Sunshine and trees

I had a day of meetings at work today. It wasn’t a good start to the day, bad evening and night before. It is like you are on a treadmill sometimes – a treadmill of thoughts. Things just keep going on and on in your mind and all you want to do is press a button and make things slow down and shut up for a while.

I know I am the creator of those thoughts. It is my reaction to the situations that are happening around me and where my thoughts naturally go. I’m working on trying to take a step back and look at why I am seeing things the way I am. Do I have to respond with a worry? Will things fall apart, what will it look like in 6 months time? What other thoughts are there? I like that I can do this more and more, something Bob and Elaine taught me over time I think. Not to get wrapped up and entangled in your thoughts – they are not real, they don’t have to dominate you and dictate how you feel.

As always though, these things are easy to say and harder to follow and believe sometimes. I do get annoyed with myself. Nothing bad happened last night as such, but a build up of things that was topped off by Oli saying he didn’t want to go to College anymore. He wanted to drop out, it was too hard and he wasn’t enjoying it. Immediately in my mind that was a disaster. I’ll get a job in KFC he said or at a ‘Window’ place where I know someone else works.

The thing is Oli can give up quite easily if things get a bit tough – not on everything but mainly academic work. He doesn’t always have the confidence in his ability and because he doesn’t see the value in it he fails to see the point in seeing it through. We talked, I listened, suggested options including to see this year out, get his Maths and then get a job over the summer. If he likes it, he can quit College, if he doesn’t he has the option to go back. I just want him to have the best base to build on for his future. I know he can always go back and study again if he wants to but without his Maths he is limited in what he can do. I did pull out the main card I have in that the money he gets each month now is only because he is in College. If he stops then so does the money. In a non ‘blackmail’ sort of way of course.

It is his life and he has to make his choices, his own mistakes and create his own successes. But is it wrong to want to try and guide him, get him to try and take a step back and try and think one step ahead before just reacting to the immediate I don’t want to do this? Thing is with Oli he just looks at the moment, doesn’t think of consequences or options or a few months ahead – where his choices take him. It is what is happening right there and then.

Which made me think – I’m trying to encourage him not to always make crucial decisions based on that moment – and yet I am trying to find a way to live more in the moment – to stop looking ahead and trying to predict what may or may not happen so I know how to respond or how to feel. Bob always said about being mindful, in the moment, aware of what was around you.

No one tells you these bits about being a parent do they. Parenthood seems to be a constant trail of negotiations, deals and balanced compromises. Being a mum is also the best thing in the world for me though – I want to do what I can to give them the best start in their adult life – I just always worry that I am messing it up.

So sleep didn’t really happen last night and when the morning came, the thought of getting up and facing another day – including persuading Oli to go to College just felt a huge hurdle to face. Contemplated just taking the day off and not getting up at all. But if I do that, what example am I giving – it won’t make me feel any better will it. But the deciding factor was that I could see the sun through a gap in the curtains. I just lay there and focused on the brightness and then imagined the blue sky that was waiting for me.

So got up, Oli got up and went into College with no complaints. Still not sure that the ‘battle’ is won – but it’s another day. I decided that I would do the best I could with the day – it was a beautiful one – bright warm sunshine and pale blue sky – cold – but beautiful. I had a day of meetings and decided to have two of them as ‘walking meetings’. I felt I needed the warmth of the sun and the nature around me to keep my mood from going to the places I didn’t want to go. Sitting in windowless meeting rooms wasn’t a good plan today.

So we walked off the campus and through a park which was lined with trees. I love trees. The branches of a tree make me think about how our minds work sometimes. Each thought that comes into our minds – leads to another thought and then another sprouts up – and so on – just like the branches of a tree – reaching out and at times complex when you stand back and look at the countless branches a tree has. Sorry sounds a bit mad I know. The people I was with thought it was a great idea, said it had lifted their mood and made them think more creatively. I said I couldn’t take the credit for that – the sun and the sky had made it a day to be outdoors. Part of me kept thinking that it was false, I was creating a false uplifted mood in myself that would wear off as soon as I returned indoors. But so what if it did, I’d had moments of feeling the warmth of the sun, watching the birds and appreciating that it was something I could just do – there in that moment. The bad thoughts could sit alongside the positive ones – and the positive thoughts had the sun and trees on their side – there was only going to be one winner today.

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