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  • Paul Hollywell

A Lighthouse Perspective

Just before the start of lockdown, my wife and I enjoyed a long weekend on the edge of Romney Marsh, Kent. During our stay we visited The Old Lighthouse at Dungeness.

It’s the fourth 'high lighthouse' at Dungeness (of five) since the early 1600s; the latest is still fully operational. It was a bright day when we climbed the 169 steps to admire the view. Looking west we saw Dungeness B nuclear power station and I remembered working there many years ago. At that time, I decided to study for a qualification that significantly altered my career. Turning west we looked down on the many small huts and cottages – variously used as holiday homes and art studios – with gardens made from the flotsam and jetsam of the tides. The most famous cottage is Prospect Cottage created by filmmaker and artist Derek Jarman. Each garden reflects the creativity and individuality of the owner. And beyond the huts and cottages was the open, hazy surface of the English Channel. This reminded me that although I could look back at events in my past, my future has yet to be revealed. The 135 feet climb to the top of the lighthouse had given me a wide perspective of the Dungeness landscape. Also, it had reminded me that the ground-level problems of my daily world seemed much less important when viewed from above. And this was an important thought I would take with me into lockdown.

We all need perspective in our life, particularly at the moment. Small difficulties can appear to be major problems. Short periods of time can feel like ages. Strange feelings can become overwhelmingly powerful. The reality is, it’s okay to feel the way we do as we have never navigated these waters before. Although it feels a long time, this situation isn’t permanent and it will come to an end. It’s much tougher than we thought it would be, and it will take more time, energy and commitment than we first thought. Rise above it all and seek a fresh perspective. We have encountered difficult times before and come out stronger and wiser. We will do so again. In the meantime, let’s be kind to ourselves.

Find someone – a good friend or a coach – who can help you regain a healthy perspective on your situation. Lighthouses were built to aid those navigating dangerous waters and save lives. Seek out your lighthouse perspective.

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