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On the Couch: Finding an ostrich moment

Ostriches may not really bury their heads in the sand to avoid danger, but the idiom works well to find a moment of happiness in the every day.

Ostriches may not really bury their heads in the sand to avoid danger, but the idiom works well to find a moment of happiness in the every day.

Published Oct 14, 2023


It’s quite lekker being an ostrich.

It’s a myth that these big beautiful birds put their heads in the sand to avoid danger, but the idiom works here.

The couch retreats on weekends and after hours, mainly because of some hectic medications that are not conducive to coherent or safe online activities. The lesson was learnt many years ago when a tweet was sent post-drugs. At the time of hitting “post”, it made perfect sense to me. Reviewed in the cold light of the next morning, it was nonsensical, typo-riddled and embarrassing. Never again would I touch a device after a certain hour.

The retreat is also precious space away from the deluge of gloom that invades from the ether. A ritual mind-cleansing and time to put a few plasters on the psychic bruises inflicted during the working week which requires knowing as much about everything happening as is possible. Unfortunately, this covers a lot of Bad Things.

Last weekend, this isolation was a gift. There was even a moment when the couch dwellers experienced a short period of real, recognised and appreciated happiness.

It was nothing big or momentous. Three of us on the couch: little Belly curled up against the top of my head on the pillows, Zeus in his spot at the other end, feet and paws all intertwined, something absorbing on TV, and watching the drizzle out the window. It all just gelled into a perfect little time of peace and love with my couch mates.

It struck me that this was what I considered happiness and was grateful. I wallowed in it. A bit later, still feeling the glow, I realised this was not the first time this scene had played out. I had just not been mindfully aware of how happy it made me. This sort of thing happens often on the couch, and on the bed as we wake up and have a little cuddle or a big wet face greeting from the Boss.

That was a big lesson (isn’t it wonderful that we’re never too old to learn something new?) to recognise tiny moments that are perfect. To banish the worries and sadnesses and horrors of the outside world. To temporarily forget about the perilous state of our country, the planet, the world. It’s specially perfect when the power goes off and in the stillness you can hear a little beating heart near your ear and feel the gentle rise and fall of breathing ‒ and sometimes seriously loud snoring from the big boy which always makes me smile.

When you can ground yourself in the gentle times, it’s easier to deal with life’s disappointments and curveballs.

When you finally rejoin the world to discover more violence, hatred and atrocities, you can lean on the memory and be grateful your problems ‒ no matter how serious or life-changing ‒ do not include war, being a refugee from bombs that take everything from you, and that even if it’s toast and peanut butter, you have something to fill your tummy. And, by the way, the dogs all lurve peanut butter toast, even if they get the cheapest of the cheap stuff and the stale bread.

Being an ostrich for a while can help replenish the reserves needed to pull your head out of the sand and get on with it. Find your soft sand spot.

Related Topics:

Mental Health