Travel to Tokyo with me for a few minutes as we enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast with a view in Shibuya, marvel at dancing Elvis impersonators at Yoyogi Park and walk the streets of Harajuku at night.
At the beginning of the year, I listened to two audiobooks that now feel like prepared reading for a pandemic.
The one was Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankle and the other was The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. While the first highlights how the only thing we really have control over is our attitude and perception, the latter emphasises the importance of being in the present moment.
There’s a lot that sucks right now. We’re facing individual and collective struggles that (dare I say it) are unprecedented. I’m struggling and my guess is that you might be struggling too (if not, please tell me your secrets).
What do I want to feel? My initial response is that I want to feel neutral. Zen. Calm as Hindu cows. Then I hear Susan David’s voice saying: “You have dead people goals.”
Experiencing difficult emotions is a non-negotiable part of life. The well we get our joy from was dug out by our sorrows. The depths are one and the same. We can’t hide from them.
“Only dead people never get unwanted or inconvenienced by their feelings.”Susan David
What we don’t have to do is to pretend that we’re fine. We’re not fine. That’s okay. Tell someone. Feel it and recognise it. Cry about it. It’s okay to not be okay. You are most certainly not alone. We’re on this ocean with you.
If you need to talk to someone and don’t have anyone to talk to please dial 0800 567 567 or send me a mail.
Instagram stories is an interesting place to tell your story. Unlike Instagram posts, they disappear after 24 hours, meaning they don’t need to be perfectly planned out and curated. It’s a place to play and connect. I’m obsessed with Instagram stories and love seeing people use them well. Here’s how to use Instagram stories better:
Use your voice
To know you is to love you, so let people get to know you. Use images, text and videos to share your opinion, voice and field of expertise. Share your values and what interests you. The people who can relate will appreciate it and this is a way of making a connection with your followers.
Tell a story
A good story rouses curiosity. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. It gives people something to think about. Try to keep it to one concept per frame. Keep it simple and concise.
Consistency is key. Find a style you like and stick to it. Find your font and colour palette of choice. If you talk to the camera, use a consistent angle and greeting. Help people to distinguish your posts from others. Also, be consistent with your posting. Posting Instagram Stories daily or as often as you can.
Use the questions, polls and replies functions to get to know your audience better. Ask them questions and have sessions where you allow them to ask you things too. This is where going Live can also be super useful. Showing your face and allowing people to see you in your space is a way of inviting people in to connect with you. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but it’s good to remember that the people who mind don’t matter, and the people who matter won’t mind.
Have any questions or suggestion? Feel free to DM me 😉
Tools I love to use:
27 December 2012
“I’m 23 and I have a death wish.
For the past several years I’ve been saying ‘I’ll never live to see 24’, and now on the eve of my 24th birthday, I stand to be proven wrong.
I went to the sea and told it about my problem and it sent a few waves to try and solve it. They attempted to tear my limbs off, but alas! I am still here. At least I had a good wizz in the ocean. ‘Take my pee you useless sea,’ I thought as I struggled to my feet. The ocean floor was much closer than I thought.
The previous night I also stared at the sea, but in a less challenging way. I felt overcome with emotions because I don’t know what I’m doing and how to be enough. I’m also terribly disappointed to still be here.
I guess I should be grateful. If the good die young then I guess I’m not that good. So long to that idea.”
This is a journal entry from 27 December 2012, it made me laugh so I thought I’d share it. If 23 year old me only knew what was to come! How did you feel when you were 23? (For the record I’m very grateful to be alive, I still haven’t figured out exactly what I’m doing but I know I’m enough now.)
Often when someone I love tells me of their pain my first reaction is to comfort, sympathise, to go into ‘fix it’ mode or worst of all to say it could have been worst.
This almost never makes the other person feel better.
At the core, we all have the same physical and emotional needs. How those needs are met might differ, but we all need to feel safe, to be seen, to feel understood, to eat and to sleep.
Sitting with someone in their pain, acknowledging it, seeing it and understanding it can help them to feel seen, heard and understood. This can be very uncomfortable, especially when you try your best to escape your own pain. Giving love and understanding to others means you also need to be able to give some love and understanding to yourself.
We’re in an extremely turbulent time right now. It’s more important than ever to breath and make space for all the things you’re feeling and allow others the same space.
Having empathy for someone who is going through something you’ve never experienced can be hard, but is not impossible.
When we hear moving stories it’s often easy to see ourselves in the protagonist’s position. It can get trickier if the story is more complicated or involves hundreds of years of backstory. Or when hearing the story triggers defensiveness.
The news about George Floyd, who was murdered by police in the US, has been heart-wrenching. It’s highlighted once again how pervasive racism is and with it white fragility.
Becoming defensive when someone tells you of their experience means you’re shutting yourself off from listening. You can’t hear or feel it.
“Racism is a white problem. It was constructed and created by white people and the ultimate responsibility lies with white people. For too long we’ve looked at it as if it were someone else’s problem, as if it was created in a vacuum. I want to push against that narrative.”Robin diAngelo
White people need to sit, listen and watch. We need to reflect on what our whiteness means and what being a white person means in 2020. It’s about time.
The adage goes that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. Do you know who that makes you? I recently read somewhere that the secret to success is keeping good company.
To keep good company I would argue that one has to be good company. How do you know if you’re good company? Well, would you like to spend time with you?
If your fridge is empty, you can’t help others to stock up. Only once you’ve filled up your (metaphorical) fridge can you be the full fridge you’d like to be for others. Being good to yourself allows and enables you to be good towards others.
After all, we are a direct reflection of the food we eat, the amount we sleep and the company we keep.
Do you also feel like all the days are blurring into one big shapeless blob of time? What was April even? I can’t think of a single Rona-unrelated thing that happened.
Time seems to be flying by but also moving at a glacier pace all at the same time.
More than ever we’re faced with the relativity of time (and also the reality that it’s a man-made concept). If you want to slow it down, try planking or skipping. If you want to speed it up, try sleeping or distracting yourself by binge-watching a series.
I recently watched this Ted Talk by Matthew Dicks (I’m a sucker for Ted Talks, #sorrynotsorry) and it seems perfect for this time. He suggests our homework for life is to take five minutes a day to write down words from a story we experienced that day. That way you’ll have a story for every day of the year. Have a look and let me know what you think: