“Neverland is a fictional island featured in the works of J. M. Barrie and those based on them. It is an imaginary faraway place, where Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and other mythical creatures and beings live. Although not all people who come to Neverland cease to age, its best known resident famously refused to grow up. The term is often used as a metaphor for eternal childhood (and childishness), immortality, and escapism” Source: Wikipedia
Not long ago, a couple of weeks ago when I last wrote in fact, I had a sense of coming ‘back to’ normal life and feeling myself returning to routine and taking the time settling back. I should know by now - life doesn’t settle to non-change; as one client of mine often says “there is always something”. I didn’t write a post last week. I could put it down to the fullness of my first week ‘back to’ the routine of it all; and indeed, it WAS a busy week. The two days back at the University teaching were full on, and I felt really tired on Wednesday and Thursday after meeting the new students, and reconnecting with the returning students. I was glad to take Friday easier, I didn’t even have the energy to write on my book project. But the simple ‘busy-ness’ would not be giving the full story. There has been another ‘full-ness’ to my past week - a full-ness of process, trying to digest, assimilate and make a decision; or rather, come to terms with a decision I have made.
I have made the decision to enter the Vajrayana stage of the Buddhist path.
For as long as I have been writing a blog, each September I say how much more of a "new year" it feels compared to January. September is a transition month for me: return from holiday, but not quite back in to the full flow. When I turned the key in the lock of my front door at home on Saturday having been in France for 2 weeks there was certainly an awareness of something ending and also "things to come". I've got in a habit of returning from holidays on the Saturday: it allows a whole day Sunday to unfold - to settle back, and to plan ahead and get prepared for 'reality'. It also allows a connection to the emotional undertones - the "post-holiday blues" yet an appreciation to be back home.
As long as I can remember, August means “holiday month”. My Grandad’s birthday was the 13th, and I remember as a child we were always away when we celebrated it with him. And indeed, August is when I am taking my main holiday of the year: two stints in France, my adopted country. So it was timely when the latest edition of “The book of Life” newsletter came through from The School of Life, an online project founded by philosopher Alain de Botton. It shares some ideas on “The Holidays When You’re Feeling Mentally Unwell”
I have long struggled with holidays, since becoming an adult I imagine - as a child they were rather idyllic, as I could spend long hours climbing trees, camping or staying up later to watch the stars. Later, those hours were spent on the tennis court or the golf course. And while I can yearn for the summer and the imagined ease it brings, the reality as an adult is this: holidays mean more time and space on my hands, and doing has always been easier than being for me. So I definitely related to the article pointing to the higher than normal pressure to be happy at this time of year; and I hear it with my clients too. Karen Horney had a wonderful expression, the “tyranny of the shoulds”, which might go along the lines of “I am in France on my only holiday of the year, I shouldn’t be so restless and unhappy”. That might be instead “I am restless, and I know this happens with me when I suddenly have a lot of space”, in other words, being with what we actually feel.
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