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Knowing when it's time to leave the party - or not go in the first place

There are times right now when it feels as though there is a giant fear party going on. A lot of people have been invited, and some people are there. I acknowledged the invitations (I kept getting them) and thought I'd have a look in, but realised pretty quickly that I didn't like it and left.

The thing is, the invitations keep coming. I hear them on the radio, see them online and on TV, and read them in the newspapers. Very occasionally people talk about the party and wonder why I'm not there. It can sometimes feel as though I ought to go back there, whether or not I actually want to.

I didn't like it when I checked it out the first time, and I know very well that I don't want to be there. And yet it can be hard to tune all those invitations out. It's as though this is to be the party of the millennium, and every effort has been made to ensure that no invitation can be overlooked or forgotten. It's hard to remember sometimes that I have no obligation to go.

Thinking about it, I am happiest when I have full awareness of what's going on at the party: I know what songs are playing, I know the dance moves. Because I'm not there, I've got the time and space to think about it and to know that they're not my thing.

Thinking along these lines was inspired by hearing someone refer to 'the fear party' that was going on at the moment. It struck me that this is a good analogy to work with during times like these, when we're repeatedly invited to join in with something and (if you're like me) would rather not.

Being surrounded by messages constantly telling us about all the things we should be frightened about is like getting multiple invitations to join the global fear party. It's good to remember:

  • If we go, we'll be immersed in the fear party vibe. We may even contribute to it.

  • If we don't go, the party will carry on without us, but we'll have made the choice not to immerse ourselves in its energy.

  • If we're curious or wonder what we're missing, we can check in on what's happening from time to time. We're not pretending it's not going on, we just don't want to be consumed by it.

  • Not being there means we don't have the relentless party noise preventing us from concentrating on anything else. It's hard to remember that we have choices when the party music drowns out any new thoughts and ideas.

  • The occasional bit of music that drifts over, or any other bits of info can be interesting. It's good to have the peace and the space to consider them properly.

  • If we find ourselves persuaded to go for a while, we can stay or we can leave. We can leave any time.

  • Being at a non-stop party is really tiring, and the longer we're there, the harder it is to recuperate. The best remedy for partying too hard is rest; not necessarily the lying around and reading or sleeping kind of rest - who's got time for that? More the kind of rest that comes from taking a break from the party itself. The kind that gives space for our own thoughts and feelings to expand and flourish, the ones that arise from our wisdom and experience, not those upon which the party has turned the volume up and the spotlight on.


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