Posts Tagged ‘Musings’

I had too much to dream last night…

August 4, 2013

Last night I had a dream that presented a pinsharp, disturbing reality that I lived in until I awoke. And it has left me with a mixed feeling of distress and serenity which will probably last a while. I hope it does.

Electric Prunes EP cover

The Electric Prunes, “I had too much to dream last night”

In short I dreamt that I was on my deathbed, soon to die (from illness, not trauma) and struggling to breathe. There’s the distressing part.

And while living these last moments, I dreamt about a conversation I had with someone, I know not who, about how it felt to be dying.  This was my reply, to my own surprise…

“Oh it’s okay, there are no regrets” I said, “Everything I’ve done has made me who I am and has led me here to this very point at this very time and it’s all okay. Really. Everyone has their time and this is mine. It’s alright.”

And as I sit here now in the garden with an early morning cup of tea, I am very surprised by this response and it is this that has induced a sense of calmness in me. This feeling of acceptance about my own mortality is new, something I’ve never experienced before. Prior to this I’ve considered death largely with fear and loathing and I’ve imagined the horror of it.

garden wide_4724

Of course as I wait for the number 50 birthday bus to pull up outside our house next year, my own mortality is something I’ve become more aware of lately. I am definitely no longer a member of the invincible and eternal youth club and actually I’m very glad about that.

But until this dream I have viewed my own death largely with dread and its bony hand has also made me feel guilty; guilty that I should be doing so much MORE with my life, be a BETTER person while I’m here, be MORE GRATEFUL for all that I have and that I should be STRONGER than I am.

But this dream has given me a new sense of calmness; about the life I lead now and what my future decisions might be.  It will be okay and I am okay. I don’t have to fight and I don’t need to spend quite so much time thinking about what I should and could do or plotting a new career trajectory, I can be me, accept being me and maybe even enjoy being me.

gdn blackberry_4716

Actually the dream has made me think that I need to enjoy being me as much as possible. And if that doesn’t involve saving the World and/or conquering my fear of scary roller coasters, well that’s fine. In an almost reckless way it makes me think ‘sod it girl, just do what you do well and what you enjoy to the very best of your abilities – have fun with it and stop trying to be someone else, someone better. Indulge almost, in yourself and accept that while others may think differently of you – that’s okay. Stop worrying about what they all think”.

And if my way of making a mark on the World will be just a little thing or two, then that’s fine too. Of course I have my two lovely children, but I didn’t have them in order to make a mark (at least I don’t think I did); they are their own people and they have their own lives to lead, their own marks to make.

Of course I don’t mean that I should live a selfish life – whatever I do I should be mindful of others and hopefully helpful too, sometimes if not always. I am part of a family, a community and a society and my mission, should I choose to accept it, is to contribute to those groups as well as stand up as an individual and of course from such contributions, satisfaction and fulfillment comes. But that dream last night and my feelings this morning and this post are about me.

A counsellor I know once told me that each of us is like a precious, cut stone with many facets, some of which shine in the light and some of which stay in the shadows. And she told me that we can turn our stone so that different facets glint in the light while others recede into shade. But while we can change the position and angle of our precious stone we cannot change it – we are who we are.

garden pink flower_4699

To take this analogy which I like a lot (but liking is not the same as living) a bit further, perhaps I could also try a touch of polishing; bring out the shine a bit more.

This new morning sense I have that maybe I can (and should) enjoy who I am, as I have that opportunity, is of course borne out of self-acceptance. And this for me is the holy grail – acceptance. Not happiness, but acceptance. Who came up with happiness as the ultimate goal anyway? Personally I think that ‘happiness’ as a state of being is a myth. Just like ‘work-life balance’; another nonsensical nirvana that very few, or even none of us is able to reach. They are over-used terms that leave us all feeling like we’re failing. Or is that just me?!

Pah! to happiness. Pah! to work-life balance. Acceptance is where it’s at!

Acceptance of who we are as individuals, what we are formed of – good points and bad, talents and shortcomings.

gdn yellow flowers_4731

It has also made me think that when I consider my possible future career or job, that maybe I don’t need to conquer the world with a small business idea, or push to find a fancy pants role in a shiny company. Maybe a decent-ish job to which I can contribute something genuinely useful will be quite sufficient thank you; a job that forms part of my life not all of it and leaves enough brain space to enjoy the rest of life, spend more time with the girls as they grow up and hone my practice of enjoying being me.

Of course finding that mythical job is another thing, and it’s also another blog post, but for here and now just indulge me in the thought that this exists as a concept and maybe it’s what I want. Perhaps I can stop chasing dreams that don’t exist.

I can’t say I embrace the idea of death, but this morning I feel a new sense of calm about it that I’ve never experienced before. Death is, inevitably, something that will come to all of us. And while we’ve become used to controlling (or believing we control) most things in our lives; this little number keeps us guessing, which bothers us no end. And of course for some people death comes all too soon and all too painfully. But maybe when we consider it we can at least hope to feel at ease with it, not afeared by it.

gdn hydrangea_4713

Having written all this (and on my third cup of tea in the garden) I suddenly remembered a Guardian article I read a couple of years ago about dying patients greatest regrets, as recorded by an Australian palliative nurse, Bronnie Ware. There is a book; “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” too, but for now, here are the headlines.

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying…

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

It sent a shiver down my spine just now – I’m clearly on the right track. Now all I need to do is stay on it. Let’s all try… x

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Sorry seems to be the hardest word

April 10, 2013
burnt out cab

Stay Cool. Stay Clean.

I don’t mean to moan, but I’m going to – can you tell?!  

This week, on at least four occasions and for various reasons, I’ve hoped for an apology from someone and simply not got it. The circumstances and the people have varied – from shopkeepers to friends, but each person has failed to ‘do the right thing’, as I see it.

Rather than apologising, each of these people seems to believe that it is perfectly acceptable to dodge responsibility, lie even and then move swiftly on without acknowledging the impact of their action.

Each time it has left me baffled and after the third time I was left wondering whether I’ve missed one of life’s important little lessons. You know those unwritten rules that equip us to navigate life. Well maybe I was off ill for this one.

To my mind ‘sorry’ is such a powerful word which, when used properly, is very healing. I don’t think it’s a sign of weakness to say sorry, quite the opposite in fact. Of course there are occasions where the proponent simply doesn’t realise they’ve done anything wrong. And there are other times when saying sorry is too hard. But four times in three days? I think not!

So when did it become the norm to side step responsibility and cheerfully move on without acknowledgement? Is it a reflection of modern society? Or is it part of the human condition and I’m really naive to expect something different?

When these small but important points of confusion about life’s rules crop up, they push me off balance. Ideally of course I should forgive and forget, but sometimes (read ‘now’) it’s not so easy. Instead the confusion sits there like a smelly little monster on my shoulder. And then it all feels just a bit too hard.

So tell me, do other people feel like this? Do we all get confused and thrown off course? Or is it just me? Questions, questions – certainly life poses more questions that it answers. But I won’t apologise for asking!

Deep breath.

By way of a postscript, maybe even a fairytale ending who knows; one of these ‘non-sorryness’ incidents as I like to eloquently call them, resulted in my ascent up the chain of command in a very large and well-respected organisation, until I reached the top. While there I had the good fortune to literally bump into one of the head honchos, so I collared him and gave him some very clear; angry but measured messages about the failings of the organisation that he had responsibility for. Guess what he said.

I'm sorry text

I nearly fell over. I shall wait to see whether it results in any action. Maybe I’m being naive again. But at least there’s hope. And maybe I can get my balance back.

Hello World…

March 6, 2013

..and welcome to my first ever post!

From the shores of London E3 I propose to muse on the everyday and the other worldiness that is life itself.

I’ve been debating a blog for quite a while now and thanks to Robin (you know who you are) today is the day! No more prevarication, no more searching for the perfect this and that, just do it.

So here I am. And here are the first flowers of Spring. Yay!

Narcissi in the garden


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