“Take some leisure time” she suggested. “Leisure?” I thought, that stopped me in my tracks.
Here I am on this journey to me and, while I’m a few deliberate years into the journey, I got rather distracted this last year with mum’s rapid decline and recent death. Now there is this moment of readjustment, trying to remember “where was I up to?”
Except I’m not starting where I left off, that is an illusion. Life continued, my journey continued, I just stopped tracking it quite so much. Mum is basking in the fullness of her energy now, consciousness reconnected with our source, in the light, however you want to put it. Yet here I am.
In truth, I think part of me went too, and felt its warmth. That part of me isn’t quite so sure how to renter into the world.
As my mentor reminded me, I came from that source almost half a century ago into a world, a family, for whom war was familiar. It’s probably no coincidence I listened to two audio fictional books on the plane recently, stories about the atrocities and struggles of the Second World War.
Those were real in my life as a child, with parents born just as the war ended; yet rations, fear and struggle continued for some time. I recall vividly the fear I felt when Britain went to war in the early 1980’s over the Falklands. At the time I was deeply in love and the threat of conscription suddenly loomed over the relationship.
While that threat was never realised, the memory demonstrates to me just how real the threats all seemed. Then came the other wars, the war against AIDS, the war against drugs and the war terror, all perpetuating more fear.
Our life is a mirror, it plays back to us where our energy is dialed in. And so I have known defense and fear all my life. This part of me that reconnected with our source, it knows no fear, and it has no desire to take on the energy of defense. But I have no mental template for that.
In my recent article about doing what fuels you and dumping the rest, I cited an example of saying no to the onerous task of organizing the school’s annual fair. That was all very well, but the question was how to say no without defence, without inadvertently starting a war.
It was an interesting exercise observing draft email after draft email. Each time the defences lessened. First came spewing forth the (literally) years of indignant thoughts on the topic merged with a defensive intonation and a mix of suggestions for improvement. Finally came the version where I just sent my apologies, explaining that, with mum’s recent death, I just haven’t got the energy for something I don’t like.
It was like a scene from Nashville watching singer Juliette Barnes get all angry with her fans for judging her then, finally, taking a breath, feeling into the pain and just throwing up her hands and saying “you know what, I struggle with depression, I need to figure this out”.
In fact that scene was just life mirroring to me where I am at: letting go of defence and done with navigating icy waters. My mentor is right, it’s time to let in the warmth and the light. But how do I carry that into this world?
And so, stopped in my tracks, all this passed through my mind as I contemplated the word leisure.
She is right of course. Taking on a more leisurely attitude will reflect back a different world than the one I’ve been experiencing until now.
But what is leisure? I guess for some it’s walks in the forest, playing tennis or being more social. Not for me, and there are only so many times I want to walk on the beach no matter how I love it. Another ah ha moment waited in the wings as my mentor asked me what kind of mother I'd like to be for my children.
Funnily enough it was the same question Juliette Barnes got asked in her scene too. It was like the universe was playing back to me the important parts of the conversation I’d had.
The kind of mother I’d like to be is one who is in harmony with her environment, who fully understands the natural world and the part it has to play in aiding human growth and life. To understand human potential and how to leverage the amazing capacities we all have that most believe belong only in sci-fi movies.
I’d like to be the kind of mother that can say to the creator “I know you made us in your image, I know your design was flawless, I see the perfection. I can do this, you got it right, I have got this.”
That is what leisure is to me, where glee and awe and inspiration lie, to discover the secrets that unlock all of that. So as Juliette Barnes was advised to take a deep breath every time she felt anger and, instead, feel the pain behind it, the advice given to me was to take 5 minutes to myself to contemplate, to relax, every time I felt compelled to some sort of action – or at least 5 times a day.
And so as I wonder whether leisure is indeed the antidote to the life of defence I’ve known until now, I am left in no doubt that pursuing all that interests me will help me find the way into calmer, warmer waters that are filled with light.
As you contemplate what leisure might mean for you, consider a world in which you could feel a more leisurely attitude about everything you get drawn to, where others feel the same. It just feels different doesn’t it? Much nicer, certainly the kind of world I want my children to experience and for us all to enjoy.
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