I feel my heart expanding with love when I think about Sophie, Anna, Naomi and Mama D. Sophie set up an online writing group during the first lockdown and we all met most Wednesday mornings at 10am.
I felt like it was a bit naughty meeting at that time of day (even though I’m self-employed and choose my own work hours), which I associated with ‘work time’. It’s how a lot of us were trained since the age of 5 after all – working hours are 9am til 3pm or 4pm or 5pm, depending on which school, and then job you go to.
Of course, some jobs require us to work longer or different hours (that perhaps interfere with our sleep) and a lot of them now want us to do more for less, squeezing us into a time pressure cooker. Is your pressure valve working okay?
At some point last year I stopped going to our weekly writing meets. I felt like I had to seriously show up for my business and do more than I used to do. It was actually true that I needed to show up, but what I needed to do was work smarter, not harder…
…to have support from other people, tools to grow, times to create, times to plan and schedule, times to coach and facilitate, and time to play and nourish myself.
The writing group on a Wednesday morning is so nourishing. We start with a check in – each person takes 2 or 3 or 4 minutes to state where they’re at with the others listening deeply. Then we write for 20 minutes and often others’ check ins come into what we write. We read aloud what we wrote and receive loving feedback. Then we go about our day, filled up with love and care.
In this way we share our hopes, our fears, what’s shitty, what’s not and we love each other. This week I shared about my shitty situation with my landlord, who I am cutting ties with. Here’s what I wrote:
Getting away… I can now.
I could before but I didn’t.
I tolerated. Put up with.
But no more.
Getting away… a switch has flipped
And I’m angry.
I can’t unsee what I’ve seen or felt or heard.
I want respect from someone who can’t or won’t
And that uncertainty hangs heavy.
Is he deliberately manipulative?
It doesn’t matter.
My responsibility is me, and Obi,
Who I love with all my heart.
I take care of me.
I say no.
I say no more.
I make plans to live in my van again.
I think of the challenges.
The tweaks I can make.
The routines that soothe…
Like yoga nidra at bedtime,
Cooking simple food on one hob,
And eating from the pan.
Filling up with drinking water from garages.
Parking next to canals
and watching families of ducks swim by.
Writing by the light of my head torch,
Toasty under my duvet and blanket.
Getting dressed in bed.
Walking through Ruff Wood
As the sun rises and touches the trees
Painting them yellow briefly.
Peeing in a bucket in the middle of the night
And chucking it down a drain or on the grass.
Wondering what the local dogs’ noses will make of the information in the scent.
Waking in the middle of the night
To raindrops hammering on the roof
And sticking in earplugs that mute the rain
But isolate the beat of my heart.
It’ll be cold and contained and simple
And I’ll source so many of the ‘normal’ things externally.
Like washing my clothes in the launderette,
Washing myself in a shower on campus,
Lounging on sofas in the great hall
To watch Gilmore Girls on my laptop.
It’s exciting and scary.
And I’ll miss Obi.
But I’ll have space from feeling triggered,
Questioning myself –
Giving him the benefit of the doubt when he doesn’t deserve it,
This man whose only photo on display in the lounge
Is one of himself.
That speaks volumes.
This man who on the first night invited me to chat
And spoke about himself the whole time.
It was there from the beginning
In plain sight
And I have wrestled with all my might.
But now I’m free.
When I shared what I wrote I felt heard, seen, loved and loving and that gave me strength to bear the pain of what I was going through and stay true to myself.
This kind of loving is the sense of community I intend to be in ALL The time and I’m working on that.
This kind of loving is what my clients feel when they’re working with me and it’s an antidote to the judgmental norms of the societies we live in.
This kind of the loving is how we change the world.
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