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A grey city, a world of black and white, where beige was boring but daring is how I remember Edinburgh. It was a world to be escaped from.

Like Billy Connolly, I longed not only for a world of colour but to be windswept and interesting. I think he has managed the latter, somewhat more successfully than I have!

Looking back on that memory, I realise how soot had stained grey the fabric of the buildings. Now many of them have been cleaned and they sparkle in the sunshine, making clear to me the surreal landscape of Edinburgh. An amalgam of medieval, Georgian, gothic buildings, draw on a range of European influences. Greek temples, Italian palaces, French villas, Dutch houses are all here. Together with other styles they form the fabric of Edinburgh. This Europeanness of Edinburgh, escaped me growing up. In large part because of the culture, which was British and Protestant to the core, with a black and white division of the world.

Sitting writing this in a pavement cafe surrounded by various nationalities, I am aware of how much Edinburgh has changed. Cafe culture is one of many welcome changes in how Edinburgh has reconstrued itself and is an element of how I have reconstrued my life away from what seemed like reality growing up.

Much of that reality has passed. The apparently enduring has proved to be transient, vanishing in a changing world, an insubstantial grounding for an unfolding life. What has given that life meaning and direction has been what came later, learned on the basis of what was needed and what was meaningful for me. The belief in the power of learning is what carried me through then, to today and beyond.

It is a belief that I take into my work, that we can all learn with encouragement and support to find our ways to better lives. An unfortunate truth is that the realities of growing up often obscure this, hiding it. Isolation and loneliness are chosen as safe solutions to the problems of living. Finding the courage to transcend these, can often only be accomplished in therapy. Particularly when you are terrified of what people might think if only they really knew you. It is a tragedy that such a person in hiding is, in my experience, always intensely likeable and well worth knowing. One of the privileges of therapy is getting to know them and watching them make a new way in the world, transcending their reality of growing up. Their world changes, their past no longer determines their present, the future is opened to what were unknown tracks and byways, that become highways for future living and more harmonious relationships and friendships.

No blog until September as I am taking a break for the Summer.

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