Week 7 :Tune in
A lesson in trust
Being more in tune with your physical and emotional needs
At first I greeted this experiment with some major negativity. The last time I could actually do exactly what I wanted when I wanted seemed, on reflection, to have been when I was a university student. To be completely honest, my immediate reaction was on the lines of: I am a teacher- a pretty regulated job, sticking to a timetable set by others. No going off for a walk to the water cooler mid lesson because I feel like this is what my body needs. In addition, I live with 5 other people in a relatively small house- no getting up at 6 am for a cuppa because I feel like it, most likely waking up at least one person. In fact I could really feel a physical annoyance at being tasked with this challenge.
I didn’t like this close minded view I was experiencing. Why was I being so negative about a perfectly sensible challenge? I think I shy away from some of the messages we get in the media which suggest that life is only ever pleasurable and meaningful when we are fulfilling our own needs at all times. I have absolutely learnt over time that sometimes life is busy, messy and the needs of others do take precedence and that is ok! I remember having my first child and feeling crap because I felt overwhelmed and out of control as I devoted myself to the needs of this little thing. The pictures of perfect families represented in magazines and catalogues made me question my own abilities, my own version of this phase of life. I feared I could never tune into my own separate identity ever again. Those fears left after I relaxed into the changes brought about by this role. After a while I began to learn that I could find a beauty in nurturing the needs of others, sometimes my needs coming second.
We have phases in our lives and now I find myself enmeshed in the life experiences of those ranging from 11 to 89! Life is still busy and messy, but I don’t need to be a martyr to this. Sometimes I am not as calm and serene as I would like. Sometimes I cannot just tune into my needs. But sometimes I can! So I looked hard at my prejudices and I made the decision to stop being rigid in my views, to try to open up and take the advice of someone else. I put my trust in Chris’s suggestion and here is how I managed to find my way with this experiment:
- I tuned into the fact that what I thought were my initial thoughts and needs may not be my real thoughts e.g. I don’t need a Dairy Milk, I actually need some fresh air and some deep breaths! I can use lunchtime to refuel in this way.
- I can delay what my body or emotional- being needs until I can prioritise it: I may need and want to spend 20 minutes reading , but rather than feeling frustrated that I can’t do it now, I can look forward to prioritising this after tea is made.
- One of my life priorities is to nurture those around me and there is a beauty in this which in turn nurtures me. It has been my choice, not imposed on me.
- Checking in with myself at regular intervals of the day can be empowering. Just asking ‘Am I ok? How am I feeling?’ is a form of self-care: Just noting what I can do now to tweak things and make things more comfortable.
- Embracing yoga, which in many ways is life changing. Having to hold poses in seemingly impossible ways allows me to dedicate that time to my body, my mind and my stillness.
This experiment has been one of mixed emotions, but a definite Wake Up! call to my sense of resistance. Being shaken up to become more open minded and curious is a gift in itself. The irony being that on many levels I realised just how content I am with the balance of life that is already there.