I’m guessing we’ve all carried shame at some time. My shame comes in how I am able (or not) to direct my time, and the amount of energy I have to spend in any one day. It lives in how I can’t move towards my own goals and be everything I need to be for other people, too. It never seems there’s never enough done, before I’m tired again.
In fact, it feels like the tap root of my shame is that I can never do enough, or even be enough. I do a lot of ‘busy work’ ~ email answering, lesson planning, spreadsheet completing, bouncing around between Facebook and Instagram, and when I’m working from home, jumping up and down to attend to whatever part of the cycle the laundry is currently on ~ then I feel unfulfilled at the end of it all and no closer to where I want to be. It leaves me scattered and unfocused. But I get to look good. I answer everybody’s replies and complete their reports. I get a distinction in my assignment.
But maybe I’ve been misreading my emotions. Perhaps it’s no longer shame in thinking that I’m not enough, but instead a sadness rising that I have not allowed enough deep time with myself for thinking, writing, meditating or just (gasp!) being. And the worse thing to do to self medicate these emotions is reaching out with half an hour scrolling through social media. It’s not reaching out I need. It’s reaching in.
I have been working at bringing more of this deep, still work into my life. I’ve been cleaning up online habits, especially around my morning routine. I’ve been disconnecting the wifi connection on my phone and kindle in the bedroom, because I know myself. I have poor impulse control. All the social media before I’ve even started the day adds to my busy, busy, busy mania. Things are changing, slowly. There are compromises to be made. I miss being up to date with the connections I’ve worked to make on Instagram, but I like how calm and centred I feel. I like how I don’t feel guilty of ‘neglect’ because I am prioritising my own needs and starting to bring my own goals into focus.
At the weekend I spent sunset with the swans at Boldmere Gate. I watched with fascination as they preened and waxed their feathers, a long and laborious task but a necessary upkeep in their lives. Later, as they swam away I thought about the old adage that the swan’s graceful appearance belies the furious propelling of their webbed feet beneath the water, as if their grace was just an artful illusion. Peering below the surface, I saw that their feet did not look frantic. Sure, there was motion, but there was also focus and a slow rhythmic effort to move themselves to where they wanted to go. And there’s no shame in that.