Sunday, December 31, 2017

Lessons of the past year

For many years, forever, there has been a fantasy running through my head; that there would be a man in my life who would instinctively and completely understand my need to fall under his wing in every way.

The roles in this fantasy have always been well defined and in order to hone down into that space the fantasies are often a little cruel, when in fact the role I play for him, and him for me, is anything but that; deeply loving, caring, sharing; adored and adoring. I think when we are young there is a sense of wide open space and infinite possibilities that allow for such a fantasy in a young girl's mind and for decades it refused to die. It not only survives, it thrives, even though I am in my sixties now.

It's no co-incidence that I took special note of the story of Jane Eyre as a child. Loving Mr Rochester and him loving her back was molded into the roles they played for one another. I remember feeling at great peace for Jane in the final scene, and deep peace within myself as she sat on the ground right by him, him on the seat patting her head (at least that is the way I remember the scene). It's romantic love that I attuned to even back then but also the themes of maturity versus youth, femininity versus masculinity, leader versus follower. Which is not to say that Jane didn't have a wisdom or an innate understanding of Mr Rochester that she brought to the table. I've always thought of Jane as instinctively attuned to Mr Rochester; his ways, his needs.

It's very hard to let go of such an enduring fantasy and for many years I tended to have a thought at the back of my mind -  if I can't have it all, then I'll do without. But, that thought broke down many times over as I came to see that I was attempting to annihilate out of my life my innate self. The kinky mind has been with me for longer than most of the people reading this has been alive. It's an enduring, soothing thought. It's an important part of my sexuality. It is my sexuality.

As a Caretaker type, meaning a person who can put others needs ahead of their own needs, self-care was a foreign thought.  I said recently to a small group of people - maybe 12 of us, a very safe small group - that it was only very recently, perhaps  the past twelve months or a little longer, that I have understood what self-love even meant. It's been a huge year of self discovery in that sense.

The most important lesson of the year has been that I can't wait for and shouldn't expect 'Mr Rochester' to save me; to tend to me; to lovingly dominate me. Wonderful when it comes along, but silly to wait; to pine for, to wish, to feel resentment and sorrow when there is that lack in my life.

It's a commitment to giving up the victim role, the persecutor role and the savior role. It's akin to saying 'It is what it is' and 'We are as we are'. It's looking at the situation and seeing if there is a new way to resolve the fact that we are in fact very different people; neither better or worse, good or bad; just people whose attention is drawn towards different areas of life. It's recognizing we are equals, with strengths and weaknesses, and seeing if we can accommodate that individuality within a more fun paradigm that includes both of us being fulfilled.

We are as we are, all of us, and there are measures I can take to soothe myself when his attention is steered in another direction; to feel whole; to connect in with my intrinsic self. It's not ideal; not really at all like the fantasy that has endured my whole life, but nonetheless it feels right to care for myself as best I can; to have no specific expectations. This leaves room, I anticipate, for experiences that will satisfy within certain scenarios.

Gratitude is so important in life and I have so much to be grateful for.  I think as we age we develop some wisdom about that. A new home, a new baby, a new dress are all wonderfully exciting things in life in the moment, but so too is a great cup of coffee, the moment when the rose blooms, a cool evening breeze after a hot day, the touch of lips meeting lips; the wagging tail of a dog. There are sweetnesses in life every day if we are attuned to them.

Someone I have come to know was having lunch with Ram Dass one day (what a fantasy that is!) many years ago when she said to him, 'Well, it looks like I won't be having children'. He more or less waved her off. 'Well, there's always something we want we don't get,' he said.  Or, words like that.

This stunned her a bit. It wasn't a small thing she wasn't getting, after all. And yet, she took the point. It's the human condition to have to suffer the loss, or never to have at all, that which we covet. Ask anyone and there will be something in this life desperately wanted but not got - a loving mother, the respect of a father, the admiration of a child, to be an actress or a painter, to work, to not work, to love, to be loved, to have a mentor, to be in print. We all have our thing.

I recently read a quote of Brene Brown. 'Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience.' Like a habit of mind, when we go in search for joy, we collect it in abundance, and this builds resilience for the disappointments and sorrows in life.

As this year comes to an end I feel proud of lessons learned: a willingness and ability to take care of myself, when and if I must; pockets full of joy; resilience; promise that tomorrow will take care of itself.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Altered states

He called me into his office in which there was a bed where he could do procedures. We talked  only a moment or two. We both knew what was going to happen, in general terms, and there was no need for elaboration. I never want to know the details. I certainly don't want to look. Perhaps he asked me if I had any questions. If he did, I must have said no.

He asked me to lie down on the bed. I relaxed as best I could. Thankfully, I was soon able to attune my senses to the jazz music that was now gently twinkling out from an unseen speaker. Clever man to distract me from my own mind! I had had this procedure done once some years ago by a woman with an indelicate sensibility and it had left scars on my mind such that I was very afraid. I had focused on my breathing all the way across town in the Christmas traffic, which helped, but didn't stop my nerves from being on edge.

Lying there on my back he put a blanket across my middle. It wasn't to keep me warm and nor was it to cover me. I was wearing a summer dress just to the knee in preparation of providing access to the area that required treatment. No, I think it was to hold me in a sense, the way when I have my legs up the wall at the end of a yoga class the teacher will put a folded blanket on my heels. Weight settles a person, holds them in place.

He was in control now. He adeptly took some sort of strap and tied it around my left thigh, tight. He then put one around the right thigh in exactly the same way. On reflection, it is perhaps remarkable that this steadied me. Heavens knows what I would feel, or say, or do in the hands of someone who I felt was incompetent but I happily handed over control to him, felt comfortable and in reliable hands.

This is what I think it must feel like to be controlled by a Dominant or Top who knows, or gives the impression that he knows, exactly what he is doing. It is a perfectly normal thing for me to do and to feel, to give that control of my body over to someone who emits confidence, that they know what they are doing.

At first, I barely felt the injections, not stingy at all. I felt them penetrate my skin definitely, but he was so gentle about it that I managed to relax, to the point of a false sense of security. As the needles filled with the solution went deeper I found that I had to either focus on the music such that I isolated an instrument, the trumpet usually, and focus specifically on each note played, or else I just followed my breath, noticing the deep inhalation and then the slow exhalation .

Only once did I emit a sort of grunt, just a tiny bit of noise, the smallest of complaints. Perhaps I was letting him know that I was close to the edge.

'Let me know if it stings,' he said.

I have a tendency, perhaps everyone has a tendency to try to predict the end of discomfort and there reached a point where I thought it might be over. Yet I noticed, even in the moment, that I wasn't invested in that ending. I wasn't preempting anything and I was correct not to do so. He had located somewhere else he wanted to inject and I was quietly pleased in fact that he wanted to be thorough. I knew he would decide when it was over and this was a settling thought.

When he had finished with an injected site he would pull a little on my skin, in the gentlest of ways, perhaps just as a Dominant or Top might apply pain, and then pleasure. I remember thinking that, or something like that. It wasn't a time for logical thought, just feelings.

When he was finished he undid the straps and then he wrapped my legs in bandages. Later that evening just before bed when I undid the bandages I found cotton balls with specks of blood attached with light tape, perhaps a dozen of them. I wondered when that had happened, when he smoothed over my skin after each injection or whether he had done it all at once at the end.

Silly, isn't it, that I was wide awake and yet I have no knowledge of that part of the procedure. But in times when someone has control over us, we go into another space. If there is a procedure being performed, or magic, a sadomasochistic experience, our chances of remembering everything are very low. We are in an altered state.

It's a quiet space, that space inside our heads when thoughts settle and sensations come to the fore; when we notice the beating of our hearts, the breeze on our skin, the delight of a string of notes of a musical instrument, or the sound of a voice steadying us.

For me, it will remain an eternally unanswered question; why on earth would somebody not want the experience of letting go.

Monday, December 4, 2017

This day

 I have less connection with the past. I don't see this as a bad thing. I sometimes have momentary glimpses of my former self, glimpses that come to me, seemingly out of nowhere. I'll remember wearing a bathing suit at a younger age, when the children were young, and how I felt in a particular moment. I'll remember being even younger in a bathing suit at a public pool and the feeling of being so incredibly hungry after a day of non-stop swimming. I'll remember biting into food  and thinking nothing ever tasted as good as that fabricated meat roll that they served at the kiosk.

I remember, just now, feeling that I was pregnant for the first time and going to the doctor in the early afternoon of a work day and being told, yes, I was indeed pregnant. I remember the surge of joy. I was 28 years old.

In some ways the connection between my younger self and my current self is my children. I remember a flight attendant asking me if I had children and I said that my eldest was eight. I remembering wondering at that moment where eight years of my life had gone.

When he was born it was the most wondrous thing that ever happened to me. In fact, he wasn't a beautiful baby for a few weeks, since he was delivered with forceps due to the emergency that ensued in the hospital. But, I'd sing to him and coo to him as if he was the most magnificent baby that there had ever been in the history of the world. My mother recognized immediately that he looked squashed but I saw no imperfection at all and she didn't let on for many months that I had been in a dream space.

Fast forward to today and he is getting close to 33 years old. It still stumps me, where time goes. It is so interesting that he doesn't seem to have caught on that I have aged with him. That's nice really, that he sees me as eternally young.

In a way, and an important way, I am neither young nor old. It is a part of the meditative practice, I suspect, and a lot of spiritual reading, that I connect more and more to that part of me that has no characteristic that can be defined by age, or a changing body, or even a changing mind. I can't always connect to that part of me that is love itself, unconditional love, but more and more, I can.

Perhaps another way to put it is that I feel closer to a world, a life, a state, that one might call Acceptance, the suchness of things.

Certainly, I associate less and less with my thoughts. They come and go, of course, but I'm more inclined to notice them, rather than feel that they are mine. 'Oh, that's interesting,' is a thought I have quite regularly as the thought enters and plays out before it finishes and is replaced with another thought.

The hardest part of the day, and it has been this way for a long time, is first thing in the morning. I realized something this morning, that I often forget that this difficult part of the day can relate to allergies, sneezing and stiffness that relates to the weather. Over and over I have to remind myself that hay fever and the like induces an  agitated feeling that is best medicated.

Yet, it is more than that, I think. My husband is a night owl and in order to have him get as much sleep as possible I'll put off preparing for the day, having a shower and dressing. This works against me. I have to keep reminding myself that it is best to get up and get ready for the day; create momentum. We've talked about that and he encourages me to day what I need to do.

I'm very aware that there are less days ahead than those that have gone. I've very aware that those who were my age now when I was young are gone to God. Time takes us all. I don't think of this as a troublesome thought but I had a thought earlier, and noticed it, that I want to see my grandchildren. I want to meet them. I am hungry to meet them.

This is a thought, a thought about the future, a fear. We all have our fears, not that they do us much good, unless it is for purposes like getting out of the way of a speeding car and that sort of thing. I'm troubling myself about the future which will most likely have no relevance to my fearful thought.

I think there are times of life when we struggle for awareness at all, such as when I was young, and times like now when I feel a strong need to absorb all the change that is going on inside of me. Meditation practice for children is probably an excellent idea, but it wasn't part of my childhood. I suspected there was more, more than I could see at the time, but maybe all young children suspect that in some way.

Now, for me, it's not unlike a pulling away of people at the end of their lives who develop a deeper understanding of this life. I'm not pulling away from life as I've seen people do who are ready for life to end but rather I'm so awed by life that I need time to simply observe it. To this end, I feel a bit alone. I can't talk to anyone about this, quite simply, no-one. Where would I even start?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Deep waters

The suchness of things is that anxiety has been my companion for a very long time. I'd fight against it in various ways. Mainly, I'd push through it. It compromised performance in situations like exams, for sure, but I still sat the exams, didn't allow it to topple me.

Once a mother, anxiety seemed almost a natural way of life. There was the children's health to consider, their happiness, doing things in the right way. Being an empathic person, I'd see the situation through their eyes. I didn't ever want them to feel that as their mother I'd fallen short, so I'd go the extra mile. I actually worried about whether the snack I sent to school was okay, or if the children were doing the right activities. I sweated all details.

One summer I registered my eldest son for a 5 day program in a sort of park. I think they called it the Indians program, or something like that. He wasn't happy about this, begrudgingly got out of the car, as 8 years old can do, making their mothers feel so guilty. When it was time to collect him they were doing some sort of pow wow gathering of the clan and I thought to myself, 'Oh wow, I think he was right, it's kind of cheesy.' But, the thing was he adored it and couldn't wait to get back there the next day, hurried me up so he wouldn't be late.

I say to them every so often, 'It's impossible I always got it right. If I did or said something that has damaged you please talk to me about it.' They've told me the odd thing, mainly laughing about it as they said it, but I think the report card is pretty good. They still write me the most amazing statements on birthday cards.

I'm not entirely sure how I made it through bringing up four children and being plagued with crippling anxiety, but I somehow did.

Nowadays, I've more time to myself, though there is still plenty of work to do and places to go. As time goes by I relish the days when I can be silent. I think there is peace to be found in silence. Silence gives the ego a rest and gets us in touch with the inner part of us that is peaceful; that part that is free of worldly identity and roles. Silent, I am just me, pure consciousness. I notice the whir of the fan, the air that moves in and out of my lungs, the light touch on the tips of my fingers as I create these words on the screen.

With a sense of acceptance now, with a stronger sense of the Now, I am much more able to access peace, which is for me a non anxious space.

I can make the excuse that we have had a ridiculously hot November which has probably slowed most of us down but the truth is that I have felt less inclined to run about and less inclined to do work of any kind than I ever have before.  The shirts to be ironed are mounting up!

Already I see I must get a 2018 diary to fill in all the appointments and plans being made, some of which I am very excited about. Yet, it's a commitment to noting time which doesn't suit me at all right now. Honestly, if I could escape to the mountains for months and stop counting time that would suit me very well. There is so much happening inside of me, I want to soak in it. i don't  want to have to note the day of the week or the time of the day.

On Sunday I had the good fortune to attend a silent day retreat. We walked in silence and sat in silence and sometimes we talked, not a lot of chatter but an opportunity to pose a thought to the group, one at a time. It was a nice taster, an aperitif, for a week long silent retreat I will do next year.

I noticed that on return to home it was a nightmare for my mind. There was dinner to prepare, and extra people to serve that had dropped in. Then, my son brought home a rowdy crowd. I simply had to escape to my bedroom and breathe slowly for 5 minutes. There was no transition from the retreat space to a loud home space and it felt to me like everyone was on steroids. We don't realize how loud it all is until we dive into the deep waters inside.

Perhaps it is no co-incidence that I got on very well with my maternal grandmother when quite a few other people found her inaccessible. After a very busy life both as a mother and a businesswoman she craved the life of the keeper of a lighthouse. I got that.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The present moment

For November, I don't think it is an overstatement to say that we are in a heat wave. Unless I had scheduled my surgery in February, I don't think I could have chosen a more inappropriate time to be wearing supportive panty hose.

I have a bit less than a week to go and it's an interesting study how one gets through testing times. First, one hears that surgery is advisable. I am quick to make the date. If something needs to be done, I don't put it off. I don't like hearing 'we could do it later' because then I have to think about it over and over again. So, booking in was easy.

Going to the hospital was no problem at all. For maybe two seconds when they put the oxygen mask over my head I felt some nerves. I took maybe three breaths and that's all I knew.

Underestimating how tired I was the next day I continued on with the events listed in my diary. I went to school in bandages and to town the following day, when I was allowed to take off my bandages and shower. One can't alter easily one's nail appointment. My nail technician is the best in town and there are dozens hungry to take one's spot.

The point is that I got through with incremental thinking. 'Not long before I can have a shower.' Only a few days more before I don't have to wear the stockings at night.' 'Only ten more days before I can take them off altogether.' 'Today I will wear the stay ups under a dress, that won't be so bad.' 'Today I will wear the toes in tights under exercise clothes and go walking.' I tried to find the positive in the day and kept the night close to my mind. Not enjoying the heat nor the stockings, I am having a love affair with the setting sun. As much as possible I stay in the present moment and deal with it.

In my younger years I made the mistake of saying in hard times, 'When will this end?' In this way, I held onto anxiety awaiting an outcome that sometimes never came. This created a great deal of unnecessary stress. Rather than bowing to reality, accepting it, I tensed up and held on, almost like holding one's breath when breath cannot be held for longer than several seconds. It's an exercise in stupidity to wait for a better day rather than enjoying the day one has right now. Better days may well be ahead of us but to delete the possibility of happiness today in the face of adversity is to miss an opportunity.

I can't put a date on it. I don't know how long I am talking here, but it feels recent that I have noticed a wonderful sense of ease within myself. If I had to put a date on it I would say that there was a drop into ease when I began to listen to the podcasts of Catherine Ingram who describes her 'living meditation' way of life. It resonated because it was my underlying goal. I just didn't have the right words to describe it, here or to myself, but she gave me permission almost to live in a way that I had always wanted to live.

In two days something will take place in our lives that will, or won't, make a huge difference. I am hopeful that it will take away a great of anxiety and that it will enable us to breathe a huge sigh of relief. I am hopeful that my husband gets the result he would love, but if it doesn't pan out quite like that, life will go on. I am not holding my breath. I do admit to the thought flashing into my head of the moment when the project is put to bed, but I also have the image flash through my mind that it might take a little bit longer. I have rehearsed that thought out loud with my husband and I think that has helped him too. Whichever way it goes we will go through it together. I am living moment to moment, at ease, thinking when I need to think but then returning to a non-thinking state, not unlike an animal, or perhaps an object.

I used to wonder exactly what people meant when they said that we are not human doers but human beings. I recognized the difference but I was still operating so much up there in my head, I hadn't reached an understanding of what it was to be a human being. Like my dear little dog, I take life as it comes these days, neither thinking about yesterday nor worrying about tomorrow. I live in the present moment. It's divine there.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


In spite of the fact that going through hot days in tight support hosiery isn't remotely comfortable, I've been quite content. I don't go out in the big, wide world more than I have to, but I have enjoyed my days at home. I have tolerated my ghastly tight stockings. That's the best I can say about that. I hate them with a passion.

Oddly, I have had trouble sleeping beyond 6 am,which I think relates to some hay fever. Some days, I work away at tasks until I am tired enough to possibly nap and it was like this yesterday.

When I woke, refreshed, it was time to get ready for a 'Sound Healing' meditation that I had registered for. Just before I left I opened my husband's study to say goodbye and only had to look at him to understand he was upset. I asked him what was wrong and this opened the floodgates to his frustrations with other people; what mistakes they had made; their incompetence.

I listened for a few minutes, and made the executive decision to proffer some advice, rather than just listen and nod, as I mostly do. This was my frustration taking over from what I know to be a better practice: nodding agreement.

'Going over the history of the thing isn't going to do any good. Let's just solve the problem. They'll need to attend at both times. It is their mistake.' (Don't worry that the dialogue doesn't make sense without context. Just notice that I already said too much.).

Giving advice isn't really a good strategy. Maybe it is, but one only knows this later, when one realizes the advice was taken. In the moment, it tends to make for more commotion, more energy that has to also be put out.

I'm not too shabby at noticing my internal reactions now and what I noticed was that I was immediately quite shaken inside. It wasn't that a mistake had been made, something not at all out of the way when multiple people are involved in a project, but rather it had brought on verbiage instead of problem solving and action. It can baffle me and confuse me. It's not that my husband wouldn't attend to the issue, but rather that I had difficulty understanding, as I always do, that he needed to unload his frustration on me. This is me denying reality.

I reached a point where I said that I needed to go and I'd be back soon with dinner. I was disappointed to go off to the Meditation feeling discombobulated but I was proud of myself that it was minor to the way I might have felt in earlier times where I might have put off going at all at this point.

Certainly, the thought still comes, 'if only he weren't so emotional and wordy', but I didn't let it derail my enjoyment of the session in any way and I was proud of myself for that.

On return, he still needed to go over this matter with me; still needed to air his frustrations, but I accepted that, 'This is the way it is. This is the way it is. You have strategies in place to deal with this best. You don't need to be upset that he is upset. It will pass.' I talk to myself in this way, settling myself and accepting the reality of the situation.

I made the salad, cooked the salmon. The frustrations began to lose hold over his mood and he even showed me later in the evening some plans for another project of his that he was clearly pleased about. His delight in this progress was obvious. I was proud of him that he could 'let go' in this way, even if just for a short time. This is the way it is. The moods ebb and flow according to the vagaries of the outside world and an inside world that alerts him to all the possible things that could go wrong.

For many years, I struggled and struggled in how to be happy living with a person who was so emotional, so wordy, so prone to moods that seemed to change with the wind and yet so willing to take chances that made me feel most unsettled. Some days he'd go off moody only to have a perfectly high functioning day whilst I had trouble shifting my low mood from the exchange. This was a big learning curve, to snuff off the moods of others and see it for what it was; their problem, not mine.

I would talk to him, explaining as best I could that I felt that he was "dumping" his worries on me. But, it's not something he has ever understood. He is not complaining about me, but to me, he would say. What was wrong with that? Interestingly, he's not the only man that has said that to me, as if they look at me and see a willing place to park their worries; as if I have the strength and fortitude for that.

It's still not a perfect score but most of the time I am now able to deflect the worry he expresses to me, worry that could lift a moment later, worry that is quite likely only in his head. He talks his worries out loud and this seems to be how he processes his worrying mind. It is what it is.

Ideally, that is, if I had the sort of life that would be perfect for me, I'd be left to live in my little bubble of happiness, noting the beauty of the natural world, creating in the kitchen, in the garden, through expression of my personal self, and passing on my contentedness to other people.

My husband likes to make the argument that he provides for and protects me through his handling of worldly matters. It's a fair argument and I can't deny the logic of it. I don't have an ambitious bone in my body, for me. I won't get to my death bed and regret the absence of a career.

Apples rarely fall very far from the tree. A few days ago, I had the opportunity to have a discussion with my oldest son about how he sees his future. He is with a girl who he will most likely marry and they will, most likely have children, he told me. He seemed not entirely passionate about this likely outcome and I expressed that thought to him.

'Like I don't have enough people to be responsible for,' he said in his blunt way. I laughed. 'Is that the way it feels, darling? (He rose fast in his career and does already carry a lot of responsibility.) 'I'm happy to go to work and make the money, but I think she'll have to be a stay at home Mum. She can have a little business from home, but I don't want to come home at the end of the day and listen to all her career worries.'

I was smiling away. I didn't stop the flow.

'I had just come home one day last week when the phone rang and it was Mike (the boss). 'G'day', I said to him, "I just walked in the door.' 'Do you feel like walking out again?' he said to me. 'Well, he has kids,' I said, 'it was probably still bath and feeding time. He was projecting his life and feelings onto you.'

'Yeah!' he said, 'I realized at that exact moment that Dad used to sit in the car when he came home and listen to the radio. As a kid I noted that but now I know why.' 'Yes,' I said, 'he was avoiding all the hub bub of family life. It's what guys sometimes do. Why walk into all that chaos when you can listen to the radio in the car. Some guys at  Daddy's work in America stayed at work late for this very reason.'

We were both laughing.

It's no co-incidence that I was a stay at home Mum. It is what we both wanted and what worked for both of us. Everybody needs their time of peace. Nobody finds it easy to change. It is what it is. Those who recognize and accept this do best.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Day in the Life

Yesterday was going to be a good one from the get go, for me personally. I have had some vascular surgery recently and have to live in tight, uncomfortable support hosiery day and night for a time. The weather has been hot and I've been uncomfortable. It was my first night without the hosiery and I slept soundly and woke refreshed.

Knowing I had to get to school for my little volunteer job I dashed through the morning tasks and immersed myself in the tasks with the children.

Small group work is incredibly intensive with young children who are struggling. It can be exhausting, but I revel in it. I also love that my mind is entirely focused. I never have a random thought when I am with them because they demand 100% of me.

I was particularly thrilled that Charles, a distracted boy, engaged with me about the World Cup qualifier to happen that evening. I am not clueless when it comes to soccer and we talked like a couple of pros about Australia's chances. It is so fascinating that when a distracted child gets onto a topic of which he or she is passionate, the focus is sharp.

By the time I finished classes the announcement had been made that Australia voted overwhelmingly YES for same sex marriage in the voluntary postal ballot. More people voted than in the American election, as I understand it. It was a day to be proud of one's Australian citizenship. It brought with it much collective happiness.

I managed to visit with my daughter for some afternoon tea. She's struggled lately with some negative emotions and we talked at length about this a few weeks ago. She said she was doing much better and we had another very frank talk over coffee about our perfectionist natures and ways to break that down. She seemed a lot better. 'I think I've been very hard on myself,' she said. Oh boy, that's the understatement of the year, and wonderful that she was seeing that now. I felt relieved.

Naturally, we watched the World Cup qualifier between Australia and Honduras in the evening. We had to wait until some minutes into the second half to get the first goal and the celebration was jubilant. From there, the team rose, and they fairly quickly finished off the task with another two wonderful goals. Certainly, Honduras never gave up and to their credit managed a goal of their own in the final minutes. By then, the crowd was already in mass celebration, singing those iconic songs of ours.

Moments later, we saw visions of colorful fireworks going off over Sydney Harbor Bridge near to our majestic Sydney Opera House and I found myself saying to my husband and son, 'What an amazing day for Australia!'

There was a sense in me that my heart was opening wider. It reminded me that we are indeed one, connected to the whole, not at all separate but very much connected to one another. It felt incredibly hopeful for our future, and the future of our children and our grandchildren. One by one by one, one vote at a time, we can make a change for the better.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Finding peace

Whilst I was at the retreat I had several conversations with Deirdre. She is a 72 year old woman who has had more to bear than most of us. She lost two daughters in separate accidents and her surviving daughter has a severe intellectual disability. Recently, a space became available in a good home for her and she has had the added emotional difficulty of placing her only surviving daughter there after a lifetime of looking after her twenty-four hours a day. Her husband divorced her many years ago but there relationship is reasonably amicable. He owns the home in which she lives and checks up on her, so that's a good thing.

A few years ago Deirdre developed cancer of the pelvic or stomach region. I was happy to let her talk to me and I didn't want to delve too far into asking questions. She wanted to heal the situation herself and at this time she is cancer free. She meditates, has a simple but content lifestyle in a beautiful and temperate area of Australia. She lost considerable weight when diagnosed and is now slim. She watches carefully what she eats - no dairy or meat or sugar - and she takes handfuls of supplements.

I noticed that Deirdre was able to tell me her story almost as if it had happened to someone else. She is a positive person, enjoys her life and her routines. The retreat may not have been the best idea for her. She wondered if she had done the right thing, the stress of meeting planes and buses, and of leaving her lovely weather and daily activities - a  morning walk to the marina and a coffee made by a woman who welcomes her and knows her well - for heavy rain and cloud in New Zealand.

It went through my head, 'but how do you live that life and not come out demented?' But, she'd done it. She was a pleasure to talk to and although she was clearly a bit anxious out of her milieu, she was coping fine.

One day, she had a one on one psychotherapy session and after that, she wasn't herself. She told me it had been a mistake.  'Oh?' I offered. 'She wanted to go back to the deaths of the girls. She said that I was holding onto trauma. But, why dig up the past like that? I feel so upset now,' she said.

It's a conversation that stayed with me. I wondered myself, was it indeed such a good idea to go back to the past and dig it all up? I get where the therapist was coming from. We can hold onto emotional pain in our bodies and we do need to process it all, but this was decades ago that these accidents happened. Deirdre was living her life on her own terms. She didn't want to return to the grief of the past and I couldn't blame her for feeling that way. She wasn't in denial about how hard it had been. She just didn't want to relive it in this way.

I listened to a podcast this morning that reminded me of this conversation. Catherine Ingram made the point, why do we need to rummage through the trash of our past over and over? Why not see those unpleasant thoughts as thoughts that will come and go, not requiring us to hold on to any attachment to them? Recognize them, notice them, but not necessarily allow them to disrupt our peace of mind; to derail us from having a relatively tranquil day?

That Deirdre has had a difficult life is most likely picked up by those who interact with her. She is an old looking 72 year old and she grumbles about little things like a much older person. But, given the circumstances of her life she is doing amazingly well.

I can't say that the retreat was a particularly worthwhile experience for her. She had sorted out her life, created a life where her peace of mind was as intact as it was ever going to be. She was a survivor on her own terms.

This leads me to tell you a little about a surgeon who attended the retreat and was deeply curious to learn. He had endured physical pain and depression and he saw the week as an opportunity to learn another way to approach his circumstances. Over the week he shared more and more with me and towards the end he asked me if he should teach his wife about meditation and the spiritual life. He shared that she was a naturally happy and optimistic person, enjoyed spending time in nature, with the children and animals. Nothing really could bring her down.

'Why bother?' I said. 'She has the natural gift of happiness. Let her be.' He nodded his head in agreement.

If you are born with a nature such that you don't particularly like your mind, wouldn't have chosen it, aren't happy about the way it over thinks and stresses, you're more likely to go looking for answers to the dilemma. You might find that BDSM provides you respite, or dancing, or swimming, or meditating, or gardening, or making movies.

Notice when your mind is at peace. Repeat often. There is no one right way.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Searching to return

For all the 'noticing', the self-examination, the determination to provide myself adequate self-love; for all the meditation and mindfulness and attention to the breath; for all the understanding of personality and damage in childhood and odd behaviors that accrue from that; for all the thoughts about karma and why I came into this life as I did, and what lessons there were for me to learn; for all that I have and am grateful for; for all the efforts I put into loving unconditionally and the expressions of love offered to me, there is one thing that refuses to change.

I remain profoundly kinky.

If meditation eases my mind because I am able to reach a peaceful state when meditating, then it is dominance - a combination of will and innate desire - that relaxes my body and empties my mind, leaving nothing but a state of bliss no better or worse than the sacred mindset of a guru.

I am sitting on the top of the mountain, elevated.

Here's the truth: If I were to have access to experiences that led to submissive joy in an even vaguely regular way, I'd never have explored meditation. I would have had a portal into bliss more than adequate for my needs.

I can only guess still at the lessons I am meant to learn in this life, assuming there is indeed Karma and a reason why we are born into the situation we are born, but maybe it has to do with this; wanting something I can't have and needing to find a way around that.

Maybe in this life I am meant to seek out the Sacred in another way, dealing with issues in a past life or preparing for the one that comes after this.

There was a moment at the retreat - somewhat fleeting but very significant - where there was talk of Karma, past lives and the meaning of this life for each of us personally. Maybe, it was suggested, there was a good reason for why we were born into our family, with all the rewards and difficulties of that situation.

After lunch, during free time, I took myself for a walk. It occurred to me, simply entered my mind in the silence and beauty of the landscape, that I might have been a slave or servant in a past life. As I traveled on up the mountain I began wondering if I was a slave or quite the opposite, a Queen. The more I felt into this the more a high ranking position of society seemed the more likely space. It was just a feeling, not an intellectual thought.

If I was a Queen, I thought, perhaps there was something about the submissive life that might be a lesson for a person who had been a Queen. Maybe I'd made decisions that suggested I had lessons to learn on humility. It's a weird line of thought, or feeling state, but that's what happened. Maybe that's why it's all so upsetting to me, to be denied those experiences.

Or, maybe I'm just being entirely selfish about it all. I feel so abundantly happy in a deep state of letting go; feel so light and joyous afterwards, that having been there I am hungry beyond measure to return.

Our 'teacher' at the retreat made a remark over morning tea; that sometimes when a person has an experience of stillness of the still mind - in other words, a state of nothingness; abundant joy, knowing, supreme love, profoundly positive - they can spend their whole lives trying to get back there.

That's me.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


It would be reasonable to expect that on a meditation retreat there would be opportunities for disclosure of difficult thoughts and yet there was really only one conversation where I revealed myself a little or where anyone else dug below the surface.

We were asked to work in pairs on the final morning for a few minutes, each taking turns to talk about any shifts or revelations that had occurred over the week.

I happened to be seated next to David, a very pleasant man around my age who had been open about his thoughts on a number of subjects over the course of the week. When it came to compassion or unconditional love or forgiveness he wasn't of a mind to include psychopaths. No matter what the teacher offered to convince him that all people must be included David held strongly to the view that if you act inhumanely that makes you something other than human and hence not worthy of his forgiveness or compassion. I knew David would listen to me intently but I also knew he wouldn't hold back on his assessment of my words.

I told him I had always operated primarily in my heart space, not my mind space. I had a strong tendency to please, to keep the peace, and to live peacefully. Yet, assessment of my life made clear to me that still some more changes had to be made. Developing a sense of self love this year, I had determined I needed to "give myself permission" to open the gate and walk through to a world where my needs were heard and given some allocation, either by myself or others in my life."

When talking to someone I think there is a tendency to hold closely to the words. I noticed there was a bit of tendency for David to see himself as one up. It wasn't overt. He was polite and kind. Still, I felt one down and I don't always feel that way, hardly ever feel this way in conversation with people other than my husband.

Then, there's the matter of expression in ways other than words. I smile a lot and I giggle a great deal. I tend to offer the other person joy, because that is what I have to offer. I tend to see the quirky side of the world and I tend to have an irreverent Irish sort of humor. It's hard for me to be around people who don't smile much. David doesn't smile. Nor does a girl my age who was there who I had known all my life. It was my friend who pointed this out to me.

It's a strange sort of an observation, a bit unsettling. Here I am with this desire to have my silliness bubble up and find expression and yet I have been married to a serious person all my life. I'm not sure that has been good for me, not allowing my quirky, silly sense of humor to seek the sunshine as often as would be natural to me.

It's interesting to note that when I get with my brother we tend to collapse into laughter at the drop of a hat. We each make other laugh a lot. My mother makes people laugh all the time. Even the day before he died my Dad had the staff of the hospital smiling. 'I'm in more trouble than a pregnant nun,' he said.

Both my youngest sons have the loveliest sense of humors and many times a week they share jokes with me, U tube clips, comedians, silliness. My eldest son is a little different. It's not a daily thing for him but when he lets his hair down he is the silliest of us all.

There are numerous elements to my bimbo identity. There's the undeniable pleasure. Then, there's the arousal response, the letting go response, the satiation of my innate personality; the seeking of joy and total relaxation.

Then, there is the silliness. Before my daughter married earlier this year the happy couple got together with the marriage celebrant and she listened to them talk. At the service she said that my son in law is dependable, rational and reliable; her rock. That's definitely true. She is soft and creative and silly. That's right too. They are polar opposites and he loves that she is silly, that she is creative; emotional where he is rational. They both were attracted to what they did not see in themselves.

I think going forward I need to acknowledge more my own quirky way of operating in the world. I am capable of immense joy. I am so lucky in this way. I can feel intense happiness, peacefulness and love. My cup can runneth over. I need more of that; much more silliness. I need to allow myself expression of my natural delight in being alive. This is an important element of my authentic self.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


I am home from a meditation retreat where we spent considerable time in silence and in a meditative pose. It wasn't the same experience for me this year and I was grateful for that. Last year I felt overwhelming emotion consistently; trying not to weep, holding back tears, finding my voice breaking when sharing. I had sometimes been unable to prevent tears pouring down my face when in meditation or on the day when we visited the group who sang sacred music. It was a private meltdown.

I suppose the good news story of last year is that I returned to my life in a still, private space. I felt that I had somehow gathered strength for those parts of my life that were raw and painful. I had been confronted by the intense pain of other people and I had been softened by it; opened up. It felt like a good thing. I felt like I had found my tribe, the walking wounded; those who knew that something had to be done about their emotional damage before they were annihilated by it. On some level perhaps I understood that more emotional pain was to come and I was grateful for the shoring up of reserves.

If left to my own devices I would not have attended again this year, but my friend had been onto me for several months, wanting me so much to be there with her. There came a point where there seemed no choice and I made the necessary preparations.

This year there were so many more sick people. I was affected by it, no doubt about that, but I also took it somewhat in my stride. I think I had developed an understanding of the reality of the situation. People are prematurely dying from cancer from the way they live and think and from unresolved damage of their past and present experiences. It was inevitable that at a meditation retreat, unlike a health resort, there were would be many sad stories to hear.

The first conversation that stood out to me was that of a middle aged local woman; by that I mean she lived in New Zealand. She had had a double mastectomy several years ago. Recently, she had discovered a lump in her neck and would return from the retreat to hear the results of tests; whether the primary cancer was located in her breast region or in a gynecological region. Either way, her prognosis was dire. She already had the news that she was terminal.

I asked questions about the support in her life. Fortunately she had been helped with a little counseling to deal with her anger and fear but any further help she could get would be useful. So, I pointed out her situation to one of the 'teachers' and received a very odd response. The woman had to come to her, she told me, and she wouldn't be doing anything about it unless she did. It felt like a slap across the face and I immediately closed down, merely offering that she was a woman with little support and I felt it wouldn't hurt to be aware of her situation and keep a watch on her. As if this 'triggered' her in some way she said that if she wanted specific advice she should attend a cancer workshop not a meditation retreat..

This made me incredibly angry. It felt heartless. Don't ever make the mistake of wholly trusting spiritual people, as if they are people without triggers and flaws of their own. We are just people who sometimes act well and sometimes not. Of course, I took the matter further in a subtle way and she did receive some one-on-one counseling from my friend. By the end of the week she seemed much lighter, smiled often.

At the end of the sacred singing this year, a deeply moving experience, we talked a little. There came a moment when I felt a need to move closer into her inner world. 'May I hug you?' I asked. She nodded yes. We embraced for several seconds and I stroked her hair. Now my tears escaped. 'It has been wonderful to meet you,'  I said. 'You will be all right.' I didn't mean she would live, because I don't think she will be alive for all that long. What I meant was that she would find the strength to die well.

Rightly or wrongly, I said as few 'goodbyes' before I left on the shuttle bus for the airport as I could. I had given all that I had to give. I had held in my own sorrows. I had been kind and supportive and good company. Now, I needed to go, as quietly and as quickly as possible.

The retreat is in a remote location and so I stayed overnight at the hotel airport on the first Friday, before I caught the shuttle bus that would transport me to the retreat. It was there when I turned on my phone that I received a message from my doctor's office to call them. I have been trying very hard to get a handle on my stress response over the past year but this message terrified me. I had recently had a battery of blood tests and prepared myself for the news that a cancerous state was indicated.

In fact, the news related to an elevated cholesterol count and I immediately researched, whilst I had access to the hotel's Internet, what to do about that. I love cheese and of course I determined immediately that it was another food to eliminate from my diet. I wrote a list of foods to focus on, flax seeds that I could soak overnight and add to my porridge, for example.

But, I knew in my bones that I had to work harder to resolve the significant stress that I was living with; stress being a significant factor in elevated cholesterol levels. My needs have not been, and are not met, and living with someone who can't process that has been stress provoking.

On the final morning one of the participants was asked to say a 'thank you' on behalf of the group to the 'teacher' who is retiring. She shared that when she met him her mind was a living nightmare. Her relatives being Jewish had been through the concentration camps and many of them had ultimately taken their lives. She had deemed that perhaps this was the only way out for her too. But, the teacher had taken her under his wing and instructed her to meditate consistently. Although she sometimes felt nauseous doing so she had kept up the practice until, day by day, the freakish nightmare inside her head started to lose its hold over her sanity.

It was Kate's comments that truly reached me. There has been a nightmare going on in my head and changes must be made. Time on my cushion must be increased. A sense of peace will come from the inside out. My job is to sit with myself in silence until then.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A moment of rage

There was a moment recently when I did something I don't do. A comment was made, on reflection an infuriating, condescending, macho, 'in your face' comment. I can rise above this sort of thing, usually. But, a congruence of forces left me without that hold back and in the comment I was filled with blind rage. I could have done nearly anything in that moment.

It frightened me. I went looking for material about it on the Internet and I came across an article by a 5  feet 7 inches male academic of 140 pounds who had taken on a thief in a Spanish railway station before he could even think. He wrestled him to the ground and proudly called for backup from the crowd. No-one was interested and for a few hours he and his daughter were chased through the streets of Barcelona by a gang of thugs. In his right mind, he said, he would have let them just take the wallet, but a blind rage got the best of him.

I absolutely hate to even lose my temper for a moment let alone feel rage. It discombobulates me. I actually have to meditate. I have to do specific meditations about calming the body and meditations with healing sounds to settle my whole system down again.

I am reminded of advice today that we have a right to feel all of our feelings. Obviously, when the emotional mind takes over the thinking brain that can be dangerous, as the above anecdote illustrates. Rage, it seems, is the same sort of emotion as would have us running from a tiger. It's hard to contain that impulse. In the moment, I just reacted, without thought.

However, it happened. I wasn't exactly angry with or disappointed in myself. I mean, I do hate to have that reaction, but I recognize it for what it is, a reaction. It's a little upsetting to realize that we are all capable of reacting with such force. I wonder if the gun lobby advocates actually understand how lethal it is for someone whose emotions have overwhelmed their thinking mind to have access to a lethal weapon...

 I remember distinctly what happened to my body. My head felt woozy and  I had a great deal of energy.  I didn't care if anybody was hearing or seeing me. I had lost any social inhibition.  I needed to move about. The blood was pumping through my veins making me hot and agitated.

I knew I had to be alone. I went home and tried to return to the normal events of the day. I cooked. This helped settle me. I went to bed on time and slept soundly. The next day, I woke exhausted, got through the morning, but my afternoon I needed to lay down on the floor and listen to a guided meditation. I promptly fell asleep.

It took two days for my mind and body to recover from that one moment of overwhelming rage. I can't even begin to imagine what it is like to walk around ready to fight someone; to be full of anger and with a disposition for violence. I can't imagine being that trigger happy on a routine basis, ready to react to any slight.

I know life doesn't always go our way. I know things aren't always as they should be. But, I choose a happy disposition, a positive outlook, an ethereal, even empty headed mind. I have no idea how to live any other way.

Monday, October 9, 2017

A spiritual journey

As a little girl I was sent to Sunday School. My grandmother was Catholic and my mother too, but my father saw that she had suffered within the Catholic Church, being of an anxious disposition, so it was determined my brother and I would be raised in his faith, Protestant.

My school was affiliated with a religious order and so each morning there was a prayer and a hymn, sanctuary doors were opened and closed. A Minister came into class a few days a week to speak of the Bible and of being Christian. He was very old and often dozed.

In the background my grandmother kept the Catholic faith in my life. She taught me about the rosary and she talked about Heaven and Hell. God being up in the sky watching all things, good and bad, was clear in my mind.

Everything from childhood has some sort of effect but what I am most aware of as an adult is that I love to be in churches. I love the service and the majesty of the whole thing. I like the spectacle and the way I feel in churches. I like to light a candle or watch others light a candle. I love the music and the architecture. I love being with people who think it right to pray.

There is a clinical psychologist on Utube that I follow and he talks of human beings being psycho-spiritual beings. We want there to be something bigger than us. I think that's what pulled me into religion as a child; what captivated me. It really is quite natural to want to be part of something bigger than yourself.

I don't any more but prior to the last couple of years I would pray to God, to keep my children safe mostly.

Twenty years ago when I had my final baby I began to do Pilates, to music. It was within this experience of movement and music that I started to feel some release from a post natal depression that had its grip on me. It makes sense really because as a young girl I loved dance, ballet. It was my escape. Within the discipline, the rigor and the music, I felt free.

Once I had been doing Pilates for some time I tried yoga and adored it. In the same building they were running meditation classes and this seemed like a suitable next step, the right time.

Meditation was far from easy for me but there were enough good moments to keep me coming back. The young woman did a wonderful job of guided meditations which I found very much to my liking. I took myself to stunning tanzanite caves where lurid things took place, and up mountains where I glided off into open space quite effortlessly.

A new teacher taught us candle gazing and to stay in our bodies. My mind was still floating about so the instruction that I must stay in my body was another breakthrough thought.

I learned about walking meditations. I  was beginning to not only be aware of the anxiety in my body but to be its witness.

One day whilst out shopping I ran into a woman who had stopped coming to the meditation group and she asked if I was still attending the group. I told her I was. She had a much better idea, she told me, a sacred sort of meditation space, a sanctuary where she experienced great peace.

As I recall it took me a few months to go to the Sanctuary, where I never ran into her. One would pay $10 downstairs and then go up the stairs. We'd leave our shoes and bag outside and take up a position. A candle set in a big bowl flickered light about the dimly lit room.

I didn't understand at that time how to sit on a cushion or to use a prayer bench, so I sat in a chair. It was very peaceful but I don't like chairs for long meditations really. Other than that issue I felt I was getting somewhere with the meditation. My mind was sometimes slowing down. Sometimes I wondered if I could stand it another moment, but I never left.

My inner world remained quite chaotic. So, one day, when I saw a notice for an 8 week meditation course, I signed up. Thinking back to it I was still pretty hopeless but I had glimmers of a peaceful mind. As well as that our discussions that dovetailed the meditation practice was giving me information about the mind/body connection. I was the only person to finish the course.

Meditation remains a great challenge for most people. The classes I originally took closed down, and the group that ran the Sanctuary was forced to close.

I fell into a hole until a good year later, I think, I went in search for an alternative. I found someone but too far from my home. The lucky break was that she informed me of where the woman who taught my 8 week class was running a meditation group close to my home.

I try very hard not to miss that weekly group session. It is a most eclectic group. There has been a bone surgeon and his wife, a woman who lost everything in a bushfire, an architect with cancer, a surgeon who has some dementia, a very old man who was a Lecturer of Philosophy, a woman who lost her daughter to cancer. Currently, there is a man of 40 something whose cancer has come back three times. We are just starting to get to know him and last week he spoke openly.

For years I have meditated on a cushion; well three cushions these days. Various yoga poses have stretched out my thigh muscles, and I have wide open hips, so it's not uncomfortable at all, though it was until I made the necessary improvements to my body.

My spiritual practice is supported by reading gurus, spiritual healers and leaders. I'm too old to imagine that there is anyone on this Earth that is a perfect human being but certain people have much to teach us.
Pema Chodron is a favourite of mine but so too is Eckhart Tolle, and I have a soft spot for Ram Dass. But, I appreciate many leaders and writers. Rumi is great and I once bought a book whilst in Queensland which I think had a significant subliminal effect on me: Oshos' 'Meditation for Busy People.'  I keep a tumblr blog in large part devoted to the thoughts of such people that support my practice and the way I aim to live and to think/not think.

To refer back to the first few paragraphs of this post I don't think of an omnipotent God above the clouds any more. I think of God as being within me, within all of us. Either that Godliness is expressed or it isn't, but it resides inside, not outside.

I don't know, and who really cares, why I am the way I am. I came into the world quiet and noticing when all about me people were loud and unaware. People in my world seemed to be running on adrenaline when I wanted to find a peaceful place to simply read my book, or to think. I danced. I played the piano. I read. Such a young girl isn't suited to the loudness of her environment. I sought quiet places and experiences as relief from the noise and agitation.

I've blocked out a lot of memories, it seems. It doesn't matter . I do remember being upset, very upset and chaotic inside. This was before the spiritual journey began. I would take my extreme anger for a walk. One time I took it to a Step class and did my best to stay on the block. But, there reached a moment when I thought I might actually explode, or implode, and so I was forced to stop.

When experiencing extreme negative emotions I don't think exercise works. First, one must go to the cushion and deal with the upset. It's only very recently that I had the courage to go into the negative emotion and stay with it such that it transforms into peace. This was a huge breakthrough.

The woman who taught me in the 8 week program is now my dear, dear friend and very recently, just in the past few weeks, we have begun to confide in one another. I haven't declared 'I am a submissive' but I have explained, because she asked me gently to explain further a statement I uttered, that I  am attracted to a certain type of man and that this has caused issues for me in my life. We are both starting to fill in the dots as to what we share with one another over delicious and deliciously long lunches.

Shortly, I will attend a meditation retreat where we will meditate about 6 hours a day and be in silence for much of the time. It is sheer bliss for me.

I wonder if I can say what I have learned on this spiritual journey in a paragraph or two. Man, that's asking something.

Well, first of all, let me say that I have come to understand the mind/body connection. If someone like me is around difficult people, perhaps loud and reactive, perhaps needing or wanting my energy but not offering energy of their own to me, this can create chronic stress, which can lead to inflammation in the body which can lead to inflammatory disease.

This is why it is so important for a submissive who is struggling in her relationship with a partner to investigate what is really going on in her life. Her energetic fields may be so open that she suffers emotional pain, tending to ignore her body and its needs. So, I have learned that creating a calm mind and learning techniques to calm the Other as well as one's own mind is vital to health and emotional stability. Relying on the Other when the Other doesn't have the capacity, for whatever reason, to tend to you is a recipe for much unhappiness. Shoring up on your self esteem and self reliance is the key.

Spiritually, I have learned to be still. I have learned that when troubled to sit, just sit. Pema Chodron talks of this. I have learned to allow negative emotion and to transform negative emotion. I feel what I feel. I allow it without being distressed by it.

I have learned to accept. I am not responsible for anyone else, can't and shouldn't change them. Nor, do I need to save anyone. I offer myself, my best self, and that is enough. I have learned to be settled and calm. This is no-one's responsibility but my own. I can find my peace regardless of the outside forces that swirl around me.

Love isn't constant. Perhaps a parent's love for a child is constant but even then it ebbs and flows; is stronger at some times than others.

Romantic love has so much potential. Sacred love is something that I feel eludes me but remains my goal. As a relationship ages there is the possibility for love to grow in depth and for sex to take on a sacred nature. I had that for a time, but then it was gone and I was powerless to bring it back. Things got out of balance. Life isn't over until it is over and so I remain hopeful, but accepting of the limitations of my life as well. There are still chapters left to live.

At the meditation retreat I was on last year we were shown a movie about the life of Father Bede Griffiths. It is his thoughts on sacred love that stays with me. I continue to feel that allowing a woman to be entrenched in her femininity and the man in his masculinity can bring me the sort of relationship that would be the icing on the cake, for me. I am not sure that everyone wants, or can, go to a place of intense intimacy with another person, so we'll see what comes. We'll see if it is possible to create that sacred shared space.

I am eternally grateful for the lessons learned on this journey. Even on the most jam-packed and challenging days, I find time to sit quietly and focus on my breath; breathing in, noticing the gap and breathing out, noticing the gap. We are incredibly fortunate to be alive.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Coming to conscious awareness

As time goes by, and if you are even mildly reflective, patterns emerge in your life. Questions rise up. You can find yourself requiring answers.

It can take decades potentially for consciousness of a pattern to occur. I think little niggles and doubts and concerns can be present but we are ingenious in the way we repeatedly squash them down.

One day, we find that it is all starting to make some sense. We have enough pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to start to see a picture. It's at this time that we might furiously look around for the last missing pieces. That's what I did.

Once one piece emerged and then another I became indefatigable in my attempts for a complete picture. My insistence paid off. I have a full picture and I'm in the healing and moving on process.

This is not to say that I don't make errors still because when you are around certain personality types they have a way of being triggered such they can act their most wounded selves at a moment's notice. There is no telling what might set them off, how they might hear and interpret your (innocent) words.

Someone said to me recently that they admired the fact that I had a irrepressible sense of humor about the circumstances of my life.

I don't ever think I've lost that sense that even the most damaged and difficult of people are multi-dimensional people. Nobody wants to be seen as a condition, or a victim, and those I have known and loved, as flawed as their behavior might be, are all good people at their core. Nobody asks for parents who are incapable of parenting in a good-enough fashion, or for childhood experiences which cut across the sense of self.

It might be excruciatingly difficult for them to overcome what has happened to them, the changes in the brain, probably impossible, but they have all had good and kind qualities. I never forget this. Never.

So long as I can be insulated from the toxicity through methods of self-love, not relying on  or expecting reciprocity, then I can hold onto feelings of unconditional love for them. I can't have the sort of relationship I'd ideally love to have with them, but I don't stop thinking of them with great affection.

When children comes into the world they expect, demand, that their primary caregivers unconditionally love them. That's their right as human defenseless babies with hard wired personalities.

Alas, optimal parenting isn't necessarily available to some people and the child is unable to construct an integrated self.  The parent(s) liked some qualities - abilities in the classroom or on the sporting field perhaps - but they despised  the vulnerabilities and certain expressed feelings; aspects of the children's personality that didn't serve their parents well.

Vulnerable feelings that were expressed by such children, but unwanted by parents who insisted that the child esteem them, created a false self. It's this false self that is protected with every fiber of some people's being throughout their lives. It's this false sense that demands that anyone that comes close to breaking into this false self must be torn apart and chewed up.

It seems to be the case that I was born with a remarkable degree of maternal love. It's not just children but adults too. I see into the damaged soul of some adults and I see a child that needs love. I seek to heal. It's this 'weakness' of mine that can, and has, caused me so much grief.

Now that I know exactly what I am dealing with I am less and less hurt every day by any arrows thrown in my direction. I've an acute sense of what is indeed going on, and I side step rather than duck these days. I do what I can where I can.

However, I no longer believe in miracles, or that I have love enough to offer such that I can save every situation. I'm no saint, can't walk on water; can't change what happened way back when. I do my best.  I'm satisfied with that now.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Self Trust

When you've been through something difficult and come out the other side it's perfectly reasonable and right to think of yourself as a Survivor. You made it.

What should you do now? In a way, it's a rhetorical question. Being a survivor, you most probably rescued yourself. If you learned how to rescue yourself, you've not only learned a lot about yourself and what led you into a dangerous or toxic situation in the first place, but you have discovered that you need to look after yourself. That is to say, you have learned that loving yourself, protecting yourself and putting yourself first is vital.

If you're on this page at all you're probably identifying in some way with a submissive stance, or someone who appreciates the submissive stance. What do Submissives tend to do; to think of the other? And, what do submissives crave, to be loved?

If you are brave enough to rescue yourself, finally, you are brave enough to recognize that you don't need someone else to tell you you are lovable. You can tell yourself, prove to yourself, that you are lovable.

It's such an odd notion for so many of us, to put ourselves first, but it can be done. Think about what you like to do. Give yourself permission to do a few of those things each day.

Watch your mood rise.

As you tend to your own self care your sense of self esteem/self love will escalate. As your self love escalates boundaries will seem normal and reasonable. There is much you still want to give to others because that's who you are, but there are limits. No-one can break your sense of self worth again. Those days of being manipulated are over.

As  you begin to operate in the world, open but aware, self trust will be the order of the day.

Confident of your worth and what you have to offer you manifest good things and the Universe will give back.

Friday, September 15, 2017


Whether we listen to them or not, our instincts are operating. That little voice inside our heads that notes when something isn't right is talking to us, but sometimes we simply are not listening. Or else we are listening but then our mind kicks in and develops a rationale as to why we're wrong.

When we notice a definite pattern about our lives it makes sense to pay attention. So, if my pattern is that I allowed situations that weren't fair throughout my life, that didn't have at their core reciprocity, what was going on there?

I think this is where our observations about life - through the eyes of the little person we once were - instruct our older selves.

My parents loved each other and they loved us, their children, but there was nothing reciprocal about our parents' marriage, or any aspect of family life. Life rotated around Dad; what was important to him; what he wanted at any particular moment; whether he wanted us in his orbit or not. He made his feelings clear but I don't recall any conversations that hinged around how I  felt. It was tough to make a connection because there were only a few topics of conversation that really stirred him - football, cricket, horse racing, his business.

Luckily, I enjoyed horse racing so sometimes we'd go together. It gave us something to do and to talk about. But, he wasn't a fan of  things relating to education really and so we had no connection there. I don't recall talking to him about school at all. He wasn't interested in my love for ballet and piano, or for reading either. He didn't even feign interest, and I suppose there is a level of integrity about that. He was always authentically himself.

The reality is that I seemed to come out of nowhere, completely unlike my brother and my Mum and Dad. It was very disorienting actually. I sometimes did wonder if I wasn't some sort of mistake; what other explanation was there for this disparity?

When I met my husband and he was almost immediately moody and argumentative, ready to blame me for any little mistake - a little voice said to me, 'That's weird. You hardly know this guy and he's already acting moody and blaming you for things that make no sense.' But at the same time it wasn't all that weird, not from where I'd come; from where we'd given space to my Dad to be as moody and as difficult as he cared to be. No-one called him on that behavior and of course in my little girl way, I noted that and made the only assessment I could; that that was normal.

It's said that when you allow narcissistic behavior in your life it probably means that your self esteem is low, and it was. Of course, it was. I had parents who loved me but I didn't have parents who hugged me, or who had made a full effort to attach to me such that I felt secure. It stands to reason I was insecure. I was quite a pretty little girl,  nothing was awful about me, and I achieved pretty well if you leave sport out of the equation, but still, very lacking in self esteem. It's true.

Perhaps because I wasn't well attached to my parents, securely attached that is, wasn't sure that they - my Dad especially - wanted me around, I think I felt the same way about the boys I met. I wasn't sure that I was even interesting, or had something to offer. I was full of self doubt about my value.

They say that people like this - like me - haven't figured out what they like, or want, or need. I had some idea but it's true that I hadn't given the matter all that much thought. I wanted an education. I wanted to get close to one particular boy and for us to do lots of things together. Ideally I wanted an outgoing boy. I anticipated I'd be a teacher.

In the course of the marriage, it soon became clear that what my husband wanted to do, at any particular time, and how he wanted to do it, would be the way that things would go. I fought this because it didn't take into account what I needed and wanted often, but he got his way. I'd say the problem issues related to aesthetics in the main. I'd want to do some improvement to our house but he struggled to cooperate which I discovered was mainly related to his perfectionism.

Over time, doing things his way became the norm. I picked up the slack, since he didn't want to do mundane, housework type things, for example. He knew what he wanted to do and he wanted the freedom to do those things. And, for harmony, that's the way it went, and the way it still goes.

His voice got stronger and his insistence that he do things his way meant that a silence drew around us. I stopped asking for what I wanted, stopped trying to get the message across that what mattered to me years ago still mattered to me now, and always would. It really, really mattered. But, the message - delivered loudly, quietly, or silently - could not be heard. It wasn't what he wanted, and so it didn't happen. I continue to wait for what I want. If you asked him he would have all kinds of explanations for this, but at the end of the day, he chose different things. He had other priorities.

I see what happened now, not just in the marriage, but in relation to all men with whom I have been close in my life; well, save for David who is long dead now, who was such a gentleman, a substitute Dad for me. All the men I have known have been attracted to me because of my disposition; my willingness to be what they wanted me to be; to partake in a relationship of whatever sort where I didn't expect too much, and where reciprocity wasn't an expectation.

Understanding it all now, I ask myself what sort of man/relationship I'd love to have in my life, if I ever had another chance, another life, or my husband agreed to meet me in this life and share it with me with a sense of reciprocity.

Oh gosh! Of course, I'd love to have a man who cherished me; who wanted me to be my best self; who listened to me and was deeply curious about my inner life. I'd love a man who laughed, and who wanted to show me special places; and who hugged me and kissed me often. I'd love a man who pulled me into his side on the couch; who wanted lots of sex in lots of different ways, and who couldn't wait to come home to me. He'd want to show me to all his friends and we'd go for drives in the country on Sundays and find a dear little restaurant to have lunch and a glass of wine.

We'd have a house where all the repairs were taken care of. We'd not hoard anything but live minimally. It wouldn't be about possessions but it would be about living comfortably in a well maintained environment.

He'd want to give to others. I'd go on doing volunteer work in schools but he'd have a more overarching view about giving. He'd have a few special interest groups of which he'd give his time and funds.

We'd have a life together. I'd cherish him, adore him, and pray to God every night that we'd have one more day in this heaven on Earth beside one another. That kind of happiness, oh dear, wouldn't it be rich!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Building a Successful Life

In terms of a power exchange relationship people talk of the arrangement sometimes as an energy exchange. Different people have different things to say. I've heard and read of it as an exchange of two different types of personality, 'She loves to give and I love to take, so it works for both of us.'

I've thought of it as an ideal combining of two different types of people; one who enjoys taking the lead and one who is happy to be led. Not that nearly anyone wants to be led in all ways and at all times, but rather the relationship can express the synchronicity of the coupling and then details can be adjusted as required.

The lovely things to be said about an energy exchange between such people all imply that the relationship is undertaken with intelligence, with intention and with respect. There needs to be some consistency, acknowledgement of strengths and weaknesses, together with an awareness that life challenges will interfere with smooth sailing at times. It needs to be real.

A psychologist is likely to be concerned about power relationships if they get the sense that the relationship looks more like an Empath being taken advantage of by a Narcissist. Empaths can become what is known as pathological givers. They tend to feel that if they give to the Other what he or she needs, they will be loved and be given what they need automatically. The narcissist doesn't necessarily feel this way or indeed follow that sort of thinking.

This is probably what separates a power exchange that is healthy from one that is unhealthy. If both people have their needs met, who can argue with that? But, if one person has permanently unmet needs, that's not a good thing.

People whose needs are not met would do well to explain themselves, but there is no guarantee that this will sort the matter out. There may be an uptick in reciprocity but chances are only average that there will be a permanent change in mindset. It is the rare person, and particularly so if they have a demanding or set disposition, that can change themselves to suit another person.

The empath/submissive can be so frustrated that she might rage but ultimately he or she must accept the reality of being locked into a relationship that lacks reciprocity; where the Other is unable to feel his or her pain.

Putting aside this relationship for a moment and considering all relationships in our lives, what is a wise way to think about them as a whole? Some friendships are deeper - and smoother - than others, but as we age we come to see that all friendships and all relationships have an internal mechanism.

As much as we might like to get to know someone more intimately, or to feel closer to a friend, or to wish that the waitress in the Diner who brings us our chicken salad sandwich would crack a smile, there is only so much we can do to change these circumstances.

I believe that there are ways we can influence relationships. Speaking to someone with a respectful tone when explaining what you want them to do makes the exchange more friendly as a rule. If someone begins to shout staying calm can help them to settle. We can do what we know to do. But, we can't change people's intentions or motivations or personality.

In the same way we can talk to someone with whom we exchange energy in a power exchange, but it doesn't guarantee change. It depends on their drivers - their level of distraction, their understanding of what is important in their minds; what they want. This is a relationship no different to any other really except for the fact that it could be a parasitic relationship, and that's dangerous.

Some relationships are very stressful. When someone is on the alert for the changes of mood of someone, walking on eggshells, looking out for red flags, that's very stressful. Apart from the psychological pain that ensues, the body is subject to chronic inflammation. An empath's energetic field can be so open he or she can neglect the body.

It's clear that it's no small amount of work to solve these issues when an empath or submissive has found herself in the orbit of a  Narcissist who is ambivalent. Certainly this post can't solve this complex problem except that I would like to offer three suggestions that could, in time, give such a person the strength they need to assess the situation with clarity; to make positive change.

1) A meditative practice, being the witness to your own mind, teaches you to think with clarity and awareness that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.

2) Resilience is not something that we either have or don't have. You can teach yourself to go without and in doing so attain a sense of empowerment. Going without something, perhaps sugar or salt or tv for a time is a good start in this practice. As you learn that you can indeed go without you will see with clarity and discrimination what to say 'no' to, and what to say 'yes' to.

3) Develop patience. 'I can wait.' This will give you strength.

We are all made up of strengths and weaknesses and we can be grateful for both. A focus on the weaknesses is a learning prompt and encourages compassion. It is all experience. Nothing is lost.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Authentic self

In a series of days - 90 days in fact -  that roll on for me like a man in the desert hanging on to hope that over the next hill there will be an oasis -  there was this one reprieve. My husband acted like an owner.

It probably wasn't longer than 30 minutes - maybe significantly shorter - but I was aware for every minute of that particular day, which was spent mostly alone and mostly doing menial tasks, that I was light, untroubled, bright, buoyant, happy.

I knew it was just a little thing, not likely to lead to anything else, or to be repeated any time soon. Still, I enjoyed every last drop of the glass of water that had been given to me and the journey that day was smooth. I put one foot in front of the other with a light heart.

I knew that I was still likely to remain alone in the desert for considerable time to come, maybe for a very, very long time. I stayed in the Now, neither worrying about what happened yesterday nor wondering about how to deal with tomorrow. 

This is my authentic self.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Acknowledging needs

It was a pleasant day yesterday, a walk and brunch with friends to celebrate one of the girl's birthdays, followed by a walk to one of the girl's houses, since she insisted I borrow a particular book. From there, I had intended to jump on the train, but the sun had come out, finally, and I was no longer cold. I decided to walk home.

It was quite a long walk. I thoroughly enjoyed it and one of the few thoughts I had whilst walking, that I can remember, is the question, 'Why hadn't I thought to take more long walks like this?'

By the time I got home, acknowledgement of my weariness began to sink in. After cleaning the kitchen I got into bed and I must have slept solidly for about two hours. Got up, got dressed, made dinner, fed one son and myself and out the door again to do a little shopping with him for his oncoming birthday.

On return home, I took in that my husband, home late and in his study, hadn't helped himself to the food I had left for him, and for another son who would return home very late.

So very weary, I just didn't have the energy to be that perfect little hostess tonight. I washed the dishes and informed my husband that there was food for him ready to eat, just to warm it up.

I had a bath. I went to sleep. I slept solidly for over 8 hours.

This morning, whilst I was still asleep, my husband made overtones out of the blue, something he does sometimes, for reasons I can't quite identify. It is as if something about his world, how he feels, isn't quite right, and this attention that he seeks, to give or to receive, is an attempt to quiet a feeling he has. He was giving me attention, and yet, I felt, instinctively, that this was him quietening his own uncomfortable feelings. It is as if, by giving me attention I'll give him attention back and things will be put back to right; whatever he is feeling will be relieved.

We do, of course, all need attention. We all need to be comforted. But, let's be truthful here, he gets the lion's share of attention. I listen to him. I feed him. I do the things he wants to do, in the way he wants them done, when he wants them done. I make it possible for him to do what he believes he needs to do, in the way he believes he needs to do them by being the support person in his life - attending to the children, the house, the food, the washing and ironing, the changing of the sheets, the cleaning of the bathroom, the one who organizes vacations and social occasions. I acknowledge his world view of everything, whether I believe it or nor, because that is what he wants.

And if he is so busy that I need to be wholly independent, I become that person. I make zero demands at the same time as I continue to be that support person - the listener, the cook, the cleaner, the organizer. I don't ever leave my family to their own devices. They know they can depend on me to have things organized and sorted, even when I am away.

As time has gone by, and most particularly this year as I have been asked to be an independent person nearly the entire time, I have noticed something. I have come to question the reasons behind someone who has distanced themselves from me quite suddenly becoming close again for a time. Are they trying to quieten some sort of discomfort within themselves?

There's the push and the pull, and either when it is too close or too far, there needs to be force in the opposite direction. It is as if they cannot be too close, or too far, before they need to turn away or towards me. It is as if I am necessary, but when they sense the necessary nature of me in their lives, they take fright and pull away, only to repeat the cycle.

When I had a night off last night, effectively choosing not to begrudgingly motor on through exhaustion, but rather choosing to do something for myself, to rest, this wasn't about anyone else but me. I was nurturing myself. But, somehow, I think, this was interpreted to be about the other, about how this made him feel.

We become used to things. We can become used to watching out for the other - their moods, their emotions, their ups and downs and the ever-present possibility that their negative feelings will be emoted in a toxic manner. We sort of 'pooper scoop' to ensure that the other is comfortable enough with the world, and with us, that this doesn't happen.  It becomes all about them and how they feel. In other words, we stop even being aware of our own needs. Everything becomes about the other, until the other notices some sort of little difference in the service and feels the need to make that right, but for us, or for them?

This is the instinctive feeling I got this morning; that I wasn't being given a little attention because I felt low. I hadn't done or said anything to suggest that I felt low. My behavior in going to sleep, not serving dinner at well past 9 pm, identified that I was tired, nothing more than that. So, if this was happening  under the banner of him wanting to feel better, or to coral me into being that person he relied on, willing and wanting to give service,  I wasn't ready to be that person. I was sleeping. I was looking after my own needs, as I had been asked to do for the lion's share of the most recent past.

I quite naturally take to the role of looking after people. Whether this is my authentic self or an adaption to my circumstances, I don't know. I know that a few night's ago my son who doesn't have a washing machine right now came around with his laundry before an overseas trip and I wanted very much to do this for him, because it's just part of the love I feel for  him. I want to help him, especially when he is so frantically busy, especially when he cares for me with such tenderness.

I want to be in a relationship, to have relationships, that truly meet my needs as well as the other. This is a fact that I have a tendency to ignore.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Moments of happiness

As you develop a closer relationship with yourself - being aware of emotional states coming and going - you will begin to see that there are moments of happiness, possibly dispersed among periods of less desirable states - feelings of being overwhelmed, anxious, lonely; bored. When people ask you how you are politeness and a sense of appearing 'pulled together' may have you answering 'Fine' when in fact over the course of the commute to work, as an example, all sorts of troubling thoughts have drifted in and out of your mind. Why is your son so unwilling to do his homework and where are you going to find the money for a new car? We all have these thoughts.

Nearly three months ago now we took a vacation in Bali, my first time there. It was a special vacation since the fares there were a gift from my children. From the moment I set eyes on the place, and especially when I set eyes on the villa I had rented for us, I loved everything about Bali. It's hard not to enjoy yourself on such a vacation but even so I was aware at first of some not so perfect thoughts coming and going. My husband had been particularly obsessive and perfectionist - preoccupied over the past several months - and we had to get to know one another again in a more intimate way.

As one day turned into another, I noticed that nearly all thought, to the extent this is possible, had drifted away. I felt not the slightest bit of pain or tension in my body. I was floating through the days in a state of pure bliss. I took to wearing the $9 floaty long dresses I bought there - colorful patterns - with a pair of sandals, and a pair of panties underneath, that's it. Life was blessedly simple and I loved every minute of it.

A couple of moments stand out as being ones of total and complete happiness. My husband was busy doing something inside the villa when I decided to use the communal pool, about three steps from our front door. We had our own infinity pool inside the compound, but the communal pool, empty, spoke to me. Ever so quietly I breast stroked up and down the pool and as I did so I followed my fingers making the strokes, watching my hands closely as they returned to make straight lines in front of me. I was surrounded by greenery wherever I looked and the thought occurred to me that there was nothing more than this. This was bliss. I wondered if I had found heaven.

On another occasion we were on the motorbike my husband had rented. At first I was nervous. The traffic appears chaotic to the untrained eye. However, I quickly learned to settle. Vehicles drive fairly slowly by Western standards and everyone is so polite and accepting. At one point we were at an intersection and the thought does occur - how are we all going to work this out? I think my husband looked a small truck driver in the eye, like - Can I go? - and he nodded as if to say, 'Yeah, no worries, you go'. Off my husband went and on the back I put up my hand as if to say, 'Thanks'. He laughed. 'Crazy Aussies', he thought.

It was a happy moment, but not the one I particularly remember. The moment I particularly remember is when I was quite simply aware of being right behind my husband on the bike and holding onto him around the waist, the two of us off on an adventure, him leading and me holding on for the ride. I I felt...complete. I felt I had arrived home.

The ten days quickly came to an end. The Bali we saw and experienced may well quickly come to an end too. Villas are sprouting up everywhere beside the rice paddies of Ubud to the point there may soon not be enough land for the people to grow the crops that have fed the people of Bali until now. I hope and pray this does not happen but greed may devour this beautiful place.

My life with my husband is all or nothing. Either he is worrying himself to an early death about something or other - obsessively and compulsively devoting his thoughts to one - or two or three - projects that consume his time and thoughts - or he is completely relaxed, such as he was in Bali. To this end I know there is always hope of other blissful states.

Yet, I have to get through - from one preoccupation and project - to the next time when he can relax; when he can decide it is time to 'let go'. This is, and has been for some time, my mission.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Yesterday morning I sent my husband an article that I thought it would be useful for him to read. It talked about a symptom of ADHD - impulsivity - and offered some strategies a person could use to help with that tendency.

For example, some people blurt out what they think in a business meeting for fear of forgetting the thought when they do get a chance to air their views. If such a person were to jot down the thought this would prevent the feeling of desperation to get out the thought at an inappropriate time. Hilary Clinton did this several times in her debates with Donald Trump.

In the case of a personal conversation a person might note that his or her hand is clenched as a clue to take a few deep breaths rather than talk over someone or go into a monologue, rather than to remain a conversationalist.

Last evening, there was a brief discussion about health. I think my husband mentioned a particular vitamin that he was out of, or something related to a vitamin or mineral. I assured him that I wasn't discounting what he said but that lifestyle issues were an important part of aging in a healthy way. So, the idea is to get yourself into a situation where anxiety is easily managed - eat well, exercise most days, enjoy your life and keep your body motoring along in a consistent and gentle way.

He debunked the importance of lifestyle, as he always does. That's okay. We have differing views on the matter. But, he did raise an important point. Lots of people have lots of anxiety in the form of responsibility and it doesn't do them any harm, as far as we can tell.

Of course, I happen to think that my husband's anxiety has done him a lot of harm but again that relates to the lifestyle choice of carrying his anxiety with him nearly 24/7 for a very long time. He doesn't have a healthy lifestyle balance. Anyway, I can't do much about that at this time and it's not the point of the journal entry.

It got me thinking about anxiety - the kind of anxiety that makes you feel stressed, miserable, under the gun, tired and worried - and it's a very inward thinking, non-relating sort of thing. When overly stressed it's a rare person that is sexually aroused. Stress closes down the desire for life that is abundantly available when stress is low and a person is well rested on a daily basis.

When someone is stressed they tend to not behave as well as they might,  perhaps demanding that their beliefs and ideas are most important and require all the air space; indeed,  snuffing any other ideas out. The ideal situation goes that we need to act and think sympathetically towards such people. It is, after all, some sort of anxiety showing up in a dysfunctional communication style. We are asked to walk in the other person's shoes and see into their insides. Ah, yes, the rudeness relates to anxiety!

Yet, it actually doesn't work that way after a time. Rather, the tendency becomes to realize that it is better to disengage from this dysfunctional conversation (monologue) and to keep your opinions to yourself.

When you keep your opinions to yourself, you keep yourself to yourself and in this way there is no relate-ion-ship. You remain alone, in essence protecting the relationship from combustion; rather, keeping the relationship on hold until, and if, behavior improves.

To be aware of a tendency to be impulsive and to learn the strategies that enable you to have control of any impulsivity is not only a gift to yourself but to all the other people in your life. Impulsivity drowns those people around you until one day you realize that all the people around you have their heads under the water.