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“Springing from the underground well”… A story of ironic beginnings…

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the last few weeks and months properly out of my comfort zone… adopting a ‘Growth Mindset’, one might say….
I am a self-professed technophobe so creating a website all by myself was never going to fill me with anticipation and yet the time had come when I knew I had to stop procrastinating. And so I’m almost there with that, and now I find myself with another first; writing a blog post. I quite like writing, but here I am trying to think of something interesting to share at the end of a long day, at the end of an August spent enjoying a rare English summer… A summer which has had me carrying sunblock in my handbag and wearing a brimmed-hat in my own country (possibly a first ever, on both counts). Consequently a summer I’ve tried not to work more than necessary and thus have little professional to report on…

But as we are at this new beginning, I feel quite compelled to explain how we arrived here, at Well Within Reach…
Our original organisation; ‘Child Learning and Development Advisory Centre’ or, more manageably; ‘CLADAC’; had expanded into sectors way beyond children’s services, and so, with a much needed new website on the cards, came the consideration that a name which more accurately reflected our work was also in order… I didn’t think it would be easy, but I think I’m pretty creative as well. How hard could it be???

Creating this new identity has been energising and challenging in equal measure. The first of many challenges being ‘What do we call ourselves?’ What is this new identity’? Where to start…. I took the sensible approach, of course, and asked colleagues for their input… “Why does my training material resonate for you”? “What do you most strongly connect with”?  “What’s my USP”? And words like ‘enlightened’, ‘insight’, ‘illuminating’ repeatedly came up. People told me that being able to decode those often fragile and vulnerable brains ‘behind the behaviours’ was like seeing beneath the surface. That when they understand what could not be seen, a completely different picture emerged from the one they could see.

All useful concepts for re-branding. Interesting visuals started to unfold in my imagination…. So I played around with a few names to do with light and illumination, but they all sounded like religious cults with visuals that spoke of alien abduction. I explored growth; trees, branches, life-giving roots concealed beneath the ground; and found myself stuck between old-hat metaphors and landscape gardening territory. Then someone beautifully described their experience of our training ‘like opening up your favourite toy and seeing all the mechanics inside’… I could accept a certain truth in that… but whatever name I came up with sounded like car or computer repair services.
However, I found myself sticking with this notion of the unseen; the beneath the surface-ness; the ‘so close yet so far’ idea…

I am one of those people who know they should just let it go sometimes but still don’t. During these long episodes of frustration I convince myself that this terrier-like tenacity is just in my nature, simply so I can permit myself to ignore common-sense, and instead keep going round in purposeless circles. 
But this long and lovely summer has afforded me the luxury of sitting in my swinging garden chair-one of my favourite place on earth-and; although never completely switching off my relentless self-interrogation; I did try to settle into stillness during those moments… to lean into ‘the universe will deliver’ adages. 

I felt to close to an epiphany, while trying to accept that what I was searching for would, in fact, find me… The question ‘What am I looking for?’ remained with me but started to take on a slower, less urgent quality as my imagination drifted to light; Light bulb moments, shafts of light cutting through woodland, light at the end of tunnels…. Then came caves and caverns, underground catacombs… I began to recall terrifying TV programmes about people leaping from cliff edges in to deep black cavities in the earth, assured that a parachute would save them before they landed thousands of feet below.
Definitely not along the right lines, of course, but immediately my consciousness was drawn to something softer… Something about opposites, and how they so often co-exist… terror and trust, the seen and the unseen, confinement and space, darkness and light…..

And then I landed in a memory… A memory from long ago, when I visited a place in Greece called Melissani Cave, a great subterranean cavern flooded by a lake which is actually borne of an underground well. The cave was only discovered when the ground above collapsed which, until then, had probably looked and felt as safe as any other. It was, in fact, incredibly fragile… And yet, concealed beneath, was a beautiful crystal clear lake. A reality is so close to the surface and yet; for the millennia of its existence before its discovery, at least; it was a world away.

I recalled from nearly 20 years ago a very contrary place; perched inside a little rowing boat within this immense black hole in the earth; the contrast between the solid, unmoving rock, and the flow of the water; between the brisk chilliness of the cave and the heat of a Mediterranean sun that burst through the skylight above as the little boat sailed beneath.
I remembered being mesmerised in equal measure by the light flooding in from above, and the clarity of the seemingly endless blue beneath.
There are many conflicting truths; it just depends on how you look at it. For certain, there are many terrifying possibilities; A gaping hole in the ground hundreds of feet above a deep unconnected body of cold water. But for all of its risks; the danger, the entrapment, the isolation, the darkness; it is also a magical place…. full of clarity, calm, light, colour, flow, reflection….

And so I had my concept. And as they so often do, the parallel process had unfolded…. Right beneath the surface; in the form of my sub-consciousness; there was the thing I’d been looking for. I had seen the light! And a well, as well; an unavoidable wordplay opportunity for a service that is all about ‘learning, doing and being well’. 
But I still didn’t have a name… ‘Well Beneath the Surface’ was true, but was too literal, and perhaps, a bit too dark. ‘Well Underneath’ did not work either… So what did? 
What else was this well? 
For all of the contrariness within, the unmoving cave with its flowing well are ever-present…always there, and thus, within reach. And so after much searching, the Well Within Reach finally sprung. Long may it flow :-)….     

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