Island Blog – What have you done?

These are my thinks on the aforesaid. It is a tendency of ours to focus and to rest on what was wrong, what we did wrong (if we are honest) as we reflect on the past year. Oh, we will, naturally, blame covid and isolation and limitation and deprivation, but once we are done with all that tiddelypom, we find ourselves confounded. There is nowhere else to go but to ourselves. We have this irritating thingy-whatsit inside us that whings like a drone above our thinking, looking at us from the eagle eye and in a most infuriating and revealing way. This eye sees us like we never never would wish to see ourselves.

And so. How do we walk the same terrain, for some of us pavements, for others of us, tracks and wilderness, find something about ourselves that makes us ok about who we are, or who we have been over this time of limitation, isolation and confoundment? The shouty media is all about elevation and the celebration of those who have done this elevation thing. We all admire them. They have marked our cards. They have caused us tears and smiles. But, what of we, who have just been…..we?

What I did this day, with some homework a few days before (hate homework) was this. I decided to make five points of personal success this past year. Oh, there are many more than five, but I found it interesting that that ‘five things challenge’ afforded me such disarray. I find myself easily locating my crimes, real or not but real to me. If someone challenged me to speak out the things I feel I have done well this past year, I would founder. How normal am I. I watch so may good people defect such an acknowledgement. I’m doing it too. And yet, and yet, I know what I have done. And, so do you.

My five things.

I came back from Africa so Popz wasn’t alone as he was the year before, cold and without me.

I was with him with the greatest respect and love throughout covid, and happily.

I found my words again. I had thought them lost.

I found my safe place in this home

I am learning who I am . Can ‘t say again, because I am not who I ever was.

Can you write your five things of achievement? Oh yes. You so can.

Island Blog 119 Do less and achieve more

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Oh ho ho ho and isn’t that just the easiest thing to tell someone else?

I am reading Mindfulness for Busy People by Dr Michael Sinclair and Josie Seydel and learning much goodly-grounded advice on how to fly.  Although Life throws us curveballs just when we think we are on a home straight (probably mixed up two sportsfields there….) it is really possible to live in the moment as long as somebody can show us how, and not just tell us.

As a writer I know the art of ‘show not tell’ and even the most lightweight reader (no offence intended) will yawn wide if an author reads like a schoolmarm. We are adults now and have spent way too much time being told what to do and how to do it.  Adulthood begins when a child decides, not when we with saggy skin and a certain way of doing pretty much everything tell them they may now be privy to certain conversations, once whispered, or, worse, spelled out, in shady corners of the house.

So, back to reading………….well, this writer knows how essential it is to read avidly.  For me, it is a pleasure, a need, a drive because in reading other’s words I form my own, not as a copyist, although it has been known.  I have decided that, should I find an angry ‘other’ at my door, spear raised, I will tell them they might think my pinching to be a huge compliment, and not a robbery. I take on other’s wisdoms so that my own reflections on what they have to say might shape into a new form, one that works for me.  There are as many ways to think as there are thinkers, more, and we all must find that which will comfortably settle within our own lives, among our own circumstances – circumstances that will always change, sometimes drastically, sometimes in a more kindly way, but we can still learn how to ‘be’ inside each moment, each day, whatever the challenges may be.

Yesterday, or last week, or last month, life was in ‘this’ shape.  Overnight, let us say, it flips and now looks upsidedown and most precarious, leaning (just) against the props that seemed tall as the cedars of Lebanon, and now look like my old washing line poles after a force ten gale.  Let’s look at them – let’s just stand here and look at them and do nothing.  Just look.

I can joke about it, to get a laugh, but the truth is, it is the only way, and not just for me.  Whatever comes, whatever goes, it all passes.  It cannot help but pass, because life moves on, with or without us.

As a young wife and busy mother, I knew I could not hold onto control and to a great degree, I let go.  Perhaps I was lucky in that.  Perhaps feeling out of control all the time, taught me to live by my inventive wits and to consider control a disadvantage.  But, for all of us, this is possible, no matter how valuable our props might appear.  In the event of extreme disaster, like your house slipping over a cliff, this way of observing and moving on is essential. I am not saying don’t grieve, or ululate for that which is lost, but there is a time for grief and a time to get past it, and not by force.  Accepting some new truth, any new truth on our road is like letting in a new light.  It is not something anyone can memorise by rote and commit to memory.  That is for O Level maths (in my case) and it is impossible to retain that learning for long as I discovered on exam day.  No, we must ‘allow’ the understanding to lightly settle in our bones and there is no other way to do that than to simply ‘accept’ the curveballs, do what we can, if possible, to make good from disaster, and then walk peaceably onwards.

If you are intrigued, I cannot recommend this book enough.  Try it.  There is absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.  If you say you are too busy to read, you fool yourself.  When you are gone, what will you be remembered for?  Being too busy?

I hope not.