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.