It’s been a while since I’ve found the time to write about my life instead of about anything art or business related. Some of you who’ve been following my musings for a long time now and know me quite well (I think some of you go back well into my livejournal days, hi!) must be wondering what’s up in the life, world, head of Tam (or not! LOL that’s cool too!).
There was a time when I wrote a lot about my life, about my angst, my inner fears, joys and deeper musings. But man, whew, lately, there has just been a tsunami of overwhelm rendering me mostly useless, partly dispirited, on some days quite depressed and possibly and most probably all round: burnt. out.
But Tam, how come? I hear you chant in unison.
Well oh faithful reader you, let me share about me, my life, my stuff. You’ve been waiting for it for a while now, right? ;)
In a nutshell: my business has grown like a big beautiful
beast butterfly completely taking up most of my time much like a newborn baby, I’m hugely struggling with my physical and psychological health and my beautiful family with 2 under 5s is wonderful but also challenging & all-consuming. Between trying to manage/ contain all 3, I kind of lost my voice and I’m trying to find my footing in the midst of it all again. :) I’ve been struggling to convey my inner landscape through words. Oh art, yep, that’s all there, it’s my saving grace, escape and cathartic expression vehicle, but words, writing, let’s just say I keep hitting that ‘delete’ button a lot.
I keep feeling lost, pulled in different directions, overwhelmed, psychologically tired, and many inner voices are having a fat old debate inside my head (mostly critical and jugdgy) all telling me about how I do everything mostly wrong, badly, shittily and not very well. My inner thinkie thoughts can be very heavy weighing (I have a ruthless inner critic, she doesn’t comment much any more when it comes to making art but oh boy, does she like to have a feast when it comes to how I handle all the other aspects of my life, she throws grenades that one..) and though I have many coping mechanisms in the form of arting, therapy-ing, Gracie-ing- Andy-ing (ha), I’m currently just tired. So tired of the inner darkness that can loom over me. (I’m sorry if this news is surprising or confusing to any of the readers, in the past I used to share a lot more and then revelations like this are more expected from me).
To survive a difficult childhood I developed a fierce brain. I am a strong analytic thinker, I can run major projects, can be very successful in business, am solution-minded, practical, efficient. My brain is awesome, it helps me so so much AND, it’s also completely the bane of my existence. Its fierceness is amazing and powerful and serves me in many ways, but that same fierceness will also be applied when it’s in ‘self attack’ mode or when it thinks about the ‘suffering of the world’ and internalises that suffering. Also the inner analyst sits utterly in the way of ‘just being with what is‘. The inner analyst just ‘blah blah blahs’ about why, who, what, where, ah interesting, but it doesn’t sit still for a second. It’s a great deflection tool. Oh look! A painful feeling! Let’s look over there and study shoe-laces! ;)
I don’t mean for this to sound cryptic, but what I’m basically trying to say is: my thoughts can weight heavy on me, and like a ‘good follower’ of Tolle and Byron Katie’ I’m trying hard to question my thoughts and switch them off where I can (or ok: ‘observe them, let them be’), but seeing as my brain has been part of a strong defensive mechanism for such a long time: it ain’t much listening to me, it’s here and here to STAY. Convo goes like this:
Me: Shut up brain.
Me: Shut. up. brain.
Me: Brain shut the FORK UP.
Brain: No and let me tell you something else, this and that and this and that and that and this and oh yes the broccoli needs to be less crispy when boiled, also: clean the mould off the toilet walls, publish another mini course, make sure that Dylan’s teachers know … etc etc –
Me: Ok brain, I’ll just OBSERVE YOU, and I’ll try very hard not to get swept up in your blahdeeblahs
Brain: Taaaaam, Taaaam, come see this, oooh wow, isn’t this interesting, go wash the car, argh, can’t you just …
Me: *swept up*
That’s a pretty mild session.
Other sessions weigh me down and they drive me to eat more than I want. Which then causes more worrying thoughts and then it’s a big spiral downwards. Down that spiral there is more judgment: why can I sort out everything apart from this? Why am I so crap at being happy? Why can’t I practise what I “preach”? Why do I make “progress” by taking 2 steps forward and 25 steps back? Why do I fail fail fail? You’re such a useless human being, ohmygodddd there is no one more useless than you.
And then I judge myself for judging myself LOL! It’s a real plethora of multiple personalties in here.
Here is a common stream of consciousness:
“Stop judging yourself. No! You stop judging that I judge myself! No, YOU stop judging! HEY, SHALL WE MEDITATE? What? meditate? I get twitchy when I meditate! Let’s make art (yesss all of us agree, yay). You’re a nutter, no you’re a nutter, NO you’re a nutter. Actually, you should love yourself, LOVE yourself more. Go have a bath! Book yourself into some kind of rehab facility, NO, just stop trying everything, give in, maybe then enlightenment will STRIKE like it did with Eckhart Tolle (yeah good luck with that). After I’ve died, I’m not gonna come back for another life again, fuck this shit. The world is totally fucked up. Look what they do to babies and animals and nature. Who wants to come back to this? How can you SAY that? There is so much beauty! Remember ladybirds. Oh yes. ladybirds, they’re cool. And Elliot, he’s so funny when he says ‘papple’ instead of ‘apple’. And Dylan gives you arm kisses. Life is awesome but also fucked up. Why can’t you just be happy, you should be happy look at all the awesome in your life! I’m allowed to be unhappy about my unhappy things! NO, you’re not, have some gratitude for godsake, you’re totally NOT allowed to be sad. Don’t deny my feelings! Oh yeah, that’s right, I shouldn’t do that. AAAAAARGH – LA LA LA LAAAA, I can’t hear youoouououou – let’s go to sleep, at least we’re all quiet then. Yeah, sweet dreams”
So that describes it really: a lot of internal struggle, sometimes despair, a sense of feeling ‘broken’. Shadow, hi.
And of course then, a couple of days ago something happened. I experienced, without intending to, a thing that I’ve been ‘preaching’ for a long time, but always struggle with ‘putting into practice’.
I got to a point where I was so stuck, so desperate, and resisting the fact that I was stuck SO much. Like: shit, what amma gonna do NOW? I can’t see a way out of this mess. What amma gonna do?
And I got angry and pissed off and suddenly got into a ‘fuck this shit attitude’ I’m gonna just let the confusion, the shadow, the darkness, the sticky mess, be. Shrug, whatever. Anger. Sad. Despair. Broken Ok, you’re here. Hi. Hello. I’ll lie with you for a bit, seeing I can’t fucking fix you. (That is SO hard to come to and accept as someone who is Queen of Fix-it!!).
SO I was all like: ok, this is too much, too overwhelming. I’m just really gonna sit in this despair, surrender to it, accept it and be present to it without truly trying to fix it. I might need lie in the bed for a week and gently let it be or whatever but: I surrender. I fucking surrender, here I am shadow, naked, broken, take me!
And whaddayaknow?! I put into practise without actively trying, my word for the year (presence) and my sub-word; surrender. I also lived one of the most powerful quotes that I love:
“What you resist, persists, what you accept transforms”.
Because of course, that is what happened: the moment I said: Here I am, truly, I give up. Not resisting, fixing, escaping, evading it. Loudly saying: “come get me”, it all changed… it was sort of just a quiet space on the other side of shadow, a stillness, it’s like all the struggle, all the darkness, was/ is only that BECAUSE I don’t accept it. I resist, I deny, I evade, I escape. So it gets louder and more painful and trying to get my attention more and more!! When you accept it, it dissolves, because it’s felt, it’s seen, it’s heard and then it looks like it doesn’t even exist anymore.
Mental that, but it’s what happened.
Interestingly: I couldn’t have ACTIVELY ‘not resisted’. LOL. I had to come to that point of: I don’t know a fucking way out, shit. Ok, let’s just sit with that and see what happens (that acceptance took me a WHOLE LOAD of first resisting, screaming NO, ignoring, evading, looking the other way, trying to fix it etc btw).
It was really true; by saying: ok then fucked up dark mess, ENTER ME, it transformed into something lighter. Without intending to fix it, I fixed it. (Sort of). I’m still not at a place where I’m feeling super light and all the sad is gone, but there has been a definite shift since I started going: fuck this, I’m letting the sad and the dark and the broken be. —> all of a sudden: much less sad, dark & broken.
So anyhoo. That’s what happened/ is happening. LOL. See, if I don’t share personal stuff for a while, you get the full whammy when I do, aren’t you lucky? ;)
For the worried ones: thank you I’m ok in the not okay-ness – you know, call it my soul journey or, we all bear our crosses or, I’m learning, growing, living. Also: I have such a great support team around me, they are keeping an eye on me – always. :-)
For the ones who relate to this post on a personal level and struggle with their own shadow & sadness: I see you. I hear you. I love you. You are not alone.
If you can, watch this video, it moved me to deep tears and joy and release:
PS. I want to thank each and everyone of you who’s ever been kind to me or to anyone else. Kindness changes the world and makes everything better.