Category Archives: Vanessa Anderson

Work

I have often read of inspiration as a nagging persistent presence lingering, even haunting, scarcely contained below consciousness. Able to pause and hold its breath yet equally inclined to rupture the conscious bubble containing it, spilling out in messy, colourful, incoherent and often insomnia-induced fragments of data. Knowledge that fades as the morning sun renders our dreamlike state inappropriate and we are left with scraps, like torn out images from a magazine, plucked, stuck and shut away, memories to unpack another day.

Every now and then, a word, a remnant of inspiration, refuses to be plucked, stuck and shut away. It signs its mark across every surface, inside every thought and demands attention. Recently I have been plagued by the word WORK. Not the cost of living, metered monetary worth that consents our way of life – work, but the soul inspiring, light and life giving work that serves our true purpose. Make no mistake it is there, in everything we do, and maybe it is just me that is waking to its presence, but just maybe the reason it has been persistently knocking on my door is because I needed to voice it, put it down in writing and share it – because maybe it’s a message that is not meant to be hoarded but one to be celebrated.
IMG_2720Don’t get me wrong, I love my work – the one that pays the bills, admittedly it is not my childhood dream of painstakingly sending brushstrokes across a dusty strata to reveal fragments of bone, artefact, remnant of the past, unravelling history one layer at a time. The irony of that dream does not escape me within this story, because this word – WORK – has made it clear that in reality we are all archaeologists excavating our own true purpose, so while I may not be living my dream, my work does allow me plenty of opportunities to excavate my purpose.

​I used to think that products of industry, the something we have to show at the end of the day are the things by which we measure a good days work, but as I am learning (or is it unlearning and revealing?) it is in fact the work we do on ourselves, for our best purpose – that is THE most important, if not only work that is worth doing. And slowly that word – WORK – has been morphed (because words are magic, that’s why it’s called spelling) into magic – because that is what it is.

Our most important work should be weaving threads of inherent knowledge, recognising, acknowledging, embracing, letting go, rethreading and rebuilding. It is the stretching of our self-perception beyond obstructions of fear to finding the truth of who we are and what we are capable of so that we can reconnect. Perhaps it is because I have become aware of this within myself that I am finding it so apparent everywhere else and why I am compelled to remind whoever will hear it to become aware of it within you.

We live in a season of hurried existence, stumbling over each other. We seem to have forgotten a great many things, not the least of which is our human experience. In a world that thrives on deadlines, profits, balances and checks, the most important check-in we need is with ourselves – in our energy, our breath and the realities we create for ourselves and those closest to us with our words and actions. This is where the work becomes magic, because we have the power to react differently, to be more mindful of the realities we create, to know that this is the work we should be focussing our energies on, because in doing so we naturally remind ourselves of the world we want to live in.

If it resonates with you – it is time to stop judging your worth by the results of your industry. Recognise that the real produce of your work is the light you brought to someone else when you offered a smile. It is the connection you felt when you freed yourself from a recurring negative pattern. It is the inner work we do, in the quiet between moments where definitive results resonate loudest.

Vanessa Anderson

Connection Lost … Reboot by Vanessa Anderson

Time, the one thing we surely did not need to stockpile, yet unlike the dwindling ingredients in my grocery cupboard rendering me dumbstruck come supper time, the minutes, hours and days are abundant. We are all starting to feel a little frazzled by the confines of our four walls and even our animals are starting to wonder just when they will be able to claim back the daylight hours of our home for themselves. The honeymoon phase of endlessly trailing us to the kitchen for titbits and sharing sunny slumber spots is wearing thin with the increase in tummy tickles and shrieking laughter from those youthful inmates trying to amuse themselves.

Vanessa IMG_20200402_140710_resized_20200403_064917769

As we enter the second week of lockdown I am sure that we are all suffering from some lack of connectivity, whether it is the faces of our friends and family, or our colleagues or even the teacher at our children’s school. Those encounters, once trivial in their frequency now a distant shimmering oasis in this desert of human connectivity we find ourselves wandering in.

The very thing that shall save us, being the one thing we have evolved to depend on – being connected. I mused at the beginning of it all about how distance was the global savior of those who lost their lives to pandemics throughout history. Distance because exposure was limited by trade routes, and relatively easy to contain geographically.

The world we live in today is so very different, with its high speed internet access and satellite images that have made the world we live in that much smaller, that much more accessible. I am not going to knock the connectedness of our electronic age. It is the same creature that will help us to connect to our loved ones across continents and oceans during this time, help us to continue working so that we can ease the economic recession, help us share information and uplift others who are finding negativity in these dark spaces. It has a purpose and for that we should be grateful.

vanessa wifiNo, time was certainly not on my shopping list as I prepared for this lockdown, but you know what has crept onto it – data, connection to source. Those first few days spent anxiously watching the data donut dolefully drudge across my screen, then disappear as I lost connection. I needed to work you see, I needed to share information with people for work – it was important and I was letting the team down and the more anxious and angry I got the slower the donut drudged.

You see there is something you should know about me – I don’t get along well with electronics. I don’t wear a watch – they tend to lose time, or stop working altogether.  I can literally feel the IT technicians cringe when they have to hear me out as I describe some weird thing my computer just did. I have an auto electrician on speed dial because my car’s radio, battery, lights….the list goes on, tends to act up regularly. I try to stay away from electronics but I also have a job to do.

Vanessa Relax

So here’s what I have only just learnt.

When the connection was lost, I shut down the computer, switched off the wifi and went outside, I sat in the garden with my cats and talked to my children, I took out my paints and finished my artwork, I watered my seedlings. I acknowledged the connection with self, the connection with source and rewired.

It’s a funny thing, even though we have come so far, spread across continents, traversed oceans… evolved. There is one connection we have never lost, even though we lost sight of if, even if the donut was dwindling on its edge about to tip over, we never lost connection to source and time, even though it was not on my shopping list is the one thing I never want to be without again.

Remember

We have all watched those movies, you know the one where disaster strikes and the world as we know it changes overnight. We’ve watched in disbelief as people carry on their daily routine, catching the bus, eating the ice cream while behind them a wall of water is crashing into the city, wiping out buildings and sweeping cars aside like dust balls from beneath the sofa. We sat and silently wondered how they could not see that coming. But the truth of it is, we know what’s coming because the movie title gave it away.

The ShedAs I walk through the streets of town on my way back to the office after getting my morning coffee, it struck me, the irony of the scene playing in my head – I was the ‘seemingly’ nonchalant thespian staggering across this global stage we all are now reluctantly finding ourselves in.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a quiet that is unsettling, there is a stillness that does not compute on what should be a bustling cityscape. People are distancing themselves from work, from friends, from each other on the streets and ‘normal’ social behaviour is being reshaped, redefined. An invisible wall of water is closing in around us and we are all trying desperately not to let it envelop our psyche.

Here is the thing, and it’s a big one so hear me out.

The nature of the human experience in its essence is to put a face to an experience, a visual impact that drives home the message or the lesson to be learnt. Poverty has a face, HIV Aids, has a face, greed has a face, we are all familiar with what these things look like. The coronavirus, COVID-19 does not! Those that are being shown to people are all seemingly healthy looking individuals. Despite testing positive, they look just like you and me, like your neighbour, like your colleagues – and therein, I believe is the greatest danger of all.

I have started to see it creep across the face of the person standing next to me in the lift, or when the lovely lady who normally greets me at the bus station looked for another seat instead of sitting next to me. I sense that as many of you read this you may feel the same sense of foreboding that I did when this came to me. But here is the thing, and it is equally, if not greater than the last thing.

I am, you are, your neighbour is, and so is your colleague – the face of COVID-19. Not because we fear it, or have it or may have been exposed to it, but because the image that will drive home the greatest message, or lesson learnt during this, and I will use the term on everyone’s lips – unprecedented – time we find ourselves in should be one that reveals our truest capability as humanity. It is our ability to care about the well-being others. It is our ability to look past the possible, the probable and even the likely and still reach out to the next person, because when someone looks at me in fear, I don’t want to be their mirror.

Within these, the deepest depths of foreboding I am convinced that time has slowed down, not the proverbial tic-toking of the clock, but in the quietness within. It feels as if the earth has held its breath and we are all waiting to exhale. We are being gifted time, to reconnect to self and others and to remember. It is when we remember that we will recognise that the facelessness of this experience was not there to create fear, but was meant to reconnect us.

Vanessa Anderson