"If you think you're enlightened, go spend a week with your family"
- Baba Ram Dass
Hello beautiful goddess
Let me be completely honest with you in today's post - my mindfulness practice gets no greater work out, than when I am with my family. I need to breathe to depths I didn't even know my diaphragm was capable of. My heart charka contracts and expands from moment to moment, until I need to reach inside and find the deepest level of compassion and understanding I've kept stored there in case of emergency. Rather than drag up the past, I make every conscious effort to be the personification of the non-violent communicator.
These efforts, with their highest of intentions, don't always pay off however... Sometimes I explode, accuse, lash out, become deeply wounded and take things incredibly personally. I then beat myself up for not walking my talk, and feel guilty for speaking in such a manner to my senior folks, as they really did do the best they could for me growing up.
They say that the ones we are closest to, are the ones that can hurt us the most. This is quite the case with my family and I. My greatest wish would be for them to eat a healthy diet (not frozen, processed food), gently exercise their joints (not sit for hours on end in front of the computer or TV) and treat humankind with grace (not impatience and constant criticism).
The moment I really grew up from being their child is when I realised - they have reached an age where they may behave exactly as they please. They are not an extension of me, and their behaviour does not reflect who I am as a person.
Rather than chastise them, my goal now is to reach new levels of not only tolerance, but acceptance.
This makes interacting with them a much more pleasurable experience, although I am still learning the steps to this new dance. They are not my Wellness Coaching clients, and I only ever offer advice now when it is asked for, not when it is uninvited.
I have also begun to explore the powerful notion of 'self-parenting', where you take ownership of nurturing your soul and soothing yourself in moments of crisis. The Inner Child is the centre of your love, your feelings, your spontaneity, your curiosity. It is the part of you which is exquisitely alive, vital, creative and from which you draw your energy. It is the part of yourself that feels your pain, that needs love and support and feels hopeless without it. Your Inner Parent is the centre of your inner wisdom, your intuitive knowledge. This is your problem-solving self, the part of you that will in healthy families gently and lovingly guide your Inner Child. This is also the part of you who protects your Inner Child. Your Inner Parent is the part of you unaffected by your ego or your feelings. It is the transcendent part of yourself, a direct channel to your Higher Power.
My own Mum and Dad have reached a stage where they are no longer able to 'parent' me in a way that feeds my soul, and this is an inevitable part of the wheel of life. By taking ownership and doing the work myself, it means that I no longer feel resentful towards them, and can meet them where they're at.
The lesson here is to accept our loved ones as they are, especially when you know there is no change likely to occur on their part. The more you battle against it, the tougher it becomes.
In the wise words of the Buddha:
“The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings… As the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become.”
My invitation to you, beautiful goddess, is to gently observe your thoughts and behaviour this week with loved one's who trigger you. Remember that they also have their own story, hurts, desires and if they don't necessarily match up with yours, it doesn't make them a bad person.
This is a different kind of self-care practice, as the less upset we get, the less stress and unnecessary tension we take into our system.
What insights did you gain from today's post? Who really knows how to push your buttons? Have you found a constructive way to flow through it? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Please also share this post with any sister who would benefit from some soul reflection on family relationships.
Thank you so much for reading this week’s Monday Meditation.
In love and gratitude