Swings and Roundabouts

Swings and Roundabouts
Life is just remembering and forgetting, a wise friend once said to me.

This has proved to be true in so many ways.

There are the things we can control, and the things we cannot.

The feelings we expect, and the ones that just take us over like the wave that washed over a boat once it stopped long enough for the water to catch up.

Be like water, Bruce Lee said – and it’s a worthy goal.

Though there are plenty of times that I have felt more like a brittle twig hanging in the wind waiting to break. It is the opposite of a watery flow. It is vulnerable and fragile, hanging out there expecting an unpredictable gust of air might destroy me at any moment.


That overstates it these days though. Having married happily and had three healthy children in relatively privileged circumstances I have discovered some kind of precious equilibrium between the brittle twig and the flowing waters.

Many people probably wouldn’t let their toes stretch down into the deeper currents beneath to test the temperature. But mine do. Regularly.

It is still a mystery that is slowly unravelling, but once fragile times have embedded themselves in your cells, ridding yourself of that fearful feeling isn’t so straightforward.

Through a perfect storm of early life instability, and some destructive responses to the inherent shame of parents divorcing in the 70s, I have experienced the darker versions of life.

It used to be called a ‘broken family’ and I used to think that when we went to parties, and I felt shy, that the kids weren’t playing with me because they could somehow sense the broken had rubbed off on me, like a stinky rag. I would cling to my mum or dad with them awkwardly telling me to ‘go play with the other kids’ whilst they tried to have their own fun. Yet I stayed, cowing between their legs, longingly watching the games and the fun and wondering why I couldn’t be a part of it.

It was lonely, and self-perpetuating until eventually (in my 30s) I recovered.

Well, more truthfully, I continue to recover, actively, all the time.

And from that place of recovery comes insight into what creates space and freedom.

  • It could be healthy eating.
  • It could be wellbeing practices like meditation, or appointments with practitioners, or retreats and workshops.
  • It could be martial arts training (that’s what it is for me).
  • Or it may be as simple as a regular walking date with a dear friend.

Whatever it looks like, I would LOVE to hear your version – how you navigate the swings and roundabouts.

How do you recover, actively, in present time from past hurts?

(Because I know when you write it or say it aloud to someone else, you’re more likely to follow through.)

alena turley | creator, educator, martial artist
alena turley | creator, educator, martial artist

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