Archive for January, 2013

Barefoot Moments

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

You know those moments, those moments when you just lose who you are … when you lose all your inhibitions … you just do what you want to do and have so much fun doing it!

Whenever I experience such moments, I usually re-visit this, for me, very thought provoking poem, “If I had my life to live over”:

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I’d
have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly
and sanely hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had it to do over
again, I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments.
One after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. If i had it to do again, I would travel lighter next time.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.

What images, sounds and feelings that triggers!

It is attributed to an 85 year old woman called Nadine Stair, although there is conjecture as to whether it was written by her or, in fact, if she even existed. Whatever the truth around that, I find the words thought provoking.

We would probably all want more of this in our lives, wouldn’t we? So is it a person reflecting sadly on their life? Or perhaps there is a positive side to it in that the writer has had so many of them – thus enabling them to write such a powerful poem – that they would have liked even more.

If we would like to “start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall” what can we do about it? When I reflect back on my own moments of pleasure they are often in situations where I would not have envisaged such huge surges of emotion. They weren’t planned. They are often predominantly outside my control.

But you have to plan to live in order to have the chance of having them – we have to be in it to win it.

We are ‘human beings’, not ‘human doings’.

So what stops us? Predominantly socialisation?

The rules, the norms, the expected behaviours. It starts from an early age, so by the time we know that we need to do something about it, it can be too late or too difficult. Most of us will have played and had fun as children – but even by that time, we will have been conforming in certain ways in order to get the love and affection we required to survive.

Perhaps, therefore, this absolute pure fun is unachievable? Or perhaps it is achievable if we are a bit more drastic.

When I need to access skills that I don’t believe I have in sufficient depth, or that are sufficiently polished, I ‘become’ someone who does have these skills. And usually it helps me. In such situations, the people I am interacting with see me, so they have no idea what’s going on for me. Take that one step further – when I become Father Christmas, I lose even more of myself, as I have described previously.

As Dr Seuss advised, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who don’t matter don’t mind”. I certainly have too many people in my life who don’t matter.

And how could this help you impact on others at home and at work?

And help them have more moments? As Kate Bush reflected in her song “Moments of Pleasure”, accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful piano:

Just being alive
It can really hurt
And the moments given
Are a gift from time
Just let us try
To give these moments back
To those we love
To those who will survive

Perhaps we need to think less about surviving, or wishing we had more moments – and more about doing something about it. It’s never too late to learn.

Paul