Small steps

I’ve been feeling trapped recently. Trapped economically, socially, by sobriety, by loneliness. It’s been making me anxious and miserable as I look for someone or something to blame, which is usually myself.

To change things around, I started looking for solutions through meditations, articles, books, TV shows, films and so on for hoping that in this escapism I’ll find some inspiration to pull me out.

There was one blog post I found, How I Stopped Feeling Trapped in a Life I Didn’t Want by Jen Picicci, that provided plenty of food for thought, in that to escape from the negativity it requires small incremental changes rather than radical moves that can lead to further anxiety. That might seem contradictory to someone that totally gave up drinking alcohol over five and a half years ago, which was a very radical move. However giving up was only the start of the journey – step 1 out of 12. The next steps brought the incremental changes that were, and still are, required.

My old life was so consumed by alcohol that it dictated where I worked, whom I worked with, whom I socialised with, my marriage, my divorce, whether I got laid, whom I would or wouldn’t have a relationship with, my career choices. Just about everything I did or thought about revolved around when and where it was acceptable to drink alcohol, usually in large quantities.

It’s this memory, this lifestyle that I kicked, that is central to my current loneliness. I have had two full on, and a two or three nearly, relationships since I stopped drinking. Why did they fail? The full reasons I am uncertain of, but being true to my anxiety, I mainly blame myself. The new me, the neutered party animal, the man who has too many sober thoughts that he has to overthink everything, now finds it terribly hard to cope with a clear head all of the time.

Getting back to Jen Picicci, she opens her post with a quotation from Terry Josephson (I don’t know who that person is by the way, but I like the quote)…

Stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities…

It all makes sense and should be simple to follow, right? Actually yes it is. The starting point is to remember that all states are impermanent, including pain and emotion. With that in mind, I start to look for positives and the things that make me happy, from every situation. For example, during the enforced Covid-lockdown, my daily exercise routine helped me discover a new creative side through photography and mixing those pics into artwork. It’s a very self-indulgent relaxation but I like what I produce and it only takes one other person to like it too for me to feel appreciated. It’s also given me an even greater love of other people’s creativity from art to music to film to books to box sets to football.

These pictures, taken over the last two days, are mainly thistle seed heads or wind-dispersed seeds trapped in cobwebs and blades of grass. Then, with the tunes on loud, they were mixed and edited into vibrant patterns and explosions of colour. And because I like the pictures, I added a heron taking small steps towards its next meal.The musical accompaniment this time came from Oscar Jerome’s Breathe Deep album a wonderful free flowing fusion of jazz, neo-soul and funk; perfect music for my Sunday morning creative escapism.

Ronnie xx