Thursday, April 07, 2016

Letting go of what and where and when..

Overwintered pelargonium as a metaphor for making it through the winter
...and how and why and probably who.

I'm a curious orange and spend so much time in my head with the serving men as the mighty Kipling called them in The Elephants's Child:

 I Keep six honest serving-men:
       (They taught me all I knew)
     Their names are What and Where and When
       And How and Why and Who.
     I send them over land and sea,
       I send them east and west;
     But after they have worked for me,
       I give them all a rest.

It's the last bit that trips me up, I spend so much time working them that I often forget to give them a rest. I have that poem on my pinboard at work, as a researcher it pleases me greatly to come back to those questions when I've been sidetracked off in to a blind alley. As a human Being I often try and use them to stop me getting in to blind alley, even though I know that getting somewhere you don't ultimately want to be can actually bring the greatest learning. I spend time trying to think my way through instead of moving my way through.

I am deliberately underscheduled for a week of leave from work, I have carefully chosen the few engagements for the week and actively cultivated hours of white space to try and tune in to my intuition, my body's wisdom and to play. To try and give that overwrought mind a rest and find some space within. From the bustle of the weeks leading up to this, dragging through the end of winter, picking up a stinking cold to weigh me down further, the thought of lots of nothing felt like the most wonderful mirage. All of the week and weekend before I could see myself step one side of the exhaustion line or the other - either facing down a spiral of despair that leads to me, unwashed on the sofa with only the internet and cats for company. (Maybe not even the cats or the internet when all money has dried up). (Wait, no sofa or house either come to think of it). Or Happy Moments when the promise of the Week of Sarah had me climbing up the spiral into the blossom cushioned blue sky.

On Monday when I was on my own all I wanted to do was sleep and I felt very in the despair and convinced that a mere week would never be enough. From that place of deep weariness I found it so hard to let go and sink in to sleep, even though I logically knew that it's the greatest healer, even though my body was crying out for it, Even Though I Had Nothing Else I Had to Do - the serving men were jumping all over the place measuring what was happening up against my hopes and expectations. My mind was so busy with what I should be doing, how the week could be maximised to bring the greatest rewards to my health and happiness. I watched my poor brain get knottier and my spirit sink lower as the inner toddler got more and more overtired and overwhelmed. Sleep by now having fled the crazy I did what I have gradually learned to do and kept on offering soothing solutions from my bag of tricks and eventually managed to calm the scared little down enough to nap and bathe and take a restorative yoga class. A good night's sleep saw me open Tuesday out feeling no more physically sparky but just enough this side of overtired to feel much more peaceful about the rest. To feel that change of perspective is the best evidence to my mind that the catastrophising of the day before was just a hysterical story and many weeks of doing absolutely nothing would not actually be required to make me feel half human again.

So it goes, round and round, the same challenges but each spiral around I am a little different and can play with the story to find new pathways. It's not been a smooth linear progression this week but the sparkle is definitely coming back. I feel I am very much like my little overwintered pelargonium pictured above, I've lost a lot of leaves and am a touch dishevelled round the edges but from this place today I can feel that my roots are in place and the new leaves are coming.

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