John Lennon

The lost weekend

It didn’t quite go to plan

Have you ever really looked forward to something and it didn’t work out? You know, a weekend away with a loved one? A concert? A special party? Heaven forbid, a wedding or some once in a lifetime moment? Richard Bandler (one of the founders of NLP) once said ‘Disappointment requires adequate planning’ and he wasn’t wrong. For over a year I’ve been looking forward to this weekend only for it to be completely scuppered by something that hardly ever happens to me. I got ill. Exactly what it is too gruesome to commit to print, suffice to say it wasn’t something I wanted to pass onto anyone else. The result was that I haven’t left the house for two days and slept substantially more than I have done in a long time. As I write this now I have weak legs, but can feel the strength returning.

It didn’t quite go to plan in the past either

Not achieving goals is something I’ve grown used to as I get older. The plans I’ve had to do things with different partners over the years; or the goals I’ve achieved with different partners. A thought began with one person and achieved with another is something you learn to deal with, and honestly, sometimes it’s better with that person than when you envisioned it. The exceptions remain. The places you can’t imagine going anywhere except with the person who made the place as special as the place you went. I digress. This is about disappointment, not satisfaction. Or rather it is about coping with disappointment; picking yourself up, reflecting on what couldn’t be changed; not being held back by the loss of a moment and wondering how you can make something even better.

The plan

My weekend was set in stone 13 months ago when my martial arts teacher, Richard Bustillo, agreed to come back to the UK to doa tour and a weekend seminar at, my friend, Tony Pillage’s academy. We’ve been doing this for a few years now and last year Tony took full responsibility. This year it was shared by a group of us with Richard doing a seminar in Tunbridge Wells, my school in Kettering and then Great Yarmouth before finishing up in Coventry. I had a lovely lunch with Richard, Tony and his lovely wife Sarah and left them on Thursday in full anticipation of a return on Saturday. The hotel had been booked, the meal had been arranged, the seminar planned. What could go wrong? Nothing, other than minor irritations, for 22 years. I suppose by the law of averages something had to. I picked this bug up from where I know not, only that the consequences have been savage. I’m not a person who gets ill. I have on average a cold a year and that’s my lot. The last time I was ill like this was, coincidentally, 22 years ago and I recovered much more quickly then that I have now. This neither enlightens nor entertains you. You come to these pieces with the question, how does this help me?

Sliding Doors

It is this. Grab the moment dear reader. Grab it with both hands and don’t let it go. You never know when fate, illness or consequence will take it from you. Did John Lennon consider the consequence of an autograph to Mark Chapman? Have you ever ignored the disquiet of a lover or partner and then wondered why one day you found yourself alone? How about the seconds that pass from decision to action? Those ‘Sliding Door’ moments. Life changes in seconds and yet drags for hours. It all depends on your perspective, circumstance and emotional state. it is a terrible cliche that too often we appreciate only what we had when it is gone. Even writing that I can remember those moments of loss and this weekend was one for me. I’ve often been asked how I can learn from a teacher who lives 6000 miles away. The answer is that I’ve always made the most of the time he is here. The long drives we have in the car, the meals together, the time on the mats, the moments between techniques when I get to ask my questions. It’s the quality of time, combined with trips to the US of course and the practice I put in at home, so today I feel cheated. Of that time, of the knowledge I have missed out on and of the experience of being with someone who is better than me. It’s the way I’ve learned for 25 years and it’s the way I intend to continue learning. Perhaps this is the lesson that i take from all of this. How quickly it can all come to an end and how much I owe myself to continue my quest for knowledge and experience.

Knowing why

There is an exercise you can do where you list your positive and negative values. My top three positive values are health, love and knowledge; perhaps this is why I have a sense of loss. None of these have been met these past two days and it is up to me to continue the quest. May yours be equally fruitful.