Be Happy, Be Strong, Live Life.
I write for the love of it; it helps me think clearer and somehow it also gives me strength.
it's also a healing activity;
it's about me, being a mom,
persons who mean much to me, memories, discoveries,
where life has taken me
and where I hope it will head.
I am moving forward, I'm happier today (1 May 2012)
A couple of interesting statements I recently read and my thoughts:
" It is engagement that counts................The question of meaning of life is ... not edifying. One must immerse oneself into the river of life and let the question drift away"- Irvin D Yalom.
My encounter with several different persons in my life tells me a few things. There are 3 different categories of people :-
1) the group that is constantly whining or looking on and waiting for something to move us
2) the group that is in the flow and moving of their own volition or
3) that group that is in the flow but are merely being carried by it.. ..
Sitting on the banks and letting life flow by slows us down; age faster and mental faculties seem fuzzy or cluttered. This applies to both old and young alike. It can be quite depressing to live that way and be with someone like that too. It's harder to shake an elderly person out of it, but there's hope for the younger one yet.
On the other hand when we are constantly moving with it (2nd,3rd group) we do grow.
BUT it is only in the second group that we are really alive when we act(engage) and that is where the hard work comes in.
But then having said that, it is good to slow down once in a while and observe the life that flows, to breathe in, take stock and refresh. Being in the first group only sometimes is alright and necessary.
The other interesting statement from Dr Yalom, "...freedom has a darker side" . Why, because we are then responsible for ourselves.
There are times when I wish I did not have this freedom, there just seems to be too much ground to cover and too many people involved, I want someone else to shoulder them and lead me. And that would be being a apart of the first and third group.
The childen are learning to be loud. Sometimes too much. Some things need to be learned all over, some fears still to overcome, that's hard. The ill wind does not blow as often. Still I am grateful, there seems to be more calm less strain. When once there was mostly gloom, the sun shines more. But of course we can't have everything perfect. There are still Inner struggles, but of a different nature, and we will persevere.
'Listening' to other people is easier done than listening to my kids.
When you listen, you don't just do it with the ears but you hear with an open mind and heart. And our response should be one that is the result of digesting and absorbing that message. It should not be a reaction.
A lesson for me this week ......
I experienced a one-way shouting match with my teenager, while I remained calm I realised I was reacting to her and not responding (and this is something I don't do when I interact with others). She was obviously reacting to my response.
At the end of it, though she did recover herself soon enough to realise she was in the wrong and that made me happy. While the 'shouting and the walking away' had reminded me of my husband's character, the recovery was all her own.
Doing this with outsiders is easier than with the kids, I realise. I already have built in biases, expectations, presumptions and familiarity with the kids that does not lend itself to the patience needed. So by reflex my 'listening' to them becomes ineffective because my mind is already interpreting before the message is completed. As a result, my response will not be the objective one it should be.
Ironically, the difference is because I care more.
It takes patience to do things properly and patience is required in the waiting for something good to grow. It's like gardening. It takes time for a tiny seedling to grow and show it's first shoots and like that it takes time to cultivate a habit and behaviour.
So it is for a relationship with a child(old or young) and developing his habits - it does not just take lots of love and care but PATIENCE too.
I have always thought I had lots of it, but it is insufficient it seems.
“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience.” And you need perseverence too. Hard to practise in this fast moving world, when we have so little time.
To grow and refill patience, be present in the here and now, or as May Sarton suggests consider gardening - “Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”
When dealing with a teenager, keep Lao Tzu's advice in mind: 'Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Be still and allow the mud to settle.'
I have slowed down the frequency of posting lately, only because I am falling behind and find myself racing to catch up with the train. It's been hectic but I am trying to stay centered and 'sane' inspite of everything. I mentioned before that I have also taken up a course and so I have a couple of assignments to complete on top of the daily normal, usual and the extraordinary stuff that goes on called life.
My first thought today was - is it 'life is for living' or 'living is for life' ?
Besides that, I thought to share something interesting I read today from a book by Irvin D Yalom.... We all have the natural human instinct to live life, to grow and develop, to be well, to be happy. Therefore we don't need to work so hard at these, we merely need to recognise and remove the obstacles that block our paths and we will easily be on our way to achieving them.
When I read this passage my thoughts flowed from question to interpretation, .. .. about free will and God's plan, sounds paradoxical but they are intertwined...
Is our destiny planned out? Is anything pre-ordained? .... I don' t think so. This passage by Jeremiah tells me, it is not. (Jer 18: 1-10).
God had asked Jeremiah to visit a potter. While there, the vessel that the potter was making came out wrong, and so he began again and shaped it into another vessel. This was a demonstration for Jeremiah , and God said to him, we are like the clay, and "so you are mine.... Sometimes I announce that I shall uproot, break down... a nation .... but should the nation ... abandon its' wickedness I then change my mind about the disaster....". The reverse is also possible, even if he said that he "would build up a nation", should they displease God, "I then change my mind about the good which I was intending to confer on it."
This was what struck me - that God changes his mind, because man changes. While we are part of a master plan, it is a master plan that is always changing. God let's us live with free will to choose which path we will take. Imagine ourselves at the centre of a wheel with many spokes radiating from it. Each is a different path that we could take by our choices and finish at the end of any one of those (myriads of) paths. Does God know the outcome? If God can change his mind, it implies that He does not know our future, neither does he set it. He may not know which path we will take, but I believe he knows what happens down each and every single path (branch or configuration) that is open to us and where each will end, because He knows each of us. There are teachings and rules to guide us so that we each might choose the right path. But it is our choice to decide how to live. When we take a wrong path, I believe He attempts to guide and redirect us by means of tragedies and catastrophes, opportunities and by uncontrollable events beyond our own control. Because we are his (Jer 18:6) 'you are mine', He wants as many of us to be saved. But we have to heed the lessons. His plan for us then, all souls are not created perfect but by living a 'correct' life , we are to become perfect and thus end up in that perfect place at the end of our journey.
Because He knows what goes on in each path and where it ends, and if that path has no branches, it also means that God can take back that life if he sees it will come to no good and there is no hope of change. He can also take a life back when he knows that, that soul is on the right path to light, and that is where it ends, because it is already made perfect. So for the rest of us still here, there is hope still that we are making our way on that right path and staying on it.