Week 46: When noticing becomes transformative

Write down what you notice: both outwardly and inwardly

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A week ago when we were given this experiment I needed to start noticing. I needed to notice the world around me:

  • Autumnal colours giving a glow to the greyness of the sky
  • The feeling of the wind on my face stroking and soothing
  • The sound of the wind almost like the ocean

I have put these in bullet points because this is how it felt – a nice neat list of what I should notice and be thankful for. Yet I needed all this structure because I was ignoring the fact that inside I was also noticing that I was tired – not a general tiredness but an exhaustion that was leaving me tearful, sensitive, angry. I wanted to sit down, roll into a ball and sleep. I wanted to cry until catharsis occurred and I was alright again.

If I had been advising a friend I would have said: ‘Stop, sit, sleep, take a day off work.’ But often we are not as understanding of ourselves as we are of others. I continued clawing my way through the week. Saturday came and I purposefully blitzed those chores, anesthetising myself with more work. I met a friend and found myself being judgemental. She described me as ‘disciplined’ and a bit of me wept inside. I was allowing myself to notice and list these emotions in my book. I had turned not outwards but inwards and I needed to.

When I got home a reaction took place. I didn’t want to be disciplined all the time: that suggested something military, ordered but not human and soft. I noted down the need for colour and perfume and texture. Candles, lipstick, music, glamour. I also noted the need for peace. I meditated. I haven’t meditated for weeks and this was what I craved.

On Sunday I refused to do any work for school. I meditated three times, I rested and I felt I could laugh again at the end of the day. I began to notice the world around me: those autumnal colours, my lovely blanket, the comfort of an excellent book. Meditation is now back in life and I feel so much more energised. I live in a large family, in a social job where outside stimulus is constant. At times, I need to retreat from this and find peace within.

My little notebook is here and it is worth writing the things you notice down, as looking back at what you write gives you an insight into the patterns of your emotions. Those patterns may give you clues to underlying feelings before your brain finally catches on! Also, giving yourself permission to notice, outwardly and inwardly reminds you that we can actively participate in this world, we do not need to passively follow the rules. And as for ‘disciplined’ my aim is to now reject this – a bit! – bloody hell at the end of my life there are things I would much rather have said about me than ‘Blimey that woman could follow a list!’


Mother, wife, daughter, teacher...

Firmly stuck in the 'sandwich generation' category, I am 46 years old and looking to shake things up a bit! I am a teacher, which I love - but it takes over your life! A mother of three - two daughters, 16 and 15, a son aged 11. Wife to Simon for 19 years. Carer for rather eccentric mum, aged 89.


Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
almost 5 years ago
Sorry to hear that you had a bad week and although I don't have all the answers next time if you feel this bad e-mail me and I'll try to help you as best I can. Comedy is a good remedy when the weight of the world seems like its sitting on your shoulders and I am the Comedy King with all the comedy answers. Therfore I am probably Dr Comedy (I like that). And I am a 'good skin' (an old Scouse saying for a good person) to have round. Take care and call me if the dark clouds come again. A problem shared is a problem halved, we are friends after all. Take it easy Marko
Go to the profile of Jacqui
almost 5 years ago
You lovely man Mark . I will contact you. We all need another Wake Up gathering in the new year!
Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
almost 5 years ago
Oh Jacqui, I think it was something to do with the moon this week, I too have been tearful... so I feel for you- as women we sometimes take on the burden of everything, from working full time, caring full time, cooking, cleaning and making sure everyone else is ok before we are and been under appreciated for it.... good for you that you listened to you and gave yourself what you needed on Sunday. Wish we were nearer we could support each other with a paned and a moan and hug x
Go to the profile of Sarah-Kate Goodwin
almost 5 years ago
Jacqui, I don't know the context of your conversation with your friend but I often find that the words people use to describe us are perhaps words that are above and beyond there own abilities and should be taken as a compliment(whether intended or not). We are all so different and to be disciplined is an amazing trait to have - it provides strength, security, morality and is probably one of the best things you could teach your children. So remember yes you are much more than that but please continue to write your list, inject some more fun whilst doing and after looking inwardly tear up any list that just doesn't serve you. xxxx
Go to the profile of Jacqui
almost 5 years ago
Thank you so much everyone. It takes a lot for me to admit when I am feeling weak and the fact you have empathised with this has been so supportive. Fi- you continue to be a star and Sarh-Kate I have gone away and thought about yur words. They make a lot of sense. Thank you.
Go to the profile of Vanessa
almost 5 years ago
Oh, Jacqui, I wish I could give you a hug - even five days late... I've also taken some needed time out... I'm so glad you were able to notice what you really needed and give yourself that gift. I, too, have learned the slow way that sometimes we have to give in and decompress - away from everyone. Joy isn't really joy when we need to put it on a list - what a good reminder!