I thought it was just me

Is a book title by one of my favourite women on the planet, Brene Brown, who has written many other great books such as Rising Strong, Daring Greatly and one I loved the most Braving the Wilderness. It is also the source of much amusement for my mate Bernie, who says, every time I mention Brene’s name, “do you know Brene Brown? I thought it was just me”. It’s one of those things where I guess you need to be there to get it, but we laugh!

‘I thought it was just me’ is something we all say when others tell us their challenges or demons and we realise that we are not alone. That feeling of being alone is a very tough one for all of us, we want to feel that what we are experiencing, others do too.

We make this assumption, that we are the worst at…or the biggest failure…and why do others seem to be able to do it and I can’t. That awful, pointless, soul-destroying ‘comparison with others’ routine that we all go through.

The fact is many others struggle with the same or similar challenges that we do. Never exactly the same, as our life journeys are totally unique. However, there is more than enough elements that will have some commonality.

The way to break out of this feeling alone is to connect with others, a difficult task for many who are suffering from acute challenges, but once we reach out, connect and then most importantly, share our stories, we all of a sudden find that there are others out there.

We can then say with huge relief ‘I thought it was just me’ and we can start the process of being able to move forward, learn from others and receive empathy and to feel understood.

If you know of someone who struggles with reaching out, be there for them to empathetically listen and to help them to not feel that they are the only one and that they are not alone.

Talking, sharing, connecting, understanding and empathy help us to not feel alone.

Fuck, I love boredom

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been struggling with life a bit and in last 2 weeks I’ve been unwell, it has definitely been reflected in all that I do.

I haven’t been doing my daily art, for example, something that has been one of my greatest pleasures on a day-to-day basis over many years and it would normally be the very last thing to be overlooked no matter what had to be done.

Most of my rituals have gone out the window, apart from my private daily writing journal, thank god it’s private, and this my daily blog.

However, even this has felt like a tick-boxing exercise in recent weeks and I have even got to the point of saying ‘maybe I’m done with blogging’.

This is not an ‘aww poor Phil’ kind of post and I’m not looking for a ‘there-there’ as we all suffer these downs, as well as the ups in life.

I’ve been trying to eat my own dog food so to speak and talk myself out of this rut, however, like for most of us, the voice of authority, whether it comes from others or ourselves, simply does not work. I really deep down wanted to be down and screw the happy-clappy happiness BS.

So in the last few weeks, I have just said to myself ‘fuck it’ and I have done absolutely bugger all. I’ve binged watched and got bored, in fact, the boredom has become the cure.

This is one of the ills of our current world, we have less and less chance or time to get bored. Especially, since we are all glued to our boredom eradicators, AKA smartphones.

Boredom is great as it allows daydreaming, it leads to imaginative ways of relieving boredom, and that is something that I remember with nostalgic fondness from my childhood, towards the end of long summer holidays boredom would set in and that you would then lead you to fill the time with all sorts of ideas and games etc that would relieve the boredom. The best ideas came out of that boredom.

Boredom is so good for creative thinking, daydreaming is so good for the soul, as like art itself, the magic in life is in those things that are not useful, but are undescribably what matters. Knives and forks are useful, but I could live without them if I had to. Art, music, poetry and so on are useless but I’d die without them.

I am coming out the other side of this mini-shutdown and I feel the energy returning and I feel the weeks of self-imposed nothing has helped, it has broken the inevitable monotony that builds up over time with routines and rituals, it allows a mental and physical rest for the body and most of all a period of thought and reflection.

Am I now the unstoppable, supercharged go getting tiger of Deep Work just from a few weeks of boredom? Well, no. But I am ready to go again, to carry on getting even better, to take the next small step in the journey. I am energised and refocused.

I fucking love boredom and I do not intend to leave it so long before I get thoroughly bored again.