On change (The Recovery Series)

I’m lying in my bed. It’s been a while, but I don’t remember pain like this. Even the brilliant drugs that they give you in the hospital doesn’t work. So what best to do with pain but to write. This is my recovery series. It mightn’t make much sense. I blame the pain.

There has been a lot of change lately. In these few days alone the concept of change has become solid to me. I have become acutely aware about the difficulty of change. People often say it, as if it’s easy – ‘If you don’t like the way you look, change your diet’, ‘If you don’t like your job, quit and change to another one’, ‘If you don’t like the way you think, change your mind and think a new thought’. Happy-clappy, self-helpy, new-agey literature is full of change for those who are hard pressed to spend their spare change on yet another dust attractor for laden bookshelves of ‘better-you’.

Change is hard.

It’s difficult to change my position on the bed, which always wakes the angry boob-ferret, who immediately protests with his inner scratching. The smallest adjustment is a struggle and brings about a merry dance of negotiation with space, time and gravity. This minor change is excruciating. Changing my clothes is another challenge, with that task comes friction, and friction of any kind is not nice. Friction is charged, causing pain on the rubbed and resentment of the source of the rubbing. Only hurt remains. Changing the dressing on the scar has been a beautiful battle, it meant touch and closeness and that brought with it a fresh hell. I wanted the source of my soreness to remain motionless, to calcify in its present state, harden and become strong, without the interference of hand just right of my heart.

Aren’t all those reasons why we never want to change?

It’s easier to stay the way we are. We desire new bodies every first of January but want to remain untouched by discomfort. We shun movement in favour of epicurean delights (What would the Epicureans say!) because we just don’t have the time, the energy, the motivation, the will. We will accept unfair situations and decline to negotiate our sense of worth in unequal and uneven relationships because we don’t want to upset anyone or ruffle any feathers. We toughen our souls and allow ourself to remain out of reach, become callous and sharp, so that our tiny, frightened, beautiful hearts doesn’t become broken yet another time. We live in fear, because fear is comfortable. Perhaps it is not so painful now, because we have become accustomed to the pain of not getting what we deserve. Because that is all we deserve.

Change is painful. Not changing is even more so.

Published in: on February 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm  Comments (2)  
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Sometimes you have to stay ‘STOP’.

My brain is on overdrive. I am surrounded by material, my eyes are travelling miles of words and my mind is filling up. The cogs are ticking away inside my head, but it is all becoming a bit of a noise, a whirlwind of information, sound, sights. All of a sudden I am going around in circles, not going forward.

And it is time to STOP.

The kicker is, it’s hard to stop. It’s hard to tell your mind to switch off. Especially if you’ve got a dream that you’re building, a plan that you’re formulating. Even worse when you’ve got only the seed of an idea and you don’t quite know how to move from the starter’s block. You’re race ready, in that tense, uncomfortable crouch, straining to listen for the gun. You’re race ready, muscles bunched, eyes peering towards the horizon. You’re race ready…and you’re stuck there.

You run the race over and over in your mind. You give it different outcomes. You give it different timings. You give yourself different competitors. You mentally run and run and run. But all the scenarios begin to get blurred. Who did what in which one? What did I learn? What did I do? What worked? Which vision is useful? Did someone hear the gun?

Too much. Time to stop.

At least for a moment.

Do not forget to rest.

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.

Etty Hillesum

Published in: on March 30, 2011 at 2:04 pm  Comments (2)  
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