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  • Laura Ryder

The Weekly Catharsis: What I need this week is...

The idea of wants versus needs came up this week. The toll of isolation also came through. While life has changed for most of us, and perhaps one-time supports are not currently an option, it's always an interesting exercise to explore what we really need and furthermore what needs we might actually be able to meet ourselves (if only we let ourselves).

What I need right now...

Is love, just for me 

What I need right now...

Is someone else to cook

What I need right now...

Is someone to clean the bathroom

What I need right now...

Is someone else to feed the kids

What I need right now...

Is just for someone to check in and ask, are you ok? And mean it 

What I need right now...

Is tea and cake with a good friend 

But...

I can't have that, not all of it at once so then what I need right now is to have the patience, energy and motivation to get through the days, just as they are!

I don’t really know what I need but this process might help.

I’m not very comfortable with the idea of talking or thinking about my own needs which is perhaps a huge part of the problem. At least here I can write. 

I remember a particular long mass service I once attended, where a child cried out a few times “I want to go home, I want to go home” I felt the same.

Hushed by his parents, all was quiet for a few moments, then in a crystal-clear voice echoing all around, he roared “I NEED to go home”.

Even at such a young age he knew of a distinction between want and need.

I find this idea of wants and needs quite interesting. Obviously, we all know about our basic needs- food, shelter, sleep etc. When I was younger, the idea of how fortunate I was to have all those things was really emphasised. Unfortunately, like a spider spinning a web, guilt became all tangled up when negative thoughts and feelings arrived.

How could I be angry/ jealous/ disappointed when so many people had so much more to deal with. I should be ashamed/ embarrassed. for thinking/ feeling that way. This is still something I encounter daily and I know I’m not alone in this.

I actually think many people might be performing this particular dance presently. It’s definitely a quick step and not a waltz for me.

Recently, I saw a video of 2 wolves in a contest. An angry, devious, jealous one, and a kind compassionate one. The story goes that the wolf who wins is the one you feed the most, but by starving or ignoring the other one like I have spent much of my life doing, only causes the other to become more bitter, easily provoked , I suppose like us all when we are hangry. To me this is a bit like adding shades of grey to a black and white way of thinking and more importantly being.

In an ideal world, I have a list of needs

1. My thoughts would be like members of the army, disciplined, all in line, not pressing or pushing, orderly is the word that springs to mind

2. Everyone would understand and validate my point of view and feelings at all times. I would not need to explain, they would JUST KNOW

More realistic view is that I need to give myself more time and to be comfortable and accept what I feel even if it’s not what I want. A very wise person once told me “What you resist persists”. I can see how that’s true but then when I actually allow myself to fully feel an emotion, warts and all, I nearly can’t believe it when it arrives uninvited again and what I do feel is aggrieved.

I have to self- isolate now and what I know I need to do is not to let that be a cause/ excuse to let go of positive routines that have served me well up to this. I have slipped up in the last few days, just because I can’t go for a walk doesn’t mean I can’t go outside my house. That will be my project to restart over the weekend.

Anger is still an emotion that I have real trouble with and even with a much greater awareness towards what I’m feeling in the present, I am very much the frightened sometimes wild student not master.

For so long, I rebuked, refused, ignored, rejected, basically slammed the door in its face. I don’t know if this is right or even possible but I think that some kind of toxic alchemy occurred, where this anger turned into a prevalent sadness I could not explain .But recently, I have felt it, so powerful, now nothing blocking it’s path, and it has felt so wild, I just erupted, positively sizzling. I regret some of the things I said and how I acted, it almost felt like a major regression to a much younger age. So, on that score I do not know what I need, only that I do not want to react like that again. For now, I know that I need to think or feel or both a bit more.

I need time.

I need space.

I need to be left alone for a bit.

I need a break.

I need help.

I need to be understood.

I need to understand myself a bit more.

I need connection.

I need casual chats.

I need forgiveness.

I need acceptance.

I need to stop pushing myself.

I need to give myself a break.

I need to chill out.

I need to let some time pass without using it efficiently.

I need to relax.

Lightbulb moment...I can meet most of those needs myself.
Penny dropping moment...the only thing standing between me and a lot of my needs...is me.
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