Blog#93 – My Uncurated Life

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Dear Readers,

I’m so glad you decided to give me some of your time today. If you’d prefer to watch or listen to me read my latest blog then please follow this link. I hope you’re keeping well. The world is a mess right now. It would be easy to fall into a dark hole of doom ‘n gloom given the awful things that are happening. So, if that’s you, then I would like to extend a hand of support to you. It’s hard to stand by and watch man’s inhumanity to man, day after day. We all feel so bloody helpless. It’s harder than ever to get away from it now that we are mostly dependent on our devices for communicating with one another. Our smart phones have become the noisiest and most pervasive bearers of bad news ever. Smart, huh! That bad news is just more of the same, isn’t it. War, conflict, unrest, fighting… and all for what?  Have we not learnt anything from history? Honestly, I sometimes think that we are the dumbest of creatures despite all our technological advancements. It often feels as though it’s stupider we get as we evolve. ‘Tis no wonder that people turn to drink and drugs to cloud those images and bring about some relief. But you know my thoughts on that. In the moment we might get some temporary respite, but when we wake up the next day we are right back where we started except there’s a blinding headache and a layer of shame to deal with on top of everything else. And the world’s problems don’t ever seem to go away. Each generation bears the scars of the atrocities inflicted on previous generations by people who lack empathy for their fellow man. I wonder if the perpetrators of these unforgivable crimes against humanity take to killing their senses with substances – I mean, how do they live with themselves when they have so much blood on their hands?

The messy business of living

I’m writing my well-overdue blog today knowing that I need to face the truth about my own messy life. To say that life has been busy lately is, well, an understatement. In the midst of everything that is going on in the world, I find myself struggling. I haven’t been very good at prioritising the things that are most important to me, and then there’s the boring task of keeping a tidy home which I’m not very good at. I find the physical mess around me makes my mind messy too which in turn impacts on how I work. I’m not managing my time very well. I keep getting sucked into Facebook and Email. I receive notifications from Facebook all the time because I use it for my work. I just haven’t learnt to take a more disciplined approach to it. Instead, I find myself following people whose lives are completely irrelevant to me and what I’m meant to be doing. I catch myself looking at their stories on social media, their amazing lives, their shiny successes, their fabulous friendships, and their carefree drinking. If I’m not careful I end up comparing my chaotic existence to their orderly lives. Then I stop. I reflect. I listen to my inner wisdom talking, telling me that what I’m really seeing on my device is someone’s curated screen life. I remind myself that I must not be fooled by it.I don’t really know what lurks behind the screen these people put up in front of them.  My life as it is, while it sometimes overwhelms me and could always be better, is my life and I am lucky to be alive. Within the chaos of my messy life, there is lots of really good stuff happening too. I just have to shift my focus away from the screen. So, why the hell do I keep going back to that crap? It is just another form of escapism. Jumping on to social media is so much easier than cleaning windows or going for a run!  It’s incredible how much time is lost by scrolling mindlessly through the lives of other people who seduce us with their seemingly perfect lives. It’s bloody annoying as I was on a bit of a roll until recently, getting so much done. I felt the busier I got the more I could take on. And then all of a sudden that’s not working for me anymore. The more I have to do now, the less I’m getting done. It’s as though my unconscious mind has put the brakes on and forced me to pull back. This is probably driven by my core belief that we must beware the barrenness of a busy life. Spending too much time on social media is not what I want to be doing and it is not serving me in any way, shape, or form. Life has more meaning when we stop to smell the lilies. I use lilies here as a metaphor for the things we have around us, it might be the sound of water flowing in a brook, the scent of a new-born baby, the song of birds in a garden nearby, or the crackling of wood burning in a hearth. It really is the simple things that we can tune into that take our minds away from the bigger problems of the world or the trials we face in our own lives. To stop and smell the lilies is an exercise in self-care. It is a respite from our busy minds and anxious hearts. Everything calms when we consciously shift our focus to the things that bring peace. I love flowers; the simpler the better. It is serendipitous that my daughter has a weekend job in a flower shop, and, knowing how much I love flowers, she sometimes brings me a bunch to brighten up my life. Her latest offering is a most divine collection of oriental lilies that are now open and spreading their enchanting fragrance all over the house; it is that strong! They are therefore worthy of this week’s featured photo.

Wanting to escape

I find myself daydreaming about a world where peace and love pervade, and people are happy in their own skin and with what they have. I fantasise about a society that doesn’t judge others because they’re different but embraces them for their uniqueness and what they bring to the world. Then the cold reality of the crazy world we live in hits me again and I wonder what it’s all about. Feelings of hopelessness threaten to overcome me. Having spent much of my life wanting to escape these feelings, I know only too well that there really is no escape. What I’ve found since I stopped using substances in a bid to escape is that I can actually handle those feelings after all. They are part of what it is to be alive, and like everything in life, they come, and they go. The in-between stuff is what keeps me going – the unexpected joys that occur in the most mundane of situations, like when I’m standing at the kitchen sink scrubbing the grease off pots and a willy wagtail (a native Australian bird similar to a nightingale) lands on my windowsill chattering and wagging its fantail from side to side as though it wants to entertain me. Whereas before I wouldn’t have had the presence of mind to notice such things, these days I welcome the chance to appreciate what nature has to offer and to just be in the now. In being in the now, I get some respite. Nothing else matters but that small moment of connecting to the miracle of life that I am a part of. Then the phone rings, and off I go again. But all is not lost. The more I avail of those moments to savour the simple gifts, the more fortified I feel. I’ll understand if you think that I make it sound so easy, that we can just switch off from the chaos and find peace. It isn’t so easy, I know. But it is possible with practice. If we start with the knowledge that we can decide where we put our focus, that we are the masters of our thoughts. The more we practice this, the easier it gets.

Change our focus

My experience has taught me that peace comes when we change our focus away from the stuff that we have zero control over and zoom in on the things that we can control.

Looking at the photo I took of the flowers on my kitchen table earlier, it’s funny how the map of the world forms the backdrop, as if to remind me that it is the simple things that I have in front of me which need to be my focus if I am to be content. There’s not much I can do to fix world problems, so I might as well enjoy with gratitude the gifts that nature and my darling daughter have bestowed upon me. Joy is found in things when we look for it. Let’s not get sucked into the dramas orchestrated by the unhinged beings who have lost the ability to think with their hearts and focus on what we can do in our own lives to make the world around us a better place for ourselves and the people we care about. It will have a ripple effect. No matter what you see in the news, on social media, down your street, at the workplace, you have the ultimate say in how this impacts you. Knowing that you have the power to choose is your freedom and will bring peace if you let it. It works for me when I put it to the test. I haven’t got the perfect life. I am a messy human being. I do make mistakes and sometimes fail myself and others. But I am better than I used to be since I stopped drinking almost four and a half years ago. I feel the changes within me, and I love my life more now than I ever did. Sobriety gave me back the ability to appreciate my life, messy and all as it might be. No matter how crappy I might feel sometimes, one thing is for sure, I traded drinking for self-esteem and inner peace. That’s what allows me to feel okay about where I’m at right here, right now.

Thanks for reading this far. I hope it’s been helpful. Please reach out if you need my support as a counsellor. According to the feedback I’m getting from my beautiful and brave clients, I’m not too bad at it! Your happiness is my business. Take care for now. Love, Gill x

Gill Kenny - the Writer & Blogger

About the author – Gill Kenny

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Through my blog, I aim to provide you with a place where you can feel valued by inviting you to share your journey too.  I will regularly have guest writers who wish to share their views or experiences on each topic. I am open to ideas and happy to cover any topics that interest you, so please feel free to share yours with me.

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Love, Gill x