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The Now or the Nervous Breakdown?


There’s a thin line between reaching a state of inner peace comparable to that of a Buddhist monk and being bang on in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Thing is, I’m never sure which state I currently find myself in. It’s true that one feeds the other at times. You need to have a proper meltdown to let the storm settle and find your peace. And peace wouldn’t be peace if you didn’t allow the true tempest of this life to enter your accepting and non-judgemental state of whatever you want to call not letting stuff get to you.

The buzz word nowadays is ‘Mindfulness’. If I understand it correctly, it means that you should mind your mind, like think of it as a place where you set yourself up for feeling good or bad, and as with all of these pop psychology hits, it’s about living in the now. Like Buddhism it involves meditation and sitting cross legged on a straight-backed chair, and then you have to focus, focus, focus…

So far, I’m pretty good at not sweating the small stuff. I don’t worry about the mess, in fact, I’m fond of my clutter, and fortunately my body image is not dependant upon what people or media say it should be. (But unfortunate for those who have to look at me on a regular basis). I’m the high priestess of detachment, as soon as I find love I begin hatching an escape route. Having moved house roughly 20 times in my life – and that’s not counting the in-between places, clutter just doesn’t have a chance to raise it’s little head.

When finances are low, I live in the moment by maxing out my credit card. Because in that moment the transaction goes through, and past and future there is none. And so on…

And yes, I know that that’s not the way you’re supposed to do it, and maybe that’s why doing it also ends up in a near nervous breakdown, or burnout as they like to call it in Germany, pronounced ‘Bern hout’. Here’s the thing though, surely this condition of being on the verge of a breakdown is the most honest and realistic state a human can experience? It means you are not trying to fake everything being all happy and rosy. It is real. Life is hard, even the Buddha himself said that.  If you want to live life to the full, embrace every challenge, accept yourself, live on your terms and be true to yourself, believe me, it’s going to be damn hard. That is the secret that you won’t read about very much, because who the hell would be stupid enough to write a book on the doom and gloom of self-realisation.

So what to do? Cross your legs and meditate? Shop online for stuff, stuff and more stuff? From Dale Carnegie to modern day Mindfulness, it all boils down to the same thing – if you can just be fine with yourself the way you are, even on the days when the roof seems to be caving in, then everything else will fall into place.

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