It is, once again, a Sunday afternoon. I'm at home in my kitchen, dressing-gowned and happy. The recently enjoyed poached eggs feeding my body, I'm now feeding my soul in one of my favourite ways - writing. I'm finally home, you see, after more than ten weeks of constant work and travel. Now it's my time to relax and to chill out. So, yes, at nearly 3pm new time (well, the clocks have just gone forward, so it's really not even 2pm yet after all) I'm perched at my regular spot in the kitchen, accompanied by three curious cats and the dulcet tones of Seal playing in the background. The particular track at the moment is Adamski's "Crazy" and I can't help but smile at the lyrics: "no we're never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy"
Crazy, for sure, is how I've been for a while. If anyone else had told me they were heading out to achieve the goal I set for myself at the beginning of this year, in the time-frame I determined it would take, I would certainly have questioned their judgement. Perhaps even their sanity! And yes, I'm quite sure that while I've been travelling along this recent journey, then yes... I have indeed had times of being a little crazy. Then again, I'm pretty sure now that we all go a little crazy during times of challenge and development. As you probably know, I prefer to find more growth-related expressions to use in the place of the over-used word "change" because, in my experience, it causes the majority of people to recoil at varying levels. And, whether pushed or jumping, any kind of growth feels very odd - well, it would, wouldn't it? Otherwise it wouldn't be anything other than that which we already know. So, yes, I believe that we all experience craziness to some degree through times of personal expansion - in my case, usually inspired through the need to simply survive.
And survive I most certainly have. Absolutely. No question. Job done. And now, I think I'm heading for another little bit of craziness... because now I'm purposely heading in to a completely new existence.
It struck me a couple of weeks ago that, whilst I'm great at fighting and can turn any situation around to my advantage in the end, one of my key drivers has been to survive. Right from childhood. Almost as if I'm pre-programmed to survive anything that comes my way. And, I've now decided, these past few weeks have been my very last test of survival. I've worked harder than I would ever expect anyone else to do. I've pushed friendships to the edge in order to achieve my goal. And now, now, I've fulfilled my debts, secured my reputation, am in the last stages of finalising the mess that has been my divorce, and have also bought myself a healthy chunk of time in which to do nothing but relax and reflect.
Because I've had enough now. I'm not doing it any more. For goodness sakes, if I haven't yet proved to myself that I AM good enough, that I CAN come back stronger no matter how big the challenge... well, then I'm a harder task-master than I had previously imagined! And you know what? Enough is enough - yes, even for me. I no longer need to survive or to fight. I can finally say that I have indeed won the war.
So, no - no more battles for me. No further need to prove myself by surviving yet another life or sanity threatening challenge. Nope, from now on I am heading out to focus on increasing peace and joy in my life. For the first time in my life, to consciously choose how my life is going to be. Not from a position of feeling under threat, rather instead from a position of relaxation. From the indisputable evidence that I have indeed survived - not just the past couple of years, but also the challenges that see to have become my way of life - now it's time to relax, chill out and find out what I'd really like to do. The financial pressures have vanished. The emotional turmoils have been smoothed and are now flourishing in actual fact. So yes, now I really, truly, honestly amliving the dream. Right here, right now, sitting in my lovely home... job done, self-sufficient and glowing with pride.
The thing is... do I actually know how to relax? No, I don't mean just taking a short break before getting straight back on the treadmill... I mean really really relax. To spend time exactly as I choose - with whoever I choose and doing whatever takes my fancy. Well, I'm not sure... I'm certainly willing to learn and yesterday afternoon was a good start. Just home from the UK, my lovely friend Vera came round and together we enjoyed a typical French lunch outside in the warm sunshine - salad, a selection of good cheeses, baguette and of course a glass of wine. We chatted and laughed, and then after that we watched the classic film Thelma and Louise. Vera has herself recently survived some major personal challenges, through which our friendship has flourished and become even stronger than ever before. So, yesterday afternoon, we empathised with the two on-screen friends who started off in innocence planning a couple of days away together, and who ended up finding themselves as they faced an array of unexpected situations that challenge them both to go a little bit crazy. By the end of it we had tears streaming down our faces - neither one of us certain whether we were laughing or crying!
- Now, I'm neither a Thelma nor a Louise - but I certainly feel that a new kind of craziness is about to hit. One where I can actually choose to discover exactly what makes me tick. Where I can choose to do the things that bring me joy. Where I can be the person filled with love, peace and safety - I know that's who I really am, because through my fights for survival, I've been lucky enough to glimpse at my soul.
One of my favourite quotes is Ghandi's invitation to us all to "be the change you want to see in the world". So now, even though my engrained habit of more than 40 years has been to get up and get going, I am sitting in stillness. Listening to my soul. Learning to relax and be the joy I'd like to see in my world.
Crazy? Well, I don't know... but it sure feels different... and I LOVE it!