Doing Justice to Oneself
''Until you make the unconscious conscious,
it will direct your life and you will call it fate''
The more the days are passing in lockdown, the more it seems that we familiarise ourselves with the experience.
I am experiencing and observing mixed feelings around me and wanted to name and discuss some of them.
We were asked to stop and for most people that disrupted their routine in many levels. We stopped going to work, meet and hug friends, do hobbies and activities, travel etc. We were forced to pause; to take a break and, more importantly, a collective one that we would not normally do. It was as if we experienced 'L'arrêt du temps', the stop of time.
We are still alive, oh yes, we breath, we eat, we shower and yet our days are different, time is different, our moments are different. We have more time in the places we live, our homes, we have more time with the people we live with and we have more time with ourselves.
Some people (namely introverts) maybe more comfortable with this arrangement as being confined and minimally distracted might be more aligned with their nature. For other people (extroverts) that might be more challenging as they might enjoy more the company of many other people and being out and about doing things.
Having a bit more time and space available in our days might be challenging for everyone as we are not used to it. We are used to 'running around', doing things, attend to whatever we created as important and meaningful in our lives. Our lives are mainly defined by and focused on 'doing'. We feel we have a successful day when we have accomplished many complicated tasks. We feel we have a meaningful life when we are planning things and look forward to live them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that as such.
I have experienced it becoming a problem when we exceed the speed limits of our bodies and minds. I have seen people over and over again becoming physically and mentally ill (off balance) because they have not listened to the alarming bells of limits crossing.
It is totally understandable that in the process of building meaningful lives we might get carried away and overdo it. We only want to keep feeling good about ourselves by creating productive and fulfilling lives. Undoubtedly, being creative is a key element to our health and happiness. Is there an issue then when we cross our own limits?
From a (physical, emotional and mental) health point of view it is useful to be aware of our limits at any given time. When we feel tired and we continue doing the things then we are most likely going to hurt ourselves or start making mistakes. Think that our bodies need (almost) one third of our day (one third of our lives!) to sleep, to rest in an unconscious state which is vital for the function of our brain. Like every system, we need to 'shut down', to have some maintenance time when the 'machine' is going to rest, get cleaned, rejuvenate.
That is what are the holidays for you are going to respond and you are right. How often though, can we take the holiday we possibly need ? Our lives are so tightly structured (including financial commitments) that even if we could have some time off, the things that need to be taken care of, they would not stop or we would not want them to stop.
My sense is that 'doing' has become our main way of being. We exist because of all the things we do, but is that freedom? If someone was to tell us that we would earn the same amount of money without having to go to work, would we still go to work the next day? Would we still create the same life we are creating right now?
I understand that the question and its answer is not that simple, yet my point is what drives our lives? What are we devoted to? What is our passion and purpose of living?
I am not asking those questions in a philosophical way, but in a pragmatic one.
What does make us smile? What does make our hearts beat every single day?
What inspires us and interests us in this world?
Having time and space in our hearts inevitably leaves us some available space and time to reflect, if we wish so. No one asks us to do so, it is entirely up to us.
In our resting time, our sleep, we are having dreams, the vibrant communication between our conscious and unconscious mind that resolves the tensions of the day and informs us of our physical state.
Would it be possible to allow for some time in our two third, every day awaken state to do the same? To be instead of doing?
To be without purpose and direction, to be silly and with no sense, to play, to not think, to be empty, to imagine, to not create, to enjoy the view from mountain we just climbed up.
By just being we might realise that there are parts of our hearts that we did not know existed and, thus, we have not been listening to them as we have been so focused elsewhere.
Whose life are we actual living and who is that is actually living?
Is it someone honest, authentic and whole or someone partial and incomplete?
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