Today one of my clients introduced the term ‘Mill Pond’ into the room. The term was used as a metaphor to describe the way people potentially live their lives. Often, on the surface, people’s lives appear calm and still – like they’ve got it all figured out.
My client also indicated that by having a mill pond like life they potentially are not living a true life. For example, they are not tackling their problems or taking risks but instead are just going with the flow. Hence their outward presentation being still (you could even say empty).
I guess the opposite of this is someone who appears all over the place, like they don’t have it all figured out or that they may lead turbulent lives. It could be argued that these people are living a more truer life and in the words of Carl Rogers are ‘self-actualising’. There is also a sense of genuineness I feel about some people who have such ‘chaotic’ lives.
It was said in our session that people may have all of the trappings that society says you need, for example the car, partner or holidays but are not truly happy. This concept is leaving the original topic somewhat but is a common occurrence in my sessions with this client.
So, do you lead a mill pond lifestyle and if so, is this a genuine one? I firmly believe it is totally possible to have a life that outwardly projects stillness and still be very happy. I actually think these people are the happiest. You have to know how to tell them apart.
I did comment today that I know of people who want to show that image of being cool or chilled out but underneath this tranquillity is much turbulence, unease or unhappiness.
My client towards the end did say that people may have a mill pond life but the water beneath them is stagnant and I find this is another excellent metaphor for life. Maybe we need those turbulent times to mix things up in order to show us a better path in life.
I did come away after today’s session and looked within. Is my stillness genuine, do I even appear calm and collected on the outside? I only have to look at my finger nails to know how still I really am and right now those would indicate that I’m not!
That said, and moving off task slightly, I do bite my nails when I’m excited, when I feel there is something good in the air or when I anticipate some major change. As well as when i’m anxious or worried.
So do you want a still life, little change and steadiness? Or do you want to lead a life that is more ‘choppy’, more unsettled but potentially more exciting and rewarding? Maybe growth is achieved in those rough seas.
For me, I don’t mind riding those waves if it leads me to better shores. Maybe eventually to a more mill pond like environment. But. Who wants to lie in a mill pond forever?