I have been pondering over the meaning of being in familiar and unfamiliar situations in recent weeks, and trying to understand in my moments of calm, what the cause of those two contrasting states of being have to say to me on my journey of self acceptance.

A familiar memory for me is arriving with my wife and family at a hotel on the south coast of England for our annual summer holiday and over the years being insulted and mocked for our accents and our stereotype by the hotel proprietor whom we absolutely adored.

An unfamiliar memory was our first arrival at that same hotel ten years earlier when we were treated politely and calmly on our arrival and then witnessing the proprietors familiarity with other guests which made me feel a little bit like an outsider and unsure if I liked the place.

That feeling of being an outsider made me wonder on that first visit to that particular hotel, whether I wanted to re-visit the following year, but gradually we loosened up, we got a bit more involved in the fun each day and felt that knowing the proprietor better and having become friendly with some of the guests we re-booked for the following year.

We had ten consecutive years of joy at that hotel and made some amazing friends which have become in some cases, life friendships and I recognise that for this process of familiarity and friendship to mature, I had to make an effort along with my wife to engage in overcoming our feelings of being unfamiliar.

I have come to realise that metaphorically speaking, I have over the years, not taken the time or made the effort to acquaint myself with aspects of my being which called out for acknowledgement and friendship and in neglecting to listen to my inner voice I suffered great fear and isolation in the midst of a complex life.

In recent months, I have tried to make sure that I listen to my inner voice and familiarise myself with its voice so that I can grow to know and love myself more deeply everyday and in loving myself the possibilities for living well in the present moment are endless.

My next blog will be:   Senior Citizens

William Defoe

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