21 Questions about relationships, who would I swap lives with, being the president of a country, greatest fears and more.
Man, the pressure.
The pressure to be and do all is immense.
I have been on the go for the past couple of months, and I was afraid of a burnout.
To avoid that, I gave myself an impromptu annual leave from creating last week.
The weekend rolls around, quickly might I add, and a recollection of all I have to do resurfaces.
Waves of overwhelm come and go, and I think ‘Shit, already? It’s not even Monday yet!’.
The urge to stay under a blanket increases.
‘One thing at a time Irene’, I hear myself say. Seconds later, I deflate like a popped balloon, releasing all the pressure, expectations and dread I was filled with.
Yes, you’re right, one thing at a time.
The way many of us live, even with mindfulness, is unnatural. In fact, some of us use mindfulness to fuel us in making the 101 things we think we should be doing, feel ‘sustainable’.
But we’re not robots, even though much of society expects us to be.
Look at what 2019 till date has shown us. The planet (conspiracy theories and all), told us to sit in the corner and do not move. And yet so many of us are eager to get back to living lives that we despised and our bodies hated.
Speed: Slo-mo x 2.0. That’s the setting we need to be on more, at least whilst we figure out what we respectively want for ourselves.
For me, I recognise harmony is important, and part of that means not being resistant to the flow of my life and allowing it to guide what I do. Resistance equals dis-ease, discomfort, and frustration.
In the past, whenever I realised that I was using all of my might to make something to happen, I would stop and do nothing. And every single time I did that, my needs were still met, things worked as it should, and life continued.
I’m always a little amazed at what occurs for and around me without my forceful input.
Granted, it’s not easy to release control, but in such moments, that is what is best.
The earth, without our input, works beautifully and in order. There is no force or great struggle.
It’s us humans, who are always in a hurry and want so much more. We proceed to do, so that we can have, and ultimately move at a pace that are bodies on every plain, cannot handle.
As the week continues, reflect on what you are doing. Do you really have to do it? Will everything crumble if you don’t do it?
Give yourself a break, and just deflate. And then slowly, very slowly, do the thing you authentically connect with.
I deeply connect with philosophy and writing, and therefore I do it, sometimes kicking and screaming, because the semantics bog me down. It’s where I’m meant to be, at least for now.
Don’t be afraid to let a few things go. Trust me, it will be fine without you. You on the other hand, might not be, if you continue to commit to a lifestyle that simply is not fit for your purpose.
Talks of Tier 5? What are they doing? Who is in BJ’s camp advising him? And when will they all leave this office?
Feels like we’re unlocking a new level in a game, but instead of gaining points, collecting treasures and getting super powers, we’re awarded an increase in frustration, confusion and sadness.
I’m convinced Boris hates his constituents.
Everything, is too little, too late.
I understand that this is brand new for all of us, including the government. The difference however, is that they have access to experts in every field to guide them on how to best manage the pandemic and people, along with their expectations, well-being, and livelihoods.
Also, we’re all privy to seeing how other countries have dealt with efficacy. For goodness sake, take notes!
We all hate what this pandemic has done, but it’s the management of it all that’s one of most challenging things about it.
The messaging has been unclear, impractical, and simply cannot be trusted.
The ping ponging of our physical, emotional and mental well-being is what is taking a huge toll on everyone. Its our lives in the balance— double entendre intended.
I watched this video a little while back (see below) and this principle, is one way to effectively manage things in difficult and unprecedented times.
If anyone knows the PM, please direct him to this post.
That’s my little rant over. Back to us.
For us as individuals, we have a responsibility to ourselves. We cannot afford to rely on the elected to make decisions that support us.
So in this transformational period, pivot.
This has been my saving grace. When plans do not work out, I work with what’s working, I look at the alternatives, I face what’s immediately in front of me not months ahead, I control what I can control, and leave the rest.
Standing in one spot and allowing life to happen to us in every aspect is only going to pull us further and further away from our nirvana.
Shift your focus and pool your energy into a penetrable cause. Think of yourself as an athlete, say a tennis or basketball player or even a footballer. Consider how they constantly look for the opportunity to win. That’s what we can do too, win.
N.B Everyone’s winning is different.
…And I have every faith that as resilient and buoyant people, we will recover, like always.
Are the goals and dreams you have yours? As in, do they belong to you? Were they carefully crafted in your mind, and intricately thought about by you, for you?
Are you sure?
Are YOU sure?
I saw someone get featured in a magazine and the next thought I had was ‘Oh I’d like to be a magazine’. I said it instinctively.
It was quickly followed by ‘Erm no you don’t. Why do you want to be in a magazine? How would it change your life? What would it do for you?’.
This internal conversation took place in a matter of seconds, and swiftly I threw that fickle desire in the bin before it grew legs.
Sure, it’ll be a nice to have, maybe, but when I checked in with my goals, being in a magazine wasn’t on the list, and I’m not about to shift my focus onto something different and someone else’s achievement on a whim, simply because it looked good.
Too often we collect other people’s achievements and aspirations, and make them our own and don’t even realise it.
And as we carry out the work associated with accomplishing that goal, we wonder why it’s so incredibly hard to attain, and why it’s not ‘working’ as it should. It could be because you had no business doing it in the first place.
I want my own business- do you really?
I want a huge wedding- do you really?
I want to be a billionaire- do you really?
I want this body type- do you really?
I want to be famous- do you really?
How much of what you do is done because it’s socially acceptable?
One of the beautiful things that has occurred this year is the realisation to many people of what is most important to them. People are waking up.
I have seen people move across the globe, get married on their doorstep, downsize the homes they’ve lived in for years, change careers, and just take chances they wouldn’t normally because they have come back home to themselves and are consciously doing what is right for them.
But like I said, I was just checking.
I trust that whatever you’re doing and working on, is for you, by you.
I cannot remember the last time I decorated my home for Christmas. My family, at least the younger lot, aren’t fussed with Christmas much to my dismay. How and why don’t you love it?!?
Keeping up the Christmas cheer when others around you are not enthusiastic about it, has been challenging and ultimately demotivating. As a result my festive spirit waned over the years. Bah hambug!
This year is different. Maybe it’s because I’m away from home and in a new home, but I decided that given everything that has happened, creating a little joy in our place was necessary.
Saturday was the first day of the non-essential shops reopening, and having spent the last few weeks only going to the supermarket and straight back home, I was itching to get out and do other normal things, albeit with a mask on.
We spent the day deciding on Christmas decor; should we get a white tree? a green one? a snow Christmas tree? tinsel? a Christmas plant? decorative Christmas window stickers? Yes. Yes to everything.
That evening we put the tree together. It looked small and scrawny.
We spent the first few seconds after erecting the tree laughing at how uncharismatic and un-christmas it looked. Um did we make a mistake going for this tree?
A can of fake snow, tinsel, glittery green and gold baubles and LED lights later, we had a semblance of healthy-ish and joyful looking tree. Results! (Still a work in progress)
The warm and inviting ambience the lights create as it subtly illuminates the room, gives me instant joy and is a reminder that good and wonderful things exist. I’m glad I didn’t succumb to being the Grinch this year, as 2020 really doesn’t need any help with that!
My point is mark the occasion, no matter how little or who likes it or doesn’t, curate a little joy for yourself.
I have been drafting this post for weeks, and with each passing day I say I’m going to finish it and click publish.
My perfectionism has had a firm grip on me, and it’s baby, procrastination, has been tap dancing all around me, however, I— I think today is D-Day.
It’s fortuitous as our friends stateside near the end of the presidential election, and my family and friends in England are preparing for a lockdown and I, well, I’m already in a lockdown in France. It’s all systems go and transitions of all sorts are afoot.
Transitions can be ugly, messy and traumatic. Even the beautiful and welcomed ones can still be difficult and sad.
I think it’s safe to say that we’re all experiencing a transition period of varying degrees, consisting of upheavals, rapid change, deep losses and lots of growing pains.
Naturally, there’ll be emotions that come up as you go through this phase, but don’t dismiss or suppress them as they surface. Allow them to breathe and work through them.
By doing this, you’re clearing the way and getting rid of the gunk in a healthier fashion and in turn making space to think clearly, and direct your energy where you truly want it.
Trust me, I get it. There is so much going on and it’s challenging to sift out what is for you and useful, and what isn’t.
With this in mind, what has become increasingly clear over the past few months is the power of words. And in this era of instant send and receive, it is crucial to own and use language that is not only yours, but in cultivating the circumstances you want to bring to life.
So be intentional. Create a haven for yourself with whatever you have. Envision something greater and keep going—You’ve made it this far, you’ll get through this too!
P.s I am still not entirely pleased with this post. The words just lack synergy, it feels gritty, but the aim is progress, not perfection.
As each day passes, it seems like those in office are making Ip Dip Doo decisions concerning our lives, and I am both appalled and fed up.
I am in that delirious stage of dealing with change, where I experience bouts of hysteria, because what we are experiencing is so unbelievable. I keep expecting the director to shout ‘cut’ to end scene, as surely this cannot be real life?!
It caused me to think of my childhood, and how I was conditioned to believe that ‘grown ups’ were all knowing and made sound decisions. Ha!
Of course that isn’t entirely true, and truthfully it’s unnerving, because who do you trust? Who can you rely on to make decisions that have your best interests at heart? Decisions that will impact your future and other generations?
Those that we have elected intentionally or not, are simply not connected to the issues that affect a majority.
With that said, we cannot afford to give all the power to people evidently ill-equipped. It is up to us to design a life that works best, despite the recession, pandemic, Brexit, questionable leadership, and myriad of other things.
This might mean changing your lifestyle, moving cities, taking up causes, career changes, retraining or doubling down on the vision you have for your future.
And no, you cannot half-heartedly do it. There can be no dipping of toes into water, or observing others go for it, looking for evidence in their moves as to why perhaps you shouldn’t.
You, must pursue your dreams, with reckless abandon.
A whole new world (a whole new world)
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us, “No”
Or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming
-Usually precedes the beginning of a wild, terrible, crazy, unbelievable story.
If you have been able to do something, anything, during this time, kudos to you.
If you haven’t because life stopped, dropped, rolled (a euphemism for shit blew up), kudos to you too.
In both scenarios, you are doing what is best for you.
There is no requirement to do or be anything other than what is good for you and yours, no matter what anyone else says.
As for me, I take each day as it comes, only making another move when needed, which is usually hour by hour, trusting that things will work out.
Having said that, I feel my second wind coming, and hopefully that means I will be here more often.
Until then, take very good care mes amis.
In this new normal that the world is currently living in, something to remember as we connect more with ourselves, with others, and possibly blasts from the past is this:
Words deceive, patterns do not. Look alive (Also stay alive).