Tuesday, August 3, 2021

White light

 When fully conscious of what is going on in your body - perhaps a tightness of the chest when someone makes a comment, or an overall agitation when the need to be alone is there and can't take place - there can be a recognition for an empath that there is risk of taking on the emotions, states and traits of someone else.

When going along well, you recognize those emotions /compulsions/irritations/quirks over there with the other person without being knocked off center. 'Oh, there's that , again', you might think, but without any sort of reaction beyond that. 

That's a good outcome, as I see, because it means that you are quite grounded in the moment. In other words, you are not at risk of taking on some other emotion or problem belonging to someone else. Your day hasn't been effected and on you go.

Some vague sort of expectation, however small, is part of the issue here, too.  I consciously try hard not to have someone else carry my own emotions and states. When people ask me to carry their emotions and states, which can happen in various ways (for example, not asking how I am before launching into their day's drama, or simply being self-involved whether quiet or noisy about it), I can feel that I am not worthy of expecting something from the other. This is no good thing. There's a difference between having no expectations and  having realistic expectations.

When that happens, when I just get sick enough of the other's self-involvement (or obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive approach), I go my way. You could call this recovery, or you could call it cleansing yourself. One way or another, the decision is made within myself that my own company will work best for a time, perhaps several days or longer.  

In an ideal world, one would hold one's ground at all times, in spite of how the other is behaving. Martha Beck spoke of this recently and she got the idea from someone else, which is completely common in spiritual circles. Nothing is wholly a novel idea. It's my own rendition below.

Here's how it goes. Imagine that someone has come to you with no interest in offering you anything but instead they want you to know that they aren't having a good day. Or, they come to you in the hope that by spending some time with you, there will be some sort of respite from their work day, more or less neutral except that you have needs of your own and they aren't going to be useful fulfilling them.

You're kind of peeved about this. You've been out all day, busily running around and you want a few moments to yourself. Their presence is kind of irritating you. You don't want to lose your  balance, to fall down to some reduced state of being.

Now. Imagine a beam of white light. It's white light that resides in an eternal and cosmic way. It's light that is a source of love and healing. Imagine the clouds parting to allow the light to beam all the way from the heavens and cast its long shard of light all the way down to the top of your head. Feel the warmth, feel the radiance on your scalp. Feel the light make its way down through your head to your neck, your stomach, your pelvis, legs, knees and feet. 

The light doesn't stop there. It passes through you and down into the ground below your feet, earthing you to the light, now above your head, within you and below you. You are not only filled with the white, healing light but it has come to provide a protective layer all around you, like the shell of an egg.

You are filled. Here the other person is over there. Here you are, bathed in a white and healing light that is nourishing, protective, fulfilling.

Not only that. The other seems to intuitively know, can feel your tranquil energy, and isn't so needy any more either. Nor do you need anything from the other. You're full and complete; replete.

Notice too that when you are conjuring the white light, fully immersed in the experience, there's no physical pain. Ah! Isn't that something.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Retire the robot

Just one quick thought which can be expanded on when I have more time. I am thinking of the work of Joe Dispenza as I write this. A good time to meditate is in the morning. 

Maybe you feel there's no time for this. In that case, when you open your eyes and realize it's you in bed, alive, don't allow your mind to have just the same thought as yesterday and the day before that. Don't allow your mind to locate and illuminate your 'problem', as if you're a robot programmed to do this.

Instead, clear your mind. Hold on to, or merge with that dream state from which you have just left and see if you can't go to nothingness.

Nothingness = you're not you. You don't have a name. You aren't a parent or a spouse, a daughter or son. You don't have a title and you aren't attached to any objects. You're nothing. Focus on the dark space in front of your eyes and blend with it.

Now, see how today goes. You might like to try this tomorrow too.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Special moments

Time for just one thought today. I think the COVID period of our lives has made especially apparent that elusive sense of 'time'. It reminds me of this winter, also marked by lockdowns here, but also a grey, overcast winter. There are moments when one feels in the thick of it; can't see the end to it. Then, one morning, one walks out into the kitchen into bright sunlight. The memory of those grey days can be hard to locate. And there it is - this moment. A wake up call, that this moment is good.

Hard to be so 'present' in the hard moments. Bogged down if you will by being in the middle of a process, be that a hard winter, a COVID lockdown, a medical issue.

Yet, the invitation is there to be present in all of the moments, to bow down to this moment, however difficult. 'And now this.'

In the course of a life there are moments that shine out as needing more attention that others; days when the sun shines down upon you. My eldest son shared some wonderful news last night over a family dinner out at a restaurant (what a novelty these days!) and as I hugged him goodbye and congratulated him yet again he said to me, 'We are so happy'.

Whilst the goal is to be present in all of the moments, not to be too swayed off course by any moment - I highly approve of savoring the happy moments. Drink them in and be nourished by them.

Friday, July 30, 2021

A Day in the Life

 I thought I would try, without any undue pressure on myself, to try to jot down at least a thought, or an impression most days. Even when time is short, perhaps a feeling, or a small slice of insight.

I have noticed a considerable uptick in talk on podcasts about psychedelics; measured comments with much care on doing them in the right place with the proper care. All the same it is being reported there are considerable benefits from using psychedelics to tap into the psyche, the sub-conscious, and possibly making talk therapy more lucrative for the patient from this loosening of the sub-conscious.

In my case, from those times when I felt something was really wrong, a deep discomfort from within myself, to now, it took a lot of private processing and so I don't immediately reject the assistance of psychedelics.

I don't reject thinking things through. As humans we seem to protect ourselves with these outer coatings and shells, denial, so thinking it through, reading, gathering material, researching a topic, is all good stuff.

At the end of the day we have intuition; as much personal power as we can muster. We have choices; some choices. If we lead from the heart we can't go too far wrong.

There are hardships for people, difficult times. We all have them at the same time as we hang onto respite - a cool breeze later in the evening, some sunshine forecast for later in the week. There's an innate knowing that it's nearly never all bad; that you can have more than one emotion or one thought at the very same time.

Whatever ails a person, whatever must be endured, there is always the opportunity to put one's head out the door or window and gasp at the spectacular show out there; be it a chaotic street in Bombay, or the lush peace of Tuscany or simply a bird tweeting on the tree in the backyard, it's quite the show. We are lucky to have a seat at this theater we call life.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Give and take

 A correspondent once wrote to me about the intention of a hug. Some hugs, she said, felt like something was being taken from you. She wanted a hug that felt like someone was giving something to you. 

I haven't thought about that statement since then, except to say that for some months, perhaps a year or more, I have noticed that I walk away from my husband's hugs wanting. It's an odd sort of feeling, to connect and yet to feel disconnected. I have wondered if it had something to do with the fact that he has  lost considerable weight. 

The only way I could describe it to myself until recently was that I wanted it to feel like a 'bear hug'. I wanted to be enveloped in the hug; protected; nourished. I am not sure that he is taking anything from me, but nor do I feel that he is giving me anything either. I think he wants the momentary connection, understandable, perhaps a neutral thing, neither giving or taking away. All I know is that it doesn't fill me; it doesn't satisfy the 'wanting'.

For a couple of years now, certainly all last year and this year, my husband has wanted a certain outcome in his business. It has been a transition thing and the transition hasn't gone exactly to his plan. He has worried this, strategized; tried to get things to go his way. 

It's all understandable and I realized in the past couple of days that retirement of a sort (he does have several other avenues of investment and projects to undertake) equated to him as a form of death before he died. He gets purpose from his business activities and can't seem to begin to imagine a life wherein we lived in a smaller house, traveled regularly to the country; put the focus on a much less stressed life together whilst at the same time having our own pursuits and interests. 

Some people have a compulsive personality. They feel compelled to control, to do things perfectly, to only do those things that they can do perfectly. They want to control their world and they feel anxious when they lose control. They are willing to work hard, are incredibly conscientious and don't seem to notice when relationships become unbalanced, or when friends and family leave them to their insatiable drive to achieve.

My father, who was a hotelier, had no interest in Christmas or any other celebratory day. Despite Christmas Day being one of the few days when the business wasn't open, he insisted one year, on opening on this day to trade. I feel sure it was a day when we lost money since people chose to spend the day at home, but his argument had been that if he opened every day people would be able to rely on us as always being open. I think it's fair to say our feelings on the matter didn't rate at all.

It was long before I interrogated my parents' opinions and choices. All I knew was that the day felt soul-less and sad.

I have read material that advises someone like me, who tends to put up with a situation silently to avoid any conflict, to express one's needs. I took that advise about a week ago. My husband came to bed about the same time as me, which is to say before midnight, which these days is a most unusual outcome. He likes to work until the middle of the night generally. He gave me a bit of a rub and quietly I said, 'I get lonely, you know.' Just as quietly he said, 'Well, that's not good.' 

But, it didn't make a pinch of difference and it won't make a pinch of difference. He is compelled to do what he does, and if I am honest, he has always had that compulsion.

I have to think that this was the initial attraction. I was kind, I was quiet, I was sweet. I understood his drive because I had seen it all my life. Both parents felt compelled to work. I got used to looking after myself from a very early age. The situation was never balanced, so why ask for it to be at this late stage of the game?

Something is arising within me, if only that I am being honest with myself and allowing the range of emotions to be felt.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Sadness

 I listened this morning to a podcast about resentment. It was no surprise to me that I do some things right. When people hurt me, and you have to be pretty darn close to me to do that, there really is no sense of resentment. I tend to see the overarching big picture. I tend to think not only of all the elements that went into them becoming who they are, and the issues around that, but also several generations before them. Maybe it is all the reading I have done, but I feel previous generations surround me and am aware they influence us all. 

In any case, people make mistakes, missteps. We all do. We're just people, in some ways more stupid than the four legged creatures. Expecting perfection is just madness.

I, on the other hand, do get sad. I have been sad lately. I think when you come to really know just how difficult it is for people to let go of compulsions and addictions, it can make you sad. Shuggie Bain made me oh so sad. I don't think you can read that novel and not feel sad. I am so grateful for a book club that pushes me through novels that might otherwise not be finished. 

I have to admit that the sadness came too from a sense of understanding the pain of those characters. I have never experienced that sort of poverty described but I am betting my forebears have. I too have seen that sort of desperation up close. I grew up on the top of a working man's pub and I saw very sad and desperate people every day.

My parents bought an outdoor play set one day. I don't know if it was for my brother and I, or for the children of the patrons of the hotel who had access to it. Either way, one day a mother who was off to drink in the women's lounge (they weren't allowed by law to drink in the main bar) brought her children out to the playset. I must have been a little older than the children and she told me that if they misbehaved I should smack them.  WTF?! 

Shuggie Bain was set in Scotland in the 1980s mostly and my story is from the 1960s. Yet, it's the same sort of story; a family in distress; neglected children. Addiction. It was tough to watch it, to be around it.

I've never been sure if I was born an introvert (my eldest son says that I am only an introvert when I want to be, since I do fine in social situations) or if my circumstances made me an introvert. I just longed all my childhood for privacy and for a normal home life; a house, a shared meal.

In the podcast this morning, the question came up, 'What's your emotion of choice?' Sadness? Anger? For me, it would be sadness. Happily, whilst I can have a day where sadness can envelop me, I can't stay there too long. There's a sense of claustrophobia about sadness and one has to get up and leave it behind. Almost like, 'look, thanks for dropping by, again, but I have things to do and places to go...'

I think I can admit this here. I am really never bored. I have this incredibly rich inner life that keeps me quite entertained. Should that become too much, I retreat to that golden silence when I close my eyes and discover all over again, that stillness and silence is where the magic lives.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Authenticity

 To attend a dharma group is one of life's most lovely activities. It's quite possible, should you attend, you wouldn't say a word, simply listen. You might feel compelled to say something and if you did it would be words from deep inside you. Nothing else seems vaguely right in that setting, trust me.

This isn't a place to talk about how lovely the weather has been lately, not in that chatty way we do,  sometimes to avoid saying anything deeper. We might talk about the weather, as in, 'I felt the breeze on my face as I was walking in the park this afternoon, and it felt so good to be alive in this moment'. There are lots of times in dharma group where people want to share their gratitude for life.

As well, there are moments where people choose to share their deepest fears. I am not sure that I have shared this before. One day, a woman, a brave woman, shared that she wasn't sure what love felt like exactly. She was kind and had experienced kindness, but feelings of love had been elusive  for quite some time.

I did wonder how the the leader of the group would react. In spiritual circles, love is so often spoken of, as if we should have access to that emotion all the time, and if we don't, we need to meditate on that more. Even people on the street will talk about love in such throwaway terms, who has the courage to question that we should be able to access the emotion moment by moment? What sort of a person are we, we secretly ponder, if we struggle to hold on to feelings of love, in spite of circumstances?

She didn't miss a beat. Acknowledging that her views weren't popular in spiritual circles, she admitted that she too didn't always feel love towards her fellow humans. People disappointed her, and love wasn't necessarily felt. Sometimes, she offered, it is enough to offer kindness. Kindness was enough.

It was, I feel sure, a very special moment for the woman who had opened the discussion. I am not at all sure she would have received the same sort of non-judgmental, or honest answer from family, friends or strangers. 

This is what is so enticing about a dharma group! The urge to speak one's truth is encouraged. 

And, this is what I love about this anonymous blog. I feel I can speak my mind here. I was a little alarmed over the past few weeks that my stats seem to be saying that there are thousands of people that come here in a week. I don't understand it or follow it since I have used up my storage capacity, or something, but week after week, it shows that it's not just the handful of readers I had thought. Nonetheless, I feel such peace here; such acceptance; the raw expression of my authentic personality.

Sometimes, I have written to sort of save my soul; to express that which I felt could not be said; pure venting; anger, the drive for security or connection. That sort of writing does not work out so well for me. It's a form of expression but there's no real pleasure in it.

In my childhood I had lots of time on my own and what came naturally to do was to write. Simply putting words on a page was an innate pleasure. I often read a book and quite apart from the story marvel at words beautifully strung together. Douglas Stewart wrote of the poverty of Glasgow in the 1980s. As Agnes walked past a group of women he compared the huddling of women whispering as like penguins sharing thoughts.  I thought that a stroke of brilliance. Instantly, I saw the women, the way their bodies moved into the other to share snide remarks. One imagines him on a plane coming up with the paragraph, stretching perhaps to make the writing the best it could it be, but experiencing delight at the creation of the paragraph too. (A fitting Booker Prize recipient!)

In life, I get so tired of social convention, even between people wed. All that cajoling, agreeing; the quiet and gentle veneer that hides a myriad of thoughts and emotions one dare not share for fear of reprisal, judgment or rejection. Here, you get me, my authentic self; not just the violin but the whole orchestra of an internal life.