“I AM HERE” What on earth …

The latest Sercombe motorbike adventure was to the Outer Hebrides.  Just me, my big BMW R1200GS and my red tent.  In case you’ve never been there – and few people round West Sussex have as it’s 730 miles away –  this string of islands is off the northwest coast of Scotland, windy, rainy and cold.

And in the middle of a mile-long deserted pristine beach I saw this:

Version 2

No footprints anywhere near, except mine, and by the time I left my idyllic wild campsite overlooking the sea, the engraving was no more – washed away by the waves.

Of course it was me. In a moment of spontaneous inspiration I carved “I AM HERE” with my foot in the sand – and the thought dominated my week, as I contemplated my life, my business, God, the universe, and my future. Today I’ve been thinking about it again as I camped out last night in the wilds of the South Downs catching up with some reading.  A bit existentialist I know, but the truth is, I am here, and I will be ‘here’ for a while yet.  Wherever I am, I AM.  It’s the inescapable truth, and on the basis that the truth frees us, I’m enjoying the freedom.

Yep, I’m here, and it is up to me to make of it what I will.

I’m not on that beach any more. I am here instead, writing this blog.  I moved on, came back to Sussex, and I’m two weeks older, and although I have a camera full of Hebridean photos – Butt of Lewis lighthouse, the rocky hillsides of Harris, Benbecula, Eriskay, and a welcoming pink roofed cafe in Lochmaddy – I can never, ever, recapture that moment on the beach.

In times of quiet solitude I become particularly aware of the presence of God ‘here’, where I am, with me.  It is as if He has said, not written in sand but whispered as a permanent statement deep within, “Andrew, I am here” – wherever I am, always. Regardless of the ups and downs of my life, I’m never actually alone. The Divine Presence, the Creator, present in the world He created.  With me. Here. Now. For ever.

And today that is sufficient for me.  In fact overwhelmingly more so.  Far more important than success, or money. God is here.

And He is where you are too – such is the omnipresent nature of the Holy Spirit.  Unhampered by the limitations of time and space, God is with you as you read this on your screen – closer, actually.

3000 years ago a gifted young shepherd on the run from his tormentors wrote about it. Stunningly poetic, he wrapped it up in a way I’ll never be able to.  I’ve put a few key bits of his poem for you to read quietly before you move on into the rest of your week. Take a few moments – ten minutes? – to stop and reconnect. And whilst you’ll already know that I am here for you today (yes, me, Andrew. Just a phone or Skype call or email away), far more importantly, He is too.

Enjoy.

E:  andrew@powerchange.com   M: 07771631945  Skype: andrewsercombe  Website: www.powerchange.com

An Airstream – outside my house!

You’re not going to believe this, but this morning when I woke up there was an Airstream travel trailer – not a caravan, remember – PARKED OUTSIDE MY HOUSE! Here’s the picture to prove it.

A dream coming true?

If you haven’t read my previous blog about wanting an Airstream Bambi really badly, you probably won’t appreciate the significance of this. Just to catch you up with the story, the Airstream man, Mr Michael Hold (he’s not actually called ‘Something-or-other’), read my last blog and was impressed. Important people read my blog, you know. (You are one of them of course.) And we chatted on the phone. Within a few days he had called to say he was coming down to the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed and could he come and visit? Well of course. He brought his son Robin, and I’m please to report, they are VERY nice people. They came in for a barbecue, stayed with us for the Festival and we had the unquestionable honour of having his Airstream stay too.

The sad truth is, its not the little Bambi.  His is posher and bigger than that, but it hasn’t stolen my affections, despite its beauty.  I like its little sister best, with her little red awning, and pretty proportions. Bambi is SO CUTE.

I was just thinking – would you like to see an Airstream for yourself?  What would it be like if one turned up outside  your house and stayed the night? How inspiring would that be for you?   In Powerchange (that’s our personal coaching company) we have learnt that visual impact really matters when you’re after something. Being able to ‘see’ it, even with your mind’s eye, can make imagination become reality. That is what having a ‘vision’ is all about: something you’ve ‘seen’. We know that what you look at gets bigger the closer you get.  Whether that is winning a Wimbledon Final – the second most important thing that happened yesterday – or an Airstream turning up.

There are other things you can do too. Remember the classic film The Shawshank Redemption?

Freeman inspiring a younger inmate

It is about being unjustly imprisoned and being determined to find a way out. If you haven’t seen it yet, get the video for £6.99 from iTunes. Watch it several times. It is so inspiring.  The central character, played by Morgan Freeman escapes to freedom by chipping his way out of his prison cell, chip by chip by chip. It reminds us that there ARE ways to get out of even the most desperate circumstances of life and be free again. You may be thinking how nice it would be for some Airstream travel trailer to turn up on your doorstep and whisk you away to a different world – and that really might happen! But when you are determined to change your life, don’t leave it to chance. It is better to be in control of the process yourself and chip away at the seeming impossible.

If someone had told me a month ago that I’d have an Airstream outside my house this morning, I’m not sure I’d have believed them – not least because they are so in demand and there is a waiting list! But there it is, in the morning sunlight of a English summer’s day.

A reminder that what you think about, the BMW in the drive, the GS motorbike, the Airstream, (and in my case, even the house itself), can become reality.

Can this happen to you too?

Come on, use your imagination.

Zen and the Art of the Motorbike Accident

It was just a year ago that a lovely lady pulled her VW Golf across in front of me to enter a petrol station and…in a matter of seconds, my prized blue BMW 1200GS motorbike was no more. Following the thought, “No,no, no, don’t pull across, don’t do it, stop, stop!” and the next resigned thought, “I’m going to hit it” as I contemplated the inevitability of my coming fate, the front of my bike plunged reluctantly into her passenger door, I sailed in a rather ungainly double somersault over the roof of the black Golf thinking (in that split-second eternity that is the slow motion experience of a crash) “So this is what it’s like” and promptly hit the tarmac with a resounding ‘squelch’ … so I’m told.

The old bike, and the new one (above) in Wales

Then more pain than a brave man like me should be called upon to admit to, let alone endure, assailed my tender torso.   Before long, the emergency services were on the scene and I was being looked after by an understanding paramedic – and told to “stand up and blow into this tube” by a less than understanding member of the Government’s ‘special forces’. Eventually it dawned on the young policewoman that I couldn’t stand up as I had just had a slightly traumatic few minutes lying on tarmac and she let me blow into her little alcohol machine sitting down. It was green of course.

Fortunately, I had ‘only’ a broken elbow, pain everywhere,  two sprained wrists, “soft tissue damage” to my ankle, (read ‘knackered’) and bruises in places I never knew existed. Nothing much then. In informal discussion with the paramedic, I turned down the kind offer of a blue-light ride to hospital (no, I didn’t fancy six hours in the company of the intoxicated-and-falling-over wounded at Epsom Hospital A & E on a Sunday night) but there followed what can only be described as a substantially ‘bracing’ few weeks. A visit to Worthing hospital at a more civilised hour (and no drunks) the following day revealed the full damage, and before the week was out I was covered in a glorious array of autumn colours. They lasted for the rest of the winter with most of the sunset-tinted ones spreading to bits of me that I would rather not mention.  Ah, well…

Everyone confirmed that it was the dear lady’s fault (including the protagonist: “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you, I’m so sorry”) and the guys at BMW Motorrad took one look at the crumpled wreck and wondered how long the bloke would be in hospital – with the distinct possibility that he would never come out. Sobering thought. Needless to say, its write-off status was confirmed by the assessor, and another shiny 1200GS arrived within a few weeks for me to continue my GS adventures, albeit a little more tentatively.

It’s always good to have a kind and loving wife at these times. Sue took what was left of me home to Sussex and was very sweet, kindly pointing out that I wouldn’t have to clean a bike for a few weeks. It also meant she had to soap me in the bath for a while. (Not altogether bad then?!) Within a week or two my BMW insurance coughed up and a 2008 GS arrived – a Promo bike with 7K on the clock and new tyres, how kind. And with it arrived  the compelling desire to get past the fear and plan the next trip…

I have to report a certain success in this department. In the last year I’ve done another 16,000 miles on it, from Spain, to Scotland, to Scandinavia, to Snowdon, sleeping each night beside the bike, wherever I could discretely pitch my little one-man tent. I absolutely love the GS (now with its two extra driving lights so people can see me coming) and I love the utter freedom of seeing the world from the saddle of my silver steed – and yes, she does have a name.

Sadly, the accident has meant my limbs no longer work quite as they used to – a few of the previously working joints have been permanently knackered. Their malfunctioning can be frustrating – and a lot of other things – but let’s keep the GS wheels turning. As a personal and executive coach who works with people who live inhibited lives, I know how freedom-threatening fear can be and, just for the record, I’m determined not to make defeat my final destination.  I think it will be Finland instead.

Look out, Europe, I’m on the road again. (Cue Willie Nelson on guitar.)

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