Wednesday, June 26, 2019


It has been by way of my attraction to power exchange relationships that I came to eventually see that I am a 'Giver' who was therefore naturally inclined to a 'Taker'. But, it goes well beyond that scope.

I can see the dynamic present in my family of origin, where I allowed the situation to endure well beyond being a child whereby I gave of myself, making sure they were fine at every turn. The emphasis in my mind was my responsibility to them and not the other way round.

I only have one sibling and this applies to him also, perhaps particularly to him. In my 62 years on this Earth I only asked, for the first time a couple of weeks ago, for some consideration to be given to me on a very important matter. This put the cat amongst the pigeons in ways I could never have imagined.

They wanted to know if something had happened. They didn't use these words, but the subtext was, "You've never asked let alone demanded anything ever before. You've always given in for the greater good, done our bidding; never asked for equality. What's changed? What could you be thinking? You know that's not how this game is played."

It got, from my point of view, quite ugly; insufferably so. I had a point and I wasn't so inclined to let go of such an important point after one most unpleasant meeting, so I asked to speak to my brother alone a week later. By now, I was armed for his dirty tricks but mind blown nonetheless to see how easily he moved from one argument to the other according to my responses. Was he prepared to lie? Endlessly. Countless lies and underhand manoeuvres and manipulations; anything to have his way.

If you are a meditator you might know that the mind tends to open up after a while; that instinct becomes quite precise and tuned. I wondered, is there any chance I was adopted? Had I seen a photo of myself as a baby? Not one photo. There is a photo of me at around 1 year old but I had never seen a photo earlier than that? Is it possible that in the mid-1950s cameras were still not readily owned? My mind considered all sorts of scenarios because there had to be some other explanation than that I had been such a perfect Caretaker that I didn't consciously compute the dynamic for six decades.

In the exterior world, outside family, people can be hell bent to have their way, but you expect that. We have few expectations of relationships that are loose and distant. We don't expect the lawyer of an adversary to play fair, or I don't. There's no loyalty there, no respect; no fondness. So, we are ready for foul play; for ugliness; for greed and hostility.

Not that I play in that arena for a second longer than I have to. I hang out with sweet minded people as often as possible. I am not the least suited to hostility and conflict.

Even so, after all the writing on this blog and elsewhere, all this consideration of my nature and the pitfalls of that nature, and how to protect myself and so on, I never expected so called 'loved ones' to turn, bite and scratch.

I have had some time to digest it all; to consider my position. There isn't a chance, and I mean not the slightest possibility that I can see them as I once did. I chose to ignore all the disappointments of the relationships to that point because what are you going to do? You don't get to choose family and I certainly didn't choose them; didn't get much succor from the relationships but just flowed along without rocking the boat as steadily as I could. But, any feelings of fondness are no longer there. This is just the way it is inside me and there is nothing I can do about it.

In fact, there's a sort of little group text set up between the traitors and myself only in terms of my mother's care. My statements there are all factual, and only made when I think they might be helpful to her. That's the extent of it and so it will always be unless and until I have to make a factual statement relating to finances, which someday I shall. If they really misbehave I shall have to make statements via a lawyer, but let's see how it goes.

For a while there, I was shattered. Now, I am okay with it, so long as I don't have to lay eyes on them. It's all so difficult because I can't be guaranteed that I won't see them when I visit my mother and if I were to do so I'd be physically ill. I am trying to figure out how to sort this because I'd happily have my mother believe that all is well. Her mental faculties are failing her and the best outcome is for her to prattle on about them and for me to say, 'Yes, yes' as I do, her thinking all is well.

The good news is that I have been studying dharma wisdom for some time now and one of my favorite pieces of advice is to accept 'what is'. What happened is not what I would have wanted but it is what happened. I have no argument with the fact it happened this way. Would it have been wonderful to have a family of origin that was close and caring? It goes without saying that would have been lovely, but I no longer concern myself with the fact that this wasn't my lot any more than that it's somebody else's lot to lose something that means a great deal to them: a career, a spouse, a home.

There's no 'why me?' in this story. There is no pre-written plan for any of us. It just is as it is. It's about learning to let go; let go of all that is not serving you; to recognize when the time comes to say 'I did my best.' It is time to move on now without looking back.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The benefits of a meditation practice

Often, perhaps once a month, my husband will say to me how different I am now, and he attributes that to my regular meditation practice. I agree. Meditation has provided me with tools that I had not accessed any other way.

It's a bit of a farce really, all that money spent on medical costs and mental health costs, probably often legitimate therapies, but when you consider meditation is virtually free, save a small cost for a group meditation sit or a few classes to get you going, it has been most underrated as a self-help therapy.

Most people who are asked why they have come to a meditation class will say that their minds are full of thoughts. They don't want that. Or, they want to be less anxious.

Meditation is quite simple really. First, you settle the body. Once you begin to pay attention to your breath, the body gets that cue and begins to understand what you want. A body scan works nicely, perhaps starting at the scalp and letting go one bit at a time, all the way down to your toes. Insight Timer gives you a range of guided meditations to try.

Feeling grounded is good, noting where you feet rest on the floor. If you are experiencing anxiety, breathe into the belly.

Once your body is feeling relaxed, noting any painful sections and breathing into those also, letting go, letting go, you can move onto calming your mind, which in fact you have already begun to do, due to the mind body connection.

Become aware of the sensory world. What does it feel like to touch one hand with the other? Is it smooth or rough? What sounds do you hear, faraway or close by, inside the room or out? Perhaps you hear nothing. Enjoy the sound of silence. Can you detect a scent? Explore that. Be curious about the sensory world. Radiate in it. Notice bird song. Notice a plane flying across you. Bring your focus to the world that is often closed off from your awareness and enjoy that.

By now, you will have noticed thoughts going by, perhaps as fast as city traffic, or just floating by like a cloud. Take one mind step back and be the quiet, silent observer. What is actually going on? Did you notice every thought has a beginning and an end? Your own mind is fascinating if you pay attention for a minute of two.

Perhaps, this isn't a good time for you. You are sitting calming and blow me down some really most unwanted emotions are taking up your mind space. All emotions, in all their nuances, are normal. What is this emotion about? It has arrived with a message. What is it trying to tell you? Don't judge or belittle the emotion or thought. Don't drive it away. Give it the attention it seeks and it will go exactly when it is ready to go.

Allow your mind to float from one thought or emotion or sense. If things are too troubling in there, move back to the breath, or your feet on the floor or your shoulders moving further away from your ears as you relax. The sit is yours. You do what you need to do. Rest in your whole body sitting on the chair or lying on the floor or on your cushion.

Perhaps today you want to feel love and that feeling isn't available to you in the 'real world'. Take yourself to a place you love, the mountains, the sea, whatever pleases you, and remember how that felt.

Or, see in your mind's eye, the little girl or boy you once were, who simply craved some parental attention and care. Pour into yourself the love you want. Remind yourself that you are a good person doing your best. Guilty about something in the past? Remind yourself that at that time you did the best you could based on what you knew then.

There is no much richness in a meditation sit. Each one is unique and that is proven if you keep a meditation journal, although you may well find that certain themes keep coming up. Well, that's rich material for you right there.

If you need a therapist, and so many of us do at some stage to iron out some struggle, meditation goes hand in hand with therapy. It will enrich therapy. It will get you to revelations faster.

Above all, meditation will help you to see that there is a co-existing awareness available to us. We all go through really troubling situations but sitting behind that challenging state of mind is a still mind. It's always there and always available to us. There is more to life than what you see.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Going to quiet (or underground?)

There have been some decisions made in my family of origin that they didn't think twice about, in terms of the effect on me, or how I might feel about those matters. When I think about it sitting here at my lap top, why would they? It is completely normal for them, my mother and my brother, to go about making decisions without in any way consulting me, even when the actions they are taking might well have an impact on me.

It's so normal for them to do this, to treat me in a particular way, that even I was flummoxed when a panic attack, or some sort of extreme bodily reaction on the way home in the car occurred, returning home from visiting my mother. To put myself back there, it felt like every cell in my body was in overdrive. It was extreme agitation, brought on perhaps by the other fact about my relationship with my mother and my brother, that I have never spoken my mind. Whatever they do, whatever they say, I just agree. In fact, I think there has been a lifetime of even thinking I agreed.

It seems so late in the day for denial to lift, to be angry about the relationships, and yet the simple fact is that I am angry, and disappointed.  Sad. There's even a 'why me?' aspect to my feelings. Why couldn't I have a normal family?

I say this a bit tongue in cheek since there are so few of us in this category. But, there's also a serious component. It would be so lovely to arrive at my mother's house having not seen her for over a month, having been overseas, for her to smile and come towards me with open arms and ready to hug. 'Hello, darling, how lovely to see you.' It doesn't go this way. It never goes this way. Perhaps she will accept a peck on the cheek, but if you don't do that, and she doesn't really want it, there's nothing physical about the greeting, and I think that's odd.

Of course, this is the 'isness' of the situation. My complaining won't fix it. Nothing will fix it, but in the past few weeks this 'triggering', this reaction both physical and emotional, has me trying to understand my own reactions. Was I living in denial, or making the best of a bad lot, or have I been mothered by someone quite miserly in her affections and I just didn't want to face that fact?

It's a funny thing because my mother encouraged me to go to university after school, but she didn't come to my graduation, and a few years ago when she did come to the graduation of my Masters it was all about her; how long the ceremony went for and how tired she was. In fact, a photo my son took at the lunch right after the ceremony shows she looked very well that day, but there was no 'congratulations, darling' from her, and even though she is loaded I paid for the celebratory lunch with her and whatever children could make it.

I cannot ignore my filial responsibilities to my mother, and I do have to hold my brother to account for the financial situation that has accrued owing to his further demands on my mother, but my instincts are to honor myself at this time, and to go to quiet, in an effort to provide myself self care.

I want to believe that I can recapture some warm feelings towards my family of origin and yet I doubt that's actually going to happen. When the flood gates finally opened, they came off their hinges and may not be able to be repaired.

I was without boundaries. I was tossed and turned and I never insisted that they stop. Finally, I spoke up for myself with my brother but he's used to getting what he wants. I should fight for my rights but I so want to walk to away and be done with it. Honestly, I wish I could have stayed in denial.