Swings and roundabouts

Do you remember those old-fashioned roundabouts which were in swing parks and playgrounds?  I remember that they were wooden usually, and set on a concrete patch in the middle of the grass.  We used to run round, pushing the roundabout, jumping on at the last minute when we could no longer keep up as it gathered speed.  It would fly around so fast we had no option to stay on it until it slowed down, amidst squeals of fear and exhilaration. I feel dizzy just remembering those playground days.

CHILDREN PLAYING IN PLAYGROUND - 1950SLife these days often feels like that speeding roundabout.  It tears round and round and we hold on, knuckles white, the momentum keeping it spinning. We cling on, knowing that it is going too fast for us to be able to get off. As the roundabout whizzes round, we catch sight of patches of life around us.  Tasks we need to do, people we want to speak to and spend time with, fun things we want to do………… Then they are gone, out of sight and too often out of mind as new matters catch our attention.

These past months, I feel as if I have been living on this speeding roundabout, dizzy and unable to focus on one spot as everything flies round around me.  No sooner do I catch sight of one important element than it disappears replaced by others, many others. Round and round it goes. Too fast to step off. Far too fast to clamber back on if I were to manage to disengage. Frightening and exhausting.

This is why I have been somewhat silent.  My mind is both empty and full.  Or perhaps rather it has just been simply that, I have been mentally, emotionally and physically overwhelmed.  How hard it is to find focus and clarity when I feel as if I am living in a moving abstract canvas.

Abstract - Mark Chadwick

Abstract – Mark Chadwick

But I have somehow stepped off the roundabout, while it continues to whirl around. I do not have either the energy or inclination to go anywhere near it right now.  I have also moved physically away so that it is not in my field of vision for the time being.  That helps enormously. There are still a few things reaching me, but with the merry-go-round at a distance, I feel a lessening of the nauseating dizziness.

Abstract - Andre Eleazer

Abstract – Andre Eleazer

I have spent the past days in Bangkok, in a beautiful, quiet space, even though there is turmoil not so far over the threshold.  Firstly I am just trying to still my mind and rest physically.

I have felt such a resistance to doing anything, even to planning the next days of my break when I will head out of Bangkok. I have been unable to write even a seasonal message to those who I have horribly neglected these past months.  I have not yet managed to get down those thoughts and reflections on the past year, one which has been one of the most difficult for many of us, that has taken people cruelly and relentlessly.  Those who we knew had limited precious time, and those who should have had a great deal longer.  These thoughts are still in my mind but not yet articulated nor shared with those who matter.

And then there is the writing backlog.  The blog space has been unusually quiet.  Not a shortage of ideas, but some inertia and muddle which needs calming time and gradual refocus.  Our Wednesday Writing Group writings have been neglected.  Work on my bigger writing projects has been put to the side. Having moved away from the speeding roundabout, I can pick up these remnants, strewn around and start to make sense of them again.

Soon I will physically remove myself even further, for a week or so. I also trust that the roundabout is actually going to slow a little over the next couple of weeks.  It won’t come to a complete standstill, but the more it slows down while I am on terra firma, the easier it will be when that time comes to try and leap back on.

While it is out of sight, I MUST try and erase it from my mind.  I must distance myself from its terrifying dizziness even though I know it is unavoidable, that I climb back on after my break.

But that is for later.  Right now, all that I need and want is that to provide a space for my body and soul to revitalise, refresh and attain optimum healing rest.

Pausing in an alley in Bangkok's Chinatown

Pausing in an alley in Bangkok’s Chinatown

Roundabouts can fun and exciting, but we cannot live on them all the time. In this fast modern world we live in, sometimes we just need to step aside and take the time to breathe.

13 thoughts on “Swings and roundabouts

  1. So very true about living on the roundabout and the need to step off them.I hope you rest deeply and rest well. Maybe thi New Year can be able learning to take breaks often, and pace reasonable? That will be it for me, for sure… but in the meanwhile, stop, disconnect, rest.

    Happy holidays and happy resting to you, Philippa.


    • Thank you Catherine, I am wallowing in this rest just now, and for sure will be planning breaks when I can. The reality is that much of this pace is connected with the attention on Myanmar at the moment…… exciting and wonderful to be a part of, but exhausting too.

      I am in awe of you, publishing your book! WOW! What hard work and determination in the midst of a crapshoot. Wonderful work 🙂

      Take care and wishing you well xoxox

  2. Hi Philippa, it sounds like you need to nurture yourself during this fragile time in your life. Don’t worry about staying quiet on your blog. You will sort things out in time and get back to it. Just take care of yourself. I’m sending you virtual hugs.

  3. I know this feeling Philippa. In my mind it was a whirlwind, the twister kind from Kansas and I’ve been hopelessly drawn into it. Only now after stepping back (from everything) do I feel a new vigour and sense of direction but it needs more time to flourish. I hope stepping off the roundabout and pushing it out of your thoughts will help you find the space you need to flourish too.

    • Oh the whirlwind – yes, that is such a good analogy, it sucks you in then spits you out! Thanks for your reassuring words about regaining vigour and focus and wish you those right conditions for you to flourish too 🙂 Hugs xoxox

  4. I think so many of us can identify with your words Philippa and you have written beautifully of the turmoil we experience within when we allow things to build up inside us. We have been trained to white-knuckle ride through our days, but we are learning with reminders like yours to know when it is time to step off the merry-go-round. Wishing you peace and healing in the days ahead x

  5. Peace to you! I was just thinking about how much rest I still need. This stupid cancer thing is so EXHAUSTING. And sometimes I feel guilty for how long I stay in bed. And then I remember what it is like when I don’t get enough rest. I’m no good to anybody.
    Take care, dear.

    • Oh that is SO true – I have done what feels like a huge heap of nothing, but am still tired. The cancer thing indeed is exhausting and draining.
      You too take care and thank you so much for your words,
      P x

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