Emotional Growth Mindset: What seeds will you be planting during this Harvest?

As Autumn approaches, the big dark hairy spiders come out to play, and the rain always surprises us with an unannounced call (more than once)… I am reflecting on what I did and did not accomplish this past year. After all, this is the Harvest. This is the time of year where we plant seeds and daffodil bulbs to when harvested will remind us that Spring and a fresh start is nearer.

Reflecting on this past year, I did a lot of ‘holding on’ and ‘hanging in there.’ It wasn’t the most eventful of years. However, I moved into a new house which is lovely, shed more people who didn’t have my best interest at heart, waited one long year for a hernia re-constructive repair surgery, and lost one more year of not seeing my family in America. I would say that there were some good things that happened and some mundane things as well. Kind of like how it’s raining profusely at an angle outside my window right now and simultaneously the sun is shining. Sometimes life does not make any sense. I do, however, choose to notice the sun in these certain circumstances.

It’s a funny phrase, ‘hang in there’ isn’t it? It’s like saying… I don’t know when all this shit is going to end, but it eventually will or it may not. If it doesn’t you potentially might just drop off the tree branch you are hanging onto. You will fall, break your legs, potentially your neck… and then it will be a complete disaster. But, but keep holding on… it will be fine. It’s kind of like when people respond to you with the phrase ‘fair enough.’ What in the hell does that actually mean? Does that mean, you don’t care? you don’t have an opinion? you are daft? Does it mean the same things as ‘whatever’? I personally think that even that particular phrase is the most emotionally detached comment anyone can say to a human being.

There is nothing more than I can’t stand than having this attitude of ‘hanging in there.’ It’s malarkey. I want solutions. I want to know what to do when I am knee-deep in it. I want support when I am hanging from that tree branch,  I want people to say, ‘hey, Jess… we got this or YOU got this… or I hear you, this happened to me, or I know what to do when this happens.’ I need someone to show me or tell me that there is hope. That things will get better, things will change and challenge and provoke me to ask myself- what am I going to do to make things change if it’s within my power to make it change. Not just say… hang in there, fair enough or just look at me and nod. Lack of connections is very frustrating for me and can be quite lonely at times. Some people just don’t get it.

I met this guy on the train recently. We spoke. We connected. We exchanged details. He was a psychology student. A few months later he asked if I could assess him. Our texted went back and forth like a ping pong on a flat green table. He finally disclosed he was using drugs to self medicate. I told him I would go to a 12 step meeting with him if he wanted me to. He was shocked. He said why would you do that we only have met once. I jokingly replied ‘I am a legand.’ He said ‘that you are.’ However, jokingly aside… I said this is what humans are supposed to be doing. Being kind, helping one another. Being humane. Hence why we are technically classified this way. Plus, this person has great potential to change the future. And, this is how I see it. Sometimes when we have minds that are ahead of the normative it can feel quite overwhelming. This overwhelming feeling is often felt by people who are neurodiverse, artists, empaths, and healers. It is a feeling that is in intense because we often absorb other people’s energy and emotions. It can be difficult to shield and protect ourselves. This again is something this psychology student and I discussed. How if you look closely you can see people’s energy. I again would rather have these conversations then that of a so-called friend randomly texting me if I am doing alright and then ghosting me after they have read my response- IF they have even read my response.

Life is too short not to have deep connections. That is one thing I learned this year. I also learned that like the rain outside my large bay window that continues to dance upon the slick pavement sideways and while the sun intermittingly pops by to say hello, you can have plenty of crappy times simultaneously with the good times, too. It’s not something that I was made aware of when I was younger. I never struggled as an adult when I was living on the East Coast in America. It has only been difficult since moving here within the UK have I really saw negativity and unkindness and racism towards me. It hasn’t been easy at all I must say. Plus, I was having far too good of a time in the states to notice anything bad happening in my life. But, as you get older and sober… have children, do things on your own, no family support, single parenting, in a foreign country where I am the foreigner and on top of the desperate, dark, wet weather… there is Harvest. Harvest time or pumpkin time is a time where we can begin a new.

Now is the time to plan for next year. What am I going to do? What are YOU going to do? What bulbs will you be planting this Autumn? What thoughts will you be congregating? What kind of vibrations will you be standing next to? How will you grow if you want to grow? What will you change in your life to make you happier? Now I will reflect upon these questions as well. Time to bed down and make preparations. Do you grow? Do you study something new? Do you change your job or make the most of your job? Will you help others more? Will you howl at the moon more? Laugh more? Go on more adventures? Look after the homeless? Fall in love? Fall out of love? What seeds will you be planting during this Harvest?

 

If you could plan life exactly how you would want it- would you?

I wish you could plan life, I really do, but it’s simply not possible. If you remember what you wanted to do and how you felt two, five, even ten years ago, I bet it would be very different from how you feel now. That is why it’s not possible. I am talking about the big things though, not things like where you’re going on holiday next summer.

Life happens. You meet people, get given opportunities, and find out things you never knew before. All of these impact on the interests, priorities, and ultimately the choices we make which then influence what happens in our life. And then there’s aspects of life that can be out of our control, such as our health and other people’s actions.

Even the most organised of people can’t predict the future. This is unfortunate, but perhaps also exciting. Wouldn’t it be dull to know exactly what was going to happen? How would people be able to daydream about what their future would be like and hope that things will be a certain way? Being able to plan such things would make life very tedious and unable to be changed. What a boring life that would be.

*Sarah Keeping is currently undertaking a Counselling Skills course in London and is looking to change her professional subject area to Counselling Psychology. Previous qualifications are in Investigative Psychology, Psychology, Applied Criminology, and Criminology and Sociology. Follow Sarah on twitter at @SKeeping_Psych

Failure and rejection doesn’t have to mean that you have failed as a person

Failure doesn’t have to mean failure by Sarah Keeping- guest blogger.

Ever failed a driving test? Yep, I have. Twice. But I’m not talking about things you can easily re-take. I’m talking about things you invest a lot of time and effort in for it to come to nothing.

I started at university the first year tuition loans came in – so for anyone who went to university before this, my degree cost a lot of money. For any current students, my degree cost peanuts. But I was told in my second year that now ‘everyone’ has a degree, you should do a Masters to make sure you get a job over other candidates. I believed this to be the case and so in my final year I applied to do a Masters course and was accepted. I remember someone on my course saying how they were done with studying and couldn’t believe that I wanted to do more. But I did. I didn’t know what else to do so studying more would surely be the best thing?

I really enjoyed my Masters year, but when it came to doing my dissertation, I had lost all motivation for it. Maybe it was the topic, maybe it was because I still didn’t know what I was going to do after graduating.

One October morning, I was just about to leave for work (a retail job near my home) and my friend text me to say our grades had been released and were on the university system. I had a few minutes before I really had to leave so I thought I’d quickly check. Under the ‘dissertation’ column it said ‘F’. I thought, what does ‘F’ mean? It meant FAIL. I walked to work in a daze.

I’d never failed a subject in my life. I was so disappointed. I had the option to re-submit but I couldn’t face the prospect of re-doing a dissertation and not graduating with my friends. I decided to take the lower grade award and reassess.

For three years, I stayed in my retail job just wondering what I should do. At 18, I had naively thought that Psychology was all about the brain and therefore very science focused (I hated science at school) so I didn’t choose to study that at university. I got to 25 and thought, what have I got to lose? I applied to do a Psychology conversion course and was accepted. Two years later I was receiving my certificate at my graduation. Brilliant. What’s next? A Masters?

I applied to do a Masters course again and was accepted. For one year, if I wasn’t working I was reading for or writing an assignment. Then came the dissertation. I chose a subject that I was passionate about and really cared about. That was the difference. I was also extremely focused on history not repeating itself. In many ways, this course was also a righting a wrong. I don’t give up, I never fail (in the long run, anyway).

It’s easy to say this now, but I do think that it’s good to experience failure. Whatever you fail at, it spurs you on to try and never go through that feeling again. It definitely helped me – I was very happy walking across the stage as my name was read out at my graduation, having passed my Masters. With Distinction.

*Sarah Keeping is currently undertaking a Counselling Skills course in London and is looking to change her professional subject area to Counselling Psychology. Previous qualifications are in Investigative Psychology, Psychology, Applied Criminology, and Criminology and Sociology.

Follow Sarah on twitter at @SKeeping_Psych