Snip from ATTH Facebook of my post with the photo of the snail sitting at head height on a creeper branchBack in March, I wrote about my totem animal, the beautiful snail, waving his eyeballs at me from an unexpected place. He was there to remind me how desperately I need to learn to slow down and rest. Anyone who’s read more than a couple of my posts will have realised that, if there’s any quest I’m on in this life time, it’s the quest to let go of busy-ness and needing to get everything done. The quest to “be” rather than “do”.

And of course what kinds of clients do I attract? I attract busy clients, who can’t let go, who can’t be still, who need to prove themselves, to themselves and to others. Client who drive themselves, and who deep down are utterly exhausted, really angry, and longing for rest. That’s God’s great grace with me. I think S/He knows that I’m just never going to stay committed to learning to rest unless there are other people depending on me to do it if I’m going to be of any service to them. That’s the cosmic joke for any of us who started training because we really needed to know ‘how to make other people’s lives better’ so we could feel better about ourselves. We find out that the straightest route in that direction is dealing with our own needs for healing.

My clients’ needs are the perfect mirrors of my own…

You can’t take someone somewhere you haven’t been yourself.

Put on your own oxygen mask first.

Physician, heal thyself.

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?
Matthew 7:4

Overwhelmed by Tasks and Chores…

Screen shot of phone app for managing tasks showing a list of things that need to be done

It is as predictable as clockwork that during a long weekend like this one I will have a morning when I wake up with a searing headache. It feels like I will only feel alright if I make a list of all the things that need doing. Simultaneously, I’m longing, all the way down into my stomach, for complete rest. Longing for quiet simple connection with myself, my body and God, but which I just cannot allow. Fairly predictably I end up crying and despairing at the endless list of tasks my life seems full of, wondering when there will ever be time to sit in simple stillness. And yet knowing that it’s really the other way around.

I will find, invent and attract to me an unending string of tasks and projects that need to be completed only because I am afraid of being still and sitting with the anguish that comes with being even temporarily without accomplishment or use to someone else. And I will even choose a life partner who also cannot rest and who is always thinking of new things that need taking care of, to give me even more reasons to not attend to my desperate need for peace.

My natural wisdom whispers gently to me about the earthy bliss of going slow. Of going nowhere. And of, when needed, retreating completely from the outside world to be inside the only Home I really need and which I carry with me everywhere. But my learned pattern is to go faster and faster. To try and be the one person in the world who really does manage to get everything done. And who will only stop if floored, be it by a Peugeot, a redundancy, or a splitting headache.

The message I got on Tuesday…

A plastic children's toy a multicoloured snail sitting in a plastic speedboat

In my work with clients I sometimes use a sand-tray, which needs a delightful array of little toys and figurines that I and my colleagues have collected over the years for clients to rummage through, hoping to find the one that speaks to them today. Last Tuesday none of my clients wanted to use the toys. But some kind angel had left this one out for me.

And so it’s my new perfect description of where I’m still stuck. I feel like a snail stuck in a speedboat…