Early morning musings

I like it when I wake up slowly in the morning with no urgent need to get up. I pull out my earplugs and lie still, relaxed, listening to the birds, tuning into the weather. Maybe I stretch a little, then settle again to enjoy just being there poised between sleep and waking. Thoughts drift in and out of my mind; mostly prosaic (what day is it?) and sometimes profound.

Today I found myself thinking back to imagery I conjured up in my early days of psychotherapy, thirty-odd years ago. At the time I felt, for various reasons, utterly lost and broken. I visualised myself as a mess of runny jelly separated from the shell that had given me shape and support. Without my shell I was vulnerable, formless and scared witless.

At the time we played around with ideas of trying to firm up the jelly so it didn’t need a hard shell to protect it, but somehow it never really resolved into an image that felt completely satisfactory. I’d forgotten all about it until this morning when I suddenly had the revelation that we should have focused on making the shell resilient rather than toughening the jelly!

For some reason that thought cheered me no end. It’s not as if I’ve consciously given much, if any, thought to an unresolved piece of imagery during the last thirty years, but it was still an “Ah ha!” moment, as if some small piece of mental jigsaw had finally slotted into place. It felt profound, though after pondering it on and off throughout the day I’m not sure why.

Is it a sign confirming that I’m now reasonably emotionally resilient? Or is it a nudge to look at some other issue in a different way? A reminder that you need both container and contents to make a whole? Or just one of those random pieces of mental flotsam that washes up in a half-awake mind?

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2 Responses to Early morning musings

  1. alcsmith says:

    I don’t think anything like that is random flotsam, particularly because it ‘cheered you’. I shall resist giving my interpretations, much as I’d love to. Your third question reminds me that one of the big messages that used to keep coming back for me in therapy was ‘it’s both’. I can’t remember how many times that came up and it really showed me how much I fall into either/or thinking when life is usually not that simple. I was doing a Qi Gong journalling exercise the other day and I needed to list all the parts of myself that weren’t functioning properly, easy, and then those that were. My first thought was clearly I’m not functioning well so I’ll have to eek out stuff. And then I realised that my heart is fine, my lungs, my kidneys, my bones, my hearing, etc. It reminded me that there is both dysfunction and wellness, and to appreciate what is well alongside accepting what is not.

  2. Thanks Alison – you’ve made some good and helpful points. I also tend towards either/or thinking and my therapy mostly focused on trying to find a middle ground, but some things are “both” and we have to find ways of living with it. Accepting that there can be two (or more) dimensions of something is far less stressful than trying to reconcile them into one. And, yes, most of me is fine – I’m just underpowered!

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