Life is a journey, right? But sometimes there are specific ‘mini breaks’ that stand out – and one of those has just begun. As I type from the train, I can honestly say I have a belly full of nerves. Not quite stirring butterflies, more like a dry throat, sweaty palms and my heartbeat is not its usual steady self. The train has picked up pace and there is no turning back! Not that I want to, but the feeling of heading towards a new level of personal development has definitely brought on the nerves, or is it excitement?
Sitting earlier at Paddington station holding my warm morning coffee, I began to try and calm myself by tuning into the noises, the other people and the warm rays of sun coming through the glass windows and landing on my face. I was scanning the crowd wondering if anyone else was beginning their next adventure and pondering how they might be feeling.
I know fear, nerves and excitement all flow along the same neural pathway and it’s easy for someone to say ‘try and reframe the fear feeling’ – but what does that really mean?
For me I tend to ‘feel fear better’ when I have delayered the thoughts. This gives me permission to step outside of the hamster wheel and look in. Sometimes I imagine I’m looking over my own shoulder, like my best friend behind me whispering in my ear.
Questions I may ask myself:
- Where are you focussing your thoughts right now?
- What are you able to take control of in this moment?
- What do you not have control of and therefore need to let go of?
- What is it about the week ahead of you that’s making you most anxious?
- What do you need/ can do now to help you manage that better?
- What assumptions are you making? What are the opposites of these?
- What are you projecting onto the situation?
- What are you actually doing right now? How can you be more present in that action?
Even just beginning with one of two of these, I tend to calm. I gain a wider perspective quicker. Let’s face it, it’s not surprising anxiety levels rise as, any break away from home for a working mum is pretty rare! The logistics to make it happen are endless and have to be planned months before the actual event. It comes to a peak the week before, leaving you tired, head sore and vulnerable. I am lucky and so grateful to my husband who has taken time off to cover my role at home and this makes me even more aware of the need to lap up this golden opportunity for deeper personal growth. But even as I write this sentence I think, perhaps I’m adding extra pressure on the moment right there – something else to let go!
Another tool to help gain perspective is to write about it. Just writing these few paragraphs has helped. I see the canals running alongside the railway line, looking beautiful in the sunshine and it reminds me to go with the flow. Travelling alone for me has always brought huge growth and insight. It provides opportunity to gain more bravery stripes, you get the space to embrace uncertainty and know it’s just you to manage – no kids, no dog, no family/friends, just you. Travel and time apart from your dearest ones allows space for pause and reflection, two hugely valuable and under-used life skills we all have access to. You get a chance to reinvent yourself, with no known history you present yourself to strangers for the first time, which offers a freeing feeling of equality amongst your peers.
The difference this time is I am about to delve deep physically and metaphysically in the ecology of the forest. Developing further my forest bathing skills and examining deeper my personal connection to our planet. Alongside me will be a small number of other course attendees, of yet I have no knowledge. Complete strangers will meet today and through connection of a common love of the woods will begin a friendship journey of yet untold chapters.
My heart is steadier, my palms less sweaty and it’s time to surrender and allow the full manifestation of this journey to deliver.
As taken from Paddington,
‘if you really want something in this world,’ said Olga simply, ‘you’ll never get it by sitting down and waiting. But if you go out and do things there’s no knowing where you’ll end up.’
Be in touch soon.