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From Chaos to Quiet (Drowning Monkeys in a Sound Bath)

PROLOGUE

How often do you stall on a craft project?

Why do some of your projects languish as WIP’s for months, even years?

I have one particular project that’s stalled for several weeks now and I’ve already pressed the buzzer on this one – so it MUST get finished. And soon!

There are so many reasons why projects stall and it’s always a good idea to interrogate this and try to work out what’s going on.

For me, in this case, it was simple. There was just too much going on…….in my head.

ACT ONE: CHAOS

CHAOS: the property of a complex system whose behaviour is so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions. Oxford Languages Dictionary

It was early October and my life was feeling complex and random and I was feeling increasingly sensitive and paranoid.

I’d begun formulating my own conspiracy theory; ALL my machines were conspiring against me. I was convinced that as I slept they communicated using their superior AI and agreed to collectively  break down and abandon me. This revolt was led primarily by my laptop and washing machine, but the iphone and car were both implicated.

On top of this I was stuck in a perpetually looped conversation between a debit collection agency, Hounslow Council, Serco and the DVLA regarding a catalogue of parking fines and court orders racked up by a car that wasn’t mine.

The dark was creeping into my early evenings and bringing that familiar dread and my menopausal symptoms were off the chart.

I’d abandoned my yoga and morning meditations, I was eating chocolate biscuits for breakfast, answering emails at midnight and checking my social media every 15 minutes.

I was stressed, losing sleep and my monkey mind was in overdrive

It was time for a reset.

ACT TWO: NO ANNOUNCEMENT  REQUIRED

Resets can be done at any time and they can be great or small. You don’t need to tell anyone and you don’t need to make grand gestures. You can just spend a few minutes considering what you’d like to do differently and seal the deal with a celebratory drink, nutritious meal or a walk in the park.

But sometimes a bigger gesture or louder noise  is needed for your mind and body to wake up and take notice of your intentions, and every hero needs a guide (there are 4 in this story)

I was lucky to find this group of amazing women to guide me, gently, through an Autumn reset.

Helen at Albion Nights

Polly at Jolly Allotment

Gemma at The Quiet Heart

Katherine at Retreat Remedies

ACT THREE: WOBBLE

On a slightly misty overcast Sunday morning I entered a meadow still drenched by the previous days rain and was warmly greeted by a small gathering and a mug of deliciously restorative herbal tea brewed by Katherine.

We’d come together for a Sunday Morning Movement and Brunch, to reconnect with our minds and bodies and transition into Autumn  guided by Polly and Gemma and in a beautiful space provided by Helen.

Once everyone had arrived we  were led to a seated area around an open fire and I was captivated by Gemma’s talk about Traditional Chinese Medicine . She spoke eloquently about her own experiences and I resolved to be more like Gemma with her aura of beauty, wisdom and tranquility. I placed my nourishing spiced fruit drink down carefully to avoid the embarrassment of spilling it, like I usually do in company.

A few minutes into Gemmas inspiring talk I had a bit of wobble. An actual one, not a metaphorical one. As I reached for my drink, I fell backwards off the bench almost taking the two lovely people sitting either side of me with me.

The monkeys in my head woke up and started arguing with each other.

ACT FOUR: MONKEY MIND

One mortified monkey was screaming at me.

“OMG you’re so embarrassing!”

The other was screaming back

“SHUT UP!! She’s trying to relax!”

I vowed to sit still and work harder at being a grown up.

We learnt that the dominant element of Autumn is Metal and the organs governing this season are the Lung and the Large Intestine and we did work on cleansing our lungs and letting go of things that no longer serve us.

We stood up, around the fire, thumping our chests and breathing deeply, and I worked at quietening my monkeys.

This was followed by a silent walk through the trees  practicing mindfulness using the 5,4,3,2,1 technique.

Acknowledge 5 things you can SEE.

  1. I looked enviously at the shoes of the person in front of me and scolded the monkeys as they began critiquing the  layering aesthetic of the two stylish women who had just stepped out of a Selvedge Magazine photoshoot.

2. That lovely green knitted beanie. I wonder where the pattern’s from…..

MONKEY ONE: “You’re supposed to be looking at the nature you idiot”

  1. There’s some blue in the sky…..

MONKEY TWO: “but what can you FEEL?”

Hang on – I haven’t finished looking yet…..

Acknowledge 4 things you can FEEL.

  1. The inside of my pockets
  2. My wet socks
  3. Cool air on my face…..

MONKEY ONE: “but what can you HEAR?”

I haven’t finished feeling…..

Acknowledge 3 things you can HEAR.

  1. My breathing
  2. Birdsong
  3. A twig snapping

Acknowledge 2 things you can SMELL

  1. A open fire
  2. Food cooking

Acknowledge 1 thing you can Taste

  1. Spicy fruit juice.

ACT FIVE: QUIET

The grass was still wet so we squeezed into a large bell tent, rolled out our yoga mats and collectively stretched and bent into downward dogs and child poses. We threaded the needle in unison and ended in silent Shavasana

I lay quiet and still through the guided meditation, my breathing slowed and the monkeys drowned in a beautiful soundbath.

ACT SIX: FEAST

We slowly emerged from the bell tent into what had developed into a glorious day and the tables were brought out from under the tarpaulins, set with fresh flowers and jam jars.

As we’d been stretching and meditating Polly had been preparing the most delicious meal for us over an open fire and now the air was filled with the promise of a hearty, seasonal, feast.

Our brunch was home grown, organic and utterly delicious. The company was lovely, and it was everything, and more, that I hoped it would be.

Time outside, in the green, around a campfire, in good company, sharing food- this is a powerful and restorative combination, and I’m filled with gratitude for the privilege of being a part of this event.

These simple things are available to all of us, all the time, if we MAKE time to look for them and TAKE time to gather our friends, cook with the best ingredients available to us and quieten our monkey minds.

EPILOGUE

I’m happy to report that a few days after this event I picked up my WIP and felt able to re-connect with my creative soul.

I’ll keep you posted on developments……😊

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Well you had me in hysterics at the falling off the bench bit and I so needed that today having just heard I need a new hip and it will be done in November…..panic sets in . How you do all you do for us all I just have no idea dear Sue. Thanks for the giggle and the more serious side of your words… love Amelia xx

  2. Such a beautiful description Sue. You’ve captured those cheeky, chatty monkeys perfectly and how to keep them calm. Xxx

  3. Wow! That was truly inspiring Sue. Thanks for the tips on quieting the mind and to focus on what makes us happy

  4. This sounds like my absolute idea of heaven! Outdoors, campfires, good food and good company. Very good for the soul. I must get to visit Albion Nights it looks wonderful. Glad it’s helped you x

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