I used to build rockets – metaphorical rockets. Some failed to launch, some exploded mid air, some lit up the sky and changed my whole world. Then, I stopped building them.
The reason was a series of events in a very short space of time: death, birth, marriage. I decided to keep myself safe. I no longer built rockets. I told myself that dreaming about the adventure was much better than the adventure itself. It was a lie. Safety kept me from risking, from disappointment, from failure.
If you are vested in your safety, you will have a heap of broken pieces with no universe to explore. Your world gets smaller and smaller and a part of you starts rusting. Eye rolling, a short breath and an inability to appreciate other rocket builders are some of the symptoms of rust.
You join the other side. You know, the ones that say it can’t be done. Nobody knows that you have joined the other side as it still all looks good on the outside.
The outside. Keeping the outside looking good requires a lot of work. Especially when you are not feeling it. Keeping the outside looking good is done for other people.
I met a 62-year-old woman whose outside was pristine. Great family, great friends, great life. For some reason, she invited me in. I mean really let me in and showed me the mess. She had hidden it from herself, from others. I sat there and listened to her tell the truth for the very first time.
The truth is amazing. It has the power to crack open any carefully constructed façade, to make you want to start again. This is what happened in our interaction. It made her want to change her life. It made me want to be braver in mine.
I wanted to share the part of her story that belongs to all of us, not just write it, but tell it, book a theatre, perform it. No idea how to do the above.
Intention is hugely underrated. Intention is everything. I set an intention to build a rocket and explore the universe and that same universe began sending me parts to build to help complete it. I’m not sure how this works, all I know is that you work diligently on building that rocket knowing that one day it will take off. It will.
If you build that rocket with conviction, the parts to finish it come faster.
Now, what I’m not sure about is if the rocket will explode mid-air or light up my world and help me see a bigger universe. It doesn’t matter. When I am 62, I want to be able to invite someone in and show them my dreams, the ones that have come to fruition and the broken ones that have made me stronger.
Preethi Nair performed her first one-woman show, Sari: The Whole Nine Yards, in a West End theatre on 16th December 2016 to a rapturous audience. And all without any acting experience whatsoever. Now she’s found her rocket, she plans to launch it again in the summer as a ticketed event. We’ll keep you posted on updates.
See Preethi’s workshop on Learn Shed on Storytelling for Wellbeing at Work