Life has a real funny way to teach us lessons, they come in the most various and unpredictable ways and most of the time it takes me a while to realise what they are. When I do though, I always feel humbled and stupid for not having recognised them earlier! I always promise to myself that next time I will be more aware and cunning, but I doubt whether I will ever be there …. Life knows best!
This time round the trigger of my melt down was having taken my elderly parents to the seaside for a week, as I didn’t do that last year not having any additional help to care for them, so I had to abandon my project and resign to the fact that there are limits in this dimension and life and aging is one of them.
This year I received though unexpectedly an offer of help from one of their carers so the possibility to still take them on holiday became a reality and I felt very thankful for it.
Because of the extra help which I normally didn’t have and going away during May, when the weather should be pleasant but not torrid, I thought I might even have a good time as if it were a holiday for me, too.
Even if my mother is 90 years young and my father is 89 and both have multiple illnesses that affect their mobility and awareness, to me they are simply my parents, therefore I still expect them to behave as they did ten or even twenty years ago.
It wasn’t the case though, I forgot their age, their physical conditions, their mind states and all that is related to being elderly and in poor health and so I had my usual shock head on, and ouch it hurt!
On top of it all I managed to unconsciously choose the week with the worst weather in May and we had to have the heating on as it was so cold, it was unreal to say the least.
For people in that stage of life cold and wind don’t help them at all, but they didn’t help me either, as I couldn’t even swim once during the whole week.
The fact that I was taking with me one of their carers reassured me enormously about the fact that I could have some down time for myself and possibly even spend some leisure time with my partner, but that didn’t happen either.
I hadn’t considered something fundamental: normally I would take care of it all by myself, which means starting working from the moment I wake up in the morning till the evening when they go to bed and, if they don’t wake up in the night, I might have few hours of sound uninterrupted sleep overnight.
This time though I would have the help of the carer so I would spend quality time with them without being rushed off my feet all the time … or so I thought.
What I missed
I didn’t consider that having more time on my hands would cause me to look at the situation in details and be more present in the moment, therefore see the whole spectrum of my parents’ state and have to deal with my emotional and psychological state caused by it.
I realised so many aspects of the situation that in the previous years I couldn’t until I was back home and could eventually digest the whole experience.
This year the digestion process started when I was there with my parents and I felt completely out of my depth as if it were the first time! I am a very sensitive person and thought that by now I had learnt a bit about myself and could handle tough emotional situations, but it wasn’t the case to be honest: I felt super tired, super sad, super unsatisfied and totally hopeless, whatever was happening on the day. Day after day the weather kept being grey, windy and rainy with no hope of brightening up, except for few hours one morning and a bit of an afternoon when I managed to be so brave to stand on the beach in swimming costume for ten minutes before covering myself up again; it definitely wasn’t enjoyable!
I was hoping to be able to have a bit of a conversation with my mother, as it is very difficult to speak with her on the phone these days and, as I live abroad, I don’t have other ways of communication other than going home and seeing her in person. For this week of ‘holiday’ I had big expectations of super conversations, all those conversations that never happened before because of the generation gap, character incompatibility, lack of openness, etc. the list could be very long, but I suppose that you have an idea of what I mean … How could I possibly expect something like that to happen all in one week when it didn’t happen in thirty years when I was living at home? If it didn’t happen either in the following twenty one years while I lived abroad, why should it happen now that she is 90 years young, has lost her sight and is not very present either? The answer to that question is: possibly because I need it terribly, but that doesn’t mean that it might be necessary or desirable for her too, also I have to consider that my parents are in a very different stage of life to mine, therefore they see things in a very very different way to mine. Obviously I didn’t think of all these aspects, I just wanted my lovely time with them, period.
When I came back home, all of this fell on me like a ton of bricks and, as it happens every time, I went and visited my underworld … I felt even more tired, with no future ahead of me, no energy to spring me into action, no enthusiasm to fuel my life, felt super cold because of the weather, felt a pure failure with no possible option to rescue myself. Normally I go into despondent mode and start criticising myself relentlessly for things that are in my power and things that are not, my inner critic is just merciless and I allow it to do whatever it wants with me, surprisingly yes, it is true! This time though I felt so low that a part of me that is feminine and nurturing kicked in and imposed herself to protect me. I took my time to tidy up, to unpack, to clean and do the wash, all activities that ground me and are meditative rather than requiring planning or using my rational mind, besides that part of myself was short circuiting anyway, so out of order for a while … Allowing myself to be and taking care of my immediate physical needs helped me slowly slowly to refind myself a bit and I started feeling all those emotions that came up for me during those ten days in Italy. I said earlier that I am a very sensitive person but, even if I say it and write it, I don’t think that I completely know what that means and the daily implications that the trait has. I still take for granted that I can accept any emotions all the time and can deal with any experience without being affected too much at the core of my being, the truth though is totally different! The proof of this is that after spending few days taking the utmost care of myself, I started feeling normal again and also felt surprised by this, even if it happens every single time, over and over again. It is exactly like my menstrual cycle, even if it is my best friend and I enjoyed her companionship for over 36 years, she still surprises me every time she shows up, how can this be possible? It is beyond me, but it is true!
My best friend came to see me
Well, when I was in Italy dealing with the travelling, helping my parents to walk and move, understanding and foreseeing possible situations arising from being on the go, thinking about meals, paying for things, giving tasks to the carer, pack, unpack and the rest, my best friend came round to see me quite unexpectedly, as it does these days. Once that happened I then realised all of a sudden why I was so emotional, so tired, so upset, so hopeless, so resourceless, so tender and vulnerable to everything around me, especially people talking to me loudly or not particularly nicely, I felt a wreck! The reason why I wanted to share all this with you is because I know that possibly I am not the only woman underestimating her sensitivity and the power of her female cycle. I have been experiencing in the last few years states of mind that I never thought possible before, my sensitivity went from great to humongous and my psychic power became the norm or came to the forefront of my consciousness with a vengeance.
Learning to deal with all of this and not becoming crazy is a huge task especially if one doesn’t particularly have a female support system in place, which I think is the only way to survive and thrive in such a demanding time of our life as women. Me being in the crucial stage of my perimenopausal years and my parents being in their final stage of their life is a lethal combination, if one loses sight of oneself and forget self-care. Self-care in this stage of life is not optional, is mandatory, I repeat: it is mandatory! Allowing myself to sleep as much as I need without any guilt feeling is something I have been working on for years, but I am not sure if I have progressed much on this front. Taking in any feeling, sensation, thought and desire without judging them and simply observing them is another aspect that requires a lot of effort. Acknowledging my sensitivity as a skill and an advantage, rather than a disadvantage and a nuisance is a super task that I think I have been tackling only recently: I always have been aware of it, but only being aware of something without appreciating it is like having eyes, but not seeing what is in front of you! All these feelings and thoughts triggered by life, whatever the stage we are in, are the wealth of our life, they are the reason why we want to live in this dimension over and over again. Whatever feeling you might feel, just feel it, don’t judge it, just accept it and take it in, bring it home in your heart because it is part of you and creates your rainbow. Forget about being positive, just be real, by being real I mean look and see what is in front of you because it will be in front of you just for a finite period of time and might not come round again and you might miss your lesson, another jewel in your crown that life offers you. If you would like to be a queen in your life, pay attention to your female cycle and all those lessons that she amplifies for you so that life can deliver its lessons to you in a more rapid and efficient way. May you enjoy your path too and your special rainbow that shines in front of you at the horizon. If you would like to discover more about your rainbow and collect more jewels for your crown, check my work with women on www.flyinginspiration.com. Love and hugs from The Flying Witch