In my year of healing wounds from Cupid's arrows, and while I dare not surrender to any more, I've noticed something in my own arsenal that has been growing sharper by the day.
Let's say I'm on a sailing boat. I've been swept up in a combination of racing and battles for longer than I care to remember. There have been times when the sails are perfectly trimmed, the boat is healed right over and I'm slicing through the waves at speed, my hand on the wheel, the sun on my face and my boat on top of the world. There have been storms. Times when all I've been able to do is batten down the hatches, head down below and crouch there waiting for my boat to either sink or be smashed against the rocks. There have also been times I have willingly entrusted others with my permission to board, only to find that they were pirates who would leave me for dead.
This year I've sailed out into the calmest waters I could find on this eventful sea I inhabit, meaning I'm no longer racing and I'm no longer giving anyone permission to board. What I've noticed is that away from all the chaos, I'm refining my ability to read the weather.
I see clouds coming in and I react. Quick as anything. I notice my boat getting pulled into a coming storm. One turn of the wheel in the wrong direction naturally leads to another but I stop it. I'm learning how to turn away from it before it overpowers me.
The more I practice this in calm waters, the easier it gets. Now I even notice the waves, long before the clouds even come in. Some days little flickers on the surface of the sea become ever so slightly disturbed. So I trim, I turn I consult my charts and I plot my course accordingly.
This week, however, an almighty storm blew in from afar that I was unable to navigate away from. It shook my little boat to it's core and I was terrified it would do some lasting damage, but it didn't. When it hit I let it shake me. I stayed at the wheel, let the salt water flood over my face and rather than giving in to it I simply observed how it affected me: There was a bit of damage to my boat and what I noticed was that my habitual reaction was to smash the whole boat up a bit more in order to make it even – to punish myself for the storm.
For the first time, from my new place on the sea, I realised what a crazy notion that was, and how that has been my habitual reaction for decades. How ever I learnt that reaction or whomever I learnt it from doesn't matter. What matters now is that I'm aware of it and I can change it. This is my boat. It's all I've got. I need to look after it in every way I can.
It's a little bit lonely out here on my own but I know it's what I need. Right now I've just dropped anchor and it's calm again. The sun is out and I'm eating a sweet, ripe water melon as I listen to the waves lapping against the sides. I might even go for a swim later.
A Moodscope member.
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