Sunday, 7 February 2010

Gratitude: Bridges, Arm Waving and Stuff

me and bridges and stuff

Another week has gone by with my poor little blog being all neglected, mainly because the energy I started out with on Monday morphed into spending Saturday morning lying in bed, propped up against my pillows feeling so exhausted that reading was difficult.

It's been tempting during the last month or so to get really frustrated with my body and feel that it has been failing me, defaulting back into that strange mindset where I see my body as not only totally separate from myself but clearly out to get me, with illness being it's principle weapon. Yes, I know that's clearly slightly barking and horribly unhealthy, and I much prefer living without this weird thought pattern. So I'm very grateful that when I've had the occasional moment of thinking 'bloody useless body, it's doing this just to make my life difficult' I've been able to take a step away from the self-loathing and realise that everyone gets sick sometimes, it's not a moral failing and that I'm doing the best I can, and that's OK.

I'm grateful for Havi's blog, about destuckification and being a harbour seal, pretty much every time I read it. This week she wrote about bridges, and kaboom! Instant clarity dose. Immediately I thought of Amsterdam, it's hundreds of bicycle festooned bridges and how much I enjoyed wandering around it and discovering the next street, the next wall plaque, the next museum, the next café. Could I have done that if I was trying to cross all the bridges at once, and then berating myself for being too lazy when I failed at doing something that that was impossible?

No, and I wouldn't have enjoyed my trip either. But that's what I've been trying to do, thinking that I need to be crossing every bridge possible, right now. Some things are going to have to go, especially the feeling that I have to hurry through everything I'm doing and that if I'm doing something I enjoy that's clearly a selfish indulgence and obviously I should be doing something else instead. (Personally I blame tedious homework for this attitude!)

Gratitude number three is that waving my arms around is helping me rejig my thought patterns. I was slightly cynical when I first read about Shiva Nata, particularly after some of my not-very-enlightening yogic experiences. But this is tagged as delivering hot buttered epiphanies and at this rate I'll have to buy a new butter knife. This deserves a whole post to itself, preferably written when I'm more or less sure than my brain is fully functional.

And my last gratitude? Laughter. Despite feeling a bit bleugh I've laughed a lot, enough to snort piggishly and spit drink on myself. I've just spent about five minutes working out how to write this last sentence because it makes a large part of me want to vomit, so I'll just have to get it out in a rush and then hope I don't besmirch my bedspread: to me, this is how I would define being blessed.

There! And know I've realised that even though this post is probably far too long, I have one more thing I'm grateful for: all of you who come here and read and leave me wonderful comments. I've appreciated your support so much recently. Thank you!


  1. I like the photo and the bridge analogy. Crossing one at a time is the only way to get where you want to go.
    Give yourself a break one evening and one afternoon every week. Time to enjoy. This was my husband's advice to the kids when they went off to college, then grad school. The mind doesn't function as well without a bit of freedom once in a while.
    I agree, laughter is a great blessing, and one of life's finest pleasures.
    You're working hard, accomplishing a lot. Feel good about yourself!

  2. I agree with Janie and her husband's advice, give yourself a break! Be gentle with yourself. And by, the by, I listed your blog as one of the things that makes me happy!

  3. Janie - that is very good advice. I'm really bad at motivating myself to get something done so I can do x, and then deciding to do some more work instead.

    Mountain mama - thanks, because that just made me happy. It's contagious!

  4. I'm so sorry that you're sick again. Doing something fun every week should be a stress-reducer (stress being what often brings on illness as it lowers your immune system).

    Your description of how you laughed made me laugh. I just love your descriptive and introspective writing.

  5. There was a time in my life where all I was doing was trying to cross 3 bridges at a time. Where I couldn't enjoy anything because I was in such a rush to complete things. And where when I was having a good time I was feeling a little too self indulgent -- that I should be doing something else. I was so stressed out that I actually started giving myself anxiety attacks (which at the time I thought it was a serious heart condition -- go figure) and had to be hooked up to one of those heart monitors (halter monitor? I forget what it's called).

    When the report came back, it showed that my fluttering heart was just stress and when I asked my doctor what I should do, he said, "HAVE FUN." But having fun isn't so simple!

    Like the other commenters have said, set aside some time for yourself. For the things you enjoy. Even if you're busy, give yourself a little break and eat dinner with your friends/your parents, watch a movie, go for a walk, lie around all day in pajamas... whatever makes you happy. Your sanity is too precious! Laugh it up and breathe. You're going to be excellent.