Travelling – and losing the travel spirit

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Lena’s unsettled and troublesome again. Nurses are barely coping with her demands and verbal tirades. The nurse on duty handed her mobile phone to Lena after asking me if I could oblige by calming her down. I distracted Lena with talk of birds and trees, rivers and oceans, bandicoots and numbats.

That’s what drew me to Lena in the first place, ten or so years ago. Finally I’d found a friend who understood and shared my passion for nature. People in general considered me a tad weird, but with Lena it was different. Nature touched her soul and warmed her to the core, just as it did me. We enjoyed the bushland together, admiring the details that most people inadvertently stepped on, unnoticed. At the time I felt blessed.

But it wasn’t long before her controlling, manipulating, judgmental manner shone through. It was too late. She had me in her clutches and she knew I was too ‘nice’ to abandon the physically disabled elderly and lonely woman who loved and depended on me.

She was totally unaware how her toxic energy sabotaged all her potential friendships and every event or project she undertook in her life. I mean, I don’t get how an intelligent adult could possibly not have any idea of the reality of the world around them or how they affect it. But that’s the way she was.

Of course Lena had good traits. She was generous with her time, and donated as much money as she could afford to worthwhile causes on a regular and continual basis. She did volunteer work and helped people whenever the opportunity arose. I admired her determination to be as independent as possible through her daily struggles to conduct a normal as possible life despite her physical disabilities. She was an exceptional human being in many ways.

But after every visit I paid to her on the other side of the country, I came home extremely stressed and depressed, and without exaggeration, teetered on the edge of self harm more than once. I tried to disengage myself from her, but she wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, wouldn’t listen to any explanation. To be successful in exiting her life completely, I would have had to change my phone number, move house, and my husband and I would have both have had to change jobs, leave our home town and god knows what other measures that hadn’t occurred to me. She was addicted to me. She didn’t know the difference between ‘need’ and ‘love’.

Lena’s old-age has taken over her body, moving in on her mind, and she is now confined to hospital awaiting aged care placement. It’s a sad situation. Dementia is a cruel affliction and her immobility makes matters worse. Not surprisingly, she has no family or firm friends, except me. And me is all she wants, every day. I’m at my wits end as to how to manage her demands. In private, I get angry and tearful. And torn between guilt and self-preservation.

We travelled with the caravan all day today to reach Lena. The scenery was lovely with green paddocks and greener than green grain crops, flooded creeks, expanses of swollen waterways with ducks and waterbirds taking advantage of recent downpours, eucalypt woodland, flowering heath and historic towns. But I was preoccupied arguing with the voice in my head and coping with my knotted chest. My Old Mate and I have lost the urge to continue our once-in-a-lifetime holiday, and after I’ve done all I can for Lena, we’ll start heading across the country towards home, a few months earlier than planned.

Our choices are our own responsibility, I know. So I have no one to blame but myself. I’m aware of that. I’ve got a lot still to learn about self-compassion, but the lessons I’ve been given during my association with Lena have been valuable. I hope the rain has let up by morning so I can go for a long walk on the beach before I tackle what’s waiting for me. Nature nurtures me, and I’m grateful for the blessings of sunshine and rain, earth and wind to sustain me, to give me strength and resolve.

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My first card reading

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Earlier in the year when my daughter and I attended the Mind/Body/Spirit festival in Brisbane, I purchased a deck of intuitive-reading cards. I already have an oracle deck, but hadn’t been inspired to read them. My Old Mate and I have been travelling Australia with our caravan for more than 4 months now, but we’ve suspended our trip so that I can prepare a friend for nursing home entry. Besides being physically disabled, she has dementia.

Dementia. What a horrid, horrid affliction. My mother died with dementia only a few years ago. All that goes with it is still raw for me, and I’m struggling to cope day to day with this current situation. Depression had taken hold of me, and it’s only today that I’ve begun to take control of my emotions.

Following a disturbing and sad visit to the hospital this morning, I was inspired to take up my new deck of cards. Despite not having yet cleansed or blessed my cards, I shuffled them and picked a card – it read:

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A message from your departed loved ones: ‘We are with you always as we hear your words and watch you tenderly from above. We love you.’

How very appropriate. My interpretation of ‘Paradise’ at this point in time, is ‘the afterlife’, where our true and complete soul is revealed to us after death. What could be a more sublime paradise than a place where we are finally connected to all that is,all that was, and all that will be – the realm between life lost and re-incarnation.

My parents are my only close loved ones who have passed in my adult life. I was with them both in their final time on Earth, and I’ve consulted them often since, when I’ve had questions of importance, when I’ve suffered disconnection, or wished to know them more intimately than I achieved.

I feel close connection to the reality behind the message my cards whispered to me today. I know that my father is guiding me. I’ve sensed it since his death, even though he gave me no guidance through his lifetime. Unfortunately I’ve had no intuition that my mother is with me, but I feel blessed knowing my father is watching over me. I feel nurtured, and I feel that he’s sharing his new-found wisdom with me – wisdom that he didn’t possess in his most recent lifetime.

Now, I’ve been reminded that my father’s spirit is touching my heart always, and I feel resilience that I didn’t have a few days ago. I am blessed.

The card pictures an empty rocking chair, and golden light. Although my father no longer sits in the chair, his spirit and love is in the light everywhere, all the time – I simply need to to recognise the light and be guided. I am reminded to remember. And the card says “We” love you – thus: even though I do not feel Mum near, my father wants me to know that she loves me. She is helping others, elsewhere – I accept that, and I am pleased.

 

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Toxic energy – walk away from it

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A ball of toxic energy. In human form. Festering. Spilling over. Seeping into the immediate surrounds, and beyond. Far beyond. Day and night. Thick black cords entangling unsuspecting victims. At worst, shards of invisible, dark, razor-sharp horribleness infecting people near and dear.

She sits, staring into her lap, consumed by misery. Self-absorbed. Inconsolable. Toxic.

Our life is the direct or indirect result of OUR OWN CHOICES. Our choices alone. It’s not some other person’s fault, not the system, not good luck or bad luck, not chance, and certainly not our birthright. Even when karma comes into play, it is still our choices that set karmic energy into motion. Karmic debts must be balanced.

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It’s difficult for me to articulate this lacking of basic life force. It’s a wasteland that only humans can create within their own being. This emptiness is not inherited, it is not given to you by those who might have mistreated you, it is not a result of loss or misfortune. It is of our own doing. Our own making.

Kindness, love and gratitude come natural to me. That’s how I live. I don’t have to think about it. It’s not simply doing kindness, love and gratitude; it’s being kindness, love and gratitude. To generate this beautiful gift and bestow it upon every person that comes into your life or passes by, a person must BE that beautiful light. Of course I’m not talking about aesthetics here – I’m talking about what’s inside: the soul you have become through self-discovery, change and growth. Conscious living.

I try to walk away from people who are harmful in an energetic sense, but I haven’t  yet mastered self-compassion to a point where I can always do this. Commitment wins over. Time is not on my side, and I’m aware that more than this lifetime will be needed for me to learn the lesson of self-compassion well. But my advice to others will always be to “walk away from toxic people if you are not able to initiate the spark of self-awareness in them whereby growth and change is undertaken” – truly, this is the only healthful path.

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Once-in-a-lifetime friendship

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To find one person in a lifetime who genuinely understands you deep to your core, totally accepts you for the unique individual you are, and loves you unconditionally, well, you’ve really hit the jackpot. A blessing and gift beyond imagination.

People come and go throughout our lives, even family, and that’s the way it’s meant to be. We don’t meet people accidentally or by ‘coincidence’. Every person in our life is placed on our path for a reason, be it to learn from or to teach, to love us or hurt us, to open our mind or our eyes, to encourage us to question or to discover. And more. We draw these souls to us with the energy we emit and the quality of humanity we exemplify.

I believe our souls choose our family and birth circumstances before reincarnation so that we are placed in a situation and family that will best teach us the soul lessons we need to learn. The worse our birth/family situation is, the better opportunity we have to reap the rewards from the lessons we will be presented with. Nothing comes from an easy ride.

Sometimes we feel the need to leave family members behind, just as we do with friends or lovers, because that relationship has deteriorated beyond repair, and we realise it’s time to let go and move on. Don’t resist this need. It is meant to be. The real tragedy lies, not in the breaking of the union, but in not being open and accepting of the lessons offered by these people who are now also ready to move on.

I have a precious relationship with my daughter. We have a soul connection that is stunning in its strength. It has not always been like this, but as each of us came out the other side of trauma and grew from the challenges that our souls took on individually, we discovered who we were. And we discovered each other.

We’re both aware of this special bond that goes far beyond family ties, and we both nurture our relationship. Our connection transcends all, and we are truly each other’s saviour in times of need. I am so grateful that the Universe has gifted me with this friendship.

Sometimes I also yearn for a friend who is on that same frequency but more my own age. I haven’t found her. I may never find her. But I am living my life in a manner whereby I am open to our energy drawing us together. Meanwhile, I feel blessed beyond words.

It is my hope that every person can make a soul connection as profoundly rich as I have. But be aware that it won’t happen unless you are prepared to go outside of your comfort zone, be open to new knowledge and experiences, and be willing to nurture this relationship like the precious connection of soul energy it is.

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My circle of emotional support

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Some women have a few circles of emotional support: a small inner cluster of nearest and dearest, coupled with a network of close friends always there to love them the way they need to be loved. They’re dependable and familiar. I’m guessing that yet other women have an even wider outer circle of friends to fall back on when the need arises.

My circle of confidantes consists only of my  husband and our daughter. It’s enough, but it’s not enough. I still struggle.

I’m on the other side of the country at the  moment, giving an ailing friend some much needed TLC, but I don’t manage well all the time. When I fall in a heap away from the familiarity of my comfort zone, who do I turn to. Phone calls home to my loved-ones only go so far towards helping me on the road to recovery.

I’m sitting at a rustic wooden table in a quiet corner of a restaurant looking into a glass of wine, and nibbling on cheese and crackers. Alone. It’s less than ideal – drinking alone while gripped by stress. But ‘alone’ can be healing. Writing is also healing for me. Getting my thoughts out of my head starts the process of purging. Analysis. Recovery.

There’s a selection of taste sensations on my plate: quince jelly, delectable soft cheese, crunchy bread, and dried fruits that don’t have names. Delicious. Comfort food. The music’s soothing, yet uplifting. A few tears escape.

Self-compassion. I do what I must to avoid depression taking over. My best is all I can do, and some days my best is not as good as it might be on another day. I’m living authentically. This is my self-administered pep talk. Short and simple. This is ME, and I can not make apologies for the ME that I am.

Dessert. And a brisk walk home in the cool night air. No moonlight tonight. I manage a sort of a smile as a Magpie chortles, unseen.

…..And then…..at first light, Mary (a friend of a friend who I now regard as my friend) rang to check up on me – she predicted my dilemma. Hugs, coffee in the outdoors, much talking, and I’m now ready for the day. Bless Mary, she is a treasure, and I wish we didn’t live thousands of kilometres apart. The sun is pushing through the clouds, and the Magpies are still chortling.

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‘Need’ is not ‘love’

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The true meaning of ‘love’ is somewhat of a mystery, and probably always will be. Perhaps it’s more productive at times to identify what ‘love’ is NOT, rather than what it IS.

‘Need’ is not ‘love’ in an adult relationship. If your spouse or lover or significant other says to you “I need you” or “I can’t live without you” or “you are my life”, this is NOT an act of love. It is dependency, an unloving act. If these statements occur regularly, this is blatant manipulation. These proclamations are used in order to threaten or control you (to hold you to ransom, so to speak). This constitutes ‘abuse’. ‘Need’ is taking, and ‘love’ is giving – opposites.

Dependency in this unhealthy form is not the same as casual feelings o f need, which we all have, and which are normal. For the psychologically healthy individual, emotional dependency on another person does not dominate his/her life or thoughts. A person who is dependent on the love of another individual, when this mutual love is the most important single requirement of  his/her leading a happy satisfying life, this is unhealthy and damaging for both partners.

The dependent person generally has issues with addiction, be it substance addiction like drugs or alcohol, distraction addictions like gambling or sex, or self-serving emotional addiction to his/her pain or ‘stories’. Or, he/she has such a low opinion of him/herself, that he/she needs someone else to validate them and fill the hole that they created.

The dependent individual might not consciously be aware that they have adopted a mindset of victimhood and addiction, but it will be obvious to all those who spend regular time with them. This is not to say that the dependent person  is not otherwise a kind and supportive person – a needy person can be loving in many other ways, generous with time and effort, and genuinely caring. But their dependence on their ‘loved-one’ will be destructive above all else.

However strongly a dependent person  professes their love to their ‘love object’, dependency is NOT love, and is not an act of love.

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Dependency aims to take rather than give. It aims to control another human being. Dependency destroys potentially rewarding and potentially lasting relationships very quickly. A couple might believe they’ve found a beautiful love, but if one of the partners is dependent, the beautiful love will be very brief.

A dependent person will forever be unhappy and disappointed because he/she will feel continually let down. The relationship will cease to flourish soon after it begins. Unless the dependent person opens his/her mind and accepts assistance from his/her more aware partner, or willingly undertakes long-term psychotherapy, there is little chance the relationship will survive in any form that is satisfactory to either partner.

Dependency or neediness, is NOT love. Watch for the signs, and attempt to establish a mutually equitable communication in order to resolve the situation and reap the benefits of lasting love.

Learn who you are. Awareness is gained through getting to know your self. When you are brave enough to know who you are, life delivers bountiful rewards.