Like many people around the world, I’ve spent a lot of time recently considering what I want my ‘new normal’ experience to be. Much like an exercise in pulling everything out of the cupboards and drawers where things which ‘one day might be useful’ get stored, I structured up what I thought were some good introspective questions (as per below) and went on a lockdown journey in search of some answers.

  • What’s relevant in my life that I want to see thrive?
  • What’s now irrelevant to my life and can be closed out?
  • What possibilities do I want to incorporate into my days ahead?
  • What blip do I want to have left when my exit time comes – be that tomorrow or in many years time?

After much pondering, scribbling, meditation, walking, tai chi coupled with a massive amount of diversion tactics including eating, sleeping, raving, repeating – here’s what I came up with.

Absolutely f**king nothing useful! OMG, I have failed! Failed at my own expectations, failed at life, what will become of me…I appear to have no purpose, no use or desires apparently and I’m running low on teabags.

Then on Day 30, whilst out walking in the park under a clear blue sky the little voice (which had been noticeably absent during my lockdown seeking crisis) said “Maybe the better questions to ask are; firstly who were you in the playground, and secondly, why the heck are you trying to use a structured approach to finding answers when you know full well that you have never followed a structured approach in your life ever?”  Touche!

So who was I in the playground? I was the little girl who wanted everyone to feel ok. If you were sitting on your own, I would go and sit with you. I would hold your hand while you are crying and I would tell you it’s ok to cry.  I would tell you it’s ok to not fit in. I would speak up against those who are being mean and judgemental. But I wouldn’t fight or argue I would just walk away.

Seeing as we are all currently spending life here in Wonderland with Alice & Co anyway, I may as well answer the question “Who Are YOU?” as asked by the Caterpillar to Alice, by responding with “I am who I am, do you know who I am, I’m me”.

I believe in early childhood we behave in direct alignment with our own individual expression of who we each truly are, and as such have an expectation that others will reflect this back to us in the same way, therefore confirming that the experience is understood.  We quickly learn that this is not the case here in Wonderland, and the journey of behavioural adaptation to survive the riddles of life begins.

My desires in life have never been about money, career, success, attention, keeping up with the Jones’s, meeting expectations, being part of the crowd or surface chit chat….albeit my journey from the playground to today has seen me spend the bulk of my time and energy attempting to transcend these eternal illusions.

So as the only thing I can hold consistent in the midst of a nonsensical life riddle is the riddle of myself, I may as well go back to the playground and endeavour to create a new normal that reflects both sides of the mirror.

  • I want everyone to feel ok just as they are – and I want to feel ok in my perfect imperfectness too
  • I want to sit with people when they don’t feel ok – and I want to surround myself with people who will do the same for me
  • I want to hold people’s hands whilst they cry without trying to fix anything, just listen, allowing people the space to be understood – and I want to be part of a new normal where vulnerability is not shut down, talked over or dismissed because it feels uncomfortable
  • I want to remind myself that my life is my own unique journey and that trying to fit into an illusion, control anything or anyone’s perceptions of me is akin to what happens if I piss into the wind – and I want to remind other people of that too
  • But most of all, I want to be unconditional towards the conundrum of all life’s riddles and I wish the same for everyone else here in Wonderland too.

Will I succeed, who knows? Today at least I proudly step onto the Queen’s Croquet-Ground without concerning myself should the Queen indeed start screaming “Off with her head”.

“Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make THEIR eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simply sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.”

– Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll