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MOTIVATION...GO GO GO AAAAAAND...STOP. By Andre Petrolo
Posted by SANE
9th Jul 2018

What exactly is motivation?  What does it mean to us, the multitudes of people who hear this word in different contexts, every day, every minute, every hour of our lives – either from advertising billboards, sides of buses, radio ads, TV shows, magazine articles showing photographs of the latest glossy celebrities looking 40 and fabulous, 50 and fabulous, 60 and...OH GIVE ME A BREAK!!! LOL!

Seriously though.  I was reading something the other day (funnily enough a meme on Facebook) which said that ‘If your’e famous on Social Media, you’re not really famous – so get over it!’  So then-how does this apply to motivation?  Let’s delve into the meaning of the word first of all.

Motivation (noun):

  1. the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way:I don't understand what her motivation was for quitting her job.
  2. the state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something:We know that these students have strong motivation to learn.
  3. something that motivates; inducement; incentive:Clearly, the company's long-term motivation is profit.

For me, there was an extremely strong motivation this month – and I suspect for many of you, this has been the case at some stage of your lives, if indeed you are a person of substance and who can openly admit to being human and suffering the occasional bout of what I like to call ‘the human condition’ – in other words, living in the real world J). 

On June 07 2018, I awoke with a sharp pain in my sternum and aortic plexuses, as well as the centre of my back, following having resigned from my most recent position as an Applied Behaviour Analyst at a fairly well – known Autism charity.  The long and the short of it: said panic attack motivated me pretty bloody quickly to wake my wife, in fear of what I felt like could have been the onset of a heart attack.  Now, I’ve had anxiety attacks and suffered the symptoms before believe you me – but I can categorically state that nothing – NOTHING – has ever resembled this type of onset.  A phone call to 999 and an ambulance ride/numerous tests (including a CT Scan) at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington revealed,  to both my family’s and my sheer and utter relief, no lasting or permanent damage to my heart or other vital organs.  Cue the motivation.

I’m still dealing with the aftermath within the context of my weekly therapy sessions with my wonderful Integrative Psychotherapist Dominic at Metanoia Institute in Ealing, and the assistance of my wonderfully loving wife’s therapeutic massages (if there’s one thing good that came out of this – well, there were several actually – but daily massages are definitely high on the list) – it motivated me to do something which is normally not associated with the word motivation at all.  That was to do the following:

  1. STOP.
  2. SLOW DOWN
  3. REFLECT UPON WHY THIS HAD HAPPENED
  4. ENSURE IT DOES NOT HAPPEN AGAIN

You see, after 8 + years of working in and around the trenches of high intensity, volatile and challenging Special Needs Education pupils and schools/institutions, I – no, rather, my body – called it a day.  I am now happily on vacation this week before starting my summer school stint at my local English Language school, where I work part time as an English Language Teacher, full time for the duration of the summer.  What a joy!!! J (no sarcasm here – it actually is a joy).

See sometimes, we need a shock such as a major life event as what happened to me, to make us sit up and pay attention to ourselves.  We get so used to doing things day in, day out, used to the grind, used to the ‘well, it is what it is isn’t it?’ quotes and feeling like we’re a deer in headlights a lot of the time because of this general attitude that society (assisted by our oh so wonderfully led government at the moment (yes that was sarcasm kids) who are making an absolute MESS of this Brexit process) that more speed, more production, more money, more ‘jobs’ (and I use the term very loosely) need to be created in order for society to survive.  Add to that this Brexit Cereal mess and you have the ideal recipe for anxiety, stress, depression, anger, disillusionment and cynical resignation to reign supreme. 

One of the most fascinating things my wife and I discovered as a result of my attack was the surprising after effects it had on my physical wellbeing.  The pain of feeling like I’d been run through with a sword lasted a good 4-5 days thereafter and was rapidly followed by a debilitating neck and shoulder injury, which has only recently started to get better as a result of my beautiful lady’s massage treatments and our looking into the mental health implications on the body.  To this end, I would recommend a book given to me by a close friend in Australia for my 40th last year – Bessel A van der Kolk’s ‘The Body Knows the Score’ and a YouTube interview with a well known American massage expert called Tom Myers, who explores a revolutionary muscle condition known as ‘Fascia’ in many of his books and videos, as well as his workshops.  These are two sources which clearly illustrate the links between mental and physical health, something which it is my firm and distinct belief – especially after having suffered the debilitating effects of my most recent panic attack – to be based in fact due to the experiential nature of my own experience.

Many philosophical schools of thought, including meditations, spiritual beliefs and practices and Indigenous rituals also point to the fact that there is a link between the two.  Indeed, the notion of chakras – small, minute – like sub-plexuses existing within the body and in many Eastern beliefs and philosophies, are believed to govern the functions of our major organs and indeed how we should be conducting ourselves as a society – with balance, harmony and a healthy respect for and consideration of alternative methods of treatment – have existed for generations, largely cloaked by what many deem to be the self-serving, egotistical natures of certain (I hasten to say not all) members of religious societies and medical and pharmaceutical dominance within these spheres (more on these in another blog when a similar topic may arise).

I despair at the high numbers of people out there who may either read this and see themselves in what I am saying, yet be too scared/worried/anxious to reveal themselves to those of us who share their pain.  With this month’s blog topic being motivation, I would urge all of you who are suffering in silence to come forward, speak up and do not for one instance allow the naysayers to dictate how you act, feel and express yourself.  I – you – we – are far too important to allow this to continue unchecked any longer. 

I close this month’s blog with verses from a piece of prose/a poem I have come to adore over the years – firstly, from Marianne Williamson’s ‘A Return To Love’, which reads:

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’ 

And lastly, ‘The Journey’ by Mary Oliver (for this, I have included a beautiful little YouTube video clip, as the poem being read aloud has a far greater impact and emphasis than being read on a page).  I invite you to copy and paste this link into your web browser and enjoy the beautiful reading of this poem.  May it motivate you this month and always to realised your truth.  Thank you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr785gBEtng

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