The previous weekend to this I spent a little bit too much time on my own. Some solitude and breathing space is very necessary and always welcome. I enjoy my own company to a degree, but I normally know if I’m in the correct head space for it. I sort of knew it wasn’t a good idea. But I suffer from fatigue and after the working week which also consists of getting up early to meditate and getting home late after meeting up with “Mutual Friends” I decided to take time out. A simple siesta on the Saturday afternoon. Quiet time on the couch continuing reading my way through the Stephen King fantasy extravaganza (nearly finished book 5 of 7) “The Dark Tower”, and by Monday I was a basket case.Why is that? I mean sometimes that really works for me so why not this time? Like I said, I vaguely sensed it wasn’t a good idea at the start. I know this because Ive come to understand the benefits and self awareness I get from taking a personal inventory, self-searching! But I have to be honest with what I find, or what’s the point. On a deeper level I know when Im isolating, all be it on a sub-conscious level – Engaging in bullsh**t but never saying much. Nodding in all the right places whilst been somewhere completely different in my head, totally tuned into “Radio John”. Anywhere but the here and now! I can very quickly become disconnected and there lies the root of many problems.
They say the opposite of addiction is connection. Instead of been self obsessed with self pity and self loathing, the way to break self destruction is to emancipate yourself with the reality that humans are pack animals. The wave doesn’t think of itself as different from the ocean, it is the ocean. This requires action, and that requires effort. You get out what you put in and I made a decision to do just that. Its been an interesting week.
Firstly, before I can connect to others I need to ditch some baggage, some negativity. My demons sit at the bottom of the bed and like to bounce on my chest as I start to open my eyes. Thats ok, Ive made friends with them now. What used to scare me seem nothing more than irritating pests now – as long as I show them the door quick, otherwise I start playing with them. Then I’m in trouble. Much has been made of meditation and mindfulness lately, theres always somebody talking about it, how its good for this and that. For me its about reality – “I’m aware I’m breathing in, Im aware I’m breathing out”. I’m here in the now, alive and blessed to be starting a new day. Thats it, what else could be more real. This prepares me to be open to any and all possibilities and challenges that the Universe throws my way, accepting that I have very little control over any of them, except my attitude and actions. I put the leg work in, the results I leave to God.
Identification is vital to connection. Though some of my biggest results have come through the spiritual practice of “Live and let Live” in as much as I’ve developed patience and tolerance by been around people that test my patience and tolerance. When my spiritual battery starts to flatten I need to connect with those that understand this through their own personal experience and have faced similar struggles as myself. Humans suffer, thats part of our make up and how we grow. Recognising it in others and helping them see it for what it really is, thats the purpose of existence. I spent decades propping up a bar stool, telling war stories to anybody daft enough to listen, feeding an ego. The problem with ego is its very fragile and always under threat of attack. This destroys connection and feeds isolation till self sufficiency fails absolutely, nothing left except to get drunk and stay that way.
So, how did the week go and did I connect…
A friend at work has got an idea for a project. He asked for help and I was glad to assist him. Maybe nothing will come of it but its doing him good. Been there for somebody else when theres nothing in it for me takes me out of that self centred mode and I get a connection straight away.
Myself and another colleague attended a coffee morning for Veterans. He has started a Homeless Veterans project. I was just along for the ride but got to discuss my Travelling Fellowship with the organiser and offer him to come along to one of my presentations.
I got an email from a magazine editor, he had done a spread on Homelessness in New Orleans. The Churchill Trust had forwarded him my press release and he was looking for Photos he could use. I told him of the new Veterans project and he was interested, again there was nothing in it for me other than the opportunity to do the next right thing. The opposite of my default setting.
I was asked if I would take part in student training for my endocrinologist, first thought was “cant be bothered” the second thought won out.
I pushed myself to speak up when meeting with “Mutual Friends”. Most of the time that isn’t a problem. When I feel anxious and don’t want to then it is a problem and thats when I’ve got to speak.
I took the time to meet up with family and be patient with them, really listening to what they’ve got to say and enjoying their company. They are incredible people, they mean everything to me, but that little voice says “You could be at home been a sloth on the couch, you’ve had a hard day”.
Every morning before leaving the house I text a set of likeminded friends and connect. Respecting them enough to let them honestly know if things are ok or if they are not ok. Like they do with me. The wave is the ocean.
Went to a social event Saturday night and found myself really enjoying the band and even though everybody was drunk I sat with “A friend of Bill” feeling totally comfortable.
Does any of this come easy to me? Not really! Do I feel better? Absolutely! And I still found plenty time to chill with the book.
“In my friend, I find a second self” – Isabel Norton.
“Gardening is an active participation in the deepest mysteries of the Universe” – Thomas Berry.
“Service to others is the rent we pay for our time here on Earth” – Muhammad Ali.