While people in Europe were wilting under record high temperatures, watching the grass turn yellow and the rivers dry up, us in South Africa were flailing against rolling cold fronts. After being teased with a whiff of warmer weather, it snowed on the mountains again. We were sent spiteful winds to slap our faces and glare at any new plant shoots brave enough to poke their heads above the soil.
Resisting what is
Our resistance to what is made us recoil in irritation and huddle over a whispering heater while we muttered and moaned about missing another day of walking. We bought ourselves new walking shoes at the end of July and due to colds and the cold we haven’t had the chance to try them out yet. It has been almost a month since we ventured out on one of our walks.
For some of the week our focus was on the swaying branches, not on the sun and blue skies. The emphasis was on what we had not been able to do, rather than on the luxury of doing something different. That is what resistance does. It narrows one’s outlook and shrinks perspective.
An unusual past time for us: exploring a mall. The African inspired Mall of Africa
We did catch ourselves, itchy and scratchy, grumbling and griping, skidding too easily down that slide of negativity. Noticing, we picked ourselves up from the dirt, dusted ourselves off and made a concerted effort to turn towards more positive subjects. Not the candyfloss of empty distractions but rather more sustainable pursuits.
We noticed our beautiful garden, wind blown and winter weathered as it is. We listened to the twitter of the birds feeding on apple pieces and scattered seed. We caught a hint of the soft scent of very new blossoms. We resolutely found things to be grateful for like double glazing and a fire plump and hot from newly purchased wood.
Reminded of the relevance
On top of that, we were reminded over and over that our work has increasing relevance in a world teetering on the edge of insanity, fed up with bad science and worse solutions. A world that seems to have lost its way in a sea of pills and promises, quick fixes and overnight sensations and not of the feeling kind.
We believe that we really do need to come back to basics. We really do need to come back to ourselves as living, breathing beings desperate for connection and meaning in a mad-hatter land of too much thinking. To that end our podcast this week focused on the five pillars of emotional fitness.
More veggie beds being prepared for spring planting!
Emotional fitness is the ability to regulate our emotions, to deal with the difficult feelings and feel less resistance to life and living. It is a process not an event that enables the learning of new skills and the development of new practices while supporting those resourceful habits already in place.
As we mentioned last week, developing emotion regulation skills enables people to cope more effectively with anxiety and depression and supports better overall mental health. Few of us have been taught these skills and although many holistic approaches have been used in psychiatry these have been superseded by a drive to diagnose and prescribe. Our work teaches emotion regulation skills as well as other supportive approaches to boosting emotional fitness. Our podcast episode for this week goes into more detail on these.
In sporting news, although there was no rugby, our cricket team made some serious waves. A five day test against England done and dusted in under three! Apologies to all those supporters (see Piers Morgan) who purchased tickets and flights and accommodation for day four and five. And there we were thinking South African cricket had gone to the interfering political dogs. Matthew spent days sharing jokes about Bazball and England’s “aggressive approach”. If you know, you’ll know.
So, until next time, notice when you are in resistance then practice acceptance and letting go.
Until next time.
Yours in feeling
Matthew & Chantal
About the author
5th Place offers specialised psychological services in the form of coaching and therapy for immediate relief from stress, anxiety, & other mental health challenges. It works fast, deep and quick. For individuals and groups, children, teens and adults.