I’ve been a little absent from social media of late. My family got visited by everyone’s favourite spicy flu (as my friend Rachael would call it) and I decided to keep everything simple while we navigated our way through that.
As always, when your usual schedule goes a little wonky, things, well… came up. There are always logistical things to take care of ranging from the practical (work, feeding animals, taking care of other people who are feeling poorly when you aren’t feeling that flash yourself) to the slightly more “meta” observations of how attached you are to things running a certain way.
Historically, for me, one of the biggest frustrations (and even anxieties) that I experienced was when my tightly designed schedule blew up in my face. My circumstance is not unusual in that I have many balls in the air at the same time- my own business, two young children, five horses to work and handle- which I share not for sympathy (I chose and continue to choose all of them) but because in order to keep things rolling in the way that I like, I’ve always had a pretty solid idea of what was happening when.
That is, until the last couple of years where things started to change. You may have heard me talk before about the essence of my work with the nervous system being about creating adaptability and accurate responsiveness. What that means is that there is no one nervous system state that is good or bad; it’s just, it is appropriate for the moment?
What we are looking for is our nervous system to sense into what is going on around us and to respond in a way that matches the experience. For many of us- those who perhaps feel they are stuck in a ground hog day loop, or who have trouble moving on from a particular moment in time- that adaptability and responsiveness is no longer there.
My need to have things roll out in a particular way- for everything around me to follow my ideas about what should happen when- is an example of a control pattern. When my experience matches my control pattern, I “feel” good. When they don’t, however, I don’t. And let’s face it, how often is life following the plan that we’ve laid out.
Consequently, I left myself open to an ever-fluctuating experience of struggle from attempting to control the uncontrollable; time and my experience of it.
I’ve also come to realise how prevalent this is for many people out there, and it feeds into our ideas of time not only following a straight line, but progress following a straight line also.
Here’s another example for you:
Recently, I started an add-on option in my membership called the Jumpstart. Basically, you tell me what’s up and I make a program for you of the movement practices and things to practice over the course of the month. A bit more intensive support. As I read through people’s forms, what comes up time and time again is this idea of “falling off the bandwagon” and having to start again; the perpetual feeling of not being able to “keep up” and of being “behind”.
I use quotation marks around these words for specific reason, and that is, the feeling that motivates them is one that we have completely made up. It’s not real.
You can only be behind if 1. You are following a linear path and 2. You have an expectation of where it is you’re supposed to be. And if this is the mindset you are operating from, you are always going to feel like you’re on the hamster loop.
What IS real is finding what’s possible in this moment and doing it. What IS real is not seeing time and a long road laid out behind you and before you but in the series of separate moments, each to be treated and experienced differently to the next.
So, what does this look like in practical terms?
Well, take two of my horses, Dee and Merc. Both of them I aim to ride 6 days a week. The past version of me would have felt anxious, cross, and upset when for some reason this wasn’t able to happen (like with the spicy flu). I would have been momentously grumpy about that and allowed it to colour everything else about my day.
I most definitely would have felt “behind”. I most definitely would have felt like I had “fallen off the bandwagon”.
I wasn’t adaptable. I was fixed.
In my latest experience, I recognized what was possible and what wasn’t in that moment. Instead of feeling behind, I picked the rope and the reins back up when I was able and, well, started working with the horse that I had. This was a different moment and different things were possible within it.
So what I offer you, fabulous human wot has almost read all the way to the bottom, is that if you are reading this and identify with what I have written, understand that feeling frustrated about things not going the way we planned trace back to our need to control.
And if we can reconcile that- if we can instead meet the moment and ask ourselves what’s possible now- we can begin to release our stranglehold on our ideas around time and our attachment to exactly how it’s supposed to be used. And we can see how much of our suffering is, in fact, self-created. Oof.
Adaptability. Meeting the moment. Taking action on what’s possible.