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The day I met Bloody Good Bloke across a crowded Zoom screen

The day I met Bloody Good Bloke across a crowded Zoom screen

On the 7th of May last year, I gazed across a crowded Zoom screen and met this wonderful man named Bloody Good Bloke.

I was so drawn to him (mainly his face, I’ll admit), I freaked out, screenshotted his tall dark and handsomeness and sent it to a few friends.

I was co-facilitating the Zoom workshop with his brother at the time. My middle name is Patricia Professionalism.

After the workshop I stalked BGB on LinkedIn and discovered he was a neuroscience researcher.

Naturally, I panicked. I must meet this man.

But what if he was married? Seemed likely.

Hot biscuits like him fly off the shelves quickly, surely.

Neville set off to carry out some detective work. The Zoom recording was deployed. BGB’s reactions to my jokes were scrutinised.

He seemed to be laughing at me a lot, but there was also a cat walking around his Zoom screen.

“Definitely married”, Neville concluded. Only married men have cats.

It had been 8 months since Bloody Good Chap and I had broken up. I was by no means ready for any kind of relationship.

Perhaps we could be friends?

“With that face?” Neville smirked. “Whatever you say.”

I left it a few days while I considered my options.

Eventually I messaged him on LinkedIn under the guise of friendship, and panicked a bit more.

Let me pause here to tell you the unlikely series of events that led up to that fateful Zoom meeting.

A year previously I had an English Airbnb guest called Adam (not his actual name). He stayed in my spare room for one night while he was running a mindfulness workshop in Melbourne.

Adam later told me he paused for a second when he came in the front door and wondered whether he should interrupt me at my desk to say hi. He decided not to, and walked down to his room.

But then decided “Ah fuck it, I’ll just go and say hi quickly.”

That split second decision resulted in an hour long conversation about consciousness, mindfulness and his time living in the Himalayas.

I remember thinking “Man Airbnb is so great, I get to meet the coolest people!”

Towards the end of the conversation, Adam added “you should really meet my friends Bob and Bloody Good Bloke (not their real names) from Sydney, they run a corporate bushwalking company, I reckon you’d be a great facilitator for them.”

He put me in touch with Bloody Good Bloke’s brother, Bob.

Bob and I met up for coffee when he was next down in Melbourne and we got on like a house on fire. We agreed that I’d fly up to Sydney and we’d facilitate a workshop together in February 2020.

I ended up having to reschedule the workshop til May. Then Covid kicked off, and we realised we’d have to run the workshop on Zoom instead. I cancelled my flight to Sydney.

When the workshop started, my first thought was “Who is THAT?”

It was BGB, Bob’s brother.

We went round and introduced ourselves. As expected, all participants were in Sydney except me.

Finally we got round to BGB, who appeared to be sitting in a bush.

He had just moved to Melbourne and was sitting only 10 minutes away from me.

Neville felt this was a very handy development indeed.

A few days after the workshop, BGB and I met up for a socially distanced walk. There was much talk of brains, consciousness, predictive coding, and schizophrenia. Our conversations were fascinating.

The next time we caught up, it was at a bar (my kitchen bar, since we were in Covidland), and we talked and laughed for 4 hours. Thanks to my coach, Medha, I let my puppy energy out of the box for the first time ever with someone I had a crush on (explained in next week’s blog post). Suddenly I could tell BGB had boarded the crush train with me.

It was clear there was some kind of next-level intellectual and physical chemistry going on between us.

Straight after he left my house I sent a very long, excited voice message debrief to my friend which I began with

“Jo, I’m fucked. But the good news is, I think he is too!”

For our next non-date-date we chatted on deck chairs on my balcony while wrapped in blankets… for 13 hours.

The next date we went on a bush walk. Near the end of the walk, he leaned down and kissed me. I freaked out and made it weird.

A guy in stubbies walked past us and laughed.

The rest is history, much of which you’ve read about if you’ve been following the blog for a while.

One of my 1:1 clients is a talented author of romantic novels. Recently she told me that in the industry, there are four types of connection that two characters can have: intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual. You should only ever write characters who have one or two of these connections, otherwise it seems unrealistic.

I laughed when she said it, as I’d previously written in this blog post How to know whether to leave when you’re scared shitless there’s nothing better out there that this relationship with BGB would seem completely unrealistic if you read about it in a romantic novel.

Our connection is intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual. We have similar values, and have similar goals in life, yet we’re different enough that it’s fun and enlivening being together. We both challenge and support each other.

As soon as BGB told his brother Bob that we were dating, Bob’s partner announced gleefully:

“I am an oracle!”

She had met me on Zoom a few times before the workshop and had apparently turned to Bob and said “BGB needs someone like this!”

She had been hassling Bob for updates from his brother, waiting for us to announce that our friendship had turned into something more.

We also told Airbnb Adam, who was overjoyed, and responded with a poem about love.

My step-dad was also pretty chuffed with his oracle skills. I’d been crying to him and my mum many months earlier that I might be single forever after ending things with the best guy in the world, Bloody Good Chap. He laughed kindly and said “Andrea, that’s ridiculous. You will run a corporate workshop, and some lucky man will be wowed by you. You’ll see.”

There is a Taoist story about a farmer and his horse that I often use in workshops to demonstrate how life is all a matter of perspective.

One day the farmer’s horse runs away. His neighbour comes over to commiserate, “I’m so sorry about your horse,” he says sadly. The farmer replies:

“Good or Bad, who knows?”

The neighbour is confused because this is clearly terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing the guy owns.

The horse returns the next day with 12 wild horses.

The neighbour comes back over to celebrate, “Congratulations on your great fortune!” he exclaims. The farmer replies again: “Good or Bad, who knows?”

The next day the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses and he’s thrown off and breaks his leg. The neighbour comes back over, “I’m so sorry about your son.”

The farmer repeats: “Good or Bad, who knows?”

The next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting able-bodied young men to go and fight in the war. The farmer’s son is spared because of his broken leg.

It’s a beautiful story to sum up a way of living that I’ve found to be life changing.

If you can train your mind to stop judging everything as good and bad, and instead

allow the beauty and mystery to unfold like an incredible theatrical display, you will be treated to the most wonderfully interesting life.

If Covid hadn’t happened, the workshop would have gone ahead in Sydney as planned, and I wouldn’t have met Bloody Good Bloke.

If the massive opportunity that I wrote about last year hadn’t fallen through (How a swift kick of crushing disappointment became one of the best things that’s happened to me all year), I wouldn’t have met Bloody Good Bloke.

Life works in mysterious ways.

I could never have predicted the bizarre train of events that lead to meeting this wonderful tall-dark-and-handsome who “just happens” to be everything I wanted in a partner and more.

I can never predict what will happen from here, good or bad.

But the more I relax into curiously watching life as though it’s a great novel unfolding in front of me, with twists and turns and soaring highs and lows, the more brilliant it becomes.

Pstt - enjoyed this blog post? Splendid news! If you fancy getting these snippets of self-deprecating radical honesty delivered freshly to your inbox moments(ish) after I take them out of the gluten free oven (every week or three-ish), subscribe over here.

I have an online workshop coming up (details TBC) called How to be Less of a Dick to Yourself (AKA Self Compassion for Sceptics)! I would love you to join us — It’s going to be bloody splendid! Click here to register your interest.

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