Nourishing the Soul

Here is J on nourishing our souls. She wants us to

  • Live big and sweet and fearless and full.
  • Visit places you love, do stuff that stokes your inner fire, spend time with people who expand you.
  • Take pictures. (LOTS of pictures!)
  • Come back and use the “add your link” button below to post links to your photos.

I am perhaps living as fearlessly as I may, but that involved sitting at home yesterday rather than going to the Quaker meeting where I had voluntarily accepted a task. Though I had agreed to do it, someone else had to.

Here is Steve Hauptman on training to get fitter, or healing, or improving at anything. I have to push myself to do it; rest from pushing; and listen to my body or psyche to see what I really need, how the pushing is going. Steve is a workaholic and if he does not make an effort to rest and listen he will push endlessly.

If I have really decided to accept my feelings, perhaps I could check on what “nourishes my soul”, because I am not sure. This is the quest Marion Milner entered in “A Life of one’s own”. She sought to find what gave her pleasure. Just possibly, I can accept that I deserve a little pleasure.

Sometimes it seems as if rather than do what I want, I do what I have been told will give me pleasure. As a teenager I had internalised the message that classical music was better, and popular music was inferior, so if ever I had the choice I would choose classical music. Now I realise that a song can move me- “strange how potent is cheap music”- and I might prefer to listen to Kate Bush, or Celine Dion,¬†rather¬†than Beethoven. I was delighted to realise last Summer that I actually enjoyed the Joan Miro exhibition, rather than simply seeing it for self-improvement because it was Culture.

What about the Karate? Clearly that is self-improvement, improving my reactions, my spontaneity, my physical health etc- it is good to get sweaty, breathless and heart-racing. Physical and other self-improvement is a good goal. Do I enjoy the challenge of getting a move right, or the feeling of success when I have done? Er, not sure. Yes I am being intellectual and rational about enjoying stuff. That is because I seek rational justification for anything, and my feelings are most in evidence when I am resisting. No, I will not do that. No, I will not think further, I will switch off and plug myself into the Television.

What about that walk in the park? After the wettest April and June on record, all down to the Jet stream, the paths through the fields were completely waterlogged, as was the path to the ford. I passed a man with mud on his face, made smearing motions and we grinned at each other. A woman who had last been here four years ago said that path had been greatly improved, it used to be half the width and sometimes a foot deep in mud. I grimly squelched on, I would not let this defeat me: but if it is normal to walk for pleasure, I am not sure it gave me pleasure. That walk on dry paths would. So perhaps I am so disconnected that I do what I have decided will give pleasure, even though circumstances have changed, and it will not. British people at the seaside on a grey windy day, having ersatz fun. Here is Milepebbles, forthrightly refusing imagined Valuable Opportunities. Her clear Noes were one of the inspirations of this post.

It is U’s birthday party that I am getting round to, at which she will announce that she is moving in with D. Should I go? I am writing before, and publishing after. I really have no clue. I want to, and want not to. Try to work it out. Is it that I want to, like I want to walk on the muddy path, a disconnect between my fantasy of it and the reality? I can want to create or preserve human connection, perhaps, separately from the thought of Enjoyment. I do not think I will enjoy it. It will have its moments…

Inching forward

The coach of the UK Cycling team said,

Focus on the process and the outcomes will take care of themselves

How wonderful to have such a scientifically designed and personally tailored training programme, that all one needed to do was follow it. How wonderful to have such a calling, that that was what one Wanted, to have the single minded determination to follow it. How wonderful to have that calling recognised.

Dave asked me how the jobhunting was going, and I started to cry. I don’t know. Hormones, something. My eyes are watering, my speech quavers, daily. Dave was sympathetic, and perplexed- he is a man I would go to for practical help with a practical problem, but not the first I would choose for a shoulder to cry on. And I- I was unhappy, but also a much wider, richer brew of emotion. I was quite clear that everything is alright, I was content; and fearful of the future; and rueful about getting visibly emotional; and possibly other things too.

Not in work, and not looking for work- how do I feel about that? How do I feel about others knowing it? Ashamed; and rueful. But then, it is like being transsexual. I care what other people think, I think other people disapprove, in so far as I feel shame myself. I project it onto them. Generalise from that. I feel others will disapprove, because I am ashamed myself. And- I think Dave was perplexed, but not disapproving. “You like to have a lot to do, don’t you?” he said, and that might be projecting too.

So then, am I ashamed? Yes I am ashamed. I am ashamed of my fear and anger. I am ashamed of being unemployed, of not doing anything about that. I am ashamed of being hurt, of not sorting that out and dealing with it. I should have dealt with all of this by now! Ashamed of my illusions, and frightened that I have not found them all, for how can I survive in this world with blind spots? I will just be hurt and humiliated again. I have an idea of what health might look like, so why am I not there?

Feel the shame, and let it go. Yes, I am ashamed. I have been doing my best.

As Fritzfreud says,

Emotional problems tend to come from avoiding emotional discomfort.   So discomfort is the price of recovery.   Accepting our limitations.  Taking risks.  Becoming honest.  That sort of thing.

Gregory House said, “It’s not easy, but it is simple”. Now, I devote myself to accepting my limitations, reducing the illusions and fantasies, accepting myself as I am. So rather than “inching forward”, I am moving forward at my own pace.

I like “I’m Christian, unless you’re gay” on Single Dad Laughing.