Just sitting with pain has been one of the hardest things to do n recovery. I would always have vodka on hand to anaesthetise the feelings that gripped me and frightened me. Now, I have to sit here, feeling the pain and the darkness and it’s really hard. It seems counter intuitive to sit still when you’re scared; why not run?
However, I do it because I know I have to and each day I see that I’ve made it through and it’s a cause for celebration. I won’t say it gets easier because that’s a lie. It never does. It’s always hard. But as yet I haven’t died and you won’t either.
I have struggled with the practice of mindfulness even though I know how good it is for us as humans. We live in a fast paced world that could cause even the most stable of people to feel a little wobbly every now and then. So taking some time to live in the moment and forget what has been and what is to come really makes sense to me.
However, this is so much easier said than done. I am such a worrier and sometimes I really just need to remember that at this time I have my health and I have a roof over my head and food in my cupboards. If it all falls to pieces tomorrow, I can worry about it then, but it’s not worth spoiling some really beautiful moments because there’s a possibility something bad might happen in the future. Likewise, I can’t change the past, so why waste energy worrying about what’s happened?
I have found that for me the best way to live in the moment is to really ground myself in experiences using the senses. Recently, I ate a chocolate brownie and it did just the trick. For the few minutes that I was eating it, I thought of nothing else because I just enjoyed the taste. I don’t recommend bingeing on brownies all day but if you can find something to give you a few moments then go for it. Perhaps it is putting some headphones on and listening to ASMR, or getting a massage or going for a run. Whatever it is make sure that you look after yourself and just bring it back to the moment when you are going into panic mode.
Just a short one as I think about the end of the year and what next year might bring. I don’t know about you but I’m a tiny bit shit at keeping my New Year’s Resolutions. The amount of times I did Dry January with the intention of carrying on in the rest of the year is astounding. Of course, I did crack the drink problem eventually, but it took a lot more than a half arsed promise that I was making myself at midnight on 31 December.
Resolutions are so hard to keep and yet we beat ourselves up when we fail at them. I think that this year we need to promise to be a little kinder to ourselves. We over eat and over drink because we are stressed out and hating life. It is the immediate gratification that we are after and if we were a little nicer to ourselves we wouldn’t need it half as much.
This year, take a step back from the root cause. You may have an alcohol problem, in which case, go and get the appropriate help. But it may just be that you are pushing yourself a little too hard. Take your foot of the gas and you may find that you are only craving the drink at the end of the week rather than at the end of every day!
You can achieve so much in 2020 if you put your mind to it. But don’t stress yourself out by making some arbitrary goals at the end of this month. Follow your heart as the year progresses and see where it leads you. That marathon that you’ve always wanted to do might get done this coming year or it might not happen until 2025. Whatever the case, you will achieve SOMETHING this year and you should celebrate that as and when it comes.
I’ve just started watching Wanderlust on Netflix and I’m ever so slightly in love with the main character played by Toni Collette. I couldn’t quite work out what it was but I think it’s just the way that she interacts with the people around her. And then I recognised that look she gives when somebody tries to divulge a secret that they’re too afraid to fully admit. It’s the therapist look.
It’s not such a funny thing, because she does play a couples’ therapist in the show, so one would expect her to have a ‘look’. But I see that look and I want to just open up. And the characters around her do open up. She gets to hear EVERYTHING in the lives of her friends whether she wants to or not.
Now I do think that I’m a relatively good listener but I want to try this ‘look’ out on some of my friends, just to see what reaction I’ll get. I may get a scowl or a slap in the face, but I’m going to give it a try and see if I get people to start opening up to me a little bit more.
Most people who read my blogs, I can imagine, are the introverted type who like books and poetry and good story lines that can help you to escape from the world that we live in. So with this in mind, here are five reasons why listening should be your new superpower. These can apply to extroverts too, but I feel the introvert feels more deeply (sorry):
Story lines. Most of us are writers and artists and it’s hard to come up with idea after idea. Listening to a friend for half an hour can normally provide you with about five year’s worth of writing material.
Deeper relationships. I’m an INFP and I’m sure that any other feeling personalities out there will get me when I say that that is pretty much all I want in life. I want to connect with people on a spiritual level even if I can’t quite articulate what that means.
You’re always at the centre of everything but never the aggressor. It’s so nice for me to know why people are feeling the way that they do, but on the other hand I hate being dragged into the gossip. If people know you as the listener they will go to you for a shoulder to cry on and some advice at the very most. If you are the gossip, you still hear everything but they go to you for a bitch ‘n moan session which is incredibly draining.
People actually remember you more. I sometimes worry that because I don’t shout and make a noise like some of the stronger characters in my world, that I must just fade into the background and be totally unmemorable. But being the listener is a valuable cog in the machine and people remember the one who put them first. They remember the person who didn’t ram all their troubles right back down their throats.
You learn so much about life. I wish that I had spent my twenties listening more. I would be so much more wise right now. My friend is twenty three and has a masters in all things therapy so she is well versed in the values of listening. Because she has learnt all this as part of her studies she is more aware of how humans work than I am and I have about twelve years on her. Now I’m playing catch up, but then there are people in their fifties who are still mouthing off like they know everything so it could always be worse.
Just try and think of a time you needed somebody to sit and nod. They could be thinking about what they wanted for dinner but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they were there and that they made all the right sounds. I’m definitely going to try this a little more and I will report back with my findings.
i chose the bottle over the most simple of things.
i loved nothing more than to slip under it’s spell,
and leave this world that made me unwell.
i’d ignore all those things i was meant to do,
head in the sand so I could avoid the view.
but now i’m stepping out from that haze.
i’m doing it all by myself.
and whether you snort at my efforts
rolling your eyes at the fact that i’m boasting
about such a small, insignificant thing.
it really doesn’t matter to me
because i’m living my dream, of that i am sure.
today it’s just parenting but tomorrow it’s more.
that i can promise with my hand on my heart
because now that i’m sober i won’t fall apart.
today it’s just glasses that i’m lovingly buying,
by tomorrow i know that i’ll truly be flying.
I bought my son his glasses this week and it’s the first time that I’ve ever done it. We’ve lived with my parents for his whole life and they have done everything for us. Mum has always taken him to the opticians and had his eyes tested. I’ve never even set foot inside that shop because I never had to. It was always easier to get drunk and let her shoulder the responsibility.
But now we are on our own and I had to step up to the plate. I was terrified of something that most parents would just take in their stride. I didn’t know how we got his eyes tested or what to do about trying on and selecting frames because I’ve just never had to do it.
We did it though, like a little team. And it may seem like such a tiny thing but to me I couldn’t stop thinking about how I’m growing and learning after a decade in the fog of alcoholism. I feel like I’m finally learning how to do all the things that I watched other grown ups do so easily. It was mystifying to watch them go about their business when I had no clue. But now I’m proving to myself that I do have a clue! I’m doing it and I’m damn proud of that!
I’m not proud of the mess I’ve gotten myself into though. I’m in my mid thirties and I have a teenager and I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing. I feel like I’m about twelve and I’ve just been thrown into the deep end. It’s all my own fault that I’m here and that is heart breaking. But rather than be miserable or ashamed and wallow in those feelings, I choose to celebrate my little victories.
So today, I hope that you can also really bask in the nice feelings you get when you do something that either frightened you, or just plain bamboozled you. You deserve to enjoy every victory, no matter how small. For some people it might mean running a marathon while for others it might mean just going to the shop or doing a shift at work without crying. We all have our battles and nobody can tell you that yours is insignificant. You are loved and special and I say a prayer for you today if you are struggling with any of these issues.
It’s me who needs to handle this with grace and love,
And all the things I never got.
Later on that night
He came to me and held me tight
And in the kitchen, there we stood,
A decision made to heal our wounds,
Rewrite the past that’s caused this pain.
Between us we can start afresh,
Weather the storm that’s not abating,
Surviving the feelings that are inundating.
Words have power but love is stronger
And we’ll stay standing just a little longer.
Today I went to the bus stop to collect my son. He has a long journey because we have recently moved from my parents’ house which is much closer to his school. He has lived in this house since he was a baby and so this change has been hard on him. Add to this the fact that he hasn’t seen his nan in months and now she is starting divorce proceedings; it has led to a very stressful time for both of us.
So, anyway, I went to collect him and when I asked how his day was he snapped at me. It was out of character and it made me go quiet. I feel bad about everything that he has had to go through and see this year and it makes me feel like a terrible mother when I know that he is hurting.
He came to me afterwards and he said he was sorry and we hugged. I want him to feel that he can vent his anger when things are hard because I was never allowed to do this and it’s been really damaging in my adult life.
He’s on his computer now. I have no idea if he’s happy but I have a feeling that there’s a lot of hurt inside. All I can do is love and forgive. He does the same for me when I’m venting.
I hope that this poem can touch a few hearts. I’m sure there are mums out there that have been through a turbulent time and had to shelter their little humans from as much as it as possible. I sometimes just need a cry to get through it and that’s what I’m doing as I sit on the sofa and write this poem. Keep strong if you are struggling, and hug it out when things get super bad. A good hug can fix anything that’s hurting.
I’ve been thinking about legacy a lot recently. I know it’s morbid but every time I have an ache or pain, the first thing that runs through my mind is that it’s something serious and I mustn’t have long left on this planet.
Of course, none of us know exactly when the end is coming so we do really need to think about the legacy that we are leaving behind for our children and their children.
As I’ve watched the news recently, it has become more and more evident that nothing is set in stone anymore. The money that we make and accumulate and the property that we hope to pass on can be taken from us in an instant. It’s terrifying, but it’s in these moments of fear that we really get some clarity on what’s important.
I think that there are a couple of things that we can leave behind that are much better than property and money. The first is the things that we create, artistically. Paintings and pieces of writing and sculptures and films and crochet blankets. Everything that is an artistic expression is like a piece of our heart that we have poured out into the world. These are things that are personal and even if they are worth nothing to the world at large, they are irreplaceable for the ‘few’ that I mention in this poem. Think of a painting done by a three year old at nursery. His parents will put it on their fridge and love it forever when it has no value to anyone else. Sure, the paper may disintegrate into nothing but the love that it represented will never be wiped out.
The other thing you can leave is something that will grow and help others over time. Even helping once or twice at a shelter or food bank is helping that thing to grow and just think of all the people that it will help over time. Our good actions are like ripples and they just spread without our awareness. All we are responsible for is starting that process.
I hope that you are already working on your legacy. You don’t need to even know what it is, just pumping those good intentions out into the world could be building something that will be great long after you are gone.
I’m relatively new to the world of haiku so I’ve been playing around with the format quite a bit recently. The thing is, I can’t seem to use it for anything serious or meaningful. All I want to do is write something fun because it’s just too short to do anything else. I’m sure there must be other people out there who feel the same? Am I right?
Anyway, here are two of my early attempts. The first is called Hollywood Drama and the second is all about the B word. Everyone in Britain will be clicking away from this post immediately but imma gonna go there anyway….
Brad met Jen and then
He made a film with Ange and
There were lots of kids
The B Word
Brexit is real fun
Politicians tend to lie
I am lying too
SubscribeFor all those extra little nuggets of wisdom
Keep up to date with the blog and other things patient and kind!