Volunteering

Deep in The Amazon, there is a refrigeration unit. It’s hot in the Amazon. Too hot. The unit doesn’t refrigerate properly. It got carried there by a tidal wave. There’s no power. Still, it’s home for some steam. The steam wishes he was an ice cube again. His family is all melted. He is calm, but there he is still he still stuck in his broken fridge home in the Amazon, making the best of it, growing vegetables. Until suddenly an angry visitor arrives… What does she want?

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I’ve been mentoring again, teasing creativity out of kids who might otherwise go unheard by getting them to write plays. I’m being an adult – as far as I’m capable – in their company. Sadly I think this is the last time I can do it for this season. I’ve just booked some work over the writing weekend and I have to prioritise that work. I need to clarify with the guys I’m working for about exact dates, but I think it takes me out of the picture for the writing weekend. Shame. I’ve enjoyed it immensely so far, and I care about the kids now. They’re great, and bonkers.

It’s pleasant to volunteer. It came out of the same thinking that led me to the last few blogs. I sometimes have too much time on my hands. In this feast or famine work it’s either no time to think or endless time to overthink. If you spend that endless time vanishing into bad patterns you can burn yourself out. Two routes that won’t kill you:

1: Obsess about self improvement. “Look at my muscles, I only eat kale now, my spiritual sister is an emu, I’m reading Tolstoy backwards in Russian.” That’s not my crack.

2: Occupy yourself with other people’s stuff, and thus forget about your own bollocks. Spend ages worrying about other people’s shit. Help them out with it. Work through it. Years down the line notice how your previously broken friends are unbelievable zen warriors kicking the world in the balls. End up hanging out with loads of amazing people who know things deeply. Win.

It’s been working fine so far. I love helping sort through people’s crap with them. It’s so much easier than sorting my own. I’ll help do things with others that I won’t do for myself, and I’ll find it easy. So, volunteering is a joy. I want to do more of it. But also as I write I find myself telling myself to remember to try and allocate time to myself too. Maybe I need to go towards #1 for a bit and learn how to break metal with my abs and eat less crap. Especially since I’ve got the spiritual stuff largely sewn up even if I don’t directly blog about it often. Never fear though. No emus involved. And I don’t think I can see dead people.

 

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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