Oh, how easily, I take things WAY too seriously. The warrior within me loves striving for things which feel important, and, A LOT of things have felt important this year. A lot of things have felt meaningful and like they matter and need our attention, now. And a lot of this “mattering” has felt oh so heavy and requiring of “serious action”. This warrior within dances in her armour with delight at the unceasing series of issues for her to grapple with and fight for. While the rest of me wants to hibernate and self soothe in my dressing robe (while eating a pack of biscuits with a mug of tea the size of my face) to get over the backfire feelings of impatience, frustration and exhaustion!
2020 isn’t a one issue year. It’s not just one battle. And every day of 2020 cannot be battle day! It cannot.
I don’t think I’m alone. It feels like I’m part of some working from home tribal war dance making the steps we think we must to keep it all together at home whilst also being upstanding and productive global citizens. My beautiful friends are out there working hard for inclusivity, the environment, voter reform, and on, and on, and on. At the same time working to keep their house ship shape, their relationships together and stop their head from floating away from their body.
I keep hearing the heavy ding of this battle in the word “striving”: “I’ll strive to do that better next time”, “let’s strive together to make that happen”, “let’s strive to get the kids together for a playdate” like conversational evidence of how hard we are trying and battling through life right now. Sometimes it feels to me like all this positively intended striving is held together with a fragile and fraying piece of string which could snap at any moment. I’m left wondering if all this striving will create the outcome we want?
When I’m in warrior “important” mode I rapidly move to neutralise things so this can all be over and we can all move on and be OK again as quickly as possible. I have a laser like focus, narrowing things down to 2 options, and placing a solid, heavy lid on the millions of other available possibilities which my urgent earnestness to solve the issue has no time for. “Look, it’s only Choice A or Choice B: choose now”!!! What happened to our love in with 50 shades of grey??? But the year of soaring rope sales was back in a time when I for one was living within the cocooned illusion of a certain world. Now, nothing feels certain. Now, nothing feels under control (ps I know, it never was..). Could all this striving and over responsibility be an attempt to escape from a deeper fear; a mistrust of all the uncertainty swirling around me, and perhaps my own ability to navigate it? Could it be a survivalist response to try and control SOMETHING?
Is there another way? Now look, my inner warrior finds this next sentence absolutely f+cking hilarious: what would happen if I relaxed? If I decided to be far more easy about it all? (Honestly, she’s cackling her masked head off right now and calling me a naïve hippy!). To relax? To enjoy the moment that comes? What, stop struggling every day pushing for something to happen? YES! Because this striving survivalist approach to my life doesn’t, work, anyway. 2020 (and 2021, and 2022….) is going to unfold exactly as it might no matter what I do. Could I relax and trust (and at least act as if) everything is in fact unfolding exactly as it’s meant to (even though this blows my logical mind into smithereens) and perhaps, more importantly, trust myself to navigate whatever happens? It’s time to hang up the heavy armour.
But it’s proving to be far from easy breezy to relax! Just the other day I was talking to a new school mum friend about my “Working from Home, Part II” as the UK is asked this week to start working from home again. I was diligently explaining how this time around I’m going “to take it more seriously” (see, there it is again) and have daily standards for myself: to eat a piece of fruit every day, to leave the house, to exercise every day”… Before I could carry on down my diligent list she said:
What about, “Find 5 Fun Things To Do A Day” list””?
What? What about THAT???? 5 FUN things a day! That felt ridiculously, hedonistically, good (although my brain started whirring about what those 5 things could be…). And here’s what I haven’t told you yet: the real me hiding inside the armour has a HUGE NEED FOR DAILY FUN! It fuels me and lights me up. Weirdly even writing it that way is making me realise that this is the very kind of fuel I need to keep going! If striving leads to my light burning out could the polar opposite of taking a playful approach be the very thing I need to keep the lights on and burning bright for everyone to see better? So I’m going to run an experiment and be easy about it all! Let’s see what happens!
I’m off to watch the Red Army sing Sex bomb now as part of today’s fun list. Check it out. It’s hilarious!
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