Stripping it right back
“Sometimes our waters feel over-crowded, as if swarms of people were descending into the ocean on a sweltering hot day. Hardly finding a space in the water to cool ourselves, we can feel as if there is just no room for faith, trust, peace and love. There is just too much happening in that water.”
I read this on an oracle card I not so coincidentally pulled pre yoga class about a week into my recent trip to Darwin. I found myself doing that whole ‘Oh-My-God Yes!’ head nodding thing you do when it’s literally describing EXACTLY how you have been feeling and what you are currently swimming through.
Trying to explain what that three and half week stay in Darwin did for me on SO MANY levels is actually quite difficult to express in words. I went there for love, yes. But I wholeheartedly believe Darwin, being the destination we found ourselves in was necessary for everything else I found too.
SPACE, a slower pace and simplicity. The chance to do what I had been yearning to – strip it right back.
The year 2020 had its challenges for all of us. For me personally, it was the inability to travel (where I actually wanted to) and get any form of a holiday or break. It was being kept apart from someone truly special in my life and it was the monotony and noise in my daily life, no matter how much allocated time out or self-care I gave myself. By October, I was finding myself feeling more frustrated, mentally exhausted, bored and resentful on more occasions than ever before. I LOVE Perth! And my life. And somehow, I now felt trapped in it. Always having something to do, somewhere to be, someone to see, someone to reply to online and offline both on a personal and professional level…just reading that sentence alone feels tiring.
And I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy any of the above or choose it or appreciate having those things and opportunities in my life. I’m saying there is just too much of it. Enter my mantra for 2021, ‘less is more.’
Less to do, less places to be, less people to see, less people to reply and get back to online and offline both on a personal and professional front. Quality vs quantity, right?
Getting away gave me the SPACE to do that. Getting away over the summer and festive season made it even easier because it’s the one time of the year EVERYONE else is generally also stepping right back. And I’m fairly certain (going off the overall vibe and chats I’ve had) almost everyone was craving the switching out and switching off just as much as I was.
“We yearn for the cool calm mountain lake, serene, giving, echoing a gentle dispensation of grace. You are being called across the waters – out from an overcrowded sea into the cool spaciousness of the endless lake.”
What being in the same spot and same area without moving around in terms of travel and location on a large and small scale also allowed for was little choice. Be it where I walked, ate, exercised, shopped, swam, had a drink and socialised. Who I saw, even what I wore. It’s always hot and thongs/slides were the general day to do shoes of choice. I packed for 2 and a half weeks and stayed for 3 and a half. No worries. I wore the same stuff most days anyway to chill out in, sleep in, exercise and swim in. Little choice, little to think about.
Steve Jobs owned many duplicates of his signature black mock neck he could usually be seen wearing. Barack Obama once told Vanity Fair: ‘You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
Mark Zuckerberg can usually be seen wearing a variation of the same grey t-shirt to avoid “decision fatigue.” Research has shown that we only have the capacity to make so many sound decisions in a day, because making decisions is exhausting. He went on to explain in an interview in 2014 “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community. There’s actually a bunch of psychology theory that even making small decisions, around what you wear or what you eat for breakfast or things like that, they kind of make you tired and consume your energy.”
Is it any wonder that for the first time in a long time I felt so incredibly quiet and calm, and a level of flow and being that allowed me to feel so at peace, content and RELAXED!!! All that energy usually spent giving out was spent giving in. Every activity I did be it my morning dip, coffee, workout, allocated work hours, book by the pool, evening strolls, a phone call to my family, watching Netflix, putting up and folding down washing, a shower, making and eating a meal – even the art of doing nothing! – was all done without a rush or need to be done by a certain time. My days just flowed with joy and ease and therefore I was flowing (and glowing) with joy and ease.
Most of all what I really noted was how less anxious and mentally exhausted and fogged I was due to less hours and time online. Most of my work revolves around online work, of which I’m truly grateful for. But the amount, points of contact, demand and speed of it all is getting faster and faster each year and instead of it being a tool and part of life, it’s now consuming life. And was beginning to consume mine, no matter what boundaries I thought I had in place. I spent 3-4 hours on average each day online for work in half the pace I usually I run at while home and clicked off feeling productive, accomplished and most of all, not mentally brain fried! Just because we CAN be online 24/7 and REACH people 24/7, doesn’t mean that we should.
Now one might argue that this isn’t ‘reality’. That’s why we call it a holiday. And usually, I’d agree…when I was getting them on the regular pre marriage break up and covid. But during this get away something shifted. I was given enough time and space (there’s that word again) to reset. And decide what I wanted my life to look and FEEL like in 2021 in both a personal and working capacity. And I guess my point is – we always have a choice. It’s just we lose sight of it and fall into the trap of believing it’s just how things are and we can’t do anything about it.
Maybe it’s just a little shift or change in habits and lifestyle. Maybe it’s a huge one. At the end of the day, maybe it’s just about starting with something. I think the key is to always ask yourself not what you want but how you want to FEEL.
I’m craving more SPACE! To flow, be present, feel less rushed, FEEL more than just do and change things up as I feel by the moment, the day or week…more than ever in the workspace. I crave less noise but equal if not bigger impact. My Piscean spirit is craving more room for adventure in 2021 and personal happiness.
“So, it’s time to let go of some mental clutter, some attitudes, some thoughts…it’s a bit like you’re moving to a new neighbourhood in a cleaner and more spacious town. It might be a bit unfamiliar at first, but soon enough you’ll enjoy the difference.”
Whatever it is for you, my hope is that you too walk into the new year knowing who you are and what it is you desire…or at least be willing and brave enough to discover it.
*Extracts taken from Across The Waters, an oracle card from Journey of Love by Alana Fairchild