The not-so-zen master

If you knew me, you’d know I’m not particularly great at waiting for things to happen. So you can imagine my frustration Sunday afternoon when, after everything I’ve learned over the past few weeks, I didn’t feel amazingly fresh and peaceful, floating around the house like a zen master. The reality was a lot less joyful and as Matt will testify, the entire week at our place has been a little tense.

Sometimes people have such great dreams and ideas for what’s coming, the reality of the day-to-day grind can be hard to face and all we want is to get to the good bits. A very hard lesson I am learning at the moment is to appreciate what I have, once I am able to do this everything will start to fall into place. Tell that to ‘last week Phoebe’ because she was less than impressed with any of it.

Amid the varied threats to Matt’s personal safety were moments of utter confusion on my part. If I have learned so much in the past few weeks, why am I not incredibly happy right now? It wasn’t until yesterday evening I realised it’s because of the huge difference between knowing something and understanding it.


Despite all the new things that had come into my life I still had to face up to work every day this week and nobody there gives a crap about my new found life meaning and direction. In fact if I sat the whole team down and told them about it they’d probably suggest I take a few days of stress-leave to get my head right while exchanging awkward looks across the desk.

After an intense week of work capped off by two days of training I hit the weekend in a massive slump and by Sunday afternoon I was a wreck. Enter, Positive Claire. “Wait, what is a Positive Claire?” you ask. A very good friend of mine who I really click with, we can talk about anything and I feel completely comfortable being honest with her about, well, everything. How the name Positive Claire came to be is not really certain, all I know is after I spend time with her I feel better about life in general… and that’s always a positive.

Two-and-a-half hours, and some comfort food, later I had a much better understanding of what was going on in my head. The old saying of ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ really rang true for me and by confiding in Positive Claire I felt a huge sense of relief that knowing everything I do now doesn’t automatically lead to everything being perfect, I have to not only know it but learn to understand it by applying it.

The truth is I’m depleted, which is why making big decisions is proving difficult. I can’t expect a few hours of alone time on a Sunday afternoon to immediately fix the months of energy draining that’s been going on and I can’t expect two weeks of learning a whole lot of new information about myself and my life to change everything immediately. The crazy she-bat-zilla that’s been terrorising Matt in our apartment needs to learn a little patience.

It can be difficulty to make take time for what you really want. As someone that needs to be alone to recharge I find it difficult to ask people to leave me alone and when I am alone I feel immediately guilty for being so selfish.

I’m not sure if it’s something I’ve learned from my upbringing or if it’s something I’ve learned from society but I usually put other people’s needs ahead of mine. A great example of this is when people were telling me I was an extrovert and need to recharge by being around other people, I was so worried about letting them down that I would agree with them and spend all my time hanging around people trying to make it true.

Knowing me as well as he does and, in an attempt to guard his personal safety amid my less than friendly mood, Matt took to kayaking for a few hours on Sunday afternoon. As soon as he left the house I started doing laundry because I thought it would look bad if I hadn’t done anything while he was gone. Then I sat down and opened my laptop, trying to force out ideas for my next blog post. Neither of these things were what I really wanted to do, they were what I thought I should be doing.

Sitting, staring mindlessly at my computer my thoughts turned to Positive Claire. Why was I allowing expectation to define what I should be doing while I’m alone? When I talk to Positive Claire I’m always honest and say and do whatever I want so why can’t I be like that when I’m by myself? I closed the laptop and put on a movie and for two beautiful hours I just enjoyed being alone, relaxing.

When Matt came home from kayaking he firmly instructed me to get off the couch, get dressed and be ready to leave the house in 10 minutes. We jumped in the car and without a plan just drove, winding up at a beautiful pub near the water and really enjoyed reclaiming our Sunday night together.

Having time alone allowed me to get back in touch with myself and having Matt step in and get me out of the house and sharing my thoughts with Positive Claire made me realise sometimes I need to let go, stop trying to do everything myself and let other people in my life help balance it out. While I have learned a lot the past few weeks I’m not the zen master and I don’t know everything (not even close!) but what I do know, I’m working to understand by doing, sharing and making mistakes. I’m still working on the patience part but at least I’m no longer storming around the apartment, breathing fire and you’ll be pleased to know Matt has come back out of hiding. Relationship high-five!



10 Comments on The not-so-zen master

  1. You really cant force inspiration. But I love how the good people in your life can inspire you. Thanks for sharing your experience


    • I completely agree, so well said! Thanks for reading!


  2. Again there is much to take from your blog on a personal note. I totally recognize the phase of life you are going through right now. I too have big dreams, big plans, but I am just not getting their quickly enough, the way I see it. I just want to get there, but really, I agree that it takes a climb, patience and appreciation for what is already here. Although, I also have to admit I am a little behind, but I guess patience is the key when it comes to this?


    • I think so Marcos, though I’m clearly still working it out too. I think maybe it is patience and appreciation, being grateful for what you have now. If you don’t appreciate what you have now you won’t appreciate what you have in the future, if that makes sense? :) always good to hear from you. P


      • Yes, it does make sense to me. I am just not a very patience person. Though I think it would be good for me to reconsider some stuff as well. I night even ask some people advice to change my writing for the better.


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  1. On how to comfort a woman (or something to that effect) | power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

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