No longer craving the familiar?


I have been touring Sri Lanka with my son, rediscovering this Island through his eyes. Much has become familiar to me in the space of a year. He reminds me of what is different about this world, while highlighting for me how human behaviour remains the same in so many ways.

Adrien’s senses have been bombarded by new smells, sights, sounds during these last few weeks. Upon returning from an exciting Elephant Safari in Udawalewe National Park yesterday, he just wanted to spend the day curled up in front of the TV set (he says the quality of the English programming is better than what can be found on our North American commercial-ridden channels)to stop the experience and reconnect with what is familiar. He was craving familiar foods and contact with his Canadian friends on Facebook. I completely understand.

What I notice now is that my life on this island has become almost more familiar to me than the life I will be reentering when I fly back to Canada next month. I feel some trepidation about stepping into conversations with colleagues or entering rooms full of people who know more about life in Canada than I do. I have no idea what is playing on the radio, who is the new celebrity, what is giving rise to citizen outrage, what are the latest rumours in the federal public service. The word I want to use is disconnected. Staying with this feeling, I hope to bring some new insights to what I do for a living, i.e. helping people with change and transformation.

I expressed to a dear friend in an e-mail earlier that even though I have used the expression before, I really had no idea what it meant to hang in mid-air, having let go of a trapeze without having yet caught the next one. This new reality of mine is unfamiliar for sure, but not as dramatic as I envisaged when I was on solid ground, paralyzed with the fear of letting go. In the past, every time I let go, I went right back to the familiar. This time, the ground has disappeared under my feet. It just means I will have to grow wings, n’est-ce pas?