“They’re full of soaring superlatives like “perfect” and “seamless” and “exceptional.” They attempt to sum up in one buzz-word laden sentence, the whole point of life, the universe and everything …. and they’re completely and utterly worthless, like every mission statement ….” Pete Hitzeman
If We Paint It
Let’s paint it mission brown,
it covers everything
and it means nothing
like every mission statement,
that may have begun
with some meaning
have become hollow gestures
to an alien experience we
claim to be our very own,
if we paint it
who would know that
this husk has no heart.
It was the same every morning,
he raked the coals
and urged the kettle on.
Forlorn the stained enamel mug waited
for the sacrament of tea,
as he washed over the basin,
knowing the day ahead.
the exact times of fences and sheep.
What possessed you?
Did you think I’d be impressed if you grovelled?
That I wouldn’t wonder where your dignity lay?
Surely, lower that the soles of my shoes
which you readily moistened with your lips.
What chance respect now?
Now that you’ve declared an unreserved submission
that was never once desired,
least of all by me?
What hope is there for you, for me, for all the world?
And end to it!
Arise and speak with me
of needs and wants, hopes and dreams,
of far away lands and desperate sorrows,
of grief, of love, of sparrows.
And let us look each other in the eye and know
that we can trust our truths
and hold each other’s dreams
and keep our shoes dry,
lest in turn, we own each other.
The ancient diesel generator thrums
solitary sentinel in the night.
And yet it is peaceful,
the rebels have moved on
to torment other outposts of misery
in this vast wilderness.
The thrum tells that the hospital is at work,
late into the night
as it has these past months,
or is it years?
I’ve lost count in the blur.
The team will work till they drop,
as they always do
in this sea of sorrow.
Trying to restore life
to staunch the loss of future,
that landmines and bullets have stolen,
before it turns to despondency.
There is no telephone booth in this village,
love doesn’t need a cape.
Sat for hours on the road with the
daily symphony of honking and yelling
playing for free.
The drama of life around me,
someone scratching their nose,
that woman doing her lippy, why?
The duff, duff, duff, of house music,
young guy talking up a storm on handsfree,
wipers working to a squeak on the glass horizon.
The psychics at traffic report fail yet again.
One day they’ll surprise me!
I arrive with no enthusiasm
only regret for the codependency I have
for the bills that need me.
but I go down,
the lift bell tolls for me.
The walk of resignation,
my desk cold and grey,
with little hello about it.
The screen is not switched on,
but it reflects my blank frustration,
and everything grinding me down.
B wants a meeting,
miss serious wants file 10,
notice of staff development on Monday,
does any of it matter, really matter?
I just want to stop
and find space to breathe
and know myself again.
She only sleeps all day but she’s still frazzled after eating and wandering around the house for a short time. Misty (not my cat) is a rag doll, and just lolls about in typical rag doll ways. But her answer to stress, and she does stress because she hates even small changes to the house or routine, is to rest up, chill out and take time. Not a bad example, though avoidance isn’t helpful for the long term, but resting when frazzled is always a good thing.
I’m finding more and more that the juggernaut of work, even working at play, is dominating people’s lives. My conversations are often around how others feel overloaded and stressed as they try meet their own expectations or the perceived expectations of others. Solutions and judgment are not helpful in such circumstances.
Comedian Ruby Wax, whose book “A Mindfulness Guide For the Frazzled” was published in 2016, has written about slowing down and taking time. But she has gone a step further. Wax has been instrumental in creating Frazzled Cafe in the UK, a charity set up to provide a listening, non-judgmental space for conversation for those who are overloaded and stressed. What a simple and yet brilliant idea.
Journey friends are so critical to sharing the load through meaningful silence and open, safe conversation. For some that’s possible through friendship, or a professional mentor (coach, life-coach, mentor, or counsellor, professional supervisor), for others, opportunities like Frazzled Cafe are a gift in a stressful world. So, next time you’re chatting with friends, value the time, and know that you’re giving and receiving something quite vital, that release of what must be said.