I am particular.
When I was a little kid, I exasperated more than one adult by sitting on the sidewalk instead of walking, repeatedly adjusting the way my socks were organized inside my shoes.
Over time I learned that being particular was inconvenient. For me and other people. Luckily I was temperamentally easy-going, so I was able to teach myself how to be less particular.
It's part of growing up. Gradually we learn to put our own preferences and particularities in perspective. Then we learn to to put them aside, for the most part, so that we can become functional members of society.
It’s part of being healthy. Well-adjusted.
Except that sometimes we can take it too far.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with (selectively) rediscovering and embracing my particularity.
I got the idea from a counsellor I saw a few years ago. She put me in charge of the orientation of the room. Specifically, where and how I sat, and where and how she sat in relation to me.
It was like she had passed over the key to the box of my locked-up particularity.
It was relatively easy to situate myself: back to a corner, shoes off, in a chair big enough to sit cross-legged in. Nice.
What surprised me was how particular I got about how she should sit in the room.
First she had to move away from me. Then further away. And then even further away.
I realized I preferred it when she didn’t look at me directly. I wanted her to angle her body away from me slightly. Then I wanted her to move a little to side (but not too much) and then back a bit more.
Oh and I’d also like the window open a little bit. But not too much.
After about a dozen incremental adjustments, I felt completely comfortable.
When it was right, I could feel it: I was suddenly more relaxed and less alert. Life seemed funnier. Less threatening.
Life seemed funnier. That was unexpected.
It was illuminating. When I let my particular-ness have its way, I felt better. All around.
My counsellor had initiated this exercise so while I was making these micro-adjustments I tried not to feel like I was being too particular. But, still, I could tell I was taking this exercise a little more seriously than most of her clients.
Of course, no one can be particular all the time.
Life is not going to wait patiently while I (metaphorically) make 87 micro-adjustments until my socks feel just right inside my shoes. Now I can ignore the less than ideal feeling. Or I can wear flip-flops. Whatever it takes to get on with my life.
Other people have no obligation to reorganize the arrangement of world so that I can feel comfortable.
But I can selectively let my particularity out to play. That's what I'm experimenting with these days.
If you’d like to experiment, grab an accommodating (or particular) friend. Find a room with move-able furniture.
Take turns being the particular one and organize the room, including the two people in it, until it feels right. No matter how many micro-adjustments it takes.
Pay attention to what it's like to be particular. Powerful? Uncomfortable?
How do you know when it feels ‘right’? Can you describe what the 'right-ness' feels like?
Can you think of other ways to let your particularity out to play?
The Autoimmune Healing n=1 Workbook Kit
Find what works. For you. Be as particular as you please.
We designed the Autoimmune Healing n=1 Workbook Kit to help people to experiment with life.
Start wherever you are right now.