Updated: Mar 16, 2021
How are you? I hope it’s well, and if it’s not, I hope you are using one of your tools to help that feeling.
This is part of what I’ve come to write to you about today. I come to you live from the spare room at my adopted home. At 4.30am my alarm went off, and for the next 45 minutes I set about trying to sort wifi/sky boxes/signal things that are simple to others, but the last time I owned a TV you could still bang the top of it if the picture went funny. You see, England are playing India in the most noble of sports, Test Cricket, and I am finding the spectacle more grounding than any of my other practices right now. And the spare room is the only one with a TV that will show Channel 4, so here we are.
The first hour is spent drifting in and out of a batting-based snooze dreaming of Indian sunshine, so I have probably been active for a couple of hours. I made myself a delicious breakfast, a stunning coffee, messaged some friends - couldn’t be happier. However my neck/shoulder has been really quite painful since Thursday; you know the kind, where every neck turn requires choreographic thought to avoid going AAAH! Regardless of the pain, there is a little voice in the back of my mind telling me to get up and work out - because it’s 8.30am and I haven’t done anything, and I can’t just sit here and enjoy myself, I have to do something.
Have you ever felt like this? Do you have one of these voices? I have named mine Surrey Girl, as upon investigation it turned out that this voice really took shape due to varying degrees of inadequacy I felt at university (which was in Surrey, ergo) over things I had no control over; e.g. where I was born, the value of my parents house etc.
This voice is the one that has kept me playing small, the one that continuously tries to get me to unnecessarily push myself, that holds me to an impossible standard, and ultimately the one that has led me to complete burnout more than once. Where once she ruled my thoughts with an iron fist, these days, upon hearing her call...well I am a stubborn little shit, and I am learning to do the opposite of her bitchy little chides. I stayed in bed, watching the cricket, drinking tea, feeling blissful, until 10.45am!!!
Part of the way I have performed an internal coop on Surrey Girl’s rule is through techniques from a method called Procabulary.
Procabulary - wtf I hear you cry!
Dabbling with this last year it became a complete game-changer in terms of my relationship to myself. I got reacquainted with the method last week, and now I have to share it with you. Legit, I have to.
Because we all have an inner Surrey Girl/Guy.
We all have a voice that tells us we’re not smart/pretty/productive enough. Even on our best days (and I have a lot of good days) their presence can still be felt. Often by something quite arbitrary, like ‘I can relax again once I’ve washed that glass up/put that laundry on/sent that email/ooh I’ll just quickly unblock the sink’. Our inability just to leave it and do something for pleasure. And what is life without pleasure?! Probably a Pixies song, but that’s my own personal bias there ;)
We learn so much formally and informally, but we seldom learn the massive impact our internal dialogue has on us before it’s really got it’s gnarly teeth into our neck. Procabulary and it’s creator Mark England (aka the most enthusiastic, sweary man - Amercianses af and I’m into it) ask you to consider your words as spells, which the dictionary defines as ‘a word or combination of words of great influence’. With that in mind one goes about writing affirmations/spells/matra/whatever you want to call them, while eliminating soft talk.
Soft talk is words like ‘should, could, maybe, need, probably’. They’re iffy, they’re not empowering, they don’t get you excited.
So once we have our spells down, we supercharge them, converting from soft to powerful.
I could probably do this -> I AM doing this -> I get it DONE
I could make progress with X -> I am making progress -> I make progress
I want to do X -> I am going to do X -> I started doing X -> I am X
Not actually that complicated, but perhaps to a British sensibility could feel a bit weird. Honestly though, through doing this, the clarity and lightness I feel in my day to day is phenomenal.
And the reason why I’m telling you this in relation to cricket?
When Surrey Girl reared her head this morning, I referred back to my spells. One of which is - I show up for myself daily. In taking the rest, I was both indulging one of my passions and looking after my body which is my livelihood. So I did not need to smash 50 push ups before 9am to be worthy please and thank you.
For me, only with a measured amount of ‘no’ in life can the ‘yes’s’ really be sweet (i’ve overdosed in both directions, a steady ship is much easier to navigate)
My invitation to you is to try writing a few spells of your own, pick a number that works for you (maybe cap it at 10 though, we want all killer no filler). See what comes, redraft them, eliminate the soft, be affirmative (they are affirmations after all), write them in your best handwriting, say them out loud with a big breath in between, see how you feel.
If you need any help shout me up, it would be a pleasure to assist.
And if you’d like to, you are welcome to share them in the comments below. Something you’re working on may inspire another member of our community, which is super cool.
You DESERVE to feel GOOD.
You DESERVE to feel POWERFUL.
Love you long time xoxo