Don’t you think it’s strange how random the things are that can take you back to another part of your life? They can take you by surprise, can’t they?
I’m watching telly: the 80s band Simple Minds play an acoustic gig at the Hackney Empire in London and I’ve found myself feeling a little drifty and nostalgic.
It’s not the music so much, although I must confess, I was a huge Simple Minds fan in the day… no, it’s not that. It’s the venue. The Hackney Empire in London. I see the shots of the crowd and I am right back there at various gigs. I know that space out front and backstage. I have stood on that stage. I have sat in the stalls. I sang happy birthday when my dear friend Michael Nyman played a gig there for his 65th birthday. So many memories coming back of friendships and finding taxis home and bumping into interesting people in the queue for the loo or the bar at half time.
But I’m not there anymore.
I probably would have been there at the Simple Minds gig if I were there, in my London life.
I watch the concert, and through the window next to the TV I see the beautiful view of this life now. Two realities side by side.
If you’ve lived in different places, which so many of us have, do you feel that part of your soul is left behind in each place
If you’ve lived in different places, which so many of us have, do you feel that part of your soul is left behind in each place and that there are a whole lot of "you’s" existing in different times? The you at school, the you here, the you there.... the me in Melbourne, my British life, my German life, my Albanian life, my New Zealand life. The me before the rape. The me after it.
Time doesn’t just travel in straight lines. It loops back around on itself. It’s past, present and future all at the same time. Moments like seeing an old haunt on television that’s 12,000 miles and 10 years away (I can’t believe it’s nearly 10 years since I left) bring it all back and in that moment - you are everything you have ever been.
I look back on my London life and I remember so clearly thinking that when, one day, I had hollyhocks growing outside the window, I would know I had found home. There is something so reassuring about hollyhocks and their place by doors and windows throughout time. My friend Anne and I, both blowing like tumbleweed across the globe, used to laugh and sigh at this thought. Two lost souls in search of roots to dig down deep into the soil and hold us to a place.
Now I have the hollyhocks and it’s a beautiful thing. And when I look at them I think about the person I was and who I am now, and it’s all ok. They show me a sense of place, a point of belonging. They show me how far I have travelled to be here now.
But I still scan the faces of the people in the audience in case I see someone I know.
It’s no surprise that I made a plant essence from the hollyhocks by the Archeus apothecary door. Rosea althea, the plant of place, of belonging. A botanic anchor for the rootless and drifting. Hollyhock also used to be a medicine for hysteria, such womanly angst.
Simple Minds playing at the Hackney Empire remind me of who I was, and then a drop of hollyhock essence tells me it is all ok. We belong in all the moments of our lives, and the art of knowing this can help us find peace and belonging in the moment we are living now. Other people will never truly know all the parts of you, but hollyhock lets you be all those moments and memories and, if you need them, she gives you roots to set down into the soil so you are not cast adrift again.
I'd love to hear about the anchors that stop you from drifting. The plants that show you, that you are home could also help someone else. Do share in the comments below.