The author can be found rummaging through life looking for nourishment in the early hours of the morning. He is slowly going sane by using his actual life and relationships to wake up.He lives in Cape Town with his teenaged daughter, two bassett hounds named Thelma and Louise and Digit... the cat. He hugs trees, has experienced numerous dark nights of the soul, collects incorrect Chinese packaging and tracks curious things to their lair.
How to rebuild a life in under 400 words.Psychotherapy October 15, 2013 - 1:05 pm No Comment
Ok, so after a rather grim but essential period of personal reflection over the past couple of months, it is time for reconstruction… much like the city of Dresden after World War 2 (picture above).
Where does one even begin?
This weekend, I went back to my black box, a box that similar to the ones used in aviation, contains the last fragments of my history. Pictures of my childhood, my adolescence (not too sure of the dodgy Stock Aiken and Waterman phase),friends past and present, school reports, my trinkets and amulets accumulated over time and distance. It was nothing less than an essential reconnection with the narrative of self. The reclaimation of my history, layer by layer, using nostalgia to bind and release, resculpting a lens through which to look at myself anew.
The day long process brought me to the present, where refortified I now need to build solid foundations from which to move into the world again.
Here is a very simplistic tool I harvested along my travels which I find useful when doing an inventory of Self (it can be adapted to fit your particular areas of focus, but most areas are generic).
The idea is to give yourself a rating out of 10 for each area ( 1 being a serious problem, 5 average and 10 being ridiculously good)
For example, (not my actual ratings…)
Mental stimulation (how nourished your mind is with interesting content) 5
Physical: nutrition 5, exercise 5, sleep…, energy (between 3-7)
Psychological: depression 2, anxiety 9, self esteem 6, use of substances (alcohol, recreational drugs etc) 2, ability to self soothe (using internal resources) 3
Spirituality (not necessarily religion, feeling connected to something greater than your ego identity)6
Creativity (doesn’t have to be a classically creative pursuit)2
Relationships: intimate 4, friendships 6, work relationships, family …
Basic needs (financial-material) 5
Living environment (enough space? Sparse? Poor reflection of who you are?)
Career/studies (is there fulfillment? Are you wanting to leave…are you disinterested?)
Joy ( do you do things that fill you with Joy? Or is it a luxury?)
The next part of the equation is to identify 2-3 key areas and ask yourself how you would change the rating by 10%, tackle small manageable areas first, eg exercise…from 3 to a 4:plan-walk 3 x per week in the morning, nutrition/ plan- 6 glasses of water etc) to build confidence. Then, when there is some momentum one can start to tackle bigger areas eg career. It is important not only to come up with a plan, but to have a time frame too! All of the areas are an interdependent system- so a change in behavior in one area will impact subtly or directly on another.
It’s so simple, it works.
395 words (job done!)