In a time of turbulence and upheaval, can we really find peace?
A man is climbing up a big mountain, a man has been climbing for some time. The mountain is so high the summit is not visible as it pierces through the lofty ever-moving layer of clouds. The higher a man gets the more expectant he becomes to be able to at least see the top insight. The top does not seem to be coming any time soon. A man starts to have discussions with himself about whether to continue or if he should turn back defeated, having never truly reached his goal. Transfixed a man climbs, and climbs and climbs, a man tells himself he must keep going...
If only the man learned to stop...
turn around, enjoy the view every once in a while, and just breathe. A fork in the road, a problem, gives us all an opportunity to pause and think. Great benefit can be achieved if only we can refrain from reacting to our problems so fast and just take a moment to be for a while. Now listen, I feel I must insert a disclaimer here. If you have a burst water pipe, I am not suggesting you simply sit and enjoy the view, even if the water is refreshing and cold upon your face, in this case perhaps immediate action is required.
The last three years building The History Project has not been easy for George or I. We have both had a substantial amount of personal and professional issues to overcome if we were to continue. It's a good job we have been friends so long because I am sure sometimes he has only continued because he didn't want to let me down, and I know there have been many times that the reverse has been the same.
Building a business is not an easy thing, building a non-profit where a large part of your activities are FREE at the point of sale is even harder. We have made many mistakes along the way but that hasn't stopped us, it has just meant that we have had to give more of our own time and money freely to make it work.
Our dream has always been to one day be employed by The History Project and be paid to deliver awesome community-based projects that provide a fantastic service to our area, a worthwhile and meaningful endeavor I think we can all agree. For a long time now we have not been able to see the top of the mountain because of the clouds. The only thing that really kept us going is our belief in each other, all the lovely praise we have had from the local community, and the looks on the children's faces when we are literally making their world come alive.
Here is what Lexi from Sandwich School had to say about her day with us. (video 37 seconds long)
Then along came The CORONA VIRUS...
I think it would be safe to say the majority of people have had a nightmare with this virus and the issue we have all faced. Things got so close to the line for me at home, I found myself having to move house, downsize and protect all that I had spent my life working for or risk losing it. I know many others have had to do the same too.
But what the lockdown did do for me was force me to pause, to take a breath, and to stop and enjoy the view. Through the stress and anxiety, after a while, I started to see a path.
I realised The History Project had done so much!!, 1000's of children have had awesome free experiences, we have helped out local schools, our local council in assisting with visitor information, we have provided many history shows at the Astor, (which is a great night out for anyone) but also provides people who are sometimes lonely and isolated from society an opportunity to mix with others who share a common interest. In essence, we were helping with social isolation and loneliness before most of us knew what it was and just how rough it felt. Let's face it, this is something most of us know all about these days.
"Thinking like this made me proud and gave me the will to carry on"
When I thought about it we had helped and assisted so many in our local community and was doing a sterling job of bringing visitors to the town. What we had done a pretty poor job of doing, however, is letting others know all about this and that is something we hope to fix with our blogs, our website, and also taking more time to communicate with the Mercury too.
One fantastic achievement we had was acquiring the space above Deal Train Station to create a History themed community center "The History Hub". throughout the lockdown in between restrictions did a great job at bringing in some funds to help us kit it out. This place is going to be an amazing asset for our town and surrounding towns and villages.
Now, if you want to read more about the blog you can click here to open another tab, The History Hub will have its own blog and in that blog, it will discuss firstly its aims and goals, and then as restrictions ease and we can open The Hub, it will be a blog informing people of our goings-on.
The Hub has now provided us with a place to call home, office space, and a place where all the people who have been waiting to volunteer with us to come and get involved which is fantastic!!
If you would like to get involved please click here.
This is our Hub partially kitted out, it is positioned above Deal Railway Station and can be accessed via platform 1
Slowly heading to normality
I do not know if we will ever go back to how we were before, I hope we do, but things are starting to look up!!! We are now taking school bookings once again and I have been speaking to local businesses and now had a number of local businesses offer to sponsor some school experiences which is fantastic!!!! We rely heavily on the generosity of others to keep the great work we do alive.
If you would like to put a smile on a child's face by helping us provide an awesome free experience please click here
With school experiences, walking tours returning, and a new community center, we have our hands full but things are on the up and up with The History Project. Did I mention we will be promoting a new historical street theatre soon? maybe not eh, well stay tuned for that one. I am looking forward to the year ahead and remain optimistic about things heading in the right direction for us all.
I guess I should answer the question then, in a time of turbulence and upheaval, can we really find peace?
Absolutely yes, I believe we can. if we can just stop what we are doing and just 'be' for a moment. Look at the bigger picture, breathe and let the anxiety escape a bit. Admittedly sometimes this is not an easy thing. For example, to do this I have to plunge myself into a cold water tank, (a cool way of saying I get in a wheelie bin full of cold water.) I do other activities to assist with this too but one of the most beneficial strategies I have found is to simply go for a walk. In the country or up the beach is really nice, another thing I do is to sit under a tree, I always feel better after spending time near a tree. (more on that in another blog post).
Just about the best thing, I found I can do is to put the phone down. Facebook, Tiktok, Youtube all serve a purpose and are great communication and learning tools if used right. But if you find yourself sat there on the loo relentlessly scrolling from one scare story to the next with your tongue pushed up to the top of your mouth, then just stop it. Don't let that stuff steal your valuable poo time. Poo time is sacred, powerful. Some of the best ideas you can have, come in those quiet moments of painful bliss with veins popping from your forehead. Some people would argue that social media robs you of this. At this point during a conversation with George, he would normally be saying "too much info bro". LOL
That's enough for now, have a great day doing whatever you are doing and if you are sat on the loo with pins and needles in your legs because you have read this blog, it's probably time to put the phone down and get on with your day.
Until next time,
Walkabout Pete signing out