On Friday last week, I spent the day walking alone in the countryside.
I had an overwhelming sense of the weight of things, and these precious hours alone, helped me to recognise all the different elements of my life which I am trying to juggle at the current time.
I was able to focus on how I might find news ways to carry the load.
When my children were young, and either needed or wanted me to carry them, I became adept at finding ways to distribute their weight, and this same logic of alleviating weight by distribution and continuous adjustment seemed to me to be a good metaphor for managing my current challenges.
I noticed that my work pressures have been out of balance with the wider aspects of my life, and that my capacity to cope by reading, writing, painting and running have been subjugated so that my reasoning has been undermined.
This means that the weight I carry is not distributed evenly and so all that I carry seems to be a burden, when in fact it is not so much a burden, but the reality of life.
My thoughts in the countryside strayed into how I could lighten the load by leaving my job or leaving my marriage or running away.
These thoughts were fanciful, it seemed to me, but they had some validity because they were present in that quiet, beautiful place in which I walked and sat.
My rational self came back to a more sensible train of thought, which spoke softly to my soul of being kind to self, of finding the compassionate and caring self which protects me from within by prioritising the needs of the soul.
I resolved in that place of beauty, to re-distribute the load I carry by shifting my focus to a broader spectrum and a wider canvas so that my burdens are somehow made small by the broadening of the landscape on which my thoughts and feelings take their shape.
In that place of beauty and of solitude, I became aware once again that I am not alone in struggling to manage the demands we place on ourselves to fulfill our ambitions and responsibilities to those whom we love.
However, being in the countryside in absolute solitude and silence gave me the space I craved to work out how to carry the deepening complexities of my life.
So appreciate your reminder to find ways, activities, places and people who help spread and carry the load. I saw some of Alastair Campbell’s documentary on depression the other night and he explored a wonderful analogy used in genetic counselling: It is the idea that we are each a jar with genetic and environmental/relational factors which put stress on our system. But we can do things to make the jar (ourselves) bigger. Finding the places, activities, people who do that makes a huge difference to our well being.
Hi Janeena – Thank you for commenting on my post. I am feeling encouraged by your support and the support of others to invest myself in writing. I missed the documentary on Alistair Campbell but i will try to catch it up. William Defoe