Firmly Rooted

Sitting new and unread at home is a little book of quotes from Winston Churchill (!). This morning, I flicked through and came across this:

“We cannot undo the past, but we are bound to pass it in review in order to draw from it such lessons as may be applicable to the future” Winston Churchill, 1936.

So, I got to thinking about what I bring from my past that’s useful or interesting or applicable to the future…

My upbringing was not what most would consider ‘normal’. Growing up in a commune in remote south east Scotland in the hazy hippy 70s was NOT all sweetness and light, but I’ve always known that it was interesting in its difference, and that I had experiences and opportunities that were unusual… and I quite liked that.  So what? I’m choosing to mention it here because until I trained in coaching I hadn’t really acknowledged that this different and unusual childhood experience is in fact integral to the bedrock of values that inform my work.

Photo: Keith Clarke

At its best, the therapeutic community – called Lothlorien, named after Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’: the woods of Lothlorien being a place of healing where time stood still – was a place of sanctuary and growth. Founded by my parents and a small group of friends and family in 1974, they recognised the importance for themselves and others (not just those considered mentally ill) of making space and taking time to step out of the rat race, to objectively consider one’s position and choices in life going forward.

As a child there, I grew up in an ethos of sharing and generosity and a way of life that recognised space and time as healers and enablers.

I can’t undo the past, good or bad, but there are aspects of this slightly cooky upbringing in Lothlorien that are firmly rooted in me and that I’m happy to apply to the future.

More information: In 1989 the running of Lothlorien as a therapeutic community was handed over to the Rokpa Trust, and they continue to do amazing work.