I heard some very sad news this week. Tim Kitchin, a friend and colleague is no longer with us. I first met Tim back in 2008 when I still inhabited corporate life, and we both had strong interests in sustainability from a business perspective. We stayed in touch and I was the beneficiary of his smart, critical thinking, and his humour, on many occasions. I was very excited when he joined the Ethos partnership of which I too am a part, back in March 2016. This gave us the opportunity to work closer together. That’s over now, and I miss him.

This week’s free art drop is a work made to acknowledge how I am currently feeling about this loss. A couple of people who know Tim and who have also seen the art, say the colours remind them of his warmth. That works for me.

Part of my purpose in the free art project has always been about learning to let go. This particular art drop will be the hardest one I’ve had to let go of so far.



Don’t Get Over It – Grow From It

I don’t think we are meant to get over loss, I think we are meant to grow from it.

Mother’s Day is coming this weekend, at least it is in the USA. Heather Bussing marked it by posting this on Facebook:

For all of you whose mothers died, or who are estranged for really good reasons, or who don’t know your mother because of adoption, or who just have mixed feelings about someone who has both helped you and wounded you, I am sending you love. You are not alone.

What a lovely note, thanks Heather. The note took my mind straight to this blog post about Mum. Heather read the post then dropped me a message within which was written:

I don’t think you ever get over it. I don’t think you should.

I agree.

I lost my keys last week which were on a lovely key ring Keira made for me. I’m disappointed and I’ll get over it. The death of a loved one shifts us harshly into a different place in life. A place from which I know we can continue to grow from. I don’t want to get over that, I choose to celebrate it.

Happy Anniversary

Maybe it’s just me but I think I’m seeing more than the usual share of Happy ‘Work’ Anniversary messages on LinkedIn this month. Doubtless some of my recruitment friends will either endorse or disprove the theory that more people get new jobs in January than any other month of the year.

I also read a loving, uplifting tribute to a father by Neil Morrison this week. His Dad has turned 70, and Neil’s ‘Lessons in Life’ is a great piece about dignity, trust, wine corks and more. Real birthdays beat work birthdays hands down.

Neil’s post put me in mind of my Dad, and then it hit me that he died two years ago today. In the immediate aftermath I wrote about aspects of loss several times, and then disappeared down a rabbit hole of paperwork and grief. That stuff got done, like stuff does, and I wrote about a sense of emergence for Alison in her December 2013 advent blog series.

The emergence continues at pace. In business terms, 2014 has started how I always wanted a year to start, productively and enjoyably. I am crafting a space where I help people collaborate more effectively, help them explore better ways of working, and get comfortable with creativity and experimentation. More and more people are asking for that help and I’m thankful and excited. I love my work – it often brings me to huge laughs and tears, and much more besides. I’m thankful. Did I already say that? Who cares – I am thankful.

I choose to believe that where I am right now is a complete product of where I’ve been before, and in making that choice, I am able to see the death of my father as one of those pivotal moments that lends huge support to the foundation of my life. Taking strength from loss is one of the hardest things I do, and one of the most humbling and fulfilling things too.

As my good friend Heather put it:

There is so much out there about how to succeed, but so little about how to make it through a hard time. Learning how to rest, grieve, change, and get through difficulties are the essential ingredients of any success. Thank you for this!

Thank you Dad, and happy anniversary.

In a lovely coincidence – I have today received a note from the Friends of LittleHeath Woods (FoLW), a place we played as kids, and an organisation Dad supported staunchly. We made a donation to the woods after Dad died, and the FoLW has decided to reintroduce English Elms back into the woods in Dad’s memory. A regeneration project in Paul Shaw’s name – what a lovely thoughtful thing to propose, made even better by the fact that I learned of it today.