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Faux Pas Lord's Prayer

Faux Pas

Desolation and lone footprints. Photographed by Diane Woodrow
Footprints across a deserted beach taken by myself March 2022

Why is it that it is so much easier to remember one’s mistakes and faux pas than one’s triumphs?

Yesterday I was chatting with a fellow writer and something slipped out of my mouth that I did not mean to say. He was a bit irritated by it at the time but I apologised and the conversation resumed. All the way home in the car I was waiting for my friend to say something about the gaff I’d made, but she never did. All she wanted to do was talk about the serendipity of being in the building at the same time as this person she knew through other outlets. And we twittered on about how amazing life can be, etc, etc.

But still when I was out with my dog walking I could feel the embarrassment of it. As I pondered by reaction rather than what I’d said I realised that it was actually my autonomic nervous system [ANS] that had gone into fight/flight/fawn/freeze mode and I needed to calm down my “meerkat” panic.

So as I walked I pulled my ANS back into a calmer, relaxed place via things I’d been taught via QEC – telling my ANS to realign – which is just says “ANS come back into alignment“, repeating “I’m safe, you’re safe, we’re safe” thus convincing my subconscious that there was nothing to worry about, and also being grateful – for the encounter with the fellow writer, for the time with my friend in the car there and back, for the joy of walking my dog. By the time I got home I was calm.

Even as I write this I can feel myself laughing at what I said, because it was daft and out of order, but I do not feel that awful grumpy-dragging-me -down-ness that I have felt in similar situations before. I can see it as a mistake I made and that I have learned from but not an “end of the world” thing.

It has made me wonder how many times I may have not done something, or even done something, because I was in that heightened “meerkat” mode – fearful, hyper-alert, anxious – rather than acknowledging it, taking those breaths, realigning myself and being able to let it go. Because that is very much what I did – let it go.

It also made me think of the lines in the “Lord’s Prayer” – about forgiving and forgiveness. Too often we are ready to forgive others but how often do we forgive ourselves. Or even how often do we say “Lord, forgive me my trespasses” but we are not willing to do it ourselves – thus making us bigger than God???

So as I realigned myself, stepped out of my fight/flight/fawn/freeze mode, I also forgave myself for what I’d said and have been able to get on and do things – which today have involved sending a proposal for some work and entering a writing competition. I have moved on from my faux pas!

Categories
accepting Feelings

A Feeling Is Just A Feeling And It Will Pass!

Diane Woodrow's fridge sticker "a feeling' just a feeling and it will pass" from Little Meerkat's big panic.
Stuck on my fridge. Sent to me by my dear friend, Jane Evans

Monday would have been my sister’s 58th birthday. It is strange that I felt so low about it because I cannot remember the last time I celebrated her birthday with her. I don’t remember doing anything for her 18th or 21st. Yes I’m old enough to have had both an 18th and 21st birthday party!!! But by the time my sister was 18 our parents had separated. In fact even by her 16th they were apart. But even before that I don’t remember her birthdays unless I look at photographs and then I’m sure it is more perceived memory rather than really remembering. My sister has been dead now for over 9 years and of course I still miss her. It is hard work being an only child now after having had a sibling for 49 years.

But anyway Monday I felt this overwhelming sadness mixed with other emotions of guilt, regret, fear, anxiety. I checked dates, remembered the significance, and accepted how I felt. Our bodies are so much better at remembering things than our heads. We so often need to bypass our heads and listen to our hearts and bodies. Something I am learning often. And we need to accept that a feeling is just a feeling and it will pass.

If we have lived a long and full life there will be many days where we remember things with sadness, with loss, with regret, with grief, and I am learning that this is alright. It is how I feel. It is a feeling from what was, but it is just a feeling. It is not the “now” of my life.

So when I realised the source of my sadness I journaled it, walked the dog and pondered it, accepted it, and placed it in a safe place. Not buried but not somewhere where today would fall over it. I got on with my day, checked out my heart regularly, was kind to myself – because I think often we can tell those feelings of loss, grief, anger, fear, anxiety, that they are negative and so shouldn’t be a part of our lives. But that is so untrue. Feelings are not negative or positive. Yes some are easier to sit with than others. Some we prefer, especially in others, than we do other ones. But they are just feelings.

Our feelings colour our memories and we need to accept that. We also need to accept that we won’t have a photographic memory of the past, no matter what some people tell themselves they do. What we do have is a memory of an event coloured with our feelings at the time overlaid with our feelings of where we are now.

So Monday I accept that I was feeling what I was feeling. Kept my thoughts to my journal. Waited till the feeling had got to a more settled place to be able to share on this blog. And it did as the sticker on my fridge said it would. It passed. I now have other feelings about other things but I know they are my feelings and are not the fact of the event.