Life has felt full and fast these last two weeks, and I’ve missed the spaces in between. Without the spaces, I lose the sense of who I am and what I want; I become reactive, not centred and intentional. It’s not been bad or difficult stuff I’ve been dealing with – just fast, complex and driven by the agendas of others. Some things important to me have not got done, like writing a blog post last week, eating well or getting outdoors for fresh air and exercise.
But then – a blessing! I hit a spell of commitments that gave me the opportunity to slow the pace and catch my breath because they involved long train journeys. I like train journeys. The motion, the countryside flicking past, the ability to be alone in a crowd (headphones firmly in) allows me to drop into reflective trance. Jumbled thoughts are sifted into place by the riddling of the tracks. I can hide myself without guilt on a train journey, blaming intermittent phone signal and dodgy wifi, knowing it’s still a journey taking me to something or somewhere where I will be of service to others.
I often write about how it’s not selfish to put yourself first, but I confess, although I absolutely know that to be true, I’m not sure I’d caught how habitual the guilt I feel is when I do something just for me. I noticed it in my reaction to something Dan Meredith shared (I’ve recently started following him) about catching a train to nowhere, to claim the space to think. I immediately thought “how delicious – what a guilty pleasure that would be!” But then wondered why I feel apologetic and guilty about doing something that helps me to be at my best? So I’ve made a commitment to myself to catch the guilt when it arises and practise shifting it to something that’s more true. I won’t lose the habit of guilt overnight, but that’s ok – life’s one long practice.
And to underline that a train to nowhere still takes you somewhere, I’ve just had two days training (which also felt like a guilty indulgence, instead of a professional essential – doh, Rachel!). It was on ORSC (Organisation and Relationship Systems Coaching), which taught me the fundamental mindset shift – in my usual coaching my attention is wholly on the human being I’m with, but in ORSC the relationship or the system is the client, so attention shifts to the spaces in between!
Space is not empty, nowhere is not nothing. There’s richness and beauty in the gaps, and my introverted soul is very at home spending time there if I simply give myself permission to be.
Hmm -perhaps a bit obscure today, but I’m just back from a place deep inside of me. If you fancy hanging out with some similarly deep and obscure people, come ask to join us over at our closed FB group Introvert by Nature (we’ll ask you some questions before you can come in, but I make no apology for not just letting anybody in!)