A Good Life: Overload, dark moods, a Good Walk, wild garlic, a recipe and love
Like all of us working from home, I hit periods of overload. It starts with a fuzzy feeling in the front of my head that quickly spreads, lying thick and heavy across my brain. I find myself in a space where thinking feels like trying to pull a wellington out of deep mud; it becomes slow, deliberate, and even then it slips.
I can go from a creative flow state, and a feeling of Nirvana, to trudging through mud in what feels like the blink of an eye. That feeling of creeping fuzziness in my brain is my low fuel warning. If I ignore it, I'm in for a world of hurt and a mood swing that will quickly deteriorate to a foggy funk that will take hours to dissipate.
If you've read some of my other blogs, you'll know that I haven't always been the best at recognising the triggers for mood swings. My lack of attentiveness to my body's dashboard has left those around me wondering how I can go from such a creative high to forlorn funk so quickly. People have labelled me moody, and rightly so. Too often, I lacked awareness of myself and my impact on others. In being task-obsessed, I was selfish.
A Good Walk
Today I try to be more self-aware and take a different approach. When I sense the fuzziness creeping in, I work to find a convenient exit from the task. I then create a car park, where I write down all the things in my head that relate to the task. I do this to release thoughts that will continue to distract me if I don't externalise them; in fear of losing them, I know I'll keep rehearsing them in my head to ensure I don't lose them, which will only drain my brain battery more. Next, I disconnect from work and reconnect with the world around me. I take a Good Walk.
My work in progress.
This week, I turned into a bear with a sore head. I found myself lacking in purpose. I'm someone that thrives on having a mission; my passion drives me, and there is no better feeling than that sense of drive and achievement. Without that sense of purpose, I turn into a husk of the person I strive to be.
My burning passion is this project, but, just after we fully launched, COVID-19 sent the world into lockdown. I find it difficult to explain, but a lack of active-purpose, where I don't feel productive, leaves me feeling as though I am not achieving anything. I feel lazy. It gets worse because I shut down, sinking deep into the mud.
There is so much I could do to connect with the world, but I focus on solving a problem that I can't resolve. I can quickly descend into a dark space, which is not good for my family or me. I fail to see the wood for the trees, and I need a good kick in the backside. Sometimes I am good at giving my mind a good jolt; other times, I need someone to help.
The Good Life
This week, it was my wife, Zoe, who pulled me out of the mud. We were in our office at home, talked about how I was feeling, and I asked if she wanted to take a walk with me.
Fifteen minutes into the walk and I hadn't spoken much. We stopped by a stream and Zoe spotted wild garlic. I would never have seen it because I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. Zoe's excitement at her find was infectious, rubbing the leaves between her fingers and virtually sticking them up my nose to inhale the pungent smell.
Picking leaves (the plant with the white flowers in the picture), I found myself finally practising what I preach. Zoe guided me to rediscover the space around me, and I found what she saw all along; me. It brought me to remember that I am still a work in progress. Zoe says that our daughter and I bring her purpose. Her passion, her love, is so finely tuned that she knows what to do to make things better.
We can all be selfish at times, becoming wrapped up in self-woe, but the love of others guides us back to a more meaningful sense of place. That love gives me a sense of meaning, belonging, purpose and, ultimately, a good life. I need to recalibrate my purpose at times, which brings me to remember that it is okay to be a work in progress.
Going home, we raided the cupboards for ingredients and made Zoe's Colby Woods Wild Garlic Pesto. Add pasta, a little sunshine, a sprinkling of smiles, a glass of wine, and eat in the garden for the perfect end to a day.
Zoe's Colby Woods Wild Garlic Pesto Recipe
A good bunch of wild garlic. Small bunch flat-leaf parsley 60g toasted pine nuts 30g 30 months mature parmesan cheese Zest and juice of half a lemon Salt and pepper 120ml Extra virgin olive oil
Blend and eat!
Even better spread on toasted bread after a day or two in the refrigerator :-)