My unorthodox week began, much like the last two, on a Friday. I felt positive, happy, with a bit of a spring in my step. I had rediscovered my inner passion, my zest for life, my reason for being! I was elated. And so I dove headfirst into the things I love the most:
Literature, and film adaptations of key literary pieces of work, have always been a key part of my happiness. Nothing grounds me faster, more successfully, than a nourishing novel written so well you feel as though you’re living life with the characters in it. When short on time, I like to watch film adaptations of my favourite books. Of course, every adaptation will take creative licence, so while any adaptation could never eclipse the version drawn in my head from reading the book itself, I’ve found that they do just as good a job when I’m in a pinch.
And so I began the week by watching E.M Forster’s Howards End, directed by James Ivory. What a glorious start to my week that was!
What followed after that was a rapid descend into mayhem. In very quick succession things went horribly “wrong”. I didn’t like the nursery I was about to enrol my son in, I lost out on that lovely opportunity I mentioned last week, my tenant announced last minute that he intended to move out without much notice, plunging my finances into disarray. It went very wrong, very quickly. And I’ll admit to feeling slightly sorry for myself. I took myself to bed early, and remembered something someone once said to me: everything is always better in the morning. I desperately hoped so.
And that was the very thing I needed – hope.
My changed mindset didn’t improve one single bit of my current circumstances, but it did mean I came up fighting. My mental resilience kicked into gear and before knew it I had plans, actions to enact and try to resolve things. In truth, I’m just as buggered as I was the day it all came tumbling down, but now I know I won’t put my son in nursery because I’m not comfortable with that idea. I’ve lined up estate agents ready to put the apartment on the rental market at the earliest opportunity, and I dusted myself up and set up a meeting with and delivered an elevator pitch of my skills to a key decision maker in the business. I bounced back, because I dared to hope. And I bounced back quicker than I had been doing of late.
There’s a lot of talk on how toxic positivity, where we deny ourselves our feelings because we view them as negative, can be harmful in the long run. I once read somewhere that pain alerts us to an area of our life we need to pay attention to. While I set out to have a positive outlook and look for the best in everything, I have learned to sit with my pain if it comes calling. Sit with it, acknowledge it, let it do it’s talking, be thankful for the lesson it has imparted, and then grow from it and move on. Am I in pain because I have an ill-defined boundary that I need to look into? What about the situation that has unfolded is disappointing me and causing me pain?
I am ever conscious as a mother that my son will learn how to deal with things from me. He will listen less to what I say, and pick up my actions instead above all. So I show up for my humanity and I practice compassion even to myself. I don’t bottle things up and wait for them to blow up later. Feelings are ok, emotions are not a negative thing – this I wish to show my son by being living proof of it.
You won’t be surprised to learn by now that music is therapy to me. There’s nothing quite like a sad song to help you feel sad – sit with the pain remember? I stuck on Anna Nalick’s Breathe to help process the heaviness of the later part of the week, and when I was ready I strategised my route to recovery. This song is a brilliant reminder to “just breathe”.
Quote of the week
Remember the App I told you about in last week’s gratitude journal? Well, I’m still using it of course. Very hour during the working day it pops up a gratitude quote on my phone screen. This is one of them, and it couldn’t have come at a more apt moment.
Just after I had received news that I didn’t get that opportunity that I had been hoping for, and gotten off the call with the hiring manager and I was crumbling into myself, this mantra popped up on my phone. For a second I was startled; how did it know?! And most importantly what is this transformation it speaks of? Well, the elevator pitch? The meeting for that was set up immediately after reading that quote. In the midst of my crashing devastation I took a moment to draw breath, and decided to play to my strengths. I was granted 15 minutes with a pretty senior person in the business, and after the 15 minutes was up he kept talking and we ended up talking for a further 15 minutes. He was engrossed and interested in what I had to say, he was generous with his time, and very open to forming an acquaintance with me and maintaining that for the future. In the midst of the devastation, I took the chance and re-imagined myself. I’m glad I had the courage to try.
Thank you for joining me in this week’s gratitude journal. This was no ordinary week, and I had to dig deep to remain on top of being grateful. Somehow my joy is sweeter for it.