastised myself in the light of my thoughtlessness and inattention. Relieved, I approached the booty and drew it together under the overhead canopy and out of the softly falling rain.Gingerly seating my weight upon the largest reinforced trunk, I considered my next actions as I surveyed the various shapes and lines of the cases and straps at my feet.

As one would be amenable to suggestion in a dream

I was persuaded to accept an as yet incomprehensible plot of discontinuous, interweaving and unrelated narrative threads. These bags seemed to belong to me – though I wasn’t sure I could remember how I had acquired them. Having acknowledged my ownership, now I had to secure and transport them whilst discovering and enjoying their promising contents.

The hobbling little man passed the awkward scene and broke into my reverie to ask what I was waiting for.

‘Strange, impertinent man’ I thought.What’s so unusual about waiting on a platform?’

“Do you need any help with those?” he asked.

Somewhat taken aback at the ridiculous notion of his deformed frame physically assisting with more than one small item at a time, I brushed him off with “I haven’t found out when my next train will be.”

I tripped up over his next question “Where are you travelling to?”

“Er, I think ….I’m going to….well, it depends….” I trailed off

“You better sit tight until you decide then, but I should get yoursen’ into that warm waiting room, I can find you a trolley for most of that”.

With this he disappeared, then reappeared with mysterious efficiency, steering a bulky steel trolley more suited for freight than personal bags.

“You’re going to need to use this right down the line or something will go astray”. He predicted with inevitability, as one whose gnarled hands over the years had retrieved a parade of parcels and bags mistakenly abandoned before they had reached their intended destination. With remarkable agility, yet sharply pained at the twisting of his deformed spine as he shouldered each piece, the bags were slid into place and piled higher and higher with my own limited assistance.

I held the double doors of the waiting room for the clumsy vehicle. We hit an inviting wall of warm air. Tungsten-lit in the dim morning light, slightly gassy and stuffy, it was largely empty of travellers. I settled some of the smaller bags on a cracked orange vinyl seat and turned to thank him. Already at the door, he leaned on the door jamb to say. “You’ve got more than enough there for where you’re going” Then, squinting somewhat distractedly as he listened intently to his earpiece, added “the gaffer says you can only take one today…… new regulations!”

He spun around and the door shut on him definitively.

He was gone. Even as I cried “Wait!”

Less than half an hour ago I had no knowledge of this cache. Why now, was I so attached to the assortment?

I must now investigate the contents as I had no pressing itinerary to respect.

Would you like to suggest the next passage?

I invite you to submit the next scene of our adventure to admin@gillbentham.com

 

29.02.2020

The happy pursuit of ‘accidental’ discoveries

Last week I was driving from my work base by a slightly different detour. I didnt escape the tea-time traffic as I’d hoped but instead, found myself in a line of traffic cresting the railway bridge near Featherstone’s noble War Horse sculpture.

I don’t know about you but I just love it when things come together in a way you could never quite pull off intentionally.

My fascination with recording events and reflecting on their meaning probably, stems from a long heritage of faith in God, a good and powerful God quite capable of catching our attention if we are attuned to Him and wanting to give it. I love a good story and consider Him to be the ultimate creator of plot, intrigue, suspense and wonder.

Featherstone's majestic war horse sculpture. Picture by James Hardisty.

(Picture by James Hardisty)

I noticed a stencilled painted code on the bricks of the railway bridge pillar ‘WAG1/20’. Investigating the meaning of this railway code I learned it stood for Wakefield-Goole (Wakefield to Engine Shed Junction).

It immediately meant something else for me.

To me it abbreviated something very personal and specific in line with a particular project I am working on this year, stirring a private smile within my heart and upon my face. It was one of those God-nudges, or apparently serendipitous happy accidents first described by the author Hugh Walpole in 1754 when he referred to a “silly fairy tale, ‘The Three Princes of Serendip'”. The characters of this Arabian tale were always stumbling upon apparently accidental but fortunate discoveries of things they were not seeking. From it we get our word ‘serendipity’, after the old Persian nameplace Serendip or Ceylon, now known as Sri-Lanka. Fascinatingly, Wikipedia tells us Voltaire used the Venetian translation of this tale and from it developed the genre of detective fiction and the scientific method with it’s central idea of accidental discovery. 

The happy accident I was not looking for

Back to the idea that my encounter with the railway bridge last Tuesday was a happy accident I was not looking for. In may ways this is true, I did not expect or work energetically to find this assuring sign of confidence. However, when we travel with an open heart of curiosity and availability to circumstance, fact and impression this can become the norm. Especially when closely preoccupied with a problem or concern.

Neurologists call this our Reticular Activation System being wide open to associated cues.

Or should I say clues? Let’s be curious and investigative about the meaning of our days. We will experience life as an intercation and unfolding plot in which we are the key player!

I would love to know your experiences of Serendipity!

2019

Fight, Flight  (or Learn)

The natural response, to fight or flight in a threatening situation is well documented! Having learned to compose myself in situations that demand a more measured approach, as a nurse under pressure or as a leader with a consciousness of my influence and impact upon others, I also recognise that there is a third way. That is to freeze.

In a baby or small mammal alarmed by a sudden noise, we see this shock or freeze reaction just before the flight or fight (a bawl as in the case of a baby). This can give a momentary state of high acuity to danger and strategy, at least give an idea to the threatened subject of whether to fight or take flight.

I believe there is a boundary between these states which if we understand and use to our benefit can save us from the wrong and potentially catastrophic decision. If we fearfully flee, we risk the loss of running from a major benefit we fail to perceive. Or if we fight, we may become harmed by a threat that we are not matched for.

What if instead we simply lean? We give both ourselves and the supposed aggressor, the benefit of the doubt?

I experienced a powerful example of this principle years ago as a staff nurse on a cardiac medical ward. One elderly man had become disorientated and frightened and failed to understand that the little plastic box looped around his neck with a soft piece of bandage was actually a temporary pacemaker. He fought with me in the corridor of the ward. His frustration was targeted at the piece of hardware hanging around his neck. It was connected to a subcutaneous wire that directly entered and stimulated the wall of his heart muscle! (Things have progressed since the late 1980’s!). This was usual practice before a permanent pacemaker was fitted so that the consultant cardiologist could prescribe the correct frequency and amplitude of the electrical stimulation through the external controls until a suitable regime was decided upon for the eventual settings of the implanted pacemaker.

The poor man was mistaking his “necklace” as a foreign body and he found my approach threatening. I had to shadow him because he had removed the bandage from his neck and all that stood between him and a potentially fatal arrhythmia was my attempt to keep the slack on his vulnerable pacemaker wire!!

My leaning (or learning) services can be found as The Flow of fruition online modules – a virtual school by the same name of this blog. Link here to my school

I see my service as an attempt to walk closely on behalf of those who may not fully grasp both the potential and vulnerability they carry. In seeking to undo knots iand release genius, or a flow of fruition, it is always better to work into rather than pull away from the tangle, relieving the tension of frustration and liberating fruitfulness.

My patient all those years ago did not understand that by my holding him and the pacemaker box firmly without tension, I was able to prevent a medical emergency. I suggest that to lean into your situation which may seem threatening and inexplicable to you can be equally valuable It may give you the clues you need to befriend the situation or walk away from it without harm, gain new wisdom and even a good friend.

 

The Flow of Fruition Story

 

The secret of the Flow of Fruition is to expect the right fruit at the right stage of life     

 
 

I have always had a passion for helping people, learning and being able to help others do the same. Being a person that continues to grow and develop in wisdom and understanding drove me. So much so, that now I often receive comments such as ‘Thank you for your wisdom’, or ‘How did you know that?’

It’s simple really. As a lifelong journaller I’ve done some of the hard work of thinking things through and then working through those same thorny issues of life.

There are questions we sometimes fail to ask, let alone answer. How do you think I got this stuff? It was through life lessons – some of them rather unwelcome. I am determined they will not be wasted.

I applied myself to come out refined – with pearls of wisdom rather than a bitter heart. I developed a framework – a pattern and a rhythm of life I recognise, behind so much of our experience, proven over and over again. For better or for worse, I see this working out in lives, communities and businesses. It explains success and it explains failure.

So instead of talking about success (its definition is SO variable) or failure (some deny it, some learn from it and others are finished by it), I want to  work with people like you who are tired of the schemes and the promises yet still hope for more. Some of my ideas are finished and published and others are abundant, yet raw and unfinished. I have so much left to do and say and I am excited to share this journey and reflective investigation of the Flow of Fruition. It will be the basis of my future efforts as a writer. It is a shared learning experience and a trip toward deep fulfilment and fruit in keeping with the desires of your heart.

Let’s explore some wisdom for life.

Below is an animation of the cycle of the Flow of Fruition through its five elements. I work with my clients through each of these in sequence.

Understood and applied in sequence, they enable the healthy sap of fruition to flow up and out into every aspect of your life…..

  • Pinpoint ORIGINal vision
  • Articulate POSITION
  • Maximise FUNCTION
  • Attain to great STATURE
  • Experience the law of ATTRACTION
  • Release the Flow of fruition

My inspiration is the Giant Sequioa. It is the largest living organism in the whole earth.

There is no limit to what you can achieve as an individual, in community and with those like-minded.

Are you are keen (or desperate) to re-frame your thinking and therefore refresh your energy ?

For –

  • deep and satisfying relationships
  • a belief system to strengthen and uphold rather than falling apart under stress
  • ability to aim again courageously toward longed for outcomes in life
  • ability to dive into a meaningful second half of life
  • ability to do what you love and love what you do so much so that you can’t tell where work stops and play begins?

The let your Flow of Fruition begin to rise!