Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Climbing Up Your Solsbury Hill

One of my favorite artists is Peter Gabriel.

And one of my favorite songs is Solsbury Hill.

'Solsbury Hill' (as I understand it) was Peter Gabriel's thought journey through the decision to leave Genesis.  His career was taking off with this new band, 'success' (at least the traditional version) was creeping up on him...and yet, his gut was telling him, this was not the right path.

Big decisions are tough for a lot of people, but they completely terrify me.  Mainly because I was never taught as a child how to trust my core instincts.  This was a skill I didn't develop until adulthood.  My parents (via divorce, custody changes, school decisions etc.) made a lot of incredibly large (and poor) decisions on my behalf which skewed my internal compass.
Had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
I just had to trust imagination

Trusting 'imagination', or my 'gut', is now second nature to me.  But I've worked very hard on it. And even still, big decisions, even when I *know* they are the right ones, seem intimidating at first. 
My heart going boom boom boom
Moving to London was one of those big decisions.  When the Canadian told me we had the opportunity to move to London, I felt incredible excitement while feeling at the same time like throwing up.  But I knew in that exact moment what I would do. And that I would go.  But still, I thought it over incessantly, thinking mostly of all that I would give up in Austin. My friends. My home. My comfort. My familiarity.
To keepin' silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut 
So I went from day to day
Tho' my life was in a rut 
'Till I thought of what I'd say
Which connection I should cut
I knew it would be a trade-off.  I knew that there would probably be some friends that I might lose in the process (not the core group, but some on the periphery).  I knew that life in Texas would go on. That someone else would live in the house that I built. That I would be moving forward on a totally different trajectory than I'd imagined.  But. It was that constant voice that was telling me that I had to go.  It was important.
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
I listened to this song over. and over. and over. In the moments of doubt, during the meltdowns (particularly after the movers came), during periods of questioning.  I would just imagine myself, climbing Solsbury Hill and sitting there, watching the sun set and thinking "I know this is crazy, but I seriously think I have to go. For my sanity. And to get my life back. And to figure myself out. And to see the world through a different lens, because this one is dull and blurry."
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes, but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don't need a replacement
I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey," I said, "You can keep my things, they've come to take me home."
We all have our Solsbury Hills.  Those moments when we *know* we have to make the less safe, more radical decision. We might think about it, we might talk it out with friends, but our gut, our imagination, is pushing us forward into the extraordinary unknown. Trust it. Emphatically.  

Solsbury Hill, near Bath, England Via
Today, emphatically,


  1. Love, love, love this post. Boom, boom, boom describes it perfectly, doesn't it? It's been less than a month and about 1 out of every 3 days, I spend the entire day on the verge of tears. But, I'm glad I'm here. :) Thanks for blogging!!!

  2. Wow, S, this is such an inspirational blog! Just reading everyone's stories and especially this one has reminded me of what a massive decision we made 5 years ago and all that we achieved in that time! How could I possibly still doubt myself when i have done all that??