D is for dreaming and discipline, the sugar and salt of self-care. This realisation that I have had coincides with me discovering that I like salted caramel chocolate as much as I prefer my popcorn sweet and salty! But seriously, I believe we need to be both unrestrained and self-controlled to feel good and to succeed in our lives; an idea which some call a work-play balance.
Cooking from scratch reminds me of the integral relationship between dreaming and discipline. First we picture what we want to eat, then comes the routine drill of chopping and preparing ingredients before the food goes into the oven or on to the stove. In the end with a meal which hopefully turns out to be delicious, the imagined dish comes true.
Both willpower and daydreaming can be misunderstood. Viewed wrongly discipline is seen as cruel denial and fantasizing as lazy escapism. Of course it is all about being moderate and knowing when is the time to do what must be done, like chores, and when is the right moment to drop into deep rest and stare through the window. In lockdown life, I was conscious of balancing action and reflection. After hours on my laptop, I would gaze at the horizon or allow myself free time to do nothing of importance. Moments of sadness and fear would end when I had the self-mastery to stop aching and start pep talking.
Perseverance and commitment are practical necessities for fulfilling ambitions and meeting targets or timelines. Somebody once said when motivation dies, let discipline take over. I would add that good organisation is key to being diligent. As a life coach, I always ask my clients what kind of diary they keep. Experience has shown me that those who have a realistic, lovingly-kept schedule and well-thought out routine are usually on route to achieving aims.
On the subject of ‘me time,’ Michelle Obama has written about how we need to put ourselves higher on our ‘to do’ lists. When we are in a relaxed state then good ideas flow and how I love it when spontaneity leads to a lovely surprise. Dolly Parton is famous for having said, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” These days in reverie I might revisit comforting memories, try to imagine future joys (rather than worry) or I go inwards to hear my thoughts in the here and now. Whatever direction I take I de-stress in daydreaming and through rest I find that I regain the energy to chop another onion, to make another meal.
By Nicola Manasseh