As former tutors, facilitators, mentors and coaches, we often find expressions from our consultancy days creeping into our writing. A threat becomes an opportunity. A weakness becomes an area for development.
The concept of reframing was introduced into Eight of Cups when Diane reflected on her relationship with her father.
‘Why did he put us through so much all those years? Why did he inflict his moods on us and make us all jumpy and on edge?
When reframed as – what did we do to help him? how could we have made his life happier, worked with him on his problems, whatever they were? – I had to face a second wave of grief‘
This week, Mirren herself has had a problem – or was it a challenge?
Following a minor foot operation, she has been confined to the house, instructed to sit with feet up, and to wear most unfashionable big clumpy boots to avoid putting pressure on the sole of her left foot when moving between bed and bathroom, chair and computer station. And what emotional turmoil it has caused! To sit and watch innumerable episodes of Criminal Minds, to take an afternoon nap, to allow others to do the cooking (without comment on the paucity of vegetables!), to leave off the make-up and to finally bring out the wool and knitting needles.
To waste this opportunity to do some worthwhile tasks such as sorting out paperwork, bringing the partnership accounts up to date, writing another chapter of Never Do Harm? What on earth have you been up to Mirren?
Since when was taking a break a sin? Since when was whiling away some time in leisure pursuits forbidden?
What Mirren has done is learn a lot about herself!
And a significant help has been a new type of meditative writing based on the work ‘Writing The Mind Alive‘ by Linda Trichter Metcalfe and Simon Tobin. They have devised, tested and promoted a method of writing from the right brain (proprioceptive writing), in a mildly meditative state, which has the potential to calm the mind, release creativity and offer direction. For those authors who believe that they write best when in a private space, in a relaxed state, this is worth a read.
So what did Mirren learn? To have trust in her own instincts, to cut herself some slack, and to remember that there is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven. A time for every purpose and for every work
Tomorrow and real nine to five work beckons for Mirren. Only 18 hours to reframe this lazy week! Or to let go of the notion that achievement is king.