Greetings and welcome to blog #16. It has been so steamy these last few days - raining, but the kind of rain that doesn't cool things down, making things feel very steamy. What I imagine living in a soup would be like.
So, here's what I have to report, friends. Have been feeling a little low the last couple of weeks. The work year has definitely kicked off and with the renovation of our I'm Listening Now website (which we had a false start with in late 2009) gearing up, it's shifted some emotions that were lying dormant, causing a general feeling of being unsettled. I've included the photo of the giraffes left, taken by me in 2002 in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. The reason? This is one of the images I evoke when I'm aware enough to create a 'better feeling' place. That's if I want to stop lying in the garden of worms (metaphorically speaking, of course).
And what the #@*& does this have to do with The Challenge? I've been wondering that myself, over the last few days as I've been chewing on this issue. Well, not just chewing, but microwaving it, bubble bathing it, putting it in my hair, taking it out again, giving it to the dog.... And here's what I've come up with. Going shopping was a method I would use to lift my spirits. It was a temporarily uplift - like a shot in the arm -- giving me a positive jolt whose effect would be felt for a few hours, maybe days. So, without the shopping there as one avenue I could use to help me feel better, I'm left with.... well, me and my emotions and thoughts. I've become quite resourceful, over the last few years, in finding ways to "shift the emotional dial" (up), and shopping was only one of those ways. But it's a particularly effective method, and its effect is felt immediately (if not long-term). So, without it, my resourcefulness is stretched in other directions, and quite frankly, its harder work to pick myself up when I'd really just go for immediate gratification of having a shopping "hit".
I would use also use shopping as a way to reward myself for working hard, getting through a particularly challenging client workshop, or just as a way of justifying a purchase -- I deserve this! Now that the nature of my work has changed -- less client workshops, more writing and creating from my home office -- the need to reward, and basis for rewarding, myself has changed, too. I feel a little like there's less tangible effort to be rewarded -- so much of what I am doing at the moment is writing, and what I'm discovering is that writing doesn't provide immediate feedback, like facilitating a client workshop does. So, I'm exploring and discovering all kinds of things about who I am when I'm at work, since the "work" piece has changed considerably. And this includes how I feel I can reward myself.
Sum up please! So, here's what I reckon: the challenge has triggered, in part, the turbulent emotional landscape I've been traversing in the last little while. Without shopping to give me a shot in the arm to make me feel temporarily better, I've been floundering for longer, not wanting to do the "hard yards" of making myself feel better by other means.
Before the challenge started, I really had no real idea of how deeply connected shopping had become to my emotional state. It's kind of startling. I don't really like it, or like admitting it. But this is a warts and all experience, and I'm just hoping that the dark side of the street will be just as supported as the sunny side. The sunny side is more fun, though. Right?