Prior to the break over Christmas and New Year, I felt like a deflated bike tyre. Not particularly functional, no buoyancy. Objectively present and from the outside you could probably guess what role I played in the moving parts of my community. A lot more noisy than usual; I could feel my body, mind and emotional selves calling out for attention, demanding to be shelved for repair.
Rolling over the state boarder between New South Wales and Queensland late on the Friday before Christmas felt like a momentous accomplishment. I’d made it. I was done. I could stop.
Promptly collapsing on my friend’s TV room floor and didn’t resurface until 2 seasons of the Office were done. Rest, cotton candy for the mind, food delivered to the door. Sporadic crying to release pent up emotions. It was a time out, some moments of grace that presented quite ungracefully.
This pretty much continued into the Christmas festivities with less sporadic crying.
Set in rural Queensland
My family’s home is one of removed peace, birdlife, and happy animals. Those happy animals include the humans located there also. I am a very fortunate person to have a family unit that deeply cares about one another. We have spent the better part of 20 years trying to figure out good communication across generations and continents. Surrounded by Mum’s good cooking, Dad’s endless stream of newly lathed wood products and country air, I could feel myself inflating back into my usual functional form. Better than that, I felt the capacity for new things. New ideas to read about, adventures to research, and friends to reconnect with. It felt like the sharp stones of the pathway were no longer at risk of piercing through the rubber. I could deflect them. I had space again.
The end of 2020 was a visceral and timely learning experience for me. I am usually one who feels capable of shouldering responsibility, putting myself out of my comfort zone, holding space for others. As the year wore on and my tenacity became less fierce, I had to really pay attention to my energy levels, say no to things I would previously have enjoyed, really nurture my introverted self so the extrovert facing the world could make it through as best as possible.
I know I’m not alone in this learning
2020 was a large slap in the face for many. My sense of reflecting and paying attention to lessons learnt has brought me to understand the following:
- It’s okay to say no to things you’re used to saying yes to;
- Creating stillness (meditation, mindfulness, etc) is a key component in identifying how ‘noisy’ the mind is and how close to unravelling it might be;
- Joy is a beautiful component of building ongoing resilience;
- MOVEMENT is imperative. The moment I dropped my deadlift PB weight back to the floor my mind soared with endorphins and adrenaline.
“I can do this, I am strong, I am powerful”;
- FEELING all the things – terrifying and empowering. Linked closely to ‘purge crying’ (formerly ‘ugly crying’ but who needs that label in their day?) where all the thoughts and feelings brought up through the day/week/in meditation make their way to the surface and result in deep and heavy sobs, fat tears and some chin creases from where the lower lip has been folded over. A process of catharsis;
- Someone to reflect and be curious about things with. Being vulnerable and sharing the noise in your head, being open to learning something about yourself that can only happen in conversation.
Even taking one or two of these points can be a game changer, or simply refining the tools you already have. Giving them a once over to see if they still fit the bill – is the tyre pump still in good working order?
Listening is one of my super powers.
Swing me a message and let us make a time to ensure the lessons of 2020 have the opportunity to integrate into the ride of 2021.