Summer: a time to visit my parents
In August this year I took my elderly parents on holiday to the seaside for two weeks to give them some respite from the city of Turin where they live all year round. I did this experiment last year for ten days and it worked fine, so this year I decided to be bold and go for two weeks. I knew what I was putting myself into and was aware that it wouldn’t be a holiday for me, just the opposite, but my desire to spend some quality time with my parents was bigger than the concern that it would be a very demanding task. My parents have now reached the height of 87 and 86 years old, they are not self-sufficient any more and are normally assisted by a carer who provides them with basic help for being washed, dressed, fed, administered drugs, etc. When I go and visit them in their home, it is really difficult for me to still find some intimacy with them, as the carer is there most of the day. Since last year I felt the desire to take them on holiday to thank them for all they did for me when I was younger. It is an attempt to still have some quality time together while they are still alive and partly present to themselves. The task this year was as challenging as last year and the super hot weather, which I love but I am not used to any more, after living for over 18 years in UK, made it even tougher. Besides the hot condition there were also swarms of mosquitoes that made the job very hard at times. All in all it was demanding to say the least and I was feeling less and less present to myself and switching at times on auto-pilot which means that one is not totally aware of what is going on, but one is rather just trying to make things do to be able ‘to survive’, so to speak.
Wisdom out of the blue!
One day I managed to compel myself to sit down and relax for a moment, rather than keep doing things, as one does when one is in auto-pilot mode. I was sitting in a deck chair in the garden and trying to shut down my mind and meditate in a not conventional position, simply reclining in my deck chair. My mind became quite chaotic as the long list of things to do and organise came up and wouldn’t stop, but I lay quietly with the intention to calm my mind and just be present to myself for few moments. Little by little my mind started to quieten and, after some time, I was just feeling my body breathing and resting in the sunshine and warmth of the summer air. My gaze was lost in the garden and was looking at the grass and plants without paying particular attention to anything and I was focusing on my breathing. Out of the blue I had this thought coming up: “How nice would it be to just accept things as they are without wanting them to be different at all? Wouldn’t life be easier?” A huge sense of peace pervaded my body and I felt eventually at peace with myself. My mind kept thinking “Just as they are without changing anything, not even a comma, that’s all there is to do!”
Meditation, a wise way to live
My inner voice said “That would be a real meditation put into practice, just observing things as they happen without wanting to change them”… I thought of my meditation practice and for how long I hadn’t been able to keep it going recently, because of travelling and being in a different environment which is not particularly conducive to it and …Realizing this made me aware of what meditation really is! Observing one’s thoughts without catching them and discussing them, but just observing them. Practical meditation is just observing things as they are without wanting them to be different. It is indeed a very difficult thing to do as our inner critic and/or ego immediately jumps in and starts pondering about them, analysing them, judging them and so on and so forth, so before we know, we are off with our train of thoughts and not present to ourselves any more. To be able to accept in every moment life as it presents to us is extremely difficult, but a very instructive thing to do, at least now and then as a discipline. I also realised how much I desire things to be different all the time and how much energy this takes from my reservoir and why at the end of the day I feel wiped out, rather than my full Self. In that moment of quietness my inner wisdom found a way to talk to me and give me instructions to be able to cope better with the difficult situation I was in. Insights like these either come when one is totally relaxed or in the opposite situation, when one is totally stressed out. I was definitely in the second option.
After the initial shock, I felt really thankful to have had this insight and I rejoiced in my body soaking up the sun light and warmth. The by-product of this insight was the realisation that we possibly tend to want things in a certain way because we are in our masculine energy which wants to control things and manipulate them according to our desire. Being in a more feminine energy would make us look at what is there for us and accept the present more, rather than wanting to modify it all the time. Where am I with my energy? Am I in my masculine or in my feminine? Maybe instead of following my masculine energy most of the time and judging constantly where I am at, what I want, etc., I would be better off by giving a chance to my femininity to prevail now and then and just accept life as it is.
The difference between children and parents
A bit later I also had another insight about the difference between dealing with children and elderly people. I am not a mother, therefore I can only guess on how things might be for a parent … When one decides to become a parent there is a conscious decision to conceive, gestate and then give birth to a baby. Once the baby is born the parents’ conditioning and the education process start, so after few years, when the baby starts being a little man/woman, the effects of the parents’ conditioning become visible. The baby is totally the product of the parents and of his/her environment. Our elderly parents are not our product as our children would be. They are the products of their parents and of their childhood environment when we weren’t existing yet in this form, therefore dealing with them is much more tricky, demanding, challenging, exhausting and the rest. Being aware of this difference can be an eye opener, because our parents are our next of kins like our brothers and sisters and it is quite difficult to get these relationships right all the time; in most cases these relationships are the most challenging and demanding that we have in our life! So in case you find yourself in a similar situation, I would like to invite you to be gentle and kind to yourself first to be able to be the same with your elderly parents. I tend to consider myself a patient person, but I know that I only need to go and visit my parents to realise how impatient I can be. The other issue that also comes up is the fact that we all tend to want things having been different with our parents and accept them as they are is possibly as difficult for us as it was difficult for them to accept us as we were when we were growing up. Even if they didn’t show us much tolerance, this is our last chance to show them how tolerant we can be with them, when they become so demanding and infantile. The wheel of Life is always showing us what is there for us to learn and never fails to make us see how much more we can be.
I would love to read your thoughts about this very important topic and if you want to find out more about my life calling of helping women be empowered in their feminine energy, check my website: Flying Inspiration.