The motor inside my desktop tower began it's daily rotational journey as the clock struck nine and the busy morning commenced.

Nestled in amongst my peers in a perfectly straight horizontal line, the sound of multiple keyboards began to clack as fingers struck mechanical keys, each execution bouncing with precision as inboxes slowly drained and yesterday's work blended with the present in a neverending cycle of monotony.

Moisture huddled together in tiny clusters across my brow as notification after notification assaulted my senses, each one bringing forth an array of meetings, deadlines and unfounded urgency.

For every email that was actioned, another two took it's place. For every meeting that was attended, another milestone was planted just around the corner and slightly out of reach.

Suddenly, her pause gave way to a change in momentum as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a clear crystal shaped stone for all to see.

I never found a sense of completion. My work had no beginning and it lacked a satisfying ending.

On the outside I looked composed, my silence emanating a false sense of confidence to all of those around me but on the inside I was terrified, a tangled ball of twine without a sliver of hope or reprieve.

"How had I ended up here?", I thought to myself as another four emails announced their urgency right before my very eyes.

"I used to be free. I used to be joyful".

As I pondered that thought, another meeting invitation slid into my inbox except this one was slightly different than the last.

Reading the subject line aloud, my interest piqued and I immediately rose from my place and began the short walk across the office to one of the large open conference rooms.

In support of positive mental health, a group of employees had organized for a psychotherapist to visit the office and hold a one hour session to speak about mindfulness.

As I was already far along with my own wellbeing journey and had been attending a psychotherapist for several months (a tale for another day), I was proactively intrigued by such a meeting and so dropped everything at a moments notice to go and take a look.

The room was quickly filling up so I grabbed a chair alongside one of my colleagues and watched as the presenter dimmed the lights and fired up the projector, momentarily pausing for the last few stragglers to find their place amongst the crowd.

When every chair was occupied, the door was closed and the session commenced.

The presenter began the conversation by explaining that just a few several years previous, she had been stuck in the monotony of the corporate world, bound by it's obligations and menacing interactions.

Those interactions revolved around residential and corporate repossessions during the peak of the global financial recession between the years 2008 and 2011.

Day after day she had been tasked with prying the belongings and holdings of individuals and entities who had stumbled and fallen amongst the toughest of times, snatching away their safety and security with swiftly written signatures, the seals on the formal letters still dripping with authority as she dished them out to the cowering and unsuspecting.

Each letter served to chip away at her psyche, eroding her piece by piece until eventually the day arrived where she found herself on the precipice of irrepairable damage and so decided to course a new direction in her life.

She handed in her own signatured letter, waiting poignently until the ink was dry before doing so, packed up her desk and embarked on a new found journey, one that would involve picking up her stumbled brethren and becoming a welcoming lighthouse to guide the ill-fated through their personal storms of veracious magnitude.

I closed my lids and scoured my mind in search of a lucid memory of pure joy

The presenter scanned the room from left to right as she explained her new life, chronicling her transformation from intimidating uninvited stranger to beacon of hope and aspiration.

She gazed deeply as she spoke, looking intently at everyone in the room with compassion and empathy until suddenly, her gaze met my own and she paused for a moment, her compassion transforming into sympathy as she surveryed my face and demeanor with a heartfelt sense of intensity.

I could tell by her composure that she was fully aware of my struggle, the dark circles underneath my eyes a dead giveaway to a professional who knew exactly what to look for.

Suddenly, her pause gave way to a change in momentum as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a clear crystal shaped stone for all to see.

Holding the stone between her index finger and thumb, she raised it above her head, turning it slowly as the remaining light pierced through it's chasm, courting with it's elements as it danced and bounced off all four corners of the room, lighting up our eyes with each tiny movement.

The presenter expressed that whilst on the outside, the stone appeared to be nothing more than a simple object or trinket. On the contrary, it had the potential to be an overwhelming power of positivity.

Confused by what she was trying to convey, the occupents of the room looked to each other in search of answers and understanding, each gape met with the same exact expression of confusion as the next.

Confusion quietly transformed into whispers which were about to erupt into full blown conversation until the presenter silenced the room once more, this time with a small box nestled carefully between her arms.

She placed the box into the hands of the nearest occupent, asking them to take one stone out and pass the box to their neighbour to do the same.

One by one each person in the room took hold of the box and one by one, each person chose a stone until the box's journey was complete and it's contents were dispersed evenly amongst the crowd.

The presenter then asked all of us to grasp our stones in our hands, close our eyes and think of a time when we were at our happiest.

a sudden realization washed over my entire body

Without a moment to waste, I closed my lids and scoured my mind in search of a lucid memory of pure joy.

I didn't need to travel very far as I rounded a cognitive corner, tripping up over a recent happy recollection in the process.

I was sitting at a table in a small alleyway in the old town of Alicante, Spain. It was 8:30 in the morning, the city was teeming with life and all around me people walked in every direction with smiles upon their faces as the mediterranean morning sun shone down upon us all.

My girlfriend Steffany handed me a small one-sided breakfast menu and after a brief glance down at the page and then up again at the warming horizon, I turned to the waiter and ordered a simple Spanish breakfast.

One cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, a small slice of bread with melted cheese and crushed tomatoes and a piping hot cup of strong locally sourced Spanish coffee.

It was perfect.

As I sat there relishing the moment, absorbing the sounds, smells and surrounding ambience with all of my muster, a sudden realization washed over my entire body.

This was where I needed to be.

I had very little understanding of the situation, the idea was but a mere twinkle of a thought which had barely been born into this world but regardless of everything, somehow, deep down inside I knew what I had to do.

I placed my hands down on the table, turned to Steffany and without even so much as a moments reflection or contemplation, I asked a simple question.

"Do you want to live in Spain?"

Steffany paused for a moment, looked back across at me inquisitively and then with a beaming smile she answered;


Without any explanation, she knew exactly what I had meant and why I had vocalized such a proposition.

We both laughed aloud as the affirmation took hold and a new potential reality began to set it's course.

"I don't know what we'll do here", I replied as I broke my newly arrived bread into two pieces, using my knife to sever the ties the melted cheese was trying so valiantly to keep in place.

"I can't speak any Spanish, I'll probably have to work in a bar", I continued, the thought of such an idea bringing even more laughter to the breakfast table.

"But", I concluded, "it will be a simple life. One that is filled with sun kissed days and turquoise waters, easy decisions and long summer nights".

In short, it was a life that would be completely different from what I was currently experiencing in my corporate office and formal setting. It was a life that would re-inject a sense of passion, purpose and meaning into my veins.

this small simple stone will be a constant reminder that brighter days do exist

As I pondered that thought, the presenter's voice began to echo all around me, gently summoning me back into the present where I found myself clutching my stone, a smile still stretching from ear to ear.

I slowly opened my eyes as the presenter softly spoke, her words allowing us to steadily reacclimatize to the room and the session she had created.

Still holding the stone between her index finger and thumb, she turned to all of us with a powerful and compelling closing statement.

"Keep this stone in your pocket or on your bedside table", she declared.

"If you ever find yourself in a moment of despair, distress or anguish just reach out, grab the stone in your hand and remember that happy thought you envisioned a few moments ago".

"No matter how dark the days ahead may be, no matter how empty, sad or tearful you may become, this small simple stone will be a constant reminder that brighter days do exist. They are there in your pocket or on your bedside table, you only have to reach out to feel them".

With that, the presenter turned and gave me a smile as the session came to an end and the overhead lights filled the room once more.

I returned to my desk with a new found sense of purpose and vigour. Little did I know that five years later, that stone would still be in my pocket and I would be greeted every morning by the mediterranean sun I had remembered all those years ago.