On Keeping On Keeping On
This latest book, ‘Penelope and Frida and the Mystery Creature’, took me on quite the most extraordinary rollercoaster of self-discovery. Two books in, and I’m beginning to realise that no single book will happen in the time or manner expected, and that each book will only be completed when its author has learned the lessons it has up its sleeve.
The themes my client, Saba Kia, and I had decided on, were kindness and resilience. But it turned out that I still had an enormous amount to learn about both. Shortly after starting the project, the world locked down and the importance of both compassion and resilience were to be tested to their ultimate extreme. Couples who ordinarily spent substantially less time together, were locked down together. Families, normally given the brief respite of young children going off to nursery/school, even the luxury of a trip to the shop alone, were all of a sudden confronted with all being under one roof, all the time. No break. It was fairly intense wasn’t it?!
Ironically mirroring the journey that the protagonists of my book – Penelope (a Peach) and Frida (a Pineapple) – went on, I discovered that, there were to be high and low points. When mothering, I’ve found that I can only look after everyone else when I’m looking after myself – something that, it turns out, is seriously challenged when all of your family is at home all of the time and the simple act of going to the loo starts to count as a meditative space!
There were good patches, when I managed to exercise (briefly), meditate (briefly), walk outside (briefly) and do some art (briefly), and this small self-kindness added up to increased resilience. And, yet other times, when the stress of everything got too much, there was no space or time for even the most basic self-care, let alone anything beyond that, and the greatest kindness therefore became dialling everything back to the simplest acts – sleep, eat, homeschool, repeat!
And yet, I am learning that there is extraordinary power if, in the words of Austin Kleon, we just KEEP GOING. Small actions, of any description, in the direction of a clear destination, mean that eventually we will reach that destination. And that is one of the messages of the book.
I think that if we take little actions, every single day, to:
Our lives will flourish.