It’s been an intense few weeks.

I have been steadily working toward the self imposed deadline of submission of my manuscript.  Developing a severe nerve pain in my shoulders, and typing elbow and hand was unwelcome to say the least.  I allowed myself a wonderful break in the US, yet with little improvement symptom wise.  I had to press on.  I had the golden opportunity of two weeks with the house to myself before my children returned from their respective travels!

Within those two weeks of my return, the husband of my holiday host and friend was involved in a head on collision with a car that swerved across two lanes into his path.  It was remarkable that he survived though he has been afflicted with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Rather than physical injury, these deep mental wounds have suddenly disrupted his whole way of life.  What a very sobering thought it is, to have been part of this close family, travelling in that same vehicle two weeks ago and knowing that my friend’s outlook has changed forever!

At a recent women’s group, this was still on my mind when we were challenged to think about the nature of interruption in our lives.  At the one extreme there is the car crash such as I have already described.  At the other, I often find myself fielding my son’s incessant driving home of a point or a question until I am weary of explanation.

Interruptions are a nuisance.

Yet the challenge is to think of them as potentially positive.  They open us up to one another in ways we would never normally interact. They can completely alter the landscape of our lives when they bring new information, reconciliation or affirmation such as a job offer or an unexpected gift!  Even the interruptions that are inherently challenging alter us in remarkable and valuable ways if we will allow them.  I am thinking of a young wife and Mum whose husband nearly died in critical care seven years ago.  They are such a solid family now.

Last week I dropped everything to go on an exclusive leadership retreat. It had never been in my calendar but the offer arose and I was exposed to high calibre facilitation, reflection and soul food, exquisite cuisine and the finest views and open spaces, companionship with top UK leaders and all I had to do was trust that the moment was right. It was a necessary interruption.

Around the bonfire on the shores of Loch Ness on the last evening I found myself relating what had been affirmed to me.  We HAVE to know who we are. We simply must do this exploratory work on ourselves whoever and wherever we are. I had recognised that despite lots of reasons why I might not have been able to hold my own in such company, I was as focussed as any of the group.  As Brene Brown has said, “I am enough…and I’m curious to see how good I can get” (Interruptions permitting)!

I was shocked yesterday to hear that another major UK retailer is going under. I had just spent four days with one of their own leaders at the retreat we had left on Friday.  How our worlds can be turned upside down in a moment!  Yet I know that something like this can be the interrupting catalyst for an amazing journey of self discovery of genius within.

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