“We must all become scientists of our own experience and, with tremendous curiosity, go out and conduct experiments” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
I am a forty-something year old professional woman working in the field of people and organisational development which has been my career for the past twenty years. I have a really good managerial job, a supportive and kind boss, a strong team, good terms and conditions in an organisation that cares about people and does good for the community. I have a nice terraced house near the sea, a happy marriage, and good health.
I have so much to be thankful for, and yet I feel a restlessness stirring, a sense of longing to take a divergent path and embark upon a new journey. It’s like something is emerging, but I don’t really know what it is yet, or where to start. I just feel that it is somehow deeply connected to an identity I have begun to inhabit, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter (yes, my dad was actually a proper lighthouse keeper when he was younger and, metaphorically speaking still is … but that’s another story) who wants to shine her light.
Intuition tells me that when the time comes I will need to be brave and to take a leap of faith but for now, like the Rumi quote, I must learn to “sit in my patience”. But, this is easier said than done!
At the end of October 2014, when I was most definitely NOT sitting in my patience, I decided that I ought to take action to start making things happen and told my boss that I intend to leave my current role within eighteen months. When he asked what I was planning to do next I said “I don’t know. All I can tell you is that it has something to do with creativity, coaching, writing, telling stories, women, vulnerability, speaking, and working with people to help them transform their lives”.
Initially, I felt brave. I felt bold. I felt in control.
But then the inner critic voice kicked in, and fears and doubts flooded in. I began to worry about leaving a good job (after all, good jobs around here are not easy to come by), to believe that I must be a fool for even thinking of leaving a great organisation, convincing myself that I wasn’t clever, competent, skilled, emotionally intelligent, entrepreneurial …………. x,y,z enough to move in a new direction. I began to feel stupid and regretful for having said anything at all. I kept thinking, How can I believe and trust this intuition?
On 23rd November 2015, whilst still in this state of mind, I went to London to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak as part of her Big Magic tour to promote her new book, which is subtitled Living Creatively Beyond Fear. During the questions-from-the-audience-session, a woman sitting near the front asked Liz for advice about how to develop a screen play she was struggling with. “Maybe …”Gilbert said “your idea doesn’t want to be a screen play? Maybe, it wants to be something else”. And with that seemingly innocuous reply I knew something had switched on inside me, like a great beam of light had swept across my mind and illuminated the seed of an idea.
You see, for thirteen years I have been trying (and failing) to write a book inspired by my dad’s life and it has always seemed to me that writing this book will somehow unlock something, as if it is a kind of golden compass that will lead me to the treasure of my very existence. The problem is that this book has become so all encompassing in my own mind, that it overwhelms me every time I begin, and the thought of how paltry the result may be at the end defeats my spirit. But in that moment, listening to Liz Gilbert, I made a decision…. I would create a blog as The Lighthouse Keepers Daughter as the starting point for my own experiment, in the hope that writing posts might somehow help me uncover my path.
My audacious ambition is that in the process I will discover a way to shine my light and, in doing so, may even help people like you to shine theirs too.
So I think of this space as my laboratory where I can conduct experiments and I very much hope you will put on your lab coat and join me!
Thank you for being here. Love, LHKD xxx