Category Archives: growth

Lessons learned (till next time…)

This post may get added to,  as I identify (or, more likely, am reminded yet AGAIN!) what works and what doesn’t in keeping myself grounded and stable.

  • Alcohol and chocolate seem like a very good idea at the time when I’m in emotional pain, but they’re not. They give a very short spell of relief, then insomnia, an upset stomach and regret.
  • Sometimes taking my to-do list and saying that I’ll spend 15 minutes on the first item can get me moving.
  • Related to this, my “alternating” strategy of doing something – anything – then reading or watching TV can get me mechanically through times when I really can’t initiate ot find any energy.
  • Yesterday I went to bed in the afternoon because I really couldn’t get myself moving at all – nothing would settle me. I didn’t go to sleep, but spent some time reflecting on “Solitude” (see previous 2 posts), and it helped – new insights.
  • Compulsive checking of email and Facebook doesn’t make more people get in touch: it provokes feelings of disappointment and isolation.
  • Getting out and walking, even (especially?) in the teeth of a gale helps
  • Feeding my mind helps – reading or watching a stimulating TV documentary

Alone as a neutral space

Yesterday I had a busy, noisy day in London. Some alcohol-fuelled students on the train got it off to a nerve-jangling start, and I found the crowds and noise difficult all day. So this morning, sitting in bed, aware of the silence around me, I could welcome it. And that gave me a different perspective on being alone – it’s a neutral space, that I can populate in different ways.

I’ve just written in my journal: “projecting inner wounds onto a neutral space”. I mean the labelling of being alone as rejected, invisible, unloved etc etc. Making it  a place of hurt and pain. There is choice in this.  This morning there was a sense of needing to embrace the silence and aloneness – that’s what transforms it into solitude, which is the healthy place to be with it.

Maybe I have more choice in this than I like to accept. There’s a perverse pleasure sometimes in the melancholy, in the “lonely”, “unwanted” labels. They confirm old scripts. But maybe I can choose to make it time to change those scripts…

I’m using a collection of quotes on solitude, and yesterday’s was:

I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self, but my books were always my friends , let fail all else.

Joshua Slocum, Sailing alone around the world.

At first it was the bit about the books that struck me, as it chimed with my thoughts earlier this week about reading rather than surfing social media when I’m feeling lonely or bored. But as the day went on I found myself reflecting on the first part. Choice again. Am I Iago’s “I am myself alone” – or am I part of the whole, even if I go through the world in solitude? As I walked to the station, I was listing things that I’m a part of, belong to: my family; my local community; my city; my county; my country – and so on, radiating outwards. I’m part, if a loose part, of some friendship circles. Of the organisations I belong to. Of the online forums I  subscribe to. Of the groups of people who have shared interests, even if we’re not working together on them. Of those who have similar political and ethical vews. And so on. Most of the time, that doesn’t mean I’m communicating with the people in these different groups, but there’s a sharing, something in common. Perhaps having a consciousness of all those links, basically seeing myself as connected rather than as isolated in that bubble, would help change my outlook and diminish the pain?