I’m editing an interview we recorded recently for the podcast with the founder of an organisation that provides support for families and loved ones of addicts.
Listening to it again I’m inspired by her positivity and refusal to bow down to even the most dispiriting experiences.
My daughter comes into the room as I’m playing a bit about 95% of our success or failure being related to who we surround ourselves with.
“I can remember hearing that statistic before but it feels more accurate the older I get,” I tell her.
“You surround yourself with the dogs,” she says.
“Exactly, they are relentlessly positive.”
Although, I definitely don’t live in the moment the way that they do. I have much less energy, and I can’t catch a tennis ball in my mouth, but I know their sense of freedom and zest for life has a positive influence.
The other strong theme that runs all the way through the interview is the importance of self-care, something that I hear myself telling clients and writing in answers to questions almost every day.
I wonder what it is that gets in the way of us taking good care of ourselves, apart from a feeling that we might not be worthwhile enough to do so.
“Having the time to do it,” is my daughter’s suggestion.
“I probably wouldn’t go to the gym if I had to go when it was busy,” she says.
The flexibility of being a student does seem to help when it comes to looking after herself, and it’s also a benefit of being self-employed and working when you choose to.
I doubt any boss would be happy about my taking two hours to walk the dogs every lunchtime.
Childcare, or rather not having to do it, is another way of opening space up to take care of yourself.
Ironically, it’s often when we are stuck in a rigid daily work routine with children to look after when we get home, and no free time to do the things we enjoy that we most need a regime of self-care.
Getting enough sleep, eating properly, finding time for friends and interests, and getting outside for exercise seem to be much easier when you’re getting near to retirement and you have plenty of time to do everything.
But perhaps, to some extent, we’ve been trained to prioritise things other than our own sense of wellbeing.
There’s a part in the interview where our guest is talking about the importance of “honouring the soul” rather than falling in with a society that places the greatest value on how much we can have “power over” and “control of”.
I don’t have much power over anything, and I’m OK having even less control.
In that way, I am like the dogs.
Letting go of the need to control everything is a decision we can probably make at any stage of our lives if we are willing to accept the consequences.
After completing the edit I start to feel a bit jaded.
The dogs are having a nap, so I make a cup of tea and honour my soul by joining them.