by Mothership on February 15, 2010

I haven’t posted for a while because I have been thinking.

*several people of my close acquaintance drop spoons in astonishment*

One could point out that I might think upon the page, allowing my kind readers in upon my musings, but I have felt at times so weary and disconnected, my thoughts so jumbled and fragmented that it was impossible to write them down without it becoming some kind of belching confessional.

That is not really my style.

On the whole I prefer to restrict myself to the odd fragrant burp of personal angst delicately released during a light meal of charming anecdote.

Also, like a cat, I prefer to hide away when I don’t feel at my best, returning when my strength does the same and only then admitting to difficulties once I am safely on the road to return.

I had resolved over the last few weeks quite seriously to make some changes. I had been talking about it for some time and saying that I would, but I had not quite actually done anything, taken any action, stepped out of my comfort zone in order to make things happen.

I was getting rather sick of myself.

And of course of everyone around me.

Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

Finally, a few weeks ago I asked a friend to give me some business referrals in San Francisco and he very generously did.  I then spent a week staring at the numbers feeling paralysed, getting annoyed with everyone, especially myself and being absolutely terrified of picking up the phone.

Yes, that’s right. Me, terrified of the phone.

I, who have traveled the world, performed in front of literally hundreds of thousands of people, built businesses from the ground up, intimidated captains of industry, me.
I am afraid of picking up the phone and asking to speak to somebody I don’t know.

But anyway, because I was so sick of life being the same old thing day after day after day, I did anyway and amazingly enough they wanted to see me and one even had a project that just happened to be perfect for me right now.

It was a sign, I was sure of it. A sign that I was doing the right thing.

I had long planned to visit San Francisco – one of my favourite cities ever – with the children this last weekend, but now I suddenly had some meetings on Friday and Five had no school because of some holiday that nobody except the public schools observe so this threw a spanner in the works. I asked Husband to come with me thinking he could watch the children that day and we’d spend the weekend together, but he felt he couldn’t take the time off and so suggested I go up alone.

A long weekend in San Francisco on my own?

Staying with one of my oldest friends?

I thought I could manage that.

And her husband was out of town, too. How very convenient.

On the drive up I listened to an audiobook (oh my, I am getting old) by a poet who was talking about his own metaphysical path and his spiritual life as guided by poetry which was actually extremely interesting. It was also very long and intense so I would drift in and out of concentration, sometimes picking up a pertinent piece of information and sometimes wondering about what I would wear to my meetings or how many desserts my friend and I could squeeze into three days.
However one thing really stood out.
He spoke of exhaustion. Not just physical exhaustion, but the kind of exhaustion I was feeling – where life had just sucked the energy right out of you and there was nothing left at the end of the day but an empty husk.

This is what he said that really struck me:

The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest: It is wholeheartedness.

When you are no longer enjoying that which you feel you ought to do, not giving love and your whole heart to your existence, this is a sign that it is time to do something else, or address what you do with a different perspective. You need to use your whole heart for your life’s purpose, live authentically or you will be exhausted.

I found this fascinating as I had just been discussing with Husband the absolute necessity of being authentic and oneself in all matters of business as well as personal relationships. I had sometimes been exhausted by the sheer effort of appearing to be ‘a businesswoman’ when I started my company in London eight years ago. I was always trying to conceal the fact that I was really a composer, an artist, a singer because I thought it made me seem less professional, less serious. I felt that at any given minute someone might jump out of a closet and say

“Ya big PHONY! You don’t know how to do a real grown up job! You can’t even order the Business Woman’s Lunch Special!”

Husband had insisted that in my line of work I should be absolutely up front about how I got where I did because everyone else I was dealing with knew about the business world and how to operate in it and were therefore not looking to be impressed by that, they wanted to talk to someone who knew how to do something they didn’t know how to do and that was me.  That made absolute sense in terms of being one’s authentic self. I could agree wholeheartedly.
That word again.

It was wonderful to see my old friend, and I astonished her that evening outside her house with my instant Parking Karma which continued to manifest unfailingly all weekend. I have a knack for that particularly when I am in a good metaphysical space. As I approach my destination I affirm out loud that I believe in parking angels and a gap usually appears right outside the place I wish to park.
This even works in central London – bizarre, isn’t it?  Try it sometime. It really works if you keep the belief it will in your head.

I went into my meetings with my guard down and an open mind and decided to just be exactly who I am and keep in my mind the thought that people will want to work with me because I am me, not because I am important, or flashy, or am extra good at bullshit.
They went extremely well. And oddly enough the MD of one company asked me how I had come to own my company and I told her my story of being a musician first and then the journey to here and she said wonderingly

“Why ever did you want to do business? I would do anything just to write music!”

So Husband was right!

I wondered how much of my feeling that my meetings were good was because I had felt so at ease with myself and this, ultimately, is all we ever have to go on. I know when I am ill-at-ease I tend to see others as more aggravating even when, objectively speaking, they may not be. I am just less tolerant and I do not see people in the same rosy glow.

When we are in love we see everyone and everything through a rose tinted lens. That is partly what is so alluring about that time in our lives and why we long to have it again and again, or recapture it long after the first flushes have past. But isn’t it really just how someone else has allowed us to feel about our selves? Shown us our very best selves in our soul’s mirror?

It’s as if we are shown our selves and then love ourselves with our whole hearts. And then for those precious weeks, months, or if we’re lucky, years, we live wholeheartedly.

And then we stop.

I don’t want to stop. I want to start.

This last weekend I saw a film, I ate at new restaurants, I laughed a lot, I looked at a large, ramshackle old house with paintings on the wall that told me a story I wanted to write down. I walked around unfamiliar streets and spoke to people I didn’t already know. I suddenly saw some things that I wanted to do, to be.
I understood the power of positive intention. Again. I say again because I always knew but I just forgot because I was in a bad mood for quite a long time. I decided to stop being angry and resentful. I forgave those who stood in my way because, actually, they don’t.

Nobody and nothing can stand in my way.

For as long as I walk (and park) upon this earth, I want to live and love with my whole heart.


1 Arlene Wszalek February 15, 2010 at 11:52 pm

My cousin calls it “Parkma.” And when the Hertz shuttle bus is waiting as you walk out of the terminal, why that’s “Rental Carma.” :)

I’m going to do some thinking on the “opposite of exhaustion is wholeheartedness” line. Husband and I constantly discussing how weary we are, had attributed it to not sleeping enough, but maybe it’s something more.

Love this post, and love you. Hope to see you again soon. x
.-= Arlene Wszalek´s last blog ..Wzzy: @MTFF Welcome back! x =-.

2 Henri February 16, 2010 at 12:51 am

Lovely to see you back. You have a real skill for filtering all the jumble that moils and boils around in my head and then putting it down it down in a way that makes sense, it has a coherance. Thank you for helping me clarify my own situation. It is so exciting and affirming when you do get the chance to be yourself rather than the who people expect you to be. This is the year to give it a go.

3 TheMadHouse February 16, 2010 at 2:00 am

I know this post wasn’t meant to make me cry but it did. I am struggling to put things into perspective at the moment, being very strapped for cash isn’t helping in any way at all. I understand the fear of doing little things and it is paralysing me, anyway enough about me. Welcome back I am so pleased for you and have missed your posts
.-= TheMadHouse´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday and shortbread recipe =-.

4 Brit In Bosnia February 16, 2010 at 2:01 am

Oh yes please. Do things whole heartedly. And get out there and do them. Welcome back, I’ve missed your posts.
.-= Brit In Bosnia´s last blog ..Olympic spirit =-.

5 Parked February 16, 2010 at 5:11 am

I also get parking spaces easily. Sometimes a car will pull out just as I’m driving up. I believe it is my father looking out for me.

6 shayma February 16, 2010 at 5:44 am

welcome back, dear MTFF. i was wondering where you had been. you will not only live and love wholeheartedly, but it is clear that the same is given to you by your family. it’s lovely to hear you had a much-deserved break in SFO. wishing you all the best for your new projects, and may there be many! x shayma
.-= shayma´s last blog ..‘Comfort(ed) Food’: Aloo ki Bhujia, Cumin-Spiced Potatoes =-.

7 nappyvalleygirl February 16, 2010 at 6:15 am

Glad to see you back; I was thinking of emailing you to see if you were OK!

I’m pleased to hear that you are in a better place now; I’ve been feeling a bit fed up and stuck in a rut myself, but had a good weekend which has made me feel much more upbeat. Wish I had your parking karma though!
.-= nappyvalleygirl´s last blog ..The white stuff =-.

8 Alice February 16, 2010 at 6:58 am

Thank you for putting this into words. I have been feeling like this lately – just a lot of dissatisfaction, and nothing I was able to put my finger on. It took getting pregnant and being able to re-evaluate all aspects of who I am to help me come out of the fog, and it sure is lovely out here :)
.-= Alice´s last blog ..Act Your Age? =-.

9 geekymummy February 16, 2010 at 9:06 am

Beautiful post, I missed you. I too have a fear of talking to new people on the phone. I do it all the time, but I hate it.

I don’t think everyone will appreciate how amazing your parking Karma must be if you easily found spots in San Francisco. This a city where the average life of an open parking space is 0.002 seconds. A city that causes sensible adults to abandon their vehicles in front of fire hydrants, knowing full well that they will be impounded at the cost of hundreds of dollars, after having circled the streets for an hour or more. You must be a very lucky individual!

And if you ever want to make new friends in San Francisco, please do drop me a personal email and we could meet up with the kids.
.-= geekymummy´s last blog ..Now you are four =-.

10 Susan Champlin February 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

This is a truly wonderful and inspiring post—I thank you and the poet (who was it?) for expressing so clearly this seemingly simple but hard to attain concept. I’ve spent so much of my so-called career doing things half-heartedly, and half-brainedly, and think it’s more than time to make up the difference. I’m so happy for you. (But don’t punish yourself if you still have a few half-hearted days—you now know what wonderful things you’re capable of!)
.-= Susan Champlin´s last blog .."Has your mind taken hold again, dear Professor?" =-.

11 the Inveterate Optimist February 16, 2010 at 11:20 am

What a wonderful post! You’ve made me weep and cheer. No “belching confessional” here; just sound advice beautifully written. Welcome back, MTFF! tIO x

PS: Am now singing that Extreme song. Love it whole-heartedly.
.-= the Inveterate Optimist´s last blog ..Hey Everybody it’s Pancake Day! =-.

12 Kelly February 16, 2010 at 11:32 am

Welcome back. I read this post this morning and it stayed with me all day. I love it when a blog post does that. This is such an interesting idea, and when I think back to the times that I have felt good and things have gone well for me, this has actually been my attitude at the time. Now I just need to remember in the moment.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Tomy Top Tips for Today’s Parents =-.

13 A Modern Mother February 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I understand the parking karma thing (used to live a street away from Lombard St). But who cares about that. You, YOU! I’m so happy for you. That you are at this point. YAY. There’s no stopping you now.
.-= A Modern Mother´s last blog ..Conversations with a Polish housecleaner =-.

14 Em February 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Inspiring! Thank you.

15 Slummy Single Mummy February 17, 2010 at 1:58 am

A beautiful and inspiring post!

I’ve been feeling very similar lately – that tired, bored nothingness when you’re sure things aren’t quite right but you have no idea why or how to fix them. Everything seems to take more effort than usual. It’s great to know there is a light at the end of the that tunnel.

Thank you! x
.-= Slummy Single Mummy´s last blog ..Inside my 11-year-old mind. Officially a Very Dull Place. =-.

16 Knackered Mother February 17, 2010 at 5:16 am

Very glad you are back, I love your posts. I don’t often comment as you often say all that needs to be said but please know that I’m an avid reader and have missed your musings.
.-= Knackered Mother´s last blog ..Circle of Shame =-.

17 So Lovely February 17, 2010 at 10:11 am

I completely understand where you have been and are now heading. Its very easy to just cruise through life. One of my thoughts for this year (not NY resolutions) is seize the day. Even if its a quick walk around the block to dislodge the staleness I do it and it helps. This year has started out with a great bang for me and I know that its going to be a wonderful year for you too. I had my 1st, successful business when I was 19 so have lots of tips when you need them. The first one you already have covered – be yourself because that’s who your clients will be working with & if you don’t click from the start it won’t happen. xx
.-= So Lovely´s last blog ..Tomorrow’s Toussaints by Kalamu ya Salaam =-.

18 Mothership February 18, 2010 at 4:53 pm

hello all,
I am touched by the response to this post and I would normally address each and every one of you but I am in bed recuperating from a small operation and am completely high on pain meds.
Suffice to say I thank you each wholeheartedly for reading and commenting and cannot tell you how much it means to know that other people think and feel the same way as I do

19 Nicola February 18, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Fantastic post. Thank you.

20 Iota February 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I LOVE that quote about the antidote to exhaustion. It’s so true. What about that saying “if you want something done, give it to a busy person”. That’s the same kind of thing: people who are busy and fulfilled will get stuff done. People who are languid and bored, though they might have more available time, won’t get stuff done so quickly.
.-= Iota´s last blog ..Names and numbers =-.

21 nixdminx February 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I love this post – your writing is actually quite lyrical (I’m sure you know that!) and I enjoy it wholeheartedly (couldn’t help that!) x
.-= nixdminx´s last blog ..If you could give your daughter one gift what would it be? =-.

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