Tag Archives: relaxation

Free (non)Thinking…

25 Aug

A very good friend of mine advocates ‘No Box Thinking’ . In fact , in a past chapter of her eclectic life, she wrote and delivered seminars about it.  I’ve not seen her seminar…perhaps I should watch it, I’m sure there’s a video or podcast out there somewhere.

Anyway, the premise is based around forgetting the sales/marketing propaganda of ‘thinking outside the box’ and instead just get rid of the damned box.  Sounds like perfect sense to me.  In fact I thought I lived by this very premise: not pigeon holing life; not following set paths.  I really believed that not only did I agree with the overarching idea, but that I was successfully both teaching that ideology to my son and leading by example.  I really thought I was living without a box.

Then I went away for a couple of nights and realised that whilst I live outside of the ‘norm’ and largely don’t conform by walking the marked paths of progress and expectation; my life, like most people’s, has become so full and busy that I only see outside the near peripheries of what I already do.

My boxes may be large and colourful, and not particularly cuboid, but they still exists.  I’m still constrained by them.

A few hours into a car journey towards a rare 2 days off for a little R&R and my busy little mind wandered off ; it meandered outside of its normal constraints and met up with some random ideas and options.

I thought I had life sussed, but I realise now that my life lacks one vital ingredient for ‘no box thinking’ … that ingredient is best described as ‘Nothing time’;  moments of time where the mind is not processing data; not reviewing existing projects and ‘to do’ lists; not worrying about outstanding commitments; pressing engagements; the shopping; the cleaning; the kids; work ; phone calls that should have been made; emails that need to be sent; letters that need to be composed.  I’m talking about those rare moments when your mind is silent.

freedom butterfly

Perhaps silent is the wrong word.  I mean moments when the butterfly cage of the mind is opened and the butterfly can flutter off and explore the wider landscape and take an aerial view of life.

Precious moments of free (non)thinking have broadened my horizons.  I’ve viewed my landscape from way above the ceiling I’m normally constrained by and as such I’ve spotted a few more paths worth exploring.

Like me, you may already have a life full of joy and activities; love and fun; as well as work and routine. Like me you may not crave anything else: BUT I challenge you to afford yourself some nothing time, a few moments of free (non)thinking, and see where your imagination might take you…….

Dinah Liversidge is now a small holder, country dweller, crafter, active community member, wedding celebrant, motivator and general super cool superstar of a woman living in rural wales and I am lucky enough to call her my friend.  In a past life chapter she was a life coach and mentor and ocasionally she slips back into it both officially and unofficially.  She once mentioned to me her program of no box thinking and it stuck in my head.  When i am lucky enough to have her to myself for a few hours, i find her inspirational.  i never leave from time with her without a spark alight in my mind and the ideas and energy just flows from there. we may not even have been talking about the project i become motivated to do.; but I am always more alive and more motivated after some time with her…  you can find her here... or here…

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com



…After the crash..

23 Apr

So yesterday I literally did nothing. I managed to get up and feed my B&B guests complete with smiling and chatting . Then I went back to bed. I slept until nearly 2pm… Despite Hubby trying to wake me at noon. I stayed awake long enough to reheat a cup of tea in the microwave. Sat on the front doorstep in the sun and fell asleep. Woke briefly when Hubby popped home. Long enough to get a pillow and a deck chair. Then slept in the sun.

Stayed awake to eat supper, fell asleep in front of TV. Had an early night and slept right through.

This was me crashing… I refer to my blog from yesterday … Oh yes I did find a moment or two to articulate my crash in blog form.. but that really was the extent of yesterday’s activities.

So today I am already three gardening jobs behind, racked with guilt and stressed by my backlog.

I sat down this evening, knackered and aching from head to toe. As I berated myself for my pathetic state I announced to myself “for Christ’s sake woman you only did 3 hours work today, get a grip”…. Long pause as I’m now lying in bed. This was my day:

Woke 7:30. Got up and prepped breakfast for our 6 B&B guests

Placed an order with our stained glass suppliers

Did 3 hours heavy digging and weed clearing.

Drove the 20 miles to our nearest  supermarket. Did the weekly shop

Collected our son

Unpacked shopping

Spent an hour tidying in my own garden

Had a bath

Cleaned the bathroom

Made a roast dinner…

… So to be fair, considering my physical and mental state… In fact, irrespective of my physical and mental state, today was pretty full.

..And now I can add, ‘wrote a blog’, to my achievements for today.

On that note, I am going to turn of the light and zzzzzzzzzzzz

feeling a tad anxious?….

7 Dec

It’s funny how anxiety creeps up on me. I never, ever notice it coming and never ever recognise the pattern and when it arrives I feel stupid.  The stupidity comes from not seeing the obvious, of confidently denying and misinterpreting the early signs.

I’ve been ‘off sorts’ for some months.  I put it down initially to being overweight and, as such, breathless.  Then I became plagued with an over itchy scalp, and increased wheeziness.  Alongside this I did actually discover I had an ear infection and needed something to cure some cold-like symptoms .  I think I was coughing for about 6 weeks before I went to the doctors – remember the ‘Is it Urgent’ blog?

When I finally went to see the doc I had gathered a fair portfolio of minor ailments and symptoms  and felt like a bit of a hypochondriac. John went with me  and I came away with the bumper party pack of drugs/creams/lotions/sprays etc.

It was John who made me aware of how heavily I breathe and since, I have become completely obsessed and self-conscious about it.  IT IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT – I’ve had all the blood tests, oxygen tests and chest x-rays.  It seems that over time – probably since a couple of years ago when I had that bout of panic attacks, I’ve forgotten how to breathe properly.  You’d think breathing would be more straightforward than riding the proverbial bike.  Apparently not. Anyway I am off to see a respiratory specialist very soon.

Alongside this set of minor ailments, I (thought) on the whole I was happy (which I am) and stress free (which I am).  However having no stress does not mean that one does not necessarily cease to be anxious. And because its crept up on me I hadn’t picked up on the signs.  Hence the feeling stupid.  I’ve been through this cycle before, many times.  I can only liken it to  like having a slow puncture, I’ve gradually deflated and didn’t notice the soft sponginess until I skidded off the path on a slight bendas I could no longer grip the track.

I can’t quite identify the bend that caused me to waiver off the road.  I think its been coming ever since last Christmas when I closed In the Pink.  The lack of self discipline to create a routine of home working.   The sense of loss, that I was barely aware of.  I can react just fine to the demands of B&B and thrive on the busy periods.  Given any task by anyone else I can meet or exceed the expectations.  My work ethic is not marred.  Getting into an ‘office mode’ regarding glass work, painting and the marketing thereof, however, has left me flailing and a pathetic and positively lazy, lack lustre and possibly (without even noticing), ever so slightly depressed, ever so slightly panicky and ever so slightly lost.

Also somewhat isolated although I was under the impression (genuinely) that I was enjoying being out of the loop, away from the thick of it and the local politics.  Hiding away out of the fray here at C.V.  I wonder now if I have also become a little agoraphobic?  Certainly there are days when nothing will persuade me to leave the house  and sometimes I just feel SO TIRED.

Anyway, until about three days ago I was oblivious to all of these signs.  Then on Tuesday whilst out merrily doing the weekly shop, my heart started palpitating, my breath became more sharp and urgent, my chest tightened.  I sat in the car for a while concentrating on relaxing and breathing wondering if I was having a heart problem or a panic attack, wondering if I was being a hypochondriac.  When it subsided I did the shopping and came home.  Wednesday I was fine again.  Thursday I slept most of the day.  Friday, I spent the day convinced it was Thursday!!! Self employment – all the days are the same.

Despite thinking it was Thursday I had a lovely, productive day, painting a commission promised as a Christmas gift, and its going well.   John reminds me we were out for the evening.  It would be a great evening,  no pretenses, great friends, easy conversation, good food, free flowing home brew.  I’d been looking forward to it for weeks.  The first party of the holiday season with all my favourite people.

But then it hit, I could not possibly leave the house, I needed an excuse so I wouldn’t appear pathetic.   I was feeling very anxious.   I should go, it would be great if I could just get there.  I couldn’t get there.  I sent an email telling the truth, too embarrassed to phone. My lovely friend sent a lovely persuasive reply.”We should go” I said to john , “look how lovely and sympathetic and understanding our friends are”.  But I could not go.  Palpitations, anxiety, guilt, embarrassment.

Funny thing is life is pretty good.  I’m not particularly , or excessively, worried about anything.  Our son is coping despite school!  He is excelling in his exams, enjoying his music, has a great group of friends.  There have been a few moments of teenage angst moments but not many. The B&B has been healthy, all guests happy, regular business,repeat and new customers,excellent reviews.  I so enjoy having B&B guests in the house..

I’ve also been enjoying exhibiting and selling at a few Christmas Craft Fairs.  I should have made more and done more, I’ve had loads of time but much less energy and drive.  The few commission pieces I’ve done have been really successful.

I think I feel like this every December,  like time is racing ahead of me, that I am spinning a little out of control and Christmas Day will arrive and I won’t have remembered to shop for it or wrap things.  I would have run out of days to get a tree up.  Or not yet have decided whether to buy turkey, lamb or ham for Christmas lunch.  Or run out of postal days to send mum and dad their gifts, or John’s Aunties their cards.  Or that Dad’s birthday is on Christmas Eve.   Its madness, because I love choosing gifts, being amongst friends, decorating the tree, preparing a special meal.  So the annual anxiety about it creeping up on me makes no sense at all.

So what is it?  Is it a mild case of Anxiety Disorder? I think so.  And here is my action plan:-

1.Get a job to give my days purpose and structure

2 Make sure that job is local, interesting and not in middle management

3.learn to breathe from my diaphragm

4. get out in the fresh air

5.go to yoga or tai chi

6.practice regular mindfulness exercises

7.try not to feel a fool for missing the signs (again!)

I’ve written this for several reasons but definitely not to illicit sympathy (because that will be really embarrassing).  I also don’t want any of my family or friends to be concerned.  Its who I am and generally I manage it well these days.

I’ve written it firstly to try and clarify in my own head the journey of my slow puncture. Secondly, I’ve written it because I suspect a lot of people have moments like mine to lesser and greater extents and that I’m not totally weird and alone in feeling this way!   Thirdly, in the hope that those who do feel this way  on occasion to those lesser or greater degrees will find comfort in the knowledge that they too are not weird (or alone)!

I hope this helps someone feel a little more normal on an occasion where they might be slipping out of control.

I also hope that my wonderful and gorgeous friends whose company I missed out on the pleasure of this evening will not feel either affronted, nor concerned.  Its one of those things, part of who I am, and sometimes I just need to accept “me” and stop over analysing myself.

Love, peace, inner happiness and joy to you all from your ever-so- slightly-unique; ever-so-slightly-out-of-control; pink haired; chaotic; hippy-chick friend x