At the hairdressers this week I listened while the young trainee washed my hair. We’d never met before yet within moments he was opening up about his upcoming six months travel to Asia and Australia. And of the intense anxiety he was feeling as his departure date drew near.
Travelling alone, away from Britain, for the first time. Prospects for adventure and fun were now overshadowed by fear. I asked him what he was most afraid of. Feeling homesick.
He told me, with much relief, that his mother said to text her if he feels homesick and she will come.
On hearing that I have travelled, he asked me if I ever felt homesick. Yes, I replied. Sometimes, and often at the most odd times. Then I suggested to him an alternative to sending that SOS text to his mum.
Sleep on it.
Experiencing feelings of vulnerability and sitting with them, learning that they pass, this makes us stronger. We learn that we have reserves and resources. And that nothing stands still, least of all our emotions. Things change and if we look, we see support around us – a friendly face, a helping hand. A clue, a new idea or direction.
In a world where we are conditioned to act on things, fast. Our default is to reply, to make decisions, to fire off requests, to dispatch our feelings, offload them somewhere else – it is often most helpful to do the opposite. There are few things that cannot wait a few hours. Slow down, take a breath, and sleep on it.
Literally sleep on it. Not “think on it”. We don’t continue to think or make scenario plans. Put it aside and wait. For tomorrow.
Whenever we get the wobbles, feelings of vulnerability – practice waiting and sleep on it. See what the next day brings. For, as I promised Sam at the hairdresser, those feelings will come. And they will most likely pass.
For those of us not about to set out on our first travels, we can also put this into practice in other ways. When tempted to fire off a note, make a call, have that conversation, expressing dissatisfaction or anger, a complaint, a correction…anything that holds within it the possibility of over reaction. Sleep on it.
Write it, type it – don't send it. Sleep on it. Look again the next day. At the situation, at your words. Even when we proceed and take action, it’s rare that we don’t amend our "first draft" – and feel the better for it.
All original material copyright 2015 manifestmylife
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