Navigating Multiple Worlds

By Emma Pearson

July 16, 2024

Image by Denise Jans on Unsplash

21 June 2021

It’s been a choppy week. A choppy week full of choppy days.

I feel I have been on a constant dance, in and out of multiple worlds. Which is not quite how it might sound, in that I have not actually been in a coma, bordering on this life and the next. Just in and out of different worlds.

I feel a bit like Harry Potter. Or Dr Who. Or Neo in the Matrix. Or a caterpillar not long enough in its cocoon before becoming a butterfly. In and out of different contexts and environments, in rapid succession.

In my paid work, which I truly jump into with my two feet, with my whole body, heart and mind, I live many different lives, industries, challenges and contexts. I can be in multiple conversations a day about jobs, careers, leadership, strategy, business impact, brilliantly kind or obnoxiously toxic bosses, or talented or incompetent team workers, etc.

I’ll switch gears to be in learner mode for my vertical development leadership and organisation transformation programme. Reflecting on my inner world and working with deeply psychological constructs, then considering how I might do some of this work in a business context.

Then going out with Medjool to one of the many Fête de la Musique celebrations going on in Geneva. Live music performances. Stunning weather. People wearing masks despite us all being outside and perhaps just 1/3 or 1/4 capacity. Lovely despite the restrictions. Truly enjoying the novelty of being in a different life for a while, until I became just too overwhelmed at the effort of “living normally”. And needed to go home, pronto.

Another switch to my volunteering work, to close out a 10-month training programme for new, prospective volunteers. Finally meeting face to face, outside, at the home of one of the participants. Hugs all around. Some tears. (I make people cry. My life makes people cry. When people finally meet me face to face after getting to know me through zoom during the course of a year, they can cry).

Switch again to my baby sister’s 50th birthday party, held 13 days after her big day. I reflect on and remember that day in my own life. Mike died when I was 50 and 12 days. If I were exactly her age to the day, I would have been a widow for 24 hours. These milestones, these realisations, on no-one’s mind but my own. Inconceivable to anyone else. Unimaginable. At the party, one of her friends praised and thanked me for my writing, which she said helps her in her life. While I am touched at some level, it’s hard to hear. I don’t think I want to be thanked for my writing, even though I sometimes am. I realise I don’t just write for myself, so of course, hearing how my writing touches people is good to hear, sometimes. I just wish it were “just” writing. Just a story. Not actually my life.

Another shift to planning summer holiday activities, which feels good at some level, and totally non-sensical at another.

Because through all of the discussions and training and coaching and partying and planning, Julia is dead. Julia is still dead. It will be two years in just over a week, and I still don’t get how it can be.

How I would like just to build myself a cocoon and stay in it a while.

About Emma Pearson

1 thought on “Navigating Multiple Worlds

  1. Damned pandemic. I so wish I could come and be with you and provide a part of the cocoon. I can’t believe it’s almost two years since Julia left. That day is etched in my memory for ever. Much love to you dear friend.

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