2020 / October

Did they get you to trade, your heroes for ghosts?

Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

Photo by Zach Kadolph on Unsplash 

Our fourth song from Wish You Were Here is the title track by the same name. The song was inspired by the bands experience of original guitarist, Syd Barrett’s, struggle with drug induced schizophrenia. Yet, like much of the album, on a deeper level, it deals with the concept of detachment, whether from individual reality, as in Barrett’s case, or whether on a larger level, the experience we all sometimes have with our experience of normality. The song starts with our questioning of our experience and our interpretation of it: 

So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell? Blue skies from pain? 

Relating this to our wellbeing, I think it’s an interesting starting point as it leads to the idea that we should be questioning the reality of how we experience our everyday interactions and our interpretations of our experiences. For example, do we really know that something is challenging and difficult, or is it just our interpretation at that point in time? This leads to a question I find awe inspiring: 

Did they get you to trade, your heroes for ghosts? … Did you exchange a walk on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage? 

If our experience of reality might just be a temporary interpretation which will change over time, what else might change. And, what might already have changed without us realising? Have we lost our hopes and dreams? Have the plans we thought we were moving toward been lost along the way? In our interpretation of heaven and blue skies, have we really traded our vision for hell and entrapment? These are important questions for all of us to ask from time to time, and in my experience, especially when it comes to our working life. 

Moving into the final phase of the song we are left with a profound question for our reflections: 

What have we found? The same old fears. Wish you were here. 

As we look at the trades and interpretations, we have made in life what do we discover? Perhaps for many of us we find the decisions we have made, and continue to make, are defined more out of us not confronting our ongoing fears rather than us embracing the fullness of life. The final line, the track and album title, concludes the song with a beautiful double meaning. On one level, the detachment and loss of the bands friend in Barrett, but on another, the detachment from the aspirations perhaps once felt and now lost. I think this leaves us with the ongoing challenge to regularly take stock and reassess, and to do so with hope and aspiration rather than bitterness or regret. 

Need to re-find your way in life? Why not consider booking an appointment with the author, Dr Dave Wood?

Wish You Were Here is taken from the Pink Floyd album by the same name.


Founder and Director of Metanoeo CIC and Metanoeo Coaching. Working with individuals, communities and business to co-create #wellbeing4all through life coaching, resources for living life well and training and supporting life coaches.

Come on … and shine.

30 October 2020