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It’s a funny thing - this internal divide between intellect and emotion, like a dance between two enemies which is mildly erotic but something that you feel, ever so slightly, embarrassed to be witnessing.
 
It’s taken me to middle age to realise that this journey is, I think, never ending. I have waxed the intellect side of things - consciously understanding and allocating experiences into little tick boxes - something learned - tick; something experienced - tick; something to do - tick; some more work to do on myself - double tick. The emotional side of things is far less chartered territory and much rockier too. But recently - this year mostly I admit - its been an arena that I’ve had to be in, I gave myself no other option - there really is only so long that you can happy away a burning topic and frankly, when you decide to live life authentically it doesn’t really make any sense to turn away, although admittedly its easier to do so.
 
I believe that life offers us the opportunity to lean into and learn from the changes and, when I’m being brave I do that, lean in that is.
 
And so this journey, this recent interlude has led me to feeling a deep sadness that has underpinned so much. For someone who can happy away most days and deeds this is a tough path to tread. You see intellectually and on paper my life is just all that - smiles and freedom, choice and happiness, luck and laughter - and it is, for the most part. There’s not a moment I’m not grateful for everything that my life choices come to show - even now when its so hard and treading water seems more like manovering through molasses. I know it will pass, things will shift and lightness will return but in the meantime do I just sit here - with a mouth full of teeth - without words on my lips? Because that’s what it feels like. It feels like if I open my mouth the tears come out and whilst I’m never adverse to a good cry practically prevails and work must be done!
 
I saw someone earlier this week …. I had no idea why I was seeing her, again I was led in that direction by a deep sense that I needed her. I’m not someone who asks for help and it’s deeply uncomfortable for me to do so but it didn’t seem like help at the time. I sat down, she held my hand and I let it go. The deep sense of sadness and loneliness, oh the loneliness seems crippling. How can someone, me, who has so much love and so much attention and so much so much so much feel so lonely …. all the time - even when I don’t really feel it, does that make any sense at all?
 
Writing has, for me, always been an outlet but recently the words don’t come - the intention is there but the words are stuck in the space between what I know and how I feel. And even now writing these words I feel like someone elses' hands are typing the letters - I can see them moving, I can hear me breathing, I can see myself sitting here but it all just seems like a version of me?
 
And in all of that, in all of the sadness, I still have a deep sense that everything will be ok. I’ll go home, I'll park the car, the dogs will welcome me like their very breath comes from me, I'll take in the garden and her generous beauty, I'll know I'm safe and loved, my house will share her small sweet smile, wrap her arms around me and say, again ‘"everything will be ok in the end, if its not ok, it’s not the end."
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in Thoughts 1569


Do you ever just react? Not a moment passes before you’re into the swing of things. Everything is happening and you only catch up with yourself sometime later?


Well I do and it happened today. I really don’t know where it came from, I still can’t explain what triggered the outburst but it was right there under the surface, it’s the only way I can explain that, within a nano second I was in pieces watching myself as pure emotion charged the situation.


As with anything, I guess, once the moment has passed, and invariably it is just a moment, I withdraw to lick my wounds and wonder what I was thinking; well clearly I wasn’t thinking! I’m not big on those type of moments - I’m far too measured and controlled to feel comfortable in the centre of crazy but there it is - there I was.


I think these moments just feel too raw; being in control and calm (sometimes even only on the outside) is safe-ville, a far cry from crazy-central! But what I do know is that it’s also just not always real.


This quote, from The Velveteen Rabbit, came into my stream of consciousness the other day and it made me stop to take in again.


“He said, “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand”


I like the concept that as we grow into ourselves the pretty exteriors or the facades are no longer of any consequence - it seems kind and gentle to believe that, as we grow we leave behind the nonsense and take only that which grows us. Becoming real is taking me a long time.

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in Thoughts 1402

I have loved an addict for many years now and this article (Johann Hari, author of 'Chasing the scream, the first and last days of the war on drugs) really resonated with me. I’ve spent hours of my life trying to understand - when I chose to stay with him I chose to understand him which, considering we often don’t know ourselves too well, is a big task to undertake.


I’ve read and written, cried and begged, cursed and prayed and that was just one morning of one day. But it’s been worth it. It’s been worth every tear shed and letter written. Every night I’ve cried myself to sleep and every morning I’ve sworn that I couldn’t do it anymore. Its been worth it because we’ve both grown. We’ve understood how much we’ve hurt each other, and ourselves, but we held hands anyway.

And now, it’s quiet, calm and ever-so-excitingly promising and I even dare to believe that it’s going to just get better. Why? Because it does.

When you sink your teeth into a hard task you feel, when you start, that you’re just never going to make it. Your muscles ache and wobble and cry out in pain but - as long as you don’t give in - those muscles strengthen, the crying abates and where there was despair you find hope.

The Johann Hari article is beautiful - long but so daringly and caringly written it can only make you stop and think about your own life. Because whether we care to admit, or not, we’re all addicts in some form or another.

Some of our addictions are accepted by society - those who work 14 hour days are revered as successful; people who nip and tuck the barest sense of a wrinkle are poster-children for what we should all look like; stressed children are paraded around as examples of what happens when hard work starts early. Call it what you like but, as this article, says "The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live -- constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us."

We were the lucky ones - we had an addiction that wasn’t accepted by society so we had to make a decision - let that become our life story or embrace the journey but journey on. We chose the later and it has made all the difference.

"Loving an addict is really hard. When I looked at the addicts I love, it was always tempting to follow the tough love advice doled out by reality shows like Intervention -- tell the addict to shape up, or cut them off. Their message is that an addict who won't stop should be shunned. It's the logic of the drug war, imported into our private lives. But in fact, I learned, that will only deepen their addiction -- and you may lose them altogether. I came home determined to tie the addicts in my life closer to me than ever -- to let them know I love them unconditionally, whether they stop, or whether they can’t."

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in Thoughts 2789


The truth is that part of me was resisting doing what I knew had to be done. You have to be the change you want to see and I’m finally seeing that in one of the key areas of my life.

You see I fought against him for months in fact it was really the only thing that we argued over - me blaming his excessive drinking on my anxiety but frankly I wasn’t prepared to put my money where my mouth was. I was expecting him to be the change but it had to be me, it always does.

I made a commitment to myself that I would give up drinking from the beginning of January until my sisters wedding towards the end of February and that is what I’ve done - am doing - and it feels utterly liberating. Utterly liberating - it has to be said twice it’s that powerful.

Even as I’m writing this there is a smile that has formed on my face and a depth of emotion deep inside me that feels like I’ve released a flock of white pigeons into their freedom. But it’s me whose been released.

So many times, daily even, I remind myself that the only person I have any control over, and even that control is limited at times, is myself. And yet a thousand more times I shouted words of displeasure about a situation that was really mine to control - as least my involvement in that situation. it seems utterly ludicrous that I paddled around in that quagmire of despair for so long when all it really took was the decision, by me, to change it.

I can hardly believe the simplicity of that decision but I know it’s never that simple - the decision is the hardest part really and I’m experiencing that now. The months I agonised over where I seemed stuck - acting in victimhood of the situation refusing to see that everything is a choice.

I don’t know what kept me stuck but I do know that, now the decision has been made everything has shifted and I’m eternally grateful for that. It reminds me that at times my mind becomes attached to limitation rather than seeing it simply as a distorted version of reality. What wonderful innovations could I create if I surrendered my preconceptions?

If we remain committed to letting every thought, word and action come from their perspective I know that everything unfolds as it should.

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And just like that it’s another year; the planning, shopping and mania giving way to the calmness, excitement and the peaceful energy of the festive season all of which is now being drowned out by retail sales, building work pressures, resolutions, goals and a general surge in the direction of the new year.

Don’t get me wrong I’m one of those pushing into the New Year but this year I’m trying to do it on my terms.

Every year seems to be a watershed year - some basked in only good memories others smothered in anxiety and stress. 2014 had, for me, some desperate lows (losing people who are marvellously loved is going to leave a blip on anyone’s radar) but ultimately it’s coming out in the wash as a great year.

Perhaps as we get older we learn the innate task of remembering only the things that please us and plastering over those that don’t (and no, Jo, this isn’t a spongey moment for me … there’s plenty of time for that!). I just can’t see the point in holding on to things that don’t serve us - negative thoughts, unkind people, bad experiences, lost ideas, misplaced words, unfilled ideas or general dissatisfaction.

My sister donned a phrase when we were younger (when the quantity of friends was may more important than the quality) and that was a ‘friendship audit’. It sounds mercenary (and coming from a lawyer perhaps could have been deemed as such) but really the aim was simply to learn to choose, keep, and be the type of friend who pushes you to be the best version of you, always. 

In some goal-setting and planning for 2015 I’ve come to realise that there’s not a single soul in my life whose not an absolute God-send and, for a moment it seemed quite startling to me - who knew i could have become that good at auditing!! In actual fact it’s nothing as well-planned as that it’s simply just being conscious, deciding - finally, who I wanted to be and being that. The rest just seems to fall into place.

So beautifully put ‘ the future belongs to whose who believe in the beauty of their dreams’ (Eleanore Roosevelt) so here’s to dreaming.

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