In episode two of Women’s Wisdom, Sophie Lutz delves into the importance of daydreaming, of slowing down and living mindfully in a world fuelled by anxiety and consumption.
We live in a world designed to make us feel scared. I’m not talking about the pandemic we’re living through. Nor no-deal Brexit. Nor the climate change emergency. Any one of these three is enough to send you straight back to bed to hide under the duvet. The combination is an anxious background hum that we’re all living with. But it’s not what I’m referring to here. I’m talking about the ‘not good enough’ that permeates every aspect of our lives. This is especially true for women. Our society is built on economic growth, and that growth is, in turn, built on fear. A fear that we can leave behind if we make the space for reverie. Let me explain.
We’re in a lose-lose situation until we get off the merry-go-round
We are constantly bombarded with messaging that shouts our inadequacies at us. Loudly. Are you young? You need to look more professional. Are you older? You need to look young. Are you overweight? Get thin now. Are you thin? No, no, that’s not right, you need to be strong and toned, not skinny. Do you wear makeup? You need to look natural. Don’t let yourself go, though! Wear makeup. Get fit. Learn a language. Be a good parent. Be a better wife. Have a career. Make sure you have work/life balance.
I’m exhausted just reading it. And it’s all year round: Spring cleanse, Summer bikini bod, Back to School, Get ready for Christmas, January detox. And on we go, round and round. We hold ourselves to impossible standards. There is a constant striving to be better. Stronger, faster, more toned, younger-looking, higher-achieving, more caring, kinder. Better… better… better. And we berate ourselves when, inevitably we fail. It’s toxic. It makes us unhappy, dissatisfied, and leaves us with a permanent feeling that we are somehow falling short.
We’re being marketed to all the time
Here is one thought-provoking example. In the UK and America, women didn’t shave or epilate. Body hair was not seen as in any way unattractive. It was when Gillette invented the safety razor, and specifically during the Second World War when there were fewer sales to men, that women were targeted. An aggressive marketing campaign later, we all view our body hair as gross and something to get rid of. Makes you think. What if removing our armpit hair was a choice, rather than a chore? What if we did it not because we feel like it’s ugly if we don’t, but because sometimes we like it sometimes, and sometimes not? I’m not suggesting we all grow and plait our pits, but I do think awareness of why we do what we do, buy what we buy, and live how we live is useful.
We are continually being told to be our ‘Best Selves’. But what if we are perfect exactly as we are now? What if we are good enough without striving to change? How can we begin to feel that, to access that in ourselves? We can start by stopping. Stopping it all. Getting off the merry-go-round just for a moment. And daydreaming.
The importance of reverie
Reverie: A state of being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts; a daydream. A dreamy or musing state.
Sometimes we can only understand the importance of a word when we look at its origins. ‘Reverie’ comes from 17th century Old French for ‘rejoicing, revelry’, and of course from the French for dream, reve. There is a link here between making the time to just be and connecting with joy and delight, which, in turn, frees us from the fear that runs us into the ground.
Think for a minute of the last time you sat down, took a deep breath, and stopped. Does that ever happen? If it does, do you feel a sense of guilt, that you should be doing any number of other things? Just sitting down, maybe staring out of the window, looking at the leaves on a tree, or the clouds. This state of being rather than doing is so rare for most of us that we struggle to achieve it. We fill time with stuff. Online browsing, telly, a phone call, crossing off one of the countless tasks on the to-do list. I’m talking about time without any of these fillers and distractions. Reverie is so important. We go to meditation classes, but we’ve forgotten how to daydream. And daydreaming is a form of meditation. Even meditation has become another stick to beat ourselves with, whether we practice it or not.
Making space in our lives to just be, going into a state of reverie on a regular basis, changes everything. It connects us with ourselves, with our environment and with our loved ones. When we stop for a moment, and allow nothingness, the insights that can bubble up are as welcome as they are surprising.
Create space for the radical rebellion of reverie
So, my challenge to you for this week, lovely ones, is this. Forage yourselves a cup of fresh herbal tea. There’s wild mint, dead nettle (delicious), hawthorn berries, rosehip, and countless other goodies waiting for you to come and pick just a few of them. Wash them, stick them in a cafetiere or a mug, and fill with hot water. Let steep. And then have a sit down. No book, no radio, no smartphone. Just something to look at, whether it’s the sky through a window, or your garden if you’re lucky enough to have one. Note how it feels, and how much resistance arises. Can you stay with it for half an hour, or an hour, or even more? See what comes up for you.
You’re making room for some stillness in your life and, in doing so, you’re checking out of fear-based action and creating the space to get conscious. And that consciousness, if allowed regular room to grow, will permeate how you consume, how you spend your time, and how you live. More reverie in our lives, and less fear of not being enough, or being too much. This is the key to less, and more mindful, consumption. To loving ourselves more. It can all start with a little daydream time. The radical rebellion of reverie.
Next time we’ll be taking a deep dive into the Autumn Equinox and how to integrate balance into our lives. Until then, happy daydreaming x
e: firstname.lastname@example.org for tarot bookings