Walk the Pod S24 E5 | Figuring out what we want – transcript

Introduction

Hello and welcome to Walk the Pod, your daily walking show where I take my podcast for a walk because I don’t have a dog, and you take 10 minutes out of the day to walk in nature and to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you. There are two squirrels chasing each other around a tree as I walked past. This is the first Friyay episode of Series 24, Walk the Pod. You are very welcome along, the sun is shining on the cycle path in SW19. It’s the most beautiful day in the world.

Boredom

I feel an in depth exploration of something coming on as we start this fifth episode of the series. Gaynor and Tati have raised the question of boredom with me. What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to cope with tasks that are dull and tedious and that we don’t want to do? Any advice from stoic philosophy they asked me and I have been trawling, the interwebs for Stoics on the Cycle Path insight into boredom and how to cope with it.

And I have to say I am struggling to know how to explain what I found. I want to thank Leaping Lord Stephen, who lent me a book called On kissing, tickling and being bored by Adam Phillips, which I read bits of and never really never really connected with it. But now, I feel I need to borrow it back from him again, in order to re-read it. I’m going to try to tell you in advance of reading some quotes from that book, what I think Phillips is getting at.

I think he is trying to tell us that being bored is actually very important for discovering who we are. And that one of the big problems of modern life is that we don’t allow ourselves to be bored for a second, we jump onto Instagram or we jump onto eBay or Amazon or Etsy or wherever we like to buy things. We buy things, we consume stuff, we put a podcast on, we stick on the TV, we do anything to stop ourselves from being bored for longer than about three seconds.

And in actual fact, boredom is a fantastic opportunity to work out what we actually want. One of the things that I read on my, on my trawl through trying to find things about this was that being bored can crystallise for us our heart’s desire. And so we should cultivate it. Maybe not boredom, but idleness in order to work out what we actually want to do with our time.

How we spend our time is how we spend our life. I think Annie Dillard wrote something slightly more articulate than that, ‘how we spend our days is how we spend our life’ I think. So, it’s our Stoics on the Cycle Path today. Not really a stoic, I think the longer I do Stoics on the Cycle Path, the more I realise that half the time they’re not Stoic philosophers at all, but you don’t mind I don’t think Poddies, if Stoics on the Cycle Path features Joni Mitchell or… Captain Tim actually sent me a quote from the film Gladiator for Stoics on the Cycle Path.

So if you’re, if you’ll forgive the fact that most of what I’m reading from the Stoics on the Cycle Path isn’t stoic philosophy, then we’ll all get along fine. Tim’s suggestion was ‘what we do in life echoes in eternity’, which comes from Maximus Decimus Meridius from the well known documentary film, Gladiator. He says, ‘say it in an Australian accent, and it sounds really deep.’

Stoics on the Cycle Path

Stoics on the Cycle Path today comes from Adam Phillips On kissing, tickling and being bored.

“Every adult remembers, among many other things, the great ennui of childhood, and every child’s life is punctuated by spells of boredom. Boredom is actually a precarious process in which the child is as it were, both waiting for something and looking for something in which hope is being secretly negotiated. And in since boredom is akin to free floating attention, in the muffled, sometimes irritable confusion of boredom, the child is reaching to a recurrent sense of emptiness out of which his real desire can crystallise. The capacity to be bored, can be a developmental achievement for the child.”

Now, whenever I’m talking about parenting, I’m also talking about self parenting so the child can equally refer to the modern adult. And I think what Phillips is saying here is, if we allow ourselves to become bored, and we don’t immediately leap to anything that can stop that from being the experience that we find ourselves having, we can really discover a lot about what we actually want in our lives.

And he goes on to say something along the lines of being busy, is the best way possible, of preventing anyone, including ourselves, from knowing anything about us. Because the busy person can be doing all kinds of things in order to be productive and efficient. But actually, none of the things they’re doing are providing them with their heart’s true desire, because they haven’t allowed themselves to be bored enough to find out what that is.

What I can see directly in front of me

What can I see directly in front of me? Well, I’m recording this a little later than usual. And oh, very much later, it’s two o’clock at the moment. And due to the beauty of anchor and modern podcasting software, you will be able to listen to this probably at about half past two, if you want to.

What I can see is the sun striking the grass just ahead of me beyond the railway bridge, and many houses that are just off the cycle path interrupting that light with shadows as I walked past a wrapper for a Ben & Jerry’s Peace pop on the floor and walking under the railway bridge now to find that the bottle of Lipton iced tea that somebody put there, and I mentioned in a previous episode, has now fallen over. That’s the big news on the cycle path today.

I can see a cyclist in the distance. Also a person pushing a pram, it’s actually very quiet on the bike track today. Few people walking around some tiny, beautiful flowers on a little tree here. Not quite sure what this tree is but five lobed flowers, beautiful white flowers with a little bit of I don’t know what you call answers could be anthers Poddies, I don’t know, botanists, please get in touch. Little little blobs of pollen on the ends of on the ends of the strands coming out to the middle of the flower. Good grief my botany is very bad, isn’t it? Don’t do any of the proper botany words. But you know, I’ve never been good at identifying trees or pups. It’s not something I excel at, unfortunately.

What a beautiful day though. It’s absolutely gorgeous out here. If you’re thinking of going for a walk today, get out and enjoy the sunshine. The birds are singing everywhere. It’s just lovely. And on Friyays, I offer you a formal invitation to join the Walk the Pod walking club. Please go to rachelwheeleyisfunny.com and join up for behind the scenes content. There are lots and lots of things you can enjoy. If you sign up to the Walk the Pod walking club you can see daily photographs from behind the scenes on the podcast of my actual life on Mondays through Fridays. You can join the Walk the Pod community message board which features a number of channels, including our film club, which will be meeting tonight to watch What We Do In The Shadows, our book club, our cloud spotting, cloud appreciation club, we have Poddies posting pictures of their favourite clouds from all over the world. It’s just, it’s a really lovely space, it’s a very good vibe. And if you are on social media and think that it can get in a bin, you’ll enjoy this particular social media platform because it is just, it’s just a lovely, friendly, happy space for walkers celebrating their daily walks.

Supreme Cross Border Selector, Nige of Galicia, shared a Twitter thread yesterday under the banner, ‘social media can not always get a bin’. And I think we’ve agreed collectively that if social media can get in a bin, you may be following the wrong people. So that’s me told. And I think there’s an enormous amount to be said, actually, for not following people who are trying to do the same thing that you’re trying to do. Because that causes inevitable comparison, and sadness.

Best thing to do is probably to follow people who inspire you. And maybe I just need to recalibrate who I’m following on these platforms. I don’t know. Oh, lovely. It’s really, really nice out here. Very excited to go back to my flat and have a cup of tea and a bit. And then I need to do some tidying because Captain Tim is coming around for the Walk the Pod Film Club. So gotta clean the place. And that’ll be the end of our first week of series 24. A whole week nearly over already. And this has of course, been my healing week. So I’ve been resting really hard. And I feel much better for it. The kids are on half term next week. And then towards the end of the week, I will be tentatively back to work. So thank you for walking with me. It’s been an absolute delight to walk with you on the bike track this week. I really appreciate you coming with me every day.

Outro

I hope you’re enjoying the pod if there’s anything you’d like to request on the pod, if you’d like to say for example, Rach, why don’t you put Stoics on the Cycle Path in the show notes for every episode so that I can also read what they what they have to say as well as listening to you – something I’ve been considering doing, or any other feedback, email, rach@rachelwheeley.com. Or you can go to walkthepod.com. And you can leave me 59 seconds of your beautiful voice as a voice note. I listen to every single one, I read every single email I get. I deeply appreciate every single email I get. Because I am a very needy content creator. So I absolutely love any kind of message or contact from anybody at any time. But I will be trying to cultivate idleness and boredom a little bit over the weekend and actually spend some time reconnecting with myself and what I actually most desire in that space. And I’d love it if you would do the same and maybe let me know how you get on. Take care of your beautiful mind, and I’ll be back with episode six on Monday.

Walk the Pod S24 E3 | Nothing lasts for long – transcript

WtP S24E3 | Nothing lasts for long

Introduction

Hello, and welcome to Walk the Pod, your daily walking show where I take my podcast for a walk because I don’t have a dog. You take 10 minutes out of the day, to walk in nature, and to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you.

My name is Rachel Wheeley, podcaster and human in the world, trying to figure out how to be. There’s a squirrel just ahead of me on the footpath, the sun is shining on its white bib and it’s the most beautiful day in the world.

Welcome to episode three series 24 of Walk the Pod

What I can see directly in front of me

Somebody’s walking along just ahead of me with a bobble hat on and a backpack. A backpack which I think of as a sort of French style backpack, in that it’s a small bag with two long straps, which they are wearing over both shoulders.

When I was at school was very uncool to wear a backpack over both shoulders. So we used to walk around with half a tonne of books in our backpacks slung over one shoulder. And then we wonder why we’re lopsided for the rest of our lives.

I’ve decided, having come out of hospital the other day that I’m going to live to 100 or die in the attempt and very excited about that. Now I’m going to have to do some more regular exercise I think because walking is obviously wonderful. But it’s not cardio is it? You know, got to do a bit of I don’t know jogging or something. Maybe as we go on.

As a little brown pup on the cycle path and it’s got a massive stick in it’s mouth. It looks very happy about that, as it should be. It’s the greatest day in the world as a dog when you’ve found a massive stick, isn’t it? That’s the greatest thing ever.

I can just hear the bell in the Wimbledon Chase Primary School ringing there to bring all the kids in from the playground. And off they go. scampering in.

How the devil are you

How the devil are you, I hope you’re having a nice day. What day is it… Wednesday, beautiful day today on the bike track, sunshine, streaming down, warming my face a little bit. And I’ve got Stoics on the Cycle Path for you again, of course.

Very, very excited to be bringing you some Stoic philosophy again, having had many series where we didn’t because we sort of we exhausted Meditations. And what I needed to do was to start reading the book of letters that Seneca wrote 2000 years ago.

And I have started to read that now. So I feel like Stoics on the Cycle Path is a bit of a broader offering, then, What Would Marcus do? Which was the thing with the feature before. Now, I’ve had had some correspondence in from my ex BBC colleague Peter Sansun.

Sansun wrote that his favourite piece of stoic philosophy is by Jodi Mitchell. Sorry, if that sounded like I said Jodi, it’s because I sort of smudged the letter D from an N. I meant to say, Joni Mitchell.

Who, who sung in a song called Chinese cafe, ‘Nothing stays the same for long.’ Is that right? Is that the lyric? Hang on, can we just check that. Is it ‘Nothing stays the same for long’ or is it… No, ‘Nothing lasts for long.’ Nothing lasts for long. And she sings that multiple times in the song. Peter says, ‘It’s profound because it has at least two meanings at the same time. The surface says, ‘All things must pass.’

It also says that there is an infinitude of nothingness. Take that Jean-Paul Sartre. Now, I’ve learned very definitively about the infinitude of nothingness walking along this cycle path on the first section of the Deep Time Walk, which revealed that there was an infinitude of nothingness before anything that we’ve ever heard of happened on the Earth. There was a whole load of time when the Earth was just there was no real, no real life to start.

I’m just walking under the railway bridge. That’s why the sound is slightly different. Somebody has left a bottle of Lipton iced tea under the railway bridge today for reasons best known to themselves.

So thank you Peter for that. That’s Peter’s favourite piece of Stoic philosophy. The actual Stoics on the Cycle Path today is from not quite as unlikely a source as Joni Mitchell. But the combined brilliance of 1970s American psychoanalyst Carl Rogers, and Gabor Maté, who wrote a brilliant book called Scattered Minds, ostensibly about attention deficit disorder, but really about parenting. And I would also argue self parenting.

Stoics on the Cycle Path

This Episode 3 edition is from Scattered Minds, and I’m just going to read the whole section because I think it’s so brilliant. So Gabor Maté writes:

“In his book on Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers describes a warm, caring attitude, for which he adopted the phrase, unconditional positive regard, because he said, it has no conditions of worth attached to it. This is a caring, wrote Rogers, which is not possessive, which demands no personal gratification, it is an atmosphere which simply demonstrates ‘I care’, not ‘I care if you if you behave thus and so.’

So the first thing is to create some space in the child’s heart of hearts for the certainty that she is precisely the person the parent wants and loves. She does not have to do anything or be any different to earn that love. In fact, she cannot do anything. Because the love cannot be won and cannot be lost. It is not conditional, it is completely independent of a child’s behaviour. It is just there. Regardless of which side the child is acting from, good or bad.

The child can be ornery, unpleasant, whiny, uncooperative and plain rude and the parents still lets her feel loved. Ways have to be found to let the child know that certain behaviours are unacceptable, without making the child herself feel not accepted. She has to be able to bring her unrest, her least likeable side to the parent without fear that it would threaten the relationship. When that is made possible, absolute security is established, we can reliably expect emotional growth to follow.”

Now, I fell off my sofa when I read that for the first time because I thought to myself, yes, that is clearly, clearly the the answer to how to parent, something which nobody really knows. So they will just sort of muddle through and work it out as you go along. But when I read that, I thought, yes, that is, that’s how I’m going to parent. And indeed how I’m going to self parent, because we’re all self parenting as well as parenting – trying to help ourselves through the world, even while we’re raising small children if we are not raising small children is a perfectly valid choice of lifestyle.

So I hope you enjoyed that. If you have any thoughts raised by that particular episode of Stoics on the Cycle Path, or if you have a favourite piece of Stoic philosophy of your own, please get in touch. Email rach@rachelwheeley.com Go to walkthepod.com. Press the button marked ‘Message’ and leave me 59 seconds of your beautiful voice, or go to @walkthepod on Instagram and you can WhatsApp me maybe? I really don’t know where that works, probably.

But let’s, let’s see. If someone could try that out for me. I’d really appreciate it or tweet @rachelwheeley.

So there are myriad ways that you can get in touch with your Stoics on the Cycle Path suggestions.

And I’m really enjoying having Stoic philosophy back on the pod because I missed it. I missed reading from Meditations and I will I will be including many extracts from Meditations in this feature. As we go on.

What can I see directly in front of me? Well, I can hear some crows, I expect you probably can too, at the top of this tree which just looking at the tree in terms of trying to work out what kind of tree it is, don’t think this is an oak tree has very small buds on the ends of all the twigs. So that’s not an oak tree and I’m looking at the ground see if I can identify from the brown leaves.

What kind of tree it is,

But I don’t know. I feel such a failure.

I’m not good at identifying trees, particularly in winter time. It’s quite difficult. Well, that feels positively Spring like today. It’s absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous weather. Nice warm, just a slight breeze, it’s beautiful.

I can see a little dog walking along slightly ahead of me – a little brown dog with its tail curled over his back. And it’s on one of those leashes that is like extendable, coming out of her a red handle, I can hear the ThamesLink, just about to go over the railway bridge.

There it goes. And looking up into the sky. It’s quite a lot of blue. Not so cloudy today.

Numbers game

Not cloudy at all. Now, speaking of paying attention to what’s directly in front of me, I was playing a game this morning, which was based on a game that I play with the kids sometimes when the kids are particularly not enjoying being outside, which they sometimes don’t.

We play a sort of numbers game where they have to spot numbers in the environment and the one who gets the highest number wins, which usually results in child three racing off to find a lamppost with one of those ‘don’t let your dog foul the pavement’ signs on it, which has a fine of £1000 in the UK.

And that usually wins the game because you can’t you can’t beat 1000. That’s very difficult. And the rules for that game are, you’re not allowed to use telephone numbers and the environment because obviously, those are absolutely gigantic numbers and would spoil the game. But the game I was playing with myself this morning, when I was coming back from the school run the first school run I’ve done since I came out of the hospital.

Consequently, a school run absolutely tuckered me out was, can I find the numbers 1 to 10 in the environment. And can I take a photograph of those numbers in such a way that the numbers themselves are beautiful to look at in sequence. So I was trying to do that this morning. And that’s quite fun, I recommend that to you. And it’s funny how playing that game does help you to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you because you start to notice what’s around you in the environment.

So that’s my that’s my top tip for paying attention to what’s directly in front of you for the day and if you want to send me your number sequences you can do so. The best way to do that is to join the Walk the Pod walking club and stick them in, probably the #walking-and-wellness channel, I would say would probably be best.

But there are various other ways you can get them to me if you don’t want to do that you can send them to me in all the ways I just said really you can email them to rach@rachelwheeley.com if you want to, and I will be delighted to see your your numbers in the environment – maths fans.

I mean that’s not even maths that’s just numbers but you know anyway, so that’s something to do if you’re having a walk today and you’re not quite sure how to entertain yourself while you’re on your walk.

I forgot to say that you can’t use car number plates for the 1 to 10 game. The 1 to 10 numbers game requires you to use your imagination a bit more than that, so that’s the rule for that one.

Sorry about that if you’ve started already and I’ve ruined your fun, but number plates are no good.

Outro

Thank you for walking with me today. This has been Episode 3 Series 24, Walk the Pod. Thank you to everybody who’s got in touch with me to say Rach, you sound like you can breathe again on the pod.

It’s really sweet of you to get in touch with me to say that, I really appreciate it. It’s very kind of people to to notice. I thought the most the most impressive thing was that people were getting in touch with me before to say Rach you need to sort your breathing out, because that did actually make me pay attention to it in a way that I had not been.

But I really appreciate everyone who’s got in touch to say, Rach, you sound like you can breathe again. And that’s good. So thank you. I’m delighted to be able to breathe again. I’m delighted to be able to podcast because there was a point in the hospital where the things they were saying they were going to have to do to help me, we’re going to make podcasting nigh on impossible. So really very grateful to still have the power of my voice and the power of breath.

Huge fan of breathing, highly recommend it if you have a gratitude practice. I encourage everybody to include their ability to breathe in that because whilst it is rather a given and rather obvious when you start to lose it, it’s rather worrying. Kind of, kind of important.

Lots of love. Take care of your beautiful mind this afternoon and I’ll be back with Episode 4, Series 24. Walk the Pod tomorrow lunchtime.

Listen to this episode

https://anchor.fm/rachelwheeleyisfunny/episodes/WtP-S24E3–Nothing-lasts-for-long-e1e5ghd

Become a Patron!