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When you were a kid, did you ever play the game, Guess Who? You know, the 1980’s mystery face game where each player chooses a person and then using yes or no questions, they try to figure out the other player’s person?

Turns out, the game still exists! I’ve been playing it with my son recently and it’s been a total blast from the past.

Nothing much has changed with the game.

The people are still mostly the same.

The format is still the same.

The rules are still the same.

And yet I’ve noticed the questions my son has been asking me about my “person” are now not the same as the questions I probably asked when I was a kid playing this game.

Not once has he asked me about the colour of my person’s skin.

He’s never made a judgement about the possible size of my person’s body (based on the shape or size of their head).

And he rarely, if ever, asks me if my person is a man or a woman.

Instead, he asks about the colour of my person’s hair, or whether they are wearing earrings or a hat or whether their mouth is open or closed.

****

When I picked him up from Kindergarten the other week, his teacher explained that he’d peed his pants and they’d had to change him. She was all bumbly and awkward and apologetic that the only spare trousers they had were a “girl’s pair.”

He was wearing a pair of pink trousers.

In the car on the way home, he asked me why his teacher seemed so troubled by him wearing pink trousers. And so I had to explain to my confused 3 year old why most of the world we live in seems to think that the colour pink is only for girls.

This conversation has opened a door for many more conversations between the two of us about sexism and sizeism and heteronormativity and gender neutrality.

I don’t use those words, of course. But I carefully explain to him about things; like the fact that some people are physically born a boy, but feel more like a girl and some people are physically born a girl, but feel more like a boy and some people are physically born a boy or a girl, but they don’t feel like a boy or a girl or they feel a bit like a boy and a bit like a girl but don’t want to be called a boy or a girl and this is called being gender neutral.

He nods when I ask him if he understands what I mean.

And I think he does.

“So does that mean that one of those people can say that they are a poo-face instead of a boy or a girl, mummy?”

“Erm…. I guess so?” I reply.

Maybe we still have some work to do there…

****

Yesterday, again in the car, he confidently piped up from the back, “Mummy, girls are strong, boys are cool and girls can’t wear baseball caps.”

I pulled over the car, Googled images on my iPhone of women and girls wearing baseball caps, and passed it to him.

His eyes widened. “Oh!”

Someone had told him that girls can’t wear baseball caps. I do not know who.

Maybe it was the same person who told him that the movie, Frozen, is just for girls.

Or maybe it was the person who once told him, when he’d had his hair cut short, that he now had a “great boy haircut.”

I feel like I am constantly course-correcting him.

He spends hours away from me these days.

And during these hours, he is absorbing information and messages from other adults and teachers and children and the parents of these children.

He is learning who he is and how the world works from other people. People who, just like me and you, are flawed and make mistakes and have deeply-held beliefs and entrenched ideas and assumptions about the world and how things should be that feel real and true to them, but might not be that real and true at all.

I cannot shield him from it all. I cannot completely control what he is learning.

And so I encourage him to stay curious.

I encourage him to accept that there’s always different and unique ways of looking at the world and how things should be.

I encourage him to tilt his head by just 10%, to examine whether what he is being told is actually a fact or merely an opinion.

I encourage him to ask another person to see if they think differently.

I encourage him to question everything.

And I encourage you to do the same.

Over and out.

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Liz Goodchild Life Coach by Liz Goodchild - 3w ago

Every morning and evening, after I’ve fed Lily, my cat, I leave the house and walk 100 metres across the garden to the garage. I open the garage door and walk to the bin store in the corner and put the empty cat food pouch in the bin.

Every morning and evening, after I’ve fed Lily, my cat, I look down at the empty cat food pouch in my hand and think, “I can’t be fucking arsed to walk 100 metres across the garden to the garage, to then have to open the garage door and walk to the bin store in the corner and put the empty cat food pouch in the bin.”

And yet I do.

Every time.

I can’t ever really be arsed to put my dirty plates and cutlery straight into the dishwasher.

And yet I do.

I’d much prefer to just leave them in the sink.

I can’t ever really be arsed to cook.

And yet I do.

I’d much prefer to just bung a pizza in the oven.

I can’t ever really be arsed to file away the bills and documents that fill up the tray on my office desk.

And yet I do it.

I choose to put the cat food punch straight in the bin in the garage, because the other option is to put the empty cat food pouch in the bin under the kitchen sink. Where it sits for a few days and rots, and I end up having to disinfect the entire bin.

I choose to put my dirty plates and cutlery straight into the dishwasher, because the other option is to just leave them to pile up. And then at the end of the day, I want to cry at the Mount Everest of crusty crockery I have to sort through.

I choose to cook, because the other option is to just bung an 800 calorie frozen pizza in the oven each night. And then I feel like absolute shit a few hours later and wish I hadn’t.

I choose to file the documents straight away, because the other option is to keep shoving more and more documents in the “to file” tray and well, I just know I’ll never ever ever ever do it.

I’ve learned over the years to pick my pain.

I’ve learned to choose short term effort over short term ease.

I kept this in mind when I trained for, and ran marathons.

I kept this in mind when I built my coaching business from the ground up.

And I keep this in mind when I do something as simple as feeding the cat.

Short term effort over short term ease, remember?

Over and out.

The post The cat food. appeared first on Liz Goodchild.

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I’m standing in the living room of the old, rambling farmhouse we’ve just finished renovating. One hand on my hip, the other cupping my chin with my thumb and index finger, I hesitantly scan the room. “Are there just way too many types of wood in this room?” I ask my mother-in-law. She is standing to the right of me and watches, as I nod towards the oak wooden beams and then the pine floor and then the walnut coffee table and then the new dining chairs with the ash legs.

“No”, she replies in her direct and confident German way. “When we walk in the woods, there are so many different types of trees, and yet we don’t think there are too many types, do we? We just enjoy the trees.”

We just enjoy the trees.

She’s a wise woman, my mother-in-law.

I’ve spent nearly every day of the summer here in Germany walking in the woods. Sometimes with dear friends who came to visit—walking shoulder to shoulder as we put the world to rights—and sometimes I walked alone, lost in thought, dreaming and planning and pondering.

I thought so much about my mother-in-law’s wisdom about the trees. And each day, as I followed the long dirt-track trails through the woods, I spent a lot of time observing the trees. I began to notice just how different each tree was from the other. Some were tall and spindly with moss stretching all the way up their giant trunks. Some were small and squat with interesting shaped leaves. Some were streamlined—almost like they’d been planted with a mathematical ruler. And some grew chaotically, weaving their branches through neighbouring trees, making it hard for me to figure out just where one tree started and the other ended.

As I wandered and wondered, I began to notice exactly what my mother-in-law had described; that I did not compare one tree to another or even think much about each tree other than “Oh, that’s a tree!” I appreciated and enjoyed each tree exactly as it was, no matter how tall, small, wonky, spindly, odd-looking or overbearing. I did not compare the birch trees with the oak trees or the spruces with the beech trees or the trees I did not know the names of with the other trees I did not know the names of. I did not think “There are just far too many types of trees in this wood, all the trees should look the same and be the same.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we thought about each other in the same way?

The post My mother-in-law and the trees. appeared first on Liz Goodchild.

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Two weeks ago, I had surgery on my ankle.

I sobbed so hard that evening as I lay in my hospital bed. The pain was unreal. The nurses tried all sorts of different varieties and doses of painkillers, but nothing seemed to help.

I shared a room in the hospital with a 70-year old woman who had had knee surgery 2 weeks before. In her thick, German accent, she told me lots of stories about her life. Her ex-husband had been a very “bad man” to her, and one day, in the middle of the night, she snuck out with her two very small children and left. She never saw him again. She’d never had a relationship since. “Lots of male friends” she said, “but never a relationship.” She used to be a nurse. She held my hand as I cried that night and told me that I wouldn’t be in so much pain the next day. She was right.

I’m home now and doing a lot of sitting around with my foot elevated. I had a check-up with my doctor and he said my ankle is healing well. He also gave me a prescription for more painkillers and thrombosis injections that I must give myself each day.

I have a pretty big fear of needles and injections. I always have, and so the idea of giving myself an injection every day for the next month was terrifying. I bartered and pleaded with the doctor, asking him about statistics of thrombosis and whether it was really going to be likely that it would happen to me. He laughed and shook his head and explained that I had to have the injections. I sat there in his office and sulked like a 3 year old child.

Later that day, I spent the afternoon watching YouTube videos of people explaining and demonstrating how to self-administer injections  One woman explained that if you put an icepack on your belly 20 minutes before giving yourself the injection, it can really help with the pain.

So that’s what I decided to do.

I dug an icepack out of the freezer and tucked it into the waistband of my jeans to cool the area I would inject. And then I waited. Nervously. Pacing on my crutches around the kitchen. Clock watching. The very thought of piercing my skin with a needle and causing myself pain was such a fucked-up concept in my head. Despite the cooling effect of the icepack on my body, I started to sweat.

After 5 minutes or so, the freeze of the icepack started to sting my stomach. It was a mild discomfort at first, but very quickly and sharply, it started to become pretty uncomfortable. I kept the icepack there though. I could handle the discomfort and the pain.

20 minutes was up.

I now had to give myself the injection.

Fuck.

“Just whack it in like a dart” was the advice from my partner, Kristin. Horrified, I grabbed my laptop, locked myself in my office, opened up Youtube and followed the gentle how-to-give-yourself-an-injection advice from this wonderful woman. Shaking, I followed her instructions to the letter, took a deep breath and watched, in a wash of total horror and incredulousness, as the needle slowly pierced my skin by my very own hand.

Just as she’d promised. I felt no pain. Nothing. And yet each day since then, in the moments before I give myself the injection, the same fear from the day before and the day before that and the day before that, rises in me and I experience the fear all over again.

I fear the pain of the injection.

And yet interestingly, the actual pain comes from the icepack.

Which I happily tolerate despite the agonising discomfort it brings.

Because it’s just an icepack.

And I’m not scared of the icepack.

I’m scared of the needle.

The needle that doesn’t even hurt.

Over and out.

The post An injection and an icepack. appeared first on Liz Goodchild.

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When you were a kid, did you ever play the game, Guess Who? You know, the 1980’s mystery face game where each player chooses a person and then using yes or no questions, they try to figure out the other player’s person?

Turns out, the game still exists! I’ve been playing it with my son recently and it’s been a total blast from the past.

Nothing much has changed with the game.

The people are still mostly the same.

The format is still the same.

The rules are still the same.

And yet I’ve noticed the questions my son has been asking me about my “person” are now not the same as the questions I probably asked when I was a kid playing this game.

Not once has he asked me about the colour of my person’s skin.

He’s never made a judgement about the possible size of my person’s body (based on the shape or size of their head).

And he rarely, if ever, asks me if my person is a man or a woman.

Instead, he asks about the colour of my person’s hair, or whether they are wearing earrings or a hat or whether their mouth is open or closed.

****

When I picked him up from Kindergarten the other week, his teacher explained that he’d peed his pants and they’d had to change him. She was all bumbly and awkward and apologetic that the only spare trousers they had were a “girl’s pair.”

He was wearing a pair of pink trousers.

In the car on the way home, he asked me why his teacher seemed so troubled by him wearing pink trousers. And so I had to explain to my confused 3 year old why most of the world we live in seems to think that the colour pink is only for girls.

This conversation has opened a door for many more conversations between the two of us about sexism and sizeism and heteronormativity and gender neutrality.

I don’t use those words, of course. But I carefully explain to him about things; like the fact that some people are physically born a boy, but feel more like a girl and some people are physically born a girl, but feel more like a boy and some people are physically born a boy or a girl, but they don’t feel like a boy or a girl or they feel a bit like a boy and a bit like a girl but don’t want to be called a boy or a girl and this is called being gender neutral.

He nods when I ask him if he understands what I mean.

And I think he does.

“So does that mean that one of those people can say that they are a poo-face instead of a boy or a girl, mummy?”

“Erm…. I guess so?” I reply.

Maybe we still have some work to do there…

****

Yesterday, again in the car, he confidently piped up from the back, “Mummy, girls are strong, boys are cool and girls can’t wear baseball caps.”

I pulled over the car, Googled images on my iPhone of women and girls wearing baseball caps, and passed it to him.

His eyes widened. “Oh!”

Someone had told him that girls can’t wear baseball caps. I do not know who.

Maybe it was the same person who told him that the movie, Frozen, is just for girls.

Or maybe it was the person who once told him, when he’d had his hair cut short, that he now had a “great boy haircut.”

I feel like I am constantly course-correcting him.

He spends hours away from me these days.

And during these hours, he is absorbing information and messages from other adults and teachers and children and the parents of these children.

He is learning who he is and how the world works from other people. People who, just like me and you, are flawed and make mistakes and have deeply-held beliefs and entrenched ideas and assumptions about the world and how things should be that feel real and true to them, but might not be that real and true at all.

I cannot shield him from it all. I cannot completely control what he is learning.

And so I encourage him to stay curious.

I encourage him to accept that there’s always different and unique ways of looking at the world and how things should be.

I encourage him to tilt his head by just 10%, to examine whether what he is being told is actually a fact or merely an opinion.

I encourage him to ask another person to see if they think differently.

I encourage him to question everything.

And I encourage you to do the same.

Over and out.

The post Girls can’t wear baseballs caps. appeared first on Liz Goodchild.

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Liz Goodchild Life Coach by Liz Goodchild - 4M ago

Every morning and evening, after I’ve fed Lily, my cat, I leave the house and walk 100 metres across the garden to the garage. I open the garage door and walk to the bin store in the corner and put the empty cat food pouch in the bin.

Every morning and evening, after I’ve fed Lily, my cat, I look down at the empty cat food pouch in my hand and think, “I can’t be fucking arsed to walk 100 metres across the garden to the garage, to then have to open the garage door and walk to the bin store in the corner and put the empty cat food pouch in the bin.”

And yet I do.

Every time.

I can’t ever really be arsed to put my dirty plates and cutlery straight into the dishwasher.

And yet I do.

I’d much prefer to just leave them in the sink.

I can’t ever really be arsed to cook.

And yet I do.

I’d much prefer to just bung a pizza in the oven.

I can’t ever really be arsed to file away the bills and documents that fill up the tray on my office desk.

And yet I do it.

I choose to put the cat food punch straight in the bin in the garage, because the other option is to put the empty cat food pouch in the bin under the kitchen sink. Where it sits for a few days and rots, and I end up having to disinfect the entire bin.

I choose to put my dirty plates and cutlery straight into the dishwasher, because the other option is to just leave them to pile up. And then at the end of the day, I want to cry at the Mount Everest of crusty crockery I have to sort through.

I choose to cook, because the other option is to just bung an 800 calorie frozen pizza in the oven each night. And then I feel like absolute shit a few hours later and wish I hadn’t.

I choose to file the documents straight away, because the other option is to keep shoving more and more documents in the “to file” tray and well, I just know I’ll never ever ever ever do it.

I’ve learned over the years to pick my pain.

I’ve learned to choose short term effort over short term ease.

I kept this in mind when I trained for, and ran marathons.

I kept this in mind when I built my coaching business from the ground up.

And I keep this in mind when I do something as simple as feeding the cat.

Short term effort over short term ease, remember?

Over and out.

The post The cat food. appeared first on Liz Goodchild.

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I’m standing in the living room of the old, rambling farmhouse we’ve just finished renovating. One hand on my hip, the other cupping my chin with my thumb and index finger, I hesitantly scan the room. “Are there just way too many types of wood in this room?” I ask my mother-in-law. She is standing to the right of me and watches, as I nod towards the oak wooden beams and then the pine floor and then the walnut coffee table and then the new dining chairs with the ash legs.

“No”, she replies in her direct and confident German way. “When we walk in the woods, there are so many different types of trees, and yet we don’t think there are too many types, do we? We just enjoy the trees.”

We just enjoy the trees.

She’s a wise woman, my mother-in-law.

I’ve spent nearly every day of the summer here in Germany walking in the woods. Sometimes with dear friends who came to visit—walking shoulder to shoulder as we put the world to rights—and sometimes I walked alone, lost in thought, dreaming and planning and pondering.

I thought so much about my mother-in-law’s wisdom about the trees. And each day, as I followed the long dirt-track trails through the woods, I spent a lot of time observing the trees. I began to notice just how different each tree was from the other. Some were tall and spindly with moss stretching all the way up their giant trunks. Some were small and squat with interesting shaped leaves. Some were streamlined—almost like they’d been planted with a mathematical ruler. And some grew chaotically, weaving their branches through neighbouring trees, making it hard for me to figure out just where one tree started and the other ended.

As I wandered and wondered, I began to notice exactly what my mother-in-law had described; that I did not compare one tree to another or even think much about each tree other than “Oh, that’s a tree!” I appreciated and enjoyed each tree exactly as it was, no matter how tall, small, wonky, spindly, odd-looking or overbearing. I did not compare the birch trees with the oak trees or the spruces with the beech trees or the trees I did not know the names of with the other trees I did not know the names of. I did not think “There are just far too many types of trees in this wood, all the trees should look the same and be the same.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we thought about each other in the same way?

The post My mother-in-law and the trees. appeared first on Liz Goodchild.

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Two weeks ago, I had surgery on my ankle.

I sobbed so hard that evening as I lay in my hospital bed. The pain was unreal. The nurses tried all sorts of different varieties and doses of painkillers, but nothing seemed to help.

I shared a room in the hospital with a 70-year old woman who had had knee surgery 2 weeks before. In her thick, German accent, she told me lots of stories about her life. Her ex-husband had been a very “bad man” to her, and one day, in the middle of the night, she snuck out with her two very small children and left. She never saw him again. She’d never had a relationship since. “Lots of male friends” she said, “but never a relationship.” She used to be a nurse. She held my hand as I cried that night and told me that I wouldn’t be in so much pain the next day. She was right.

I’m home now and doing a lot of sitting around with my foot elevated. I had a check-up with my doctor and he said my ankle is healing well. He also gave me a prescription for more painkillers and thrombosis injections that I must give myself each day.

I have a pretty big fear of needles and injections. I always have, and so the idea of giving myself an injection every day for the next month was terrifying. I bartered and pleaded with the doctor, asking him about statistics of thrombosis and whether it was really going to be likely that it would happen to me. He laughed and shook his head and explained that I had to have the injections. I sat there in his office and sulked like a 3 year old child.

Later that day, I spent the afternoon watching YouTube videos of people explaining and demonstrating how to self-administer injections  One woman explained that if you put an icepack on your belly 20 minutes before giving yourself the injection, it can really help with the pain.

So that’s what I decided to do.

I dug an icepack out of the freezer and tucked it into the waistband of my jeans to cool the area I would inject. And then I waited. Nervously. Pacing on my crutches around the kitchen. Clock watching. The very thought of piercing my skin with a needle and causing myself pain was such a fucked-up concept in my head. Despite the cooling effect of the icepack on my body, I started to sweat.

After 5 minutes or so, the freeze of the icepack started to sting my stomach. It was a mild discomfort at first, but very quickly and sharply, it started to become pretty uncomfortable. I kept the icepack there though. I could handle the discomfort and the pain.

20 minutes was up.

I now had to give myself the injection.

Fuck.

“Just whack it in like a dart” was the advice from my partner, Kristin. Horrified, I grabbed my laptop, locked myself in my office, opened up Youtube and followed the gentle how-to-give-yourself-an-injection advice from this wonderful woman <https://lizgoodchild.us6.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ede380f8185e8e05d16f69aa3&id=6553701bd4&e=9e729374fd>. Shaking, I followed her instructions to the letter, took a deep breath and watched, in a wash of total horror and incredulousness, as the needle slowly pierced my skin by my very own hand.

Just as she’d promised. I felt no pain. Nothing. And yet each day since then, in the moments before I give myself the injection, the same fear from the day before and the day before that and the day before that, rises in me and I experience the fear all over again.

I fear the pain of the injection.

And yet interestingly, the actual pain comes from the icepack.

Which I happily tolerate despite the agonising discomfort it brings.

Because it’s just an icepack.

And I’m not scared of the icepack.

I’m scared of the needle.

The needle that doesn’t even hurt.

Over and out.

The post An injection and an icepack. appeared first on Liz Goodchild.

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Liz Goodchild Life Coach by Liz Goodchild - 1y ago

I’m sitting at my kitchen table eating avocado on toast with chilli flakes and lemon juice on top.

I gesture towards my partner, Kristin, who is standing a few metres from where I’m sat and I say, “Please can you pass me my blue cup, you know the one with the pattern on?”

My blue cup with a pattern on is my favourite cup of all time. It’s massive. It holds probably twice the amount of liquid that your average cup holds. If you’re a client of mine, you’ll probably know this cup because I generally drink herbal tea from it most coaching sessions.

Anyway, so, I ask Kristin to pass me the blue cup with a pattern on.

She nods her head and reaches for it and then says, “You do know this cup is not blue, right? It’s black.”

“No!” I scoff, “It’s blue. For sure!”

Kristin walks towards me with my blue cup with a pattern on and holds it right in front of my face. “See, it’s black!” she says.

I inspect it closely. I get up from the table and hold it under a light.

She’s right.

The cup is black with a pattern on.

What?

I was so sure it was blue. So sure. 100% sure. I would-have-put-money-on-it sure.

And yet I was wrong.

Sometimes, the things we think and even know to be true—about people, situations, experiences from the past and anticipations about the future—are not actually true at all.

We just don’t see it. Because we’re so sure, 100% sure, put-money-on-it sure that we’re right. There’s really no reason to think otherwise.

Or is there?

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Not last Saturday but the one before that, the residents of Hawaii were informed by text message that a ballistic missile was heading their way.

45 minutes later, they were subsequently informed that the initial warning had been a mistake and that it was safe to come out from shelter.

15 minutes after receiving this particular news, the website, Pornhub, an online platform for, you guessed it, watching porn, noticed that their page views surged +48% above typical levels.

It seems that the relief from the anxiety of believing they were going to be blown to smithereens, caused quite a few Hawaiians to go and seek, well, a little more relief.

We all do this, right? I mean, we don’t all watch porn, of course, but us humans do tend to seek relief from our emotions, often in food or drugs or shopping for things we don’t need or over-working or alcohol or gossiping or exercise.

Buddhists call this relief-seeking behaviour, shenpa.

Shenpa is the itch you just have to scratch. It’s viciously flipping off the lorry driver that just cut you up or downing 3 large glasses of Rioja when you’ve had a bad day at work. Shenpa is the constant seeking of reassurance from others or the drag of a cigarette when we feel anxiety creeping. It’s opening your mouth and saying something cruel in the heat of the moment, even though there’s another voice in your mind suggesting you stay silent.

Shenpa is the restlessness and agitation that arises in us from a strong, perhaps uncomfortable emotion. It’s the all-too-vivid experience of being hooked on an emotion, and disappearing into a vortex of relief-seeking behaviours and habits as a result.

I must admit, shenpa feels fucking lovely in the moment. It temporarily paves the path for us to escape our current reality and suffering and bullshit. It tends to numb and comfort and soothe in a twisted, self-righteous kind of way.

But it never ends well. Unless you’re watching porn to escape your emotions that is, and then, I suppose, there’s generally a pretty good ending….

Anyway.

I have been practicing not escaping my emotions for years now, especially the ones that bring up a lot of discomfort for me, like uncertainty and anxiety and fear.

This practicing has involved a lot of meditation and mindfulness and learning to notice my emotions and observing how I tend to want to escape from them when they arise. As my favourite teacher, Pema Chödrön—a Buddhist nun who is partial to the odd swear word from time-to-time—once wrote, “We use all kinds of ways to escape. All addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.”

This is what I have learned about the ways I tend to escape:

When I am feeling sad or lonely, I notice just how much I feel the urge to eat pizza and potato croquettes and chocolate.

When I am feeling anxious, I notice just how much I fantasise about drinking wine (even though I gave up drinking alcohol at the end of 2016).

When I feel angry or irritated by something or someone, I notice just how much I feel the urge to complain and whine to anyone who will listen to seek some kind of validation that I am right.

When I feel worried or unsure about something, I notice just how much I feel the urge to reach for my phone and start Googling and looking for an answer even though I probably already know the answer.

When I feel nervous, I notice just how much I feel the urge to zombie-like scroll through Facebook or watch stupid videos about ghosts on YouTube.

When I feel uncertain, I notice just how much I ruminate. I think and think and think until I feel like my brain is going to implode.

When I feel scared, I notice just how much I feel the urge to quit, give-up or emotionally shut down.

When I feel frustrated, I notice just how much I shift my focus to blaming other people and things outside of me.

I pretty much do anything to not feel what I am feeling.

I am desperate to zone out or think my way out of the feeling.

And yet instead, for all these years now, I’ve been learning to just simply sit with my feelings.

Which makes it sound easy, doesn’t it? Just “simply” sitting with my feelings.

(It has not been easy at all.)

But as I research and read and delve deeper into Buddhist practices and mindfulness and the huge benefits of meditation, the more I am realising that most of my unhelpful or unhealthy habits and behaviours stem from my strong and very human resistance to feeling my feelings all the way through.

So feeling my feelings is what I’ve been learning to ‘do’ for quite a long time now.

And it’s been hard and very, very, very uncomfortable and I have mostly wanted to climb out of my own skin, to be honest, but somewhere, somehow, in the midst of all the staying present with my feelings, I have noticed that I have started to become much calmer and more curious and content than ever before.

It’s difficult to describe what happens, actually, but in all the focusing and noticing and observing of whatever emotion I am experiencing, I have somehow learnt to not respond so much to my urges. I don’t manage this all the time, of course. I still semi-regularly find myself in the freezer section of my local supermarket staring at pizzas or lost in a rabbit-hole vortex of video-after-ghost-video on YouTube, but I have become far more observant of my emotions and the knock-on behaviours they often stir up. I guess Buddhists would say that I am learning to be less-attached to my emotions so that I don’t feel so tormented and entangled in them like I used to.

This practice is something I help my clients with too, especially when they feel overwhelmed with ALL THE FEELINGS. I encourage them to be curious about their emotions and to observe them from different perspectives. I ask them, “How would you describe the anxiety you’re experiencing to an alien from outer space who has no concept of emotions?” or “Can you sit, even for just 90 seconds and allow the anger in you to rise without acting out or trying to make it go away? What happens then?”

I remind them that it’s a life-time practice. Because it is. Nothing happens overnight and it takes a considerable amount of dedication and patience to even slightly begin to tame our wild minds and inner 2-year olds.

But it’s worth it. And it’s pretty simple (yet also so, so hard) to do.

It takes courage too, I think. To just sit with your emotions. It feels—for me at least—a little like sitting in a room with a hungry tiger* and just sitting there with the fear. The urge to get up and run for the door can be incredibly overwhelming and uncomfortable.

I guess this is why, in so many ways, it’s far easier to just shout at your kid or the dog when you’re feeling irritable. Or, when you’re feeling scared out of your mind, to just reach for your laptop and watch porn, like half of Hawaii seemed to do a few Saturdays ago.

Anything to bring quick, mindless and easy relief, right?

*If you do ever find yourself in a room with a hungry tiger, I would not advise you to just sit there with the fear. I am not a tiger expert, but I cannot imagine this would end well at all.

The post Porn, Buddhism and missiles. appeared first on Liz Goodchild.

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