Meandering March or marching to… That is the question
Humf….its March. That’s what I think when I write this. March….so that’s month 3, entering the end of the first quarter of 2016, 41 days passed (another humf).
Next thought…. …. So what have I achieved in January and February. I can think of a few things, kept a surprising amount of my new year resolution’s this time. For me, it’s quite an achievement when a New Years resolution makes it into the third month of the year. I have a reputation amongst my family and close friends as the person who has ‘phases’. That and a terrible memory.
There have been a few ‘phases’ in my life, all innocent, all life affirming and character building, not all can be described in a blog for fear of being misconstrued as a misguided, indecisive, easily manipulated, easily influenced, non-focussed person when really all it was, was pure naivety (after all, I did grow up in Norfolk), gullibility combined with an attitude of a glass is half full. I can identify the ones which are potentially relatable or, at the very least comprehensible. Phases like, I apparently change my clothes sense depending on my boyfriend at the time. Tight clothes to display body shape, baggy clothes to hide my body shape, corporate clothes, boho clothes, 60s clothes my Mum made during her teenage years in the 60s (triggering my indulgence of bright colours) - they were back in fashion right?, indie clothes, shell suits, now there’s a outfit that has escaped the 80s resurrection … What was the ‘shell’ about?
My husband was mortified the other day when he saw an old photo of me wearing my ‘home cardigan’ out in public. This rather over sized light blue-grey cardigan made by my Grandma for my Mum is the most comfortable, warmest cardigan I own and it had regular appearances in public when I was in my boho phase. It was warmer than any coat I owned from a high street shop. It is important to note at this point that I have never had a ‘sense’ of clothes. I’ve never been the fashionable sister, the friend you borrow clothes from, the business partner who wears funky clothes and looks ‘cool’. I maintain a few principles when venturing out on a shopping trip. Black, grey or dark coloured items - walk straight past. They literally don’t have an existence in ‘Aleah world’, well, that is until I realised I couldn’t match any of my skirts with my tops because none of the colours or patterns matched. But then again, really how important is that? I now have 2 faithful black jumpers and 2 faithful white jumpers. Principle resumed.
The next one - jeans. I won’t even bother browsing. If I choose to wear jeans, it will be because I’m calm, anxiety free and can put up with a day of feeling uncomfortable. I’m a self-employed composer - this never exists, certainly not past the first two hours of the day. Growing up, the different tailored choices available today didn’t exist. I’m sure there was only two - tight and baggy… Does my memory fail me again here? With the plethora of ‘fits’ now, you would think I could find atleast one ‘fit’ but the search continues. They’re either too high and consequently remind me I really should make that effort I promised myself to become as thin as I was 3 years ago after a break-up. You know … the size everyone reduces to after a break-up. The best diet program a person can endure. “I’ll definitely do the Gillian Michaels DVD tomorrow” the little voice in my head says … the day passes by, I lose track of time in work and at the end of the day I chastise myself that I didn’t do the 20 minute DVD work-out I’d promised myself, or the 20 minute meditation I’m meant to be doing every day, or the piece I wanted to compose, or the contact I wanted to engage with, or the research I wanted to do…. (The knot in the middle of my body tightens like a towel that you are trying to wring the last drop of water from) … “What have I achieved today?” followed by deathly silence …
Anxiety, expectations, failure, self deprecation … It’s destructive to a persons mental health and yet it’s an accepted disposition of a human being. I enrolled on a mindfulness course in January in an attempt to control my anxiety and contain my fear of being a failure (a disposition of an ‘artist’). It’s a small class. Everyone else is seeing the benefits. They can ‘do’ the exercises. I on the other hand, am the timid but internally rebellious student in the corner who is looking at her fellow classmates wondering if they’re actually benefiting or whether they are wearing a mask of pretence that all is well. My teacher keeps talking about judgements. Humans apparently constantly judge ourselves. I’m acknowledging I can’t meditate which is apparently a judgment. It’s not a judgement, it’s a fact. It’s not happening. Am I misunderstanding the word ‘judge’? ‘A public officer appointed to decide cases in a court of law ’ … Ergh , no’A leader having temporary authority in ancient Israel in the period between Joshua and the Kings’ … Ergh, no, but that’s an interesting definition I’ve not heard before. Thanks google’Form an opinion or conclusion about’ … Ahhhhh, well, umm, I guess so? Is a fact a conclusion about something or is it a fact?
I digress … Where was I? Oh yes, my mindfulness course and lack thereof mindfulness after 5 weeks. This week we tried a different type of meditation, instead of gently pushing any thoughts anyway that entered whilst meditating, we were asked to think of a worry and focus on it, allow it to exist, don’t try to push it away. I start this process with ease, after all this is the main source of food for my anxiety, “oh great” the head voice says “I’ve got to do what I do all day every day” … Then in what can only be described as an act of rebellion, I fall into a meditative state of restfulness. I can feel my breathing, my head is clear, I’m aware of the person next to me, the silence around me, I can feel sensations in my toes, my feet, my ankles, calves, thighs. I don’t question anything, I am just being … Silence … “How did that practice make you feel Aleah?” The teacher says. My head voice now allowed to be external “ummm, well, actually, I just had my first meditative experience of peacefulness. A bewildered look and laughter from my fellow classmates. Not the type of laughing at, more the type of laughter and sheer ridiculousness of it how when we were asked to embrace our uncomfortable thoughts, I explore the peaceful meditative state.
It reminds me of being at school again where I didn’t quite understand what we were being taught, something wasn’t clicking. Partly because my deafness meant I didn’t hear all the teachers words, other times because my undiscovered dyslexia meant I didn’t recognise how I learnt. Unfortunately, the delivery style was the opposite to my learning needs hence the severe lack of knowledge in some areas (much to my fellow travellers amusement a few years ago when visiting a skeleton of a dinosaur in Bolivia, I had the realisation that dinosaurs weren’t a myth and actually did exist ).
Reading back through this, it is my most digression fuelled blogpost to date. Meandering seems appropriate now. I really hope March becomes marvellous March and April doesn’t become agonising April. Time will tell….
‘There is no boat big enough to keep you drowning in the sea of yourself ’ Caitlyn Siehl
‘Life is 10% what you experience and 90% how you respond to it’ Dorothy M. Neddermeyer
Another year starts … another January passes … another resolution scuppered …
I’m left with a juxtaposition of sorts. Chastising myself for 2016’s first failure, then consoling myself that this is not so. It’s not setting a precedent for an impending year of failures.
I actually started the writing of this post by google searching which blog page I used for my previous blogs. That’s surely not a good sign. I could use the excuse that my memory is horrific … well, this isn’t really an excuse, more of a medical fact which I will explain in another blog post. However, I must also accept it’s a sign of the length of time I have been blog-less, blog-dormant, blog-away … I realise there probably isn’t a technical term but I find amusement in short-handing such things. New years res take 2.
Failure … A word triggered by any number of scenarios, one that is a reflection of our ability to perceive life’s misfortunes as either that or a life lesson. I like to think that I am in the camp of ‘every failure is another lesson of life’. Rarely does it feel like this in moments of darkness but I’ll always strive for the pursuit of happiness. What do you do?
(For those of you familiar with my previous blog posts you are probably thinking that this is rather a morose beginning. I can reassure, there is a happy ending).
Hope leads to failure. Expectations, love, ambitions, desire, beliefs, they all lead to failure …(I promise, there is light at the end of the tunnel) … Despite acknowledging this, the innate human spirit doesn’t admonish such emotions. Well, it may initially but it won’t forever. After all nothing is permanent, nothing lasts forever. This is most obvious to me when I reflect on my grandparents approach to life. My Grandma, Granny and Grandad lived to a great ripe old age. Grandad superseding my Granny and Grandma’s respectable age of 89, at 97 and a half his perception and appreciation of life always inspired me. To this day it still does and will continue to. I take inspiration from all my family members, a topic I will discuss in another blog post. Why wouldn’t I? They have all led different paths, learnt different lessons. It’s a human bookcase of priceless inspirational self-help books, one that is not always wholly appreciated for it’s true worth.
My grandparents always had a sense of hope. Maybe it stemmed from their experience in the war. Their hopeful wishes eventually answered when the war ended. Today we live with a different threat, a new form of terror where we don’t know when or where the next event will happen. Sure, political disturbances can be predicted and prepared for but the other type of terror is unprecedented and the brutality and disregard for life is something rarely experienced before. Of course, it is important to recognise people in other parts of the world have been living with this type of threat for years, some even decades. (However, the western media does not see the value in this. It doesn’t choose to share such stories. But we can, by looking outside the boxy world that the media creates). The punishment of others for an act they didn’t commit, the misguided beliefs of a religion which promotes the exact opposite of the intensions those groups are promoting. How would our grandparents and great grandparents see today’s threats? Would they still live in hope or would they savour each moment? Personally, I watched my grandparents savour every moment of life. It’s a quality I find fairly unique to their generation. They actually knew what it feels like to fear the end of the world. To live in a helpless war zone where your fate is at the hands of politicians. Many are still living this life.
So when aspects of life are not going the way you want, when a work project is stalled, when you feel your competitors are becoming more successful, when you feel you’re not achieving your goals, when you’re frustrated, when work and goals become all consuming, take a moment and ask yourself, am I still breathing, am I still living, can I still see, hear and feel the world around me. Do I have a roof over my head, an income, friends and family who support me in everything I do … If you can answer just one of these questions you are still alive. Don’t waste your life living in one dimension. Live outside the world which your mind sometimes creates and breath in the air around you. The air we all share. Life is a gift. Don’t leave it unwrapped. Open it and see what’s inside.
It seems I’m almost three months behind with this blog. I thought I had posted a May blog but evidently not. I could be really hard on myself and chastise myself for not even making it to 6 months of this New Years resolution but it would likely be the most unfair treatment of myself that I’ve ever imposed. Reflecting back to the time at the end of May until the 6th July, I am reminded about the revelationary experience of how one can literally run out of headspace. Being greenlit for a TV series with deadlines of immediate effect a week before heading abroad to get married, followed by a honeymoon equals many late nights and little, if any, sleep which in turn = no available time to finish last minute preparations for impending wedding, which = then-fiancé having to do most of the legwork which = a very anxious, stressed, guilt-ridden bride-to-be who is certainly not the vision of a glowing, excitable woman! So I’m going to refrain from punishing myself and wipe the slate clean. (Thought to self, will readers internally pronounce = as equals or is?).
I could write a novel size autobiography of these past 2.5 months but fear this is not suitable for a piece of blog literature. Commence the endless discussion of whether blog is literature. For those interested on such subjects I stumbled across this article from 2003 which amused me http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/ckbetas/2003/11/are_blogs_liter.html Are my readers even bothered about such etiquette?
According to a person who shall remain unnamed, I should only write a blog if I do it properly, whatever that means. Comments like the title should be shorter, the etiquette of using 3 dots should be space-3 dots-space
1. a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
… probably worth pointing out such comments are made but the blog is yet to be read by them. I question why but it’s met unanswered.
Since when did a blog become so prescriptive in its presentation. Is a blog not an outlet for your thoughts? The very definition of a blog is that it is
I was never academic, never able to grasp the skills of appropriate essay writing skills to a high standard, why can’t a blog be a self indulgant piece of literature which is self indulgent by the nature of ignoring rules, not necessarily the content. Although expressing the thoughts of oneself may be seen as self indulgant? Google definition:
‘characterized by doing or tending to do exactly what one wants, especially when this involves pleasure or idleness.’
… based on that, yup … this is a self indulgent blog. I do exactly what I want from a literal rule perspective. Those rules are unbeknown to me and will continue to be until someone explains the reasons for space-3 dots-space speculatively being appropriate blog etiquette! Smileys…..need I say more (;
Self-indulgence, living in ones own world…sometimes I think I would be more successful if I lived in ‘Aleah’s world’. I look at people I perceive to be successful and they all seem to have surrounded themselves in a world of their own talents occasionally dipping into the outside world for I’m not sure what. Does a self-indulgent blogpost portrait the persona of living solely in ones own world or does it allow for that to happen for a short period of time?
To live in my own world would lead to a life full of anxieties, never looking outside the battle of self-deprecation, always seeing a success as one that is not good enough and therefore not a success….it would not be living life. When I was a child I very much had an immortality attitude. It wasn’t until an upsetting event happened that I realised life does end and it doesn’t always end when we are old. I feel blessed to have experienced this although it took 7+ years to reach this conclusion. Consequently I can now appreciate life in a way that others are not always able to relate to. Which brings me onto the value of friendships.
Does anyone ever actually think about their friendships, cherish the value of them, appreciate the wonderful existence of the relationships they share with another person. Do you ever take friends for granted? I am humbled by the incredibly amazing friends I have. Everyday I’m reminded how lucky I am. My hen party (an event I never in a million years thought I would sign up for) was amazing purely because I was reminded of how lucky I am to have beautiful friendships with wonderful people. The fact I absolutely loved the hen activities (surfing, dancing and an interactive theatre piece) is also a compliment to those friendships.
So I end this blogpost on a life appreciating rant. If there is someone you havn’t spoken to for a while call them, they may not always be around. If there is an ambition you long to achieve, push aside all self-doubts and procrastination methods and just go for it, you may not always be around. One journey to work this week, leave your phone and headphones in your bag and look at the environment around you, look kindly into the eyes of those walking past you, smile at them. Be nice to those around you. According to the 7 degrees of separation theory, you are likely to know someone that knows them. Would you want that person to hear you’ve been rude to someone they know?
May’s quote of the month: ‘Life is too short for negativity. So I have made a conscious effort to not be where I don’t want to be’ - Hugh Dillon
June’s quote of the month: ‘Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.’ - William James
July’s quote of the month: ‘Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened’ - Dr Seuss