Reflections on life – a precursor

Have you ever found yourself reflecting on life? On why we have times when we struggle? On where we get our values, our hopes, our expectations from?

Perhaps you’ve had times when you’ve thought life wasn’t fair, wasn’t easy or just plain sucked! And let’s face it, when pressures arrive – especially financial and relational tensions – it can be easy to slide into a kind-of “woe-is-me” mindset.

Comparing ourselves with others can lead us into dangerous territory.  There are always others who seem to have it all together and life just seems easy. Or at least that can be what it looks like as an outside observer viewing the external appearance.

You know what it’s like…the car (hey, it’s not just a bloke thing!), the clothes, the companion, the kids, the house, the holidays people take….and so the list can go on.

Over coming weeks I’m going to get a little personal and divulge a 3-part blog sharing words I penned (with some editing discretion) back in April this year when I was experiencing a time when life was tough, well at least parts of it were.

Holding things in tension, trying to keep a balanced perspective, and maintaining at least a semi-positive outlook on life without shying away from the reality of challenges – circumstantial or relational – can be critical for one’s sanity and overall well-being. I’m a firm believer that avoiding self-reflection limits our capacity to learn, to grow and ultimately to expand our sense of compassion and concern for others.

Staying in a state of non-reflection limits our ability to truly engage life. Why? Unless we seek to understand ourselves, our values and our priorities then we run the risk of losing sight of who we are – and that includes the uncomfortable, the confronting, the challenging as well as our hopes, joys and dreams. As Brene Brown puts it: “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” Being vulnerable and honest with ourselves opens us up to the possibility of truly embracing life in all it’s fullness.

When time out is needed…

Have you ever needed to simply take time out?

It’s been a while since my last blog, nearly 7 months to be precise. To those who were enjoying and regularly reading my blogs I apologise for having been silent. But it was necessary.

There are times we all need time out. And I certainly did over the past 6 months. It wasn’t that I needed time out from blogging…it was more a case that what was unfolding in life required all of my attention, demanded all of my emotional and cognitive capacity, and to be honest, I just wasn’t sure it was relevant, or how appropriate to be blogging about what I was going through.

The crux of the matter was that I was working in a public role, with a public profile and there were, how shall I say it, conflicting opinions as to how I was functioning in that role that created further stress and tension. Due to my holding in high regard my own sanity, and having been through a burnout before, I was adamant there was no way I was allowing myself to be placed in a position of vulnerability like that again…and there in lies the challenge of life.

We all have a limited coping capacity. We all have things that stretch and drain us – whether they be work, family, relationships, health issues, parenting challenges, and so the list can go on. I’m sure you can identify and make a list out of your own experiences.

I first started this blog out of encouragement from others that I had something to offer, something worth sharing, and apparently, a reasonably easy style to read and understand.

I came up with the name “Anchored” because I truly believe that we all need an anchor, especially when the storms of life hit. And when the metaphorical seas get choppy, and the winds rise up a storm with white water crashing around you and the screaming sounds of nature whirl, well, it’s at times like these that taking time out, finding a place, a space, a person, to shelter and weather out the storm is precisely what is needed.

I’ve learnt from experience that the ONLY person responsible for my welfare, my wellbeing, my health during times like this is…yep, you may have guessed it…me.

Learning how to manage competing demands, with diminished capacity, whilst ensuring that the non-negotiable relationships are nurtured, essential daily routines and needs are met, means sometimes letting go of things that, well, just don’t matter as much. It’s knowing what my priorities are, who matters, what matters and ensuring that those get the best of me, not what’s left of me.

So, I’m back…I’ll be writing more regularly and look forward to sharing and interacting from a new stage, phase and space in life, one that holds a host of new possibilities.

What about you?

Have you ever needed to simply take time out?

When did you last intentionally take time out to care for yourself?