By going inside, gently bringing our attention to the ‘dwelling’ inside of ourselves for a few moments each day, we are in those moments in touch with the most reliable part of ourselves. It is being grounded for a few moments in spite of the pull of the world around, in which we can be at peace with things as they are no matter how good or bad. This practice is called meditation – the practice of slowing things down and gently paying attention to the breath. Kabir wrote
Don’t go outside the house to see the flowers.
My friend, don’t bother with that excursion.
inside your body there are flowers.
One flower has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit.
Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty
inside the body and out of it,
before gardens and after gardens.
I dreamed I had an interview with GOD. “So would you like to interview me? God asked.
“If you have the time” I said.
God smiled. “My time is eternity.” “What questions do you have in mind for me?”
“What surprises you most about humankind?”
God answered…..”That they get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.” “That they lose their health to make money….and then lose their money to restore their health.” “That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget about the present, so that they live in neither the present nor the future.” “That they live as if they will never die and die as though they had never lived.”
God’s hand took mine and we were silent for a while.
And then I asked….
”As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”
“To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. All they can do is let themselves be loved.”
“To learn it is not good to compare themselves to others.”
“To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.”
“To learn it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in those they love, and it can take years to heal them.”
“To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most , but is the one who needs the least.”
“To learn that there are people who love them dearly, but simply have not learned how to express or show their feelings.”
“To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.”
“To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves.”
“Thank you for your time I said humbly.
“Is there anything else you would like your children to know?”
God smiled and said, “ Just know that I am here…..always.”
The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off in the world as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. is bound to be noticed. Soren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death
Have you ever noticed yourself or someone changing over time but not for the better. An example might be of someone having too much to do while not being able for it. Perhaps there has been a loss in the family and the person struggles on and on ‘keeping the show on the road’. No –one in their circle seems to notice not even the person themselves although they may have an inkling and brush it aside like they do their needs and feelings. It could be said they do not value themselves. They take on other people’s responsibilities. This often happens to mothers as caring is their main role in the early years of each child’s life. Years later they still pick up the socks, wash the clothes arrange their life so that they are available to their little child now a twenty something year old, who may never have had to shop for their own food, wash, dry, iron or put away their clothes. The family forget that this is a person who has set herself aside to perform a role for a time. The role changes as time goes on. As the child gets older mother needs to balance caring in favour of her ‘self.’ When that doesn’t happen the self can disappear. Not as in a car accident when someone changes overnight and maybe locked in their bodies but a gradual erosion takes place.
You might ask how does this happen? You might say it would not happen to me.
While growing up parents or circumstances for whatever reason may not have been able to meet all their children’s’ needs. The severity to which this takes place and the enduring length of time it happens over affects the emotional health and well being of the children. The children put childhood aside become hypervigilant always scanning their surroundings to pick up any signals of a threat approaching. They put aside their needs and feelings as no-one who might calm them, reassure them when they are scared is present. Yes parents may be there but being overwhelmed themselves with their own struggles they cannot give the child the support it needs at times of distress. Sometimes it is not safe for the child to say what s/he feels and needs as they get punished for that too. They quickly learn to forget about feelings, it is dangerous to feel and so develop a way to control others always in an effort to keep safe and get love. This is how they keep safe in their world.
The child becomes an adult bringing all those feelings of being responsible for others happiness with them. – I must not say no to anyone; they will not like me if I do. I must not ask for what I want as I don’t want to be a burden on others. If I do this / that I can make you happy, I am in control. It is all that the adult knows about how relationships are. Behaving this way does not make for good relationships. Imagine what it is like to be the one who has to set aside their needs all the time and not be aware of it or if they are aware how do they conceal it.
Good relationships are good for our health. We need a healthy diet, enough exercise to keep our body moving and adequate sleep / rest. We need friends that support us emotionally too. It is most important to learn self-care skills and come to realise it is not selfish to do so.
Self Care is becoming aware of your physical, emotional, spiritual and relationship needs and then taking FULL RESPONSIBILITY for getting your needs met.
Unfortunately it is not that easy as most children when adult make relationships that mirror their early ones with family and so maybe endanger themselves as they work towards regaining a sense of self. Partners sometimes find this challenging.
It is important to get help with this – Psychotherapist Roscommon
‘Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.’ M.Scott Peck
‘Counselling as a personal journey in relationship’ is the title of an article written by Dr Jim O’Donoghue. In it he outlines that we come into existence through relationship and our being depends on relationship. Our well –being is enhanced by what we receive emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually from our carers before and after birth. If our childhood has provided well for us we enter our teenage years with confidence and a feeling of worth, we have status at home, at school and in our social scene. However if our early years did not provide this then when a teenager we are ill equipped for the difficulties of the future. Therapy with teenagers involves preparation for the future, recognising that they have a future and that it will always be like this provides hope.
I provide counselling / psychotherapy for teenagers in Leitrim, Roscommon and Longford