Saturday, 23 February 2013

We can't always walk away and we can't always be happy .....

It is interesting reading some of the spiritual posts which go up and I like many of them but equally, sometimes they just sound trite and unrealistic.

One suggests that we should respect ourselves enough to walk away from that which does not serve us, does not help us grow and does not make us happy. The reality is that if we did we would spend our whole lives walking away.

Surely if one could walk away from anything then we would but often we cannot and it has nothing to do with a lack of respect - it is just the way it is! We can have difficult situations with our children for example and we may find it impossible to believe it serves us, let alone grows us, feeling crushed as one can and it certainly does not make us happy but we would never walk away.... and should never walk away.

Equally with parents who are deserving of our honouring no matter how hard it might be to remain in a relationship; or our siblings whom we have chosen to be with in this life; or our close friends whom we have known for many years and who, because of what is going on in their lives, no longer 'serve' us, although my question is, who says they should ?

And what does it mean to say that someone or something 'grows us' that we can define  as growth anyway? How would we know what is growing us and what is not given that often it is only when we look back over many years that we can see that difficult situations were in fact just what we needed and the best thing for us? The difficult people and situations are our greatest teachers so says another spiritual maxim.

And then there is the illusion of what makes us happy, when often, what makes us happy or makes us feel happy or think we are happy is the worst thing for us. Ask anyone who is addicted to drugs, drink, sex, work, exercise, food.....

If we are in an abusive relationship there is good reason to walk away but generally such relationships are long lasting and the decision to walk away comes very late in the piece. One could argue that if a woman does not walk away the first time her partner is physically violent toward her then she is accepting the situation and the problem is as much hers as his. Obviously it is not always easy to walk away and that is also the point. There are many things which don't 'serve' us, which are painful, which make us desperately unhappy and we feel we cannot walk away just yet, perhaps never. If we do walk away from an abusive relationship for instance then we still need to remember we cannot walk away from the part of us which got us there in the first place and kept us there; in other words we have to do the painful work or we will just put ourselves in the same situation again.

We may not always get what we want but we always get what we need. Sometimes we have no way of knowing what serves us until many years later; sometimes what grows us the most is pain and courage and suffering; sometimes what makes us happy is the most destructive thing.... ask any drug addict ..... life is what it is and sometimes we cannot walk away and if we do, life just presents us with the same lesson in different form.

If you run from your demons they will follow; turn and face them and they dissolve.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Never drink on a full heart

Image: Repairing with gold adds opulence to beauty

Cracks in this earthenware bowl were filled with lacquer, and then gold powder was sprinkled on the lacquer before it dried. This technique is called kin-zukuroi (repairing with gold). The artisan, Hon’ami Koetsu (1558-1637), intended the repaired part to represent water flowing from melting snow. (Akaraku ware tea bowl, named Seppo. Property of Hatakeyama Memorial Museum of Fine Art)
Sometimes when life is painful thinking about others who are worse off just makes you feel worse - my 12 year old son first told me that.

 Sometimes when life is painful believing it is a lesson you have chosen in this life just makes you feel worse. I learned that myself.

Sometimes when life is painful all the spiritual mantras ring hollow and make you want to vomit.

Sometimes when life is painful all you can do is feel the pain and wait for it to pass knowing it will and 'shit happens' and loving people means you will hurt sometime or another and there is really nothing you can do about it.

Sometimes when life is painful, after you have felt the feelings - never drink on a full heart - the only comfort is God's gift of a stiff gin or large glass of wine at the end of the day.  Or maybe two stiff gins or three glasses of wine!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Communication and the Wall of Silence.....

Photo: Oil on Canvas, Paddocks and Dark Sky, Roslyn Ross, 2013.

Communication is a core component of connection. As human beings we are designed to communicate and to connect. Connection is the instrument of Love.

This world and everything in it is part of a process of connection. I have come to believe that what we call Love is a greater form of connection. What we call God is the ultimate form of connection. Love in its greatest form is the ultimate in connection and is therefore God.

As human beings we have more ways to 'connect' than do many other forms of life. we are given the gift of words which may be used in speech or in writing. Research shows that people who 'connect' in relationship and society are healthier; psychologically, physiologically, emotionally and I would say spiritually.

We are meant to connect. We are drawn to connect; we desire to connect and we are driven to connect because this is the way that we make manifest Love in this world and for those who believe in God, make manifest God in this material world.

Connecting is Soul Work and that is not to say that sometimes we may need to 'separate' from situations or people for a time or perhaps permanently but that we need to know why we are doing it and we need to do it with a level of consideration, courtesy and maturity.

When people choose not to communicate they are severing or limiting connection - they are limiting Love. The only reason to do this is Fear. Many things may be soothed by separation but nothing is ever healed; only Love heals and that means connection and that means communication.

While it seems increasingly common in this internet world to meet with what I have come to call The Wall of Silence, where a communication is sent and not only is there no reply, there is no acknowledgement either. You hit Send, off it goes and there it goes into some deep void or Black Hole of relationship.

I am fully aware that this may be an experience I am likely to have more than many because I am at heart a communicator, I am a writer and I feel I express myself better this way often than with the spoken word, and because I believe in and am driven to open and frank communication, having found it to be the most effective way of maintaining and healing relationship. I have known people, intimately, who would seek to deal with problems with silence and I have learned from experience how, when they find the courage to talk about a situation, how much more readily it is resolved or at least set on a path of healing.

I suspect one notices The Wall of Silence more because communication on the internet is so immediate and there are very few reasons, probably none, why the recipient cannot or should not reply, even if only to acknowledge and request no more communication.

Courtesy demands, or it did once, that when people communicate with us we respond. Well, if we are mature adults we do and if the person who seeks to communicate is someone with whom we have a deep relationship such as a close friend or family member and yet, so many choose to do nothing.......

It is one supposes, a statement in itself, that you write to someone in a bid to discuss something with them and if the topic is personal and important and deserving of some sort of answer, even, 'Thankyou for your note but I really do not feel ready to discuss this,' then you are expecting an answer. To be greeted with silence is no doubt the 'slap' it is intended to be. It feels like a vindictive punishment and yet in essence it is simply terribly rude, not to mention inconsiderate, unfeeling, insensitive and most importantly, unnecessary.

It reflects on the person who has chosen to erect the Wall of Silence to deal with a situation which they feel unable to deal with in a mature way, rather than the sender. To my mind, anyone who writes to me is offering a gift and one which I need to respect if not honour, if I am to maintain any sort of integrity. I may not like what they say but the act itself, of seeking to connect, to explain, to discuss, is one of courage, caring and maturity.

No doubt in times past letters were delivered via what is now called snail mail and they never had a response. But somehow it seems worse, and I believe it is worse, when an email gets the same reaction. It is, after all, so much easier to write something even if it is a two-word acknowledgement such as Thank You. And letters could and did get lost so one could argue, to one's self, that there was a reason for the Silence. Not so with the internet. Emails do not get lost and as often as not, while pondering the yawning vale of silence, it is pretty clear that the recipient is online, is active, is writing and is perfectly capable, or was perfectly capable of responding to what you wrote and chose not to.

I did ask someone once, what the Wall of Silence was about and I got a response that 'not replying' stopped the 'back and forth nature' of such correspondence which was found to be annoying. Back and Forth? Isn't that a conversation? And here was idiot me thinking back and forth was communication, that there was a sharing of thoughts, views, perspectives which hopefully would lead to increased understanding. An understanding which could not exist without the 'back and forth' unless one were psychic! Which most of us are not.

As a mature adult, if I found myself in a situation where I wished to bring a halt to such correspondence I would have written to the 'sender' along the lines of: 'Thank-you for writing as you have. I do appreciate your efforts but I do not feel up to engaging in this discussion at this time. Perhaps I will later or perhaps I will not. But I just want you to know I have 'heard' you and I am listening but have nothing to add.'

What is lost with such a response? To my mind nothing. It is courteous, considered, gracious and deserved. And yet for some people it is just too much. Which really does make one think that the Wall of Silence is meant to be a punishment and that is even sadder for it is incredibly immature at best and in some instances, simply cruel.

I truly believe that keeping open the doors of communication and being prepared to hear or listen, even if we have no wish to respond is crucial to our relationships. It is also the only way to healing and the only way that we can maintain integrity.

I am not talking about instances where people become abusive because that has not been my experience, and is certainly not how I communicate, but even there, if the person is a close friend or a family member, surely the fact that they are communicating in some way means they want or need to connect? And surely that means if we come from a place of Love we should do our very best to hear them - to listen even if we choose not to be drawn into the debate?

Seeking to punish or control others is what the Wall of Silence is about and that can only ever come from a place of Fear. Choose from a place of Love not Fear and while the road may be rocky, the ride tempestuous, it will always be rewarding, fulfilling and the way to resolution and true healing.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

When love is letting go

Watercolour, Psyche's Ocean, December 2012, Roslyn Ross.

Sometimes we are not right in people's lives and stepping back is a gift to them and Self - both theirs and ours.

At such times what matters is knowing you have done all that you could to work on the relationship and when soul paths take different directions there are no regrets about what you might 'have said' or might 'have done,' because you have said and have done all that you could. This does not mean there is no grieving for as long as we love, we feel, but there are no doubts that we could have done more than we have done.

Real love contains within in it the power and grace to set free those you care about deeply, even when, with every fibre of your heart and being, you would wish it to be other.

It is always so very much harder to do this when family is involved than when it is a friend but perhaps there, the depth of love is greater and so too is the power to do what needs to be done.

And sometimes, these parting of the ways, in truth, have nothing to do with you. Relationships are not always equal and responsibility is not always shared although it is better to approach in the beginning, as if this were so.

People change. People become wounded, or their inherent damaged-ness is re-awakened by life and what you are to them or appear to them or seem to them, just adds to the hurt. It doesn't have to be your fault. In truth it does not have to be anyone's fault - they cannot help what has happened to them and they are struggling to heal and learn in their own way. The fact that you now get in the way of that healing and learning is just the way of it; a turn in the trap of life.

Hanging in there in any active sense with someone you love is required - but only for a time. If the path does not show hope of resolution and the hurts you feel and no doubt the hurts they feel, continue to grow, then it is time to step back.

It is not that the door is closed but rather that you set them free to continue their journey alone, hoping that in time, their path will lead back to where you are. It may or it may not and it is the fear of the latter which often keeps us holding on beyond the place where pain is bearable.

All of life is a journey and such journeys are made in various forms from the physical and literal to the emotional and psychological and on to the spiritual. We stand in airports waving goodbye to those we love, crying often, as they head to distant and often unknown lands, sometimes for a brief visit and sometimes for a long one and sometimes for the rest of their lives or ours.

Journeys of the soul and psyche are like that. Some things we need to do alone. Just as many cannot die while those they love remain in the room, so too perhaps, many cannot die to Self in order to be reborn, while those they love and who love them in return remain in the 'room' and so unconsciously begins, a process of rejection.

I liken this to the adolescent need to learn the shape of her or his Self; to step out from the shadow of the parent's tree in order to stand strong, independent, and to gain enough 'sun' or light of consciousness, to send down sure, stable, certain and individual roots. The child cannot reject the parent - the psyche will never allow it a- and so the child challenges the parent, torments, hurts, attacks the parent, so the parent will push the child away. In time the child as adult can and should return, but the original breaking away must be done by the parent for it is the parent who has the power; the parent who will always have the greater power. The parent, or anyone in your life who has been 'given' that role by you, consciously or unconsciously, will always have a greater capacity to hurt the 'child.' It is the nature of the dynamic.

And so it is with relationships. When we love it is because we are drawn together as Souls - whether familial or friend. And when someone we love, demonstrates, for it is often demonstration in the beginning in subtle ways, by a word, or lack of word, by an expression or lack of expression, by an act or lack of an act, that somehow they are not comfortable with us in their world or they are not comfortable in our world, then so is beginning the process of disconnection which the Soul and Psyche require for their journey of becoming.

The first 'signs' are akin to those of someone who begins to talk about taking a journey far away. This may not be a modern journey where technology allows communication to continue wherever they might travel, but more like a journey of old where a loved one sailed away to distant lands and might never be seen or heard from again - or where occasional 'words' came back from them or others, that they were still 'alive' and had thought of you.

It is when the 'ticket' for this journey is purchased that the one who is 'left behind' must accept the inevitable and take a deep, grieving breath to wish them good voyage, safe travel and farewell. The 'ticket' for such a journey usually comes in the shape of anger or even rage. They fear we will hold them back; they fear our power over them and just as the last dying breaths will be held off until we give them permission to 'leave' so too, in such times of 'death and rebirth' we need to let go; to accept the inevitable no matter how much it sears our heart and wreaks havoc with our mind.

For they are being called to 'distant lands' within; places where we may not travel. We cannot go with them. We may not even know where they are going, when or if they get there, nor what they find if they do arrive safely. We may never 'see' or 'hear' from them again.

Just as our ancestors watched their loved ones sail on oceans of tears in order to 'make a better life for themselves' in a material sense, so too, are most of us called, at some time or another, to do the same in a spiritual sense. For that journey to Self is a spiritual journey and some are drawn or called to it more than others.

We can only 'see' the shape of ourselves when we are alone and unconsciously that is what we will be driven to achieve. What holds us back more than anything is 'love' or those bonds of connection which we fear, unconsciously, will keep us trapped and beholden. They have no need to of course, but for some, the fear is so great, that breaking free is the only option.

You can only ever prepare yourself for their journey and do what you can to prepare them, if they should wish it, and then accept that they have gone and only the breath of prayers and the eternal drape of your invisible love will go with them.

To 'sail' beyond the bounds of the 'known world' still happens, but it is done within the mythic realms of psyche and often will require a physical demonstration of their commitment to the Path - they will 'leave' and the only comfort is knowing that they must!