Yesterday evening I was fortunate enough to climb the Duomo in Florence. On the interior of its dome is an enormous 600 year old painting. What struck me was the anguish and suffering it depicted. Grotesque, twisted faces and bodies, horns and fire, it got me thinking about what life must have been like back then?
This morning Ronaldo, the great footballer, tweeted after losing at The World Cup: “Three aspects of reality: Pain, Uncertainty and Constant work”. Why would a multi-millionaire at the top of his game write that?
I assume that he got this quote from ‘Stutz’, a Netflix documentary featuring a psychotherapist of the same name. Stutz is Jewish, and I don’t know to what extent his family was impacted by the Holocaust.
The quote certainly resonated for me. I was raised to believe that life is hard. You need to be tough to survive. This philosophy has been my blessing and my curse.
More broadly, I would suggest that many of us are experiencing some form of malaise right now – whether it be anxiety, depression or a general sense that things are ‘not quite right’.
What’s going on? Is this a legitimate response to challenging times? Or something deeper?
An evolutionary biologist might say that we are living in increasingly artificial environments, doing activities for which we were not designed. A psychotherapist might say that we are dealing with unresolved trauma from the past. A philosopher might say that we are experiencing some profound truth about the nature of existence.
Whichever way you look at it, as we approach the festive season – how about taking a moment to consider how you want to approach your break?
What would operating with a deep sense of safety look like for you?
How might you settle and soothe yourself over this holiday period?
It’s a crazy old life… Happy holidays everyone!