Bilkish Vahed

Rebellion & Romance

Tag: culture

Be Picky

Some say, a dog and its human partner look alike over time, same twitches, same reactions, same facial expressions.

I say, the people we surround ourselves with rub off onto us. Their attitudes, behaviour, thinking, orientation to living, bleed seamlessly into us, influence our point of view. Our daily conversations with family, friends and colleagues create a culture that we become part of.

A culture of “hell-yes!” coaxes us forward, supports our dreams, facilitates our development. But a stuck in “smallness” rather than “greatness” stance – fear makes people feel small – sagely advises us to shrink our dreams to the “pitiable possible,” to settle for less.

Those who we spend our days with, wield tricky power around us.

Be picky about who you surround yourself with.

Facing the Frontier

When I was 40, and 45, and even 50, I used to think about life as ending at 60. Beyond 60 was a kind of hinterland that I had no thought to consider. Living beyond was a blank.

But now, just two and a half years away from 60, I’m peering into a distance that is no more far flung. I stand at a frontier and I’m watchful. 

In this navigation-less journey, I have no way of assessing how far I’ve come, nor how far I’m meant to go. Go where?

Of late, I’ve been mesmerised and appalled, watching myself in a continual rush. Rushing to get to the office in the morning, rushing to deal with stuff required to meet deadlines, steeling myself against the onslaught of every day dramas that arise because they do. Rushing home at night, tired, sometimes drained, not to relax and rejuvenate, but simply to feed and wash and sleep. Where am I rushing to?

I stand at the frontier, and I’m watchful.

The Fragility of Self Care

On Thursday morning I woke up at 3.30am, was picked up at 4.45am and brought to the airport in time to catch a 6.30am flight. When I arrived at the airport, it was buzzing, just like it usually is at this time of morning. 

Incredible, I think to myself, how we all succumb to this insane way of working – routinely waking up in the dead of night, cutting short the vital renewal that each nights sleep brings, in order to touch down in another city at the top of the hour, to begin a new work day!

But everyone does it. And when everyone is doing it, then the behaviour becomes acceptable, the status quo is established. Like sheep we all follow and ignore the discomfort that we routinely feel.

Travelling throws me off balance in many ways  – it affects my sleep, what I eat, when and how much I eat, opportunity to move my body regularly, keep my circulation happy, blah blah. When I discuss with colleagues my travel discomforts, I’m met with glazed eyes. If they feel any “offness,” discomforts of their own, a painkiller here or there is the answer.  

But I make too much of this story of travel. The thing that really puzzles me is how out of touch so many of us are with our own needs. And if we get a whiff of them, how crippled we feel about finding a way to tell all concerned – bosses, lovers, friends, family – about what we want, and also what we cannot deliver in the relationship.

In bewilderment, we either occasionally throw our toys out the cot like angry children, or numb ourselves with too much food, too much sleep, or drugs. Mostly though, mostly we swallow our discomforts and unmet needs in a forest of silence.

Without caring for ourselves, and negotiating the delicate balance of relationships, we all too easily slip into shadows of our vibrant selves. Do you stay sharp to your own needs?

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