When I’m not feeling well I need to just stop.
Stop my racing mind and my active body.
I don’t want to and every cell in my body tells me to push through the pain and tiredness.
And I do push.
Until the body starts to break and the mind frays.
Those old signals my Dad taught me and those silly quotes from American self help books trumpet, echo and bounce in my head;
‘Dedication, determination and discipline.’
‘A fast games a good game.’
‘Keep moving or fail.’
‘Show me a fast walker and I’ll show you a winner.’
These are casual, throw away lines concocted by obsessives and perfectionists.
Lines that for most of us can be dangerous and destructive, because when I am sick or even just flat, I start looking for short cuts.
– fried food
– sugary food and drinks
– self justification
– criticism of self and others
– wallowing in regret and remorse
And yes, hot chips and chocolate are yummy but taken too much and too often, they begin to trick my mind and inflame my joints.
I become irritable, slightly irrational and begin to withdraw.
Withdraw from you, from others and retreat into my mind.
And when this happens, my mind starts whispering and chatting to me in a charming, seductive way.
It starts telling me that there are larger and more dangerous short cuts that are far more effective and enjoyable.
The images begin to line up in the recess of my past, and I forget the damage, and loss and regret and the pain.
I momentarily forget the human wrecking ball I became.
And that sad image of the hard drinking, hard living, hard loving Aussie male is a myth and a lie.
But a lie that I believed from the moment I picked up that first cold, frothy beer.
So, I just have to stop.
Put pause between the stimulus and the behaviour.
And search for the silence behind the noise in my mind.
And it is always there when I stop.
So I search for the silence and it smothers the noise and I experience peace.
Blissful peace, and I see freedom of choice.
And that sweet, gentle silence is what I call God.
And I sit quietly in the presence of God, and He catches my breath and I slow down.
My God talks to me and softly says;
‘All will be well my son.’
And I see the face of my wife, and my three sons, and my mum and dad and sisters, and all my ancestors and family – alive and dead.
They are sitting on ancient red earth, under sprawling gum trees.
And they are smiling and they touch me and my anxiety washes and fizzes away.
Like a mountain brook running over shiny, ancient, pockmarked stones.
You are loved.
We are loved.
As long as we just stop.