Sunday, 1 October 2017

Anger is a thing

This post should probably start with a disclaimer. 'The Anger' is not directed to a person in particular, but it's something I wanted to start writing about. It's something important and it's something we don't talk about enough (also, maybe there are a couple of things on my mind).

I have been thinking about writing for a while (I should stop starting my blog posts with that phrase – but in my defence, it’s always true). I know this blog is shifting. In fact, I’ve gone from writing about day to day life and travels (when I started my undergrad and was modelling and travelling a lot - literally, sometimes I would write on a plane or train or at a casting or whilst I was having makeup done). It then became a little more reflective and then I carried on writing through my counselling training and during my MRes – though not so much through the last year of my counselling training and my MRes because my thoughts were more centred around particular issues I was noticing more and more. Perhaps I didn't really know how to write about them. I still don't really know how to write about them, but I also know enough to know that silence never helps. By 'issues', I mean inequities, inequalities, discrimination, casual sexism, racism, ableism, the use and misuse of power within relationships, workplaces, and social structures and spaces. I mean the way in which some are automatically more privileged than others based on nothing more than race, gender and the circumstances they were born into. The way in which these intersections work with and through each other within societies to enable some privileges which others don't have access to. The list goes on. The list is one hell of an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of broad and specific (and very real) issues. The more I’ve understood my experiences and moved away from efforts to disconnect from life, these issues have become harder to write about in a way that means something. This has meant that I’ve simply written less and less (well, I wrote my MRes thesis and now I’m doing a PhD… I just mean that I’ve written about *these* issues in this blog much less than I’d like to, but I'm going to start writing about the things that matter, and not contribute to the silencing of them even more).

I recently read Sara Ahmed’s Living a Feminist Life, which helped me to make sense of what’s happened here. Sara Ahmed wrote quite a lot about her experiences as a diversity worker, explaining that the more you raise a problem and bring it into awareness, the more *you* are positioned as the problem – as disrupting the calm - as an inconvenience. Literally, as the problem. I think this isn’t too dissimilar to what’s happened here. I haven’t wanted to *be* the problem, even though I know I am not. I am even aware that now I am justifying why I have chosen to write about anger, instead of just writing. I’ve surprised myself with how quickly that feeling and expectation is internalised, but then reminded myself that it hasn’t happened quickly at all. It’s a product of 28 years existing as a female. Even though I understand that, it doesn’t reduce (even in the slightest) that small thing of what I think is feminist anger.  

There are some blog posts that I read and re-read (OK that sounds weird – it’s only when they come up on my Facebook memories). When I re-read them, I can track where I was, how my thinking was changing and the sorts of things that I cared about (note: the things I cared about in the past are mostly still things I care about now!). Though I can usually tell if I care about something by checking how angry it makes me when said thing/issue is compromised or restricted in some way. Actually, I'm talking about people and not things. And because people are important, I decided I should write about being angry. I decided I should write about realising that hiding the anger, ignoring its existence, even masking it as ‘nice and polite concern’, is part of the problem. As women, who exist in mostly male dominated spaces, we are socialised to swallow our anger. To take it to the toilets at work if you need to let it out and cry. To grin and bear it, or to politely address what bothers you, but don’t be TOO aggressive or TOO assertive. Because then you will disrupt the calm – and we’d best not disrupt that calm. Like it is somehow *our* responsibility to maintain that calm. To soothe it. To nourish it.

I’m OK with anger, at least in some contexts I am. But I know anger is something that isn’t just about emotions and isn’t something that exists in isolation. Disrupting the calm can be good. Anger is relational (nope - we don’t exist in a vacuum), it is political (yes – unfortunately we do exist in a world very much dominated by Trump. Please - no more. I can't.) and therefore anger is a feminist issue. I think it’s time to open my blog up to this and start writing more again. Sorry, PhD - I'll be writing in here a little more I hope.

Note: I write this with Orange is the New Black on next to me, glass of wine comfortably in hand, and a copy of my half-read Feminist Fight Club (I’ve just realised my Pretzel Legs are even a thing. Even my clients think know it's a thing and point it out to me!)

Monday, 7 August 2017

Netflix, tea and taking up space

I was reading my last blog post (June!) in which I quite confidently stated that I would write in the anonymous blog immediately after writing in this one. I didn’t. Not only did I not do that, but I really haven’t written in this one either. I have written other things, papers, emails, new module structures, etc. But this blog isn’t quite as active as it was. Since 2010, I have written 811 blog posts. In 2011 I wrote almost a blog post per day. It’s sort of dwindled down since then, to now, where it’s August and this is the third post I’ve written all year. That’s fine – I’m not under some great internal pressure, but I do miss writing stuff that has no real purpose outside of the boundaries I set myself.

It’s not that I have nothing to say. In fact, I have MORE to say than I ever have done before. I also have an increased and more varied vocabulary (though would argue that I am yet to learn how to use it effectively). You could say that I have increased knowledge (though the more I know, the more I realise I do not know). And I have increasingly visible and known within my close relationships, quite ranty and rather resistant views about most things that affect people’s lives. So it’s not that I have nothing to say. I have everything to say, just I don’t have a starting place. My counselling & psychotherapy training taught me that the starting place is always where you’re at (well, where the client is at). But it’s only me writing this blog, so I can make a small creative adjustment).

Where I am at is weirdly energised but exhausted. The energy is from thinking. The exhaustion is also from thinking (you know, and the day to day jobs of working, communicating with people, travelling, doing all the things, processing stuff, trying to exist as a fully functioning adult, paying bills, fixing weird boilers that aren’t broken anyway, getting yourself to bed and up in the morning because you live alone and only you are responsible for your health and wellbeing). Those things. The thinking is simultaneously the best part and the worst part, because it *looks* as if you are doing nothing, when in fact, everything is happening. The thinking is a significantly harder task when you must multi-task the thinking alongside everything else. Being fully present with clients, being available to them in those hours, being available to the people who matter in the other hours, DOING the things that matter. Those things all take time and energy. Paradoxically, they also give energy whilst taking it. I have an odd internal response when people say you must ‘find your balance’. It’s the same when I go to yoga and the wonderful (she really is wonderful) teacher says we must find our balance, strength and ‘self’ within our bodies so that we can exist in our bodies ‘out there’ and be OK. Part of me can agree with that, but I also think there is more. There’s a shared ideology of ‘The Balanced Life’ – but I think balance is more about self-care. And self-care is not the rainbows and sparkle glitter-land, paint your nails, take a bath and all is good in the world and social justice has been achieved (I have to admit I just wrote ‘clitter’ instead of ‘glitter’. I was feminist craftivism-ing this afternoon. This explains that!) Back to self-care… I think until recently I haven’t really understood what self-care is and what it means, especially for women. I have a small example.

I regularly have conversations with people (not regularly, but quite often) about TV. Usually I have proudly been a non-TV-watcher. I watch Grey’s Anatomy (and it is my ultimate favourite thing to watch religiously). And that’s about it, until I become weirdly fixated on Strictly, or there’s a documentary about the earth, veganism, mental health or hospitals (as a child I *really* wanted to be a medical doctor. I then thought I couldn’t, because doctors didn’t have freckles and ginger hair). Oh, if only I knew. I’m OK with not owning a TV and I’m OK with the fact that I don’t watch most things. But I have also realised that perhaps I am missing out – not on mundane every-day things, but on another version of educating myself and engaging in dialogue about meaningful issues. I also sat at a dinner at a conference last month, with a good few other people, all raving about various series on Netflix. And this has happened in various spaces in various conversations. So, last month when I saw that Netflix was about to release a short film, To The Bone, I was straight there and ready to watch. Of course. I subscribed (yes, I caved – thanks good friends) and here I am, having watched a fair few things, and I really feel like I’ve found a little self-care space. I certainly don’t watch a film about eating disorders, or watch documentaries about the way in which the US legal system totally re-victimises women and girls and basically is set up to silence them when they have been sexually assaulted whilst drinking tea and taking a ‘self-care’ moment. I wouldn’t really define that as ‘self-care’ the way I would normally frame it. BUT I have found a very small way of creating a space in my life where I can watch something so that I can have an opinion, so that I can engage in conversation, broaden my perspectives and find new conversations to be part of. Some might say that this ‘self-care’ space is also a way of taking up space.

I’ve heard self-care be described as a political act – as in, establishing boundaries, existing in spaces and taking up spaces. And women (not *just* women either) taking up space is quite exciting. Perhaps I am existing in more critical and feminist spaces, but I have somehow reframed my thinking completely about self-care. It’s no longer that thing on the BACP ethical framework for counsellors and psychotherapists that requires us to take care of our own wellbeing by taking holidays and talking about our distress (though, yes, that is important). It’s not about developing our inner resources and resilience. Because, heaven forbid, we didn’t reach this point without having an inner sense of what is good for us and what is bad for us. Resilience is great, but I don’t think we really have a shared understanding of what that means, and I am also increasingly concerned that it places entire responsibility on us as individuals to fix the mess that is FAR beyond anything we have the power to change (collectively, maybe we can shift things, but individually – in this way, not really). So I think self-care is not always about resilience. It is also about taking up space, saying no, saying yes, not saying no or yes, saying all the things or choosing to say nothing at all. It’s about going for all the runs every day or not running at all. It’s about responding to all the emails at 11pm because that’s what works for you, or waiting a few days. It’s about saying yes to the things that matter and putting boundaries around them to protect them. It’s also about saying no to the things that don’t sit comfortably, though I know that that’s the hardest (at least for me, especially when there are potential consequences). I think self-care is about much, much more than dressing gowns and tea. Though, dressing gowns and tea are lovely.

Netflix, self-care and good connected relationships that make you step out of the known. It is good. Exhausting and exciting, but mostly good.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Anonymised writing and an accidental sofa nap

I was going to write in my anonymous blog, then decided I would write briefly in this one first. Really just to write about shifting to the anonymous one for a while, not that I blog regularly whatsoever any more. I have no idea where this blog is going, and it really goes back some years now so sometimes I think I would be better deleting the whole thing and starting from fresh. I could work on creating something a little more meaningful or related to my work. I do love my jobs and my research, and I always have stuff going on or stuff that I am debating or thinking about. Writing is a wonderful way to process some of that. On one hand, that would be wonderful. But on the other hand I can barely pull together a spare half hour to work on my PhD, so the thought of writing for work in my ‘spare time’ seems sort of wonderful and great, but totally idealistic. I’ve taken to thinking that the anonymous space on my ‘other’ blog might be the space I need. So, back to the anonymous blog I go. I quite like that sense of freedom that comes with anonymity. I am a little restricted here with my name attached to everything I post. I was having some conversations today that reminded me of some of the interesting interactions I’ve had when I was modelling a fair bit. Conversations about ownership of images, basically about models owning none of their images and not having any control over how they are used OR what is said/discussed about them in public online spaces particularly. So I suppose I am quite wary of that here too, but the bigger issue is that my students (not so worried about that) and my clients (this is more the concern) do have access to the wonderful internet and that’s a whole new kind of self-disclosure.

Anyway, so anonymous writing I think is where I’ll go to over the next few months. I am in a strangely reflective space after writing all day. I don’t think I give myself half the creative and reflective headspace I need to do a PhD – so I really must carve out spaces of my own. But the space I’ve created this evening is quite a new one. I’ve just woken up after getting home quite late, attempting to navigate thermostat instructions that make no sense whatsoever, and at some point during getting so lost in the instructions, I fell asleep on the sofa. Half an hour later, I woke up quite confused about what happened. I rarely sit on the sofa, never mind actually drift off to sleep on it. So you can imagine the surprise when I woke up horizontally on it at about 11.30pm. It’s quite comfy on there. And it is shiny brand new (well, less shiny. It’s just new). I should really make more of an effort to sit (or even lie) on it more. 

Anyway, when I woke from this strange accidental sofa nap, I promptly decided to skip the bath I was planning, leave the cold tea on the side, quickly check all work was sorted and just crawl straight into bed. I am so pleased that I have a few days off on leave.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Five months later

Now another five months later. Last time I wrote a post here, I had left it two months. Now five. That is a record in the seven years this blog has been going strong. Although now it is not so strong any more. It’s rather sad – I either have nothing to say any more (definitely not this – I more than likely have *too* much to say), or no time to say it in (certainly this). I even forgot I own a blog and it was only a conversation with a friend today that reminded me that I do indeed have a blog and I used to love writing it. Writing in this blog was a strange sort of act of self-care. Perhaps not so strange really, but it was strange to me, that I could write and love writing and take some time out that was just for me. I loved it – I would usually write on trains/planes/taxis/cars (not me driving!) or in train station coffee shops. I would always feel an odd sense of familiarity and home in the random locations but usually in transit – in the spaces in-between. It was real peace and time out. The irony is that you *need* time, in order to take time out. Certainly when I first started this, I did have time to write it. I also had very little restrictions about what I could and couldn’t write. I wasn’t a therapist and I didn’t teach. But now I do both, and I have clients and students who really shouldn’t read half of what is on my mind. The boundaries have narrowed and now there is not much space left to write as freely as I used to. So, I am left with no blog posts any more, and a very neglected small space on the internet. Slowly, it has dwindled down to nothing. Oh, that is sad.

Another reason I think this blog really has been quiet, is that I have not quite developed the skill to say ‘F-off’ to the guilt that arrives with writing something for pure pleasure (yes.. for pleasure). You know, the guilt that says ‘you should be reading for your PhD’, ‘you should be marking’, ‘you should be doing your emails’, ‘you should be doing teaching prep’. Even at midnight on a Wednesday night.. even on a Sunday morning. Wherever, whenever – the guilt isn’t selective. It is just there. It is quite persuasive as well, so writing this is my small attempt at saying ‘F-off’ to that. I didn’t get home until gone 9pm anyway. And my first thought was ‘oh, I should try to finish marking those last papers’. Of course, it is late and I haven’t - I’m writing this instead. It is good to reclaim time. I did it last night when I went to a yoga class for the first time in about 18 months (bar a random one I tried a month or so ago). I am clawing back some time for myself; it is more important than I have the words for.  I am currently sat here in my house, with a cup of tea and with my ridiculous next door neighbours banging out tunes very loudly. They are not bad tunes so it could be worse. But it’s mid-week and it’s approaching midnight and I’m pretty certain they have a new drum kit along with their much loved guitar.  I’m surprised at my tolerance really. I mean, I haven’t knocked their door down yet (I’m a bit afraid of them, and of my street actually!) and I haven’t banged on the wall too much (really because it bruised my arm like a very badly bruised peach last time!) but.. I am tolerating. And silently seething in rage.

I was reading the last few things I posted on here – and it is incredible what has changed in a small space of time. I have been in Northampton since September – I didn’t think I would make it to Christmas and now we’re at Easter. I am still navigating the new space and working out new relationships and people. Northampton is Northampton. People still look at me like I’m a little crazy for leaving York. But I have found some really wonderful people here, and that is one of the most important things. I am also still making sense of all the things that come with new roles and new responsibilities, and really only just connecting with the fact that I came here to do a PhD, and I should take that seriously soon (AKA now). Somehow everything took over. The things I am paid to do literally took over my waking hours and it took me months to even take one PhD day. Currently I am a little in awe of people who do PhD’s alongside full time work. I am not sure how it is done, but I can see that it must be possible and I suppose I will test myself over the next few years.  Nothing like a good test of endurance, right? That, and good active resistance and political acts of self-care. Blog posts and yoga. Surely I can keep at least one of those going..

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Two months later...

This blog is now in its 7th year. Don't ask where that time has gone... I haven't a clue. I decided to start this blog, coincidently, when I started my undergraduate degree and I began getting to know York a little better. I was 21. Life consisted of Evil Eye cocktails (the amaretto cherry one - sickly sweet - couldn't drink it now!), a few select friends in York, none of whom I studied with just yet, These were non-YSJ friends. I started volunteering with some young people and I definitely didn't turn up to some of my lectures. Life was spent 'on the road' as I called it. Really, I was on trains, in cars, taxis, crossing borders, travelling to various places... I was sort of this elusive person and I don't really think even my tutors thought I cared about my degree until they realised that actually I did pretty well even though I kept rather quiet and would often send late apologies for missing lectures. I was 'that' student at the beginning. I'd miss lectures because of the late calls to be at a location HOURS away at 6am the following morning. I kid you not... But I did this partly because I loved it and also because the jobs paid the rent and I escaped university not having a student overdraft and for that, I was pretty pleased. 

Modelling served a purpose. Anyway, that was life. Lots of connections, rarely actually connected. Impossible to pin down. I don't know how I kept grounded really - perhaps that was partly why I did it. The ground keeps you still. It is holding. But if stillness isn't comfortable, it isn't surprising that it would be avoided. So, that's when I started writing this blog - maybe the week I started my undergrad. I love reading it back - I feel sort of fond of those few years, but they did change, and of course, inevitably I changed too. Somehow things changed and here we are now. I used to write in this blog multiple times a week. Then last year I probably wrote once a month. Now it has been two months and I haven't written a word. Well, I've written ALL the words everywhere else, mainly my MSc thesis, but none on here. There's something so public about writing here that I've realised it has silenced me. I'm not silenced in other places, but I am on here. So I am going to work out what I can write again, because I read a friend's blog this afternoon and realised I miss mine.

Things really have shifted, and now life is all about the connections. I'm probably writing because I'm sat at home on my own feeling pretty disconnected so I am finding a way of doing something that helps me to connect. Watched a bit of Strictly, read and provided feedback on probably 60 student abstracts, drank a small gin and now I think my thinking capacity is done for a Sunday evening.

I didn't think I would pack up and move on my own to a new place, but I did. I'm doing some teaching, starting my PhD (WHEN I eventually get my head around to the fact that I should start it now) and I have found a wonderful place to continue with my therapeutic practice. I didn’t think any of those things would happen, but they have. Things are OK - I packed up my stuff and didn't fall to pieces and I am finding that there are some really good people around. It's funny how you think leaving is going to be so bad, but then once you're gone, it is OK. Once you give space to the newness, the space that didn't exist before can be filled. Now my challenge is to find some more space because I am rapidly running out of it. Time, space, energy, coffee.... I am running out. That might also be something to do with why I haven't written in here at all.. Sort of surviving day by day, hoping that soon enough it'll be week by week and soon I will actually feel on top of things.

Anyway, so much for not having anything to write. I have written things, but at the same time, written not very much at all. I do really feel like I'd like to work out how to use this blog now, or I'll have to always turn to my anonymous one, which would feel like a waste of something that's been a good few years in the making.... 

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Post-Barcelona, life is changing.

It's Saturday evening, I wanted to write a blog post - wasn't quite sure what I wanted to write but decided to log in and write anyway. I have been back in the UK since Monday morning, went to officially start my new job in Northampton, and then came back home properly on Tuesday. I think my sisters were laughing at me for the entire journey back to England because of how much I was freaking out that our flight would be delayed or our taxi driver would be late! Fortunately all was fine in the end. I could easily go back to Spain tomorrow - and I am pretty sure I still might as well be living in Spanish time. It's gone 11pm and I have only just eaten dinner (consisting of lots of random green stuff from the fridge) and I have a glass of red wine in hand.

I miss Barcelona a lot... It was so wonderful to go this time, with the only agenda to have a holiday. The first time I went to Barcelona was on a modelling job, the second time it was to live there and model, the third time was a long weekend with friends, fourth time was last year. I lived there for a month last year, intended to model and write my practice file, I ended up maybe doing one shoot, not wanting to model any more and spending the days walking for miles on end, exploring beaches and then coming back in the evening to write my practice file until the early hours of the mornings. I was fortunate to have jobs that allowed me to do that, to have tutors who supported me in writing that practice file (that word still fills me with a little anxiety!) and to have friends who understood my need for space but also their company (yes - biggest contradiction I know). The bigger point is that I am fortunate enough to know Barcelona pretty well and to feel that it is home (one of my homes anyway..)

Barcelona was different this time - I didn't go with a modelling portfolio in bag, casting clothes and heels. I went with a pile of books and clothes and that was it (ah, and also my dearest sister and a visit from a very good friend and our other sister). It was good to go with no real intention of work. That hasn't ever been my experience - even modelling. To know that each day you have to be measured like you're some kind of mannequin or wear some clothes on a casting or shoot that are probably not going to be your size - too big or too small but never actually fit. And yup, you guessed it - it's always YOU that's wrong. Always you and your body, never the clothes. Or worst of all you are told that it's a lingerie casting and you're asked to bring a bikini... Goodbye dinner plans for the evening and that extra glass of wine. I am pretty sure not many people can relax knowing that your body will always be up for viewing and judgement and it will probably never be enough. No fun. (in fact, very much not fun - not for this post though). This time I did go with the intention of doing a little work on my Masters but needless to say that didn't happen. Lack of work meant that this weird sense of fleeting guilt stayed with me for most of the trip but then in our last few days I just let that go. It had to go really... we had mountains to hike and paths to walk and new places to find. I've come back home and in 4 days I've got more done than I probably could have done in two whole weeks if I didn't take the break. Lesson learnt. Time-Off-Work-Guilt serves no purpose (usually...) and breaks are good.

Anyway, back and living in the grad centre but that's OK for now. I want to make the most of my last month in York because from the end of the month I will be moving to Northampton to start a new job and start my PhD. Exciting and very scary. It is funny thinking about the conversations I've had with good friends about leaving. It gets to a certain point and then I strategically move to this place of denial about how sad it will be to say goodbye to York and those I love. Onwards and upwards, new adventures. But still - leaving what's been home for six years is an odd feeling. Especially when 'home' is an odd concept in itself. Change is good - this is what I am telling myself anyway! A good friend (Anna you won't mind me writing this) who is also moving to a new city soon, reminded me that part of the adventure is getting to know new people and new places. This was a timely reminder :)

Fortunate and happy - and pleased that it is Saturday evening and I am not in the grad centre!!

Monday, 11 July 2016

Ironically the best thing

A quick post, before I finally get some sleep. I seem to be averaging around one post per month this year, which is a far cry from a good few years ago when I would sometimes write multiple times per week. The irony is, is that I actually write much more now than I ever did before, and probably to a better standard (one can hope anyway). It is just rarely given a voice on this blog. I have realised over time that more of my life has become sort of hidden and I share less and less with those around me (well, excluding immediate family and close friends). Because there is much more at risk these days. It’s no longer a case of jetting off here there and everywhere and writing as I travelled or blogging in-between lectures or when I’d be waiting for a friend to arrive for a coffee or sat in a train station cafe. That really seems idyllic now, not that it felt it at the time! It is no longer that simple. Life, I guess, has become much more complex. So I don't tend to share much, professionally (mainly because my job relies on me adhering to strict ethical guidelines, confidentiality being at the top!). And also because life does get complicated and sometimes writing coherently about something that isn’t coherent at all... well that just doesn’t tend to work.

Anyway, the week ahead is going to have to be a 'take it one day at a time' sort of week, which is probably why I am up at this time and have strategically found this distraction. Work is going to be a little challenging this week because I am close to leaving and beginning a new job, and I am not a person who tends to do endings very smoothly. So it’s safe to say that this week might be a little less than smooth. I have also set myself the challenge of getting as much written on my MSc thesis as humanly possible. This is a dangerous target to set, for someone with highly perfectionistic traits. So really, for the next 7 days it is going to be busy and odd. Then I get to meet my sister and fly across to Barcelona where I am certain my soul will find home again. I wonder if my laptop will come with us.. I have never taken a break and not taken work with me. The language of 'taking a break' isn't language usually practised in my world!
I have actually not been home much this week (I love being home, but this is a good thing for right now). I was away at a conference and found myself embracing not turning my laptop on for 4 days straight. My supervisors weren’t so keen on me going because it would take away from writing time, which was important. So important I don't think they approved of me going at all. Anyway, I assured them that I would still be writing and not to worry…. Perhaps they were right, because in fact I didn’t take my laptop out of my car boot. Not intentional, but this conference was good and there just wasn’t any need to do work. Well, there was a need, but there wasn't the time, and I wanted to focus on getting to know the place that I will be moving to very shortly. Ironically, not working and leaving my laptop in the boot of my car was the best thing. I have a newfound clarity about what I need to do next (with this work), and I don’t think that would have happened if I was still immersed in literature and data analysis on my own without stopping to open my eyes and look around. As they say, meaning arises out of interaction and I do believe I’ve made more sense of what I need to do because of the people I have been meeting. So I am pleased that I didn’t work, and oddly for once I don’t feel behind, nor do I feel that strange sense of guilt. I was away meeting new colleagues, finding a new house and getting to know a new town.

Despite the fact that this week is inevitably going to be an odd week, I realised something quite important whilst I was away meeting new people at the conference. I was sitting in a workshop and was creating something that I thought represented an important message. I didn’t actually realise that the message contained something in it for me too. It was about standing together and keeping connected. We are relational beings and we all need people – on a global level and on an individual basis. Something in what I did reminded me just to keep connected whatever I am doing and wherever I am.