Let me say at this point, it’s O.K.
Over the last few years I’ve used this as an excuse for not sharing everything I’ve learnt. I’m not always calm. Anyone who has seen me trying to do the shopping in our local superstore with my kids in tow, will know.
How can I teach calm when I’m not perpetually floating around on my own calm cloud?
Since my cancer diagnoses, I have become acutely sensitive to my calm-o-meter. (You know how prolonged, unhealthy stress makes you sick in all sorts of ways.) And when I’m not calm it makes me… even more uncalm. So I check it and as much as possible I adjust it.
And then May Day last year happened. My girl got a bump to the head of A & E proportions. We were camping and deliberated at length about whether to go home. We decided in the end not to. Not to make it the reason we had to stop the fun; try to see it as a bump in the road rather than add to the distress and make it a long and boring detour.
As we drove back to the campsite I felt sick. Which is quite at odds with my usual camping persona. My head was in turmoil because my brain now is built to recognise signs of stress and respond, reverse. The trouble was, no matter what, even with all my training, I couldn’t stop feeling sick with uncalmness.
And I had to have a word with myself. It’s O.K. this time. There really was a threat, you have had a shock, you’re allowed to be worried about the basic survival of your off-spring.
And there are loads of other things that it’s O.K. not to feel calm about… It’s natural on the first day of a new job, a performance, when you’ve lost something or someone important, or even got a bit close to all these things. There’s loads of stuff that are uncalming.
And I think what we’ve got is a culture with a very low tolerance of uncalm. Where a calm, peaceful life is the holy grail, wrongly perceived as achievable even! As if we have anything to do with it. Indeed with the title of this blog, I could fall into that very category.
Even at a personal level; of course it doesn’t feel as nice as joy! Perhaps there’s an expectation that we should feel simply awesome all the time. That emotions like disappointment, resentment, anger, fear, sadness… don’t they just ruin all the fun!
I needed a reality check.
Darling, sometimes, you’re just going to feel shit. It’s O.K.
It’s a process, a side-effect of being human. And it’s a good thing. We’re alive with a full range of human emotions. Don’t diss the uncalm man!
Purely noticing it is a rather special achievement. You could add to the pain by being cross with it. Or sit next to it. Give it an encouraging smile. Be O.K. with it. Stroke it and tell it it’s going to be O.K. Most of the time it is. Especially with some calm tricks up your sleeve of course! And even when it’s not… it will be… eventually.
Love me x