Thursday 17 February 2011

Don't give up...

Appearances can be deceptive. Always remember that. When I first pitched up at Lifehouse, I confess my heart sank. It had a wonderful setting (planted in 130 acres, including twelve acres of historic listed gardens) but the building looks like a series of white concrete boxes. The layout is a bit wonky and the decor is decidedly airport – striped carpets, blond wood and colour blocks.

Also, it all seemed a bit fluffy. A bit unfocused. But I figured this was probably me. I’m a bit old school with spas – I like the rough tough ones where you see the doctor as soon as you land and s/he tells you what you need, rather than you saying what you want. But nowadays spa is commodity, it’s all about pampering, about the whole ‘you’re worth it’ malarkey. Which kind of grates with me, though why it should I really don’t know. Spartan upbringing maybe? Underlying belief that I’m not worth it? Hell, who knows?

I puzzle as it sits weirdly with my belief that you should be gentle with people. I have always believed that you can’t force people into things. And that if someone makes a tiny change, tries something slightly new, it might just nudge them into making another change, and another. People used to ask me why I worked for the Daily Mail; how I could have sold out in such a cavalier fashion. But really it was the best way to reach people. To show them what was out there in the world of natural health and wellbeing. Why preach to the converted? People also say I dumb things down – well of course I do! Make it easy. Don’t put people off straightaway. Coax them in.

And, hmm...actually that’s what Lifehouse does, rather cleverly. Scratch under the surface and there is some pretty amazing stuff going on.

I wasn’t sure what I’d make of Pete Cohen, the man who was apparently going to ‘sort out my life’. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be ‘sorted’. I’m not a parcel. And, actually, I have a pretty clear idea of where I want to go (workwise at any rate).  But, bless him, he just asked sensible, pertinent questions and he listened to my answers. And we laughed a lot and swapped stories about big-headed bores and talked movies and got all excited about a lot of spiritual stuff.
‘You know where you’re going, don’t you?’ he said. ‘And you’re very nearly there.’
Interestingly, en route to our meeting, I had pretty much made the decision that rewriting my YA book, Samael, was making me miserable and that I should just call it a day.  Pete suggested I reconsider. ‘Get the bastard out the way,’ he said. ‘Just do it. Then you can move on to the next book. Don’t give up.’

Hmm. Interesting.

My health consultation was with a naturopath who used to work at Chiva Som. Sue Davis didn’t just take my blood pressure (‘absolutely perfect’) and go through my diet and lifestyle (‘sickeningly virtuous’) but she offered to give me an Australian Bush Flower remedy reading and treatment.

I had to pick out the flower images that I loved and those I loathed. The results were fascinating: about finding self-approval and acceptance; about releasing deep fears; about being willing to try new concepts, new ways of living, about unblocking creativity. The bottom line? ‘Don’t give up,’ she said. ‘Never give up.’

Sensing a theme here?

And as I wandered into the juice bar I found a woman in a bright purple top in front of me. ‘Hello,’ she said. ‘I’m Moon.’
Well, of course she was.
‘Shall we sit down and have a chat?’
Of course we should. A totally unscheduled chat.
Moon is a healer, a shaman and so naturally we were off and away. Talking the deep stuff. And I won’t bore you with that. Except that, as we parted, she turned and said (you know what’s coming, don’t you?’

‘Don’t give up.’
So I won't.  :)


F said...

I never say, "I'm giving up," to myself. I say, "This is going nowhere right now and I'll come back to it later," or, "This other thing is more important."

Sometimes those things are true. Sometimes they are ways of giving up. Sometimes things should be given up. Sometimes I give up because something is hard and uncomfortable, and not because it is bad for me, or wastes my time and energy. Sometimes I need to look past excuses and justification and examine what I'm really doing.

Those are things it took me a long time to understand and your post reminded me of them. It's a good thing to be reminded of.

Alison Cross said...

I quite often say 'oh, what's the use, I might as well give up. No point in being a bloody fool about it.'

And sometimes I regret it and sometimes I don't.

When I regret giving up, I tend to have another bash. If I don't regret it, well, I made the right decision then :-)

However, I noticed that my son seemed to be catching the 'what's the use' attitude from me when things seemed to be getting a bit tough.

And that just won't do at all. So the words are never out of my mouth these days.

By refusing to utter them, I have managed to do 2 years worth of accounts for my friends. I wanted to quit after about 3 days, but kept going. Now I am reasonably confident using the book-keeping package.

Lighthouse sounds like a great place. You should have squeezed me in your suitcase!


Zoë said...

Think I could do with a stint there ...

Even if its only to cure me of being a big headed bore ....

I have been reading a lot about Shamanic practises recently - Bach Flower remedies and crystals from someone on Twitter started it.

Interesting though, and they are right dont give up xxxx

DD's Diary said...

I can't believe you're having DAYS on end in a spa while I am up to my ears in packing boxes which I am not packing! Sounds fab and I'm jealous xx

Miss Sadie said...

Not giving up can be incredibly hard.

Exmoorjane said...

Guys, thank you for your comments. I'm a bit wrung out now (feel like I've been through the spin cycle on my new washing machine!) but it's all good...

But must say, Zoe - you are NOT NOT NOT a big-headed bore. Sheesh!

Unknown said...

I say it at least once a week, "That's it! I give up." I sulk and I fall in a deep, dark hole of despair. The next day I have a new idea and start all over again. Too damn dramatic, too quick to compare myself with others, find myself lacking. It's something I'm struggling with now, almost daily.

You help me with that struggle... you, Frankie and Sessha help pull me up from the depths. Some days I don't know if I could do it without you... thank you for that. I want you to know that I'm here for you too, always.

So I'll say it once for both of us... "don't give up."