Amidst applause, and smiles, and hugs, and handshakes, the executive works their way up to the podium to receive the award for their company's success.
They feel a bit surprised, and a little awkward and uncomfortable, but mostly grateful.
Once at the podium, they stand quiet for a moment, trying to find some calm and clarity in all the confusion racing through their mind.
Their trembling hands clutch the podium, and their eyes seek the security of the floor, and they take in a deep breath. They allow the breath to slowly exhale, and then on the next in-breath, they look up again
They begin to thank everyone they know who has been connected to their success... their family, their friends, their
colleagues, their mentors, and their customers... the gifts of their support, their listening, their ideas, their creativity, their trust, their commitment.
They then thanked all their challenges... all the people, and circumstances, and all the never-ending mistakes and failures and transgressions that became and continue to be among their most valued teachers.
Flashes of ALL the faces they know, and ALL the circumstances they've encountered along the way, streaming through their mind.
They see themselves being lifted, and lifted, and lifted and lifted, by the hands of all those who's shoulders they are now standing on, allowing them to extend their reach
to the next star.
They try to capture the picture of all of it in their words, but they see that the immensity of their lifetime of
memories, can't be breathed in and expressed in a single moment, or minute.
Their words are wholly inadequate. So they exhale again, allowing the release of air instead of words.
In that slow exhale, they see that in the inability to express an entire life, all they can do is feel and be incredibly lucky and grateful.
And then for a brief flash, it occurs to them, that they hope they haven't forgotten to thank anyone.
And that's when time stops, and they are left standing on the ground of profound realization...
...a vision of all of whom they DON'T KNOW.
They see the whole of that very same day, passing by in a time-lapse
film through their mind...
Being woken that morning by the alarm-tone of their phone, created by others.
Putting on a dress, designed and manufactured by others.
Eating a breakfast, grown and harvested by others.
Getting in a car, designed and built by others.
Driving to work on roads and through traffic systems, designed and built and maintained by others.
Navigating the complex dance of traffic, supported by others cooperatively doing the same.
Stopping to pick up a latte at their favourite cafe on the way, reliably managed and kindly serviced by others.
their office building, designed and built and maintained by others.
ALL those others... their lives, their time, their work, their
families, their friends, their colleagues, their mentors, their ideas, their creativity, their gifts, their kindnesses, their joys, their fears, their tragedies, their challenges, their successes, their failures, their mistakes, their transgressions.
that moment, they were not at all alone or separate in their defined success. "They" weren't even there anymore. There simply was ALL, and they and everyone and everything were in IT, and were IT.
And IT was so inconceivably beautiful, and free, and true, and joyful, and funny, and wholly unfamiliarly impersonal.
There was no breath to breathe in or out.
There was just silence, and emptiness, and
perfection, and glee. Nothing and everything.
And then as their eyes slowly refocused, and moved from the hands on the podium out to the incomprehensibly beautiful
faces in the audience, they said their final thank you, and walked back to their chair.
They have no idea now, who walked up to that
podium and accepted that award.
They just look forward to getting to know and explore whatever and whomever walked back to their chair,
seeing and feeling connection and beauty and perfection everywhere. How could the "they" that they were, have not seen this all before?
take another breath in, and laugh, and cry.
With Love and Laughter,