My mum is having a Christmas party today. As excited as I am to see friends and family, I have to admit I find these things a bit of a trial. Old memories become fresh again, etc. This time, however, I have approached it slightly differently.
‘How can I support you?’ I asked my mum. This gives me the security of knowing what I’m doing today,, and the happiness factor of knowing I’m supporting someone.
“You’re one of those people who remind me that the world is full of good people.”
A woman held the gate open for us today, and I was touched.
The thing is, our lives are full of good people, who make our lives that bit better; our partners, kids, brothers and sisters; the worker/s at our local shop; the repair people we see out and about. Remember to smile the next time you see them, or even say thank you if it’s appropriate.
‘Glimpses of joy really matter, because they connect us to life rather than split us away from it.’
Dr Patricia Collard
Mindfulness doesn’t just teach us to relax, it helps us see a whole new way of living; the fostering of joy.
Stepping back to look at life helps us see what brings us happiness. Good relationships, acts of kindness, compassion for our co-workers, friends and family. Growing plants and vegetables. Looking after ourselves. All the things we so often forget.
To learn mindfulness is to learn the art of living joy.
The turning point was when I realised I was looking at more pictures of cats on Facebook than I was spending time with my growing kitten.
It was actually hurting the ones I loved. And I love my cat more than anything.
She has transformed my life; made me who I am today. So why would I neglect her emotionally.
At that moment I decided to delete Facebook from my phone. I check it at the most once or twice a day, and rarely write on it. As a result my cat is getting the love and cuddles she deserves, we have grown closer, and it has had other effects too.
My head is no longer here, there and everywhere. I am present. I am no longer transcribing my life in my head for comedic snappy posts.
While ‘Is it Good Friday? I have no Fish Fingers in.’ did tickle me, I am now happy, and more in the moment.
I’m reading a book called ‘I Love Dick’ by Chris Kraus.
It is not in fact a pornographic word-fest, but a real and essential account of infatuation; and of being a woman today.
What role do women have within the love story? Do they degrade themselves by meeting society’s stereotypes to be desirable? I love that she stays true to herself, and feels the agony of the world, and Dick’s rejection – though of course not his penis’s.
Her exploration seems like what we should all be doing: accepting life’s shit just to be real. Giving a genuine account feels like the only way we can make progress in this double-standarding, hypocritical, bullshit-sheen of a world.
There is so much complexity in this world. You have to fight even to follow your soul – if you are to stay well. But, at least for me, I’d like to fight to be real.
This is an amazing book written by Eric Berne in 1963. While a little outdated and completely male-centric, as well as routed in Western culture, at least the book admits games will change along-side the socio-cultural landscape: ‘new games are continually being discovered’ (Berne 1963:61). I would love to see culturally specific versions of this book around the world, but, by reading it, wherever you are from, you will get the idea.
It pioneers an approach now widely used in therapy: Transactional Analysis. If you have ever had mental health issues I highly recommend you read this book; it will help you have healthier relationships. ‘I’m OK – You’re OK’ is also a great follow-on book.
It discusses the concept of social intercourse, and says that it is a way of working. Let me go back a few beats.
So as we are growing up, we learn social intercourse in three stages: material programming, social programming, and individual programming. Material programming is the way in which we build ourselves as humans, social programming is the way in which we learn social propriety, i.e during rituals such as weddings, or even going to the hairdresser. Individual programming is where we learn from our own life experiences.
From marital games to sexual games to good games, Berne discusses the many games people can play during social intercourse, and the ways in which they are played.
I highly recommend this book, and while I’m moving on to a new book now, I will keep going back to it I’m sure.