Here it is! Blue Monday. The Crappiest Day of the Year, as endorsed by Science Inc. Woo hoo! Get through today and the next 364 days are gonna be a breeze in comparison. Right?
Well...not so much.
Whilst there are some clear delineations in life – end of 2018/beginning of 2019 for example – most of the time life’s just not as clear cut as that for us humans. 'This is the Crappiest Day' being followed by 'These are the Less Crap Days' is one example where the dividing line just doesn’t…cut it.
And yet our language is littered with leakages of thinking that seems to crave absolutes:
I am anxious
I’m not happy
I don’t have enough money
We speak as though there is a Rule Book for Successful Living containing measurements that are fixed, absolute. Held up against them, we judge ourselves to have too much, or too little, of whatever is being measured and the thought usually causes us pain.
Yet in reality our lives are less like trains on train tracks and more like waves meeting the shore. Have you ever tried to stand on the absolute border between land and sea? It’s impossible. It’s a dance of pure motion, ever-changing, fluid, messy! Your feet get wet, believe me, I tried.
But the joy of this fact is that our lives are less science and more poetry. And it’s precisely in the mess, in the poem, that we discover an unceasing capacity to be, feel or experience more; or different; or other.
So rather than holding the fixed thought ‘I am anxious’, we’re able to consider that 'part of me is anxious'…and…and I can still feel the pleasure of warm water in the bath.
Even as we can be riddled with anxiety, so we can ALSO feel pleasure as a hot bubble bath meets our skin, and in that precise moment, even for a flicker of a moment, pleasure is true.
So therefore…pleasure is true. And anxiety is true.
Because we are more than the sum of our parts and we can experience multiplicity – mess – in any moment. And yes, that is for all 365 days of the year (Sorry, Science Inc.) And because mess can feel, well, messy, we can forget to find or feel the beauty of the poem as it tugs at our sleeve and invites us to play.
So here’s an invitation, something for you to do RIGHT NOW.
Pick a day, any day, between now and the end of the year. Your diary is currently full of empty spaces, I know it is. April looks light. September is practically naked. So pick a day, and claim it right now.
This is a day for you to take yourself away from everything that is routine. Everything that is logistics and planning and emails and deadlines and dentists and WHO’S picking the kids up from karate?!
It’s a day for you to bunk off from life. To play hooky from all the stuff that fills your head with noise before you’ve even taken it off the pillow.
You’re giving yourself due notice that you’re going to have a day to…notice. Time to notice the layers, the multiplicity, that makes up the mess of you.
I suggest you spend this day:
- In nature.
- Without a phone in your pocket. Or handbag. (Nice try, getting me on a technicality.)
I suggest you make a packed lunch.
And a flask of coffee.
And go somewhere you wouldn't normally go, and just really be there with yourself.
Tune into your senses – they’ve been trying to get your attention but you’ve been distracted by all the LIFE demanding action not reflection.
Notice what you smell.
Notice what you hear.
Notice what you see.
Notice how things feel.
Notice what your body is doing, feeling, how it's moving.
Notice how thoughts will pop into your mind. This is the good bit. This is where you get to meet more of yourself. Be curious about your thoughts. Be grateful for them. But let them come, and let them go. They’ll come back if they need to. (Really, there's no need to log every thought or idea in a voice note in your phone. You don't need to 'have' them. They have you.)
The poem that is you, you beautiful soul, will be so enriched by your quality of noticing.
You’ll have insightful thoughts. Wonderful ideas. You'll make yourself laugh. Work out easeful solutions to problems. I guarantee it. They were always there. You just hadn’t made the space to notice.
But you’re going to.
On this one day, out of the 344 days that are left till we turn the page into next year.
So do it now.
I promise you, you’ll thank you for it.
This is the bit where I subliminally sell you my services:
Working with a coach is another wonderful way to increase your capacity to notice yourself, and to discover more of your best thinking. If you would like to chat more about working with me, drop me a hello here.
If you'd like to walk in nature and be coached, that would be great fun too. Let's see what we notice, together. North West England hills and shorelines only, unless you want to fly me out to Hong Kong to take a stroll with you. I'm game ; )
And this is the bit where I share a poem with you because oh to make all my todays as beautiful a poem as this:
Spring is like a perhaps hand (which comes carefully out of Nowhere)arranging a window,into which people look(while people stare arranging and changing placing carefully there a strange thing and a known thing here)and changing everything carefully spring is like a perhaps Hand in a window (carefully to and fro moving New and Old things,while people stare carefully moving a perhaps fraction of flower here placing an inch of air there)and without breaking anything.
e. e. cummings