Forum Replies Created
It is very difficult in deed! It is because of your life of service and willingness to grow that such a teacher like your sister offers you freedom… you just don’t see it yet. Be patient!
There is a story of the buddha, smiling at one who was very angry and yelling at the Buddha. When the man says “why do you smile at me, don’t you see I’m angry!” The Buddha replied: If I were to wrap up a present and offer it to you, would you accept it? The man said of course not. The Buddha said, “in that case, who would own the present?” The man said “you would of course.” The Buddha then said “in the same way, I refuse your anger and therefore it stays yours.”
Said differently, you consider “letting go” to be dependent on your sister, and to have something to do with her, where she “makes you angry” because she “doesn’t hear” you. However, your anger is hurting you. It is fiery and corrosive, you have noticed how much your mind has churned and churned and suffered. I am not offering this to your sister, for her benefit, it is for you.
It would never occur to you to shake your daughter and say “why won’t you stop having MS, it is difficult”… yet you consider shaking your sister and saying “why won’t you stop being like you are, it is difficult.” It is not only foolish and unrealistic, but also gives the keys to your inner peace to her.
Instead, you can deal with the anger directly once you stop falsely accusing your sister for “creating” your anger. You wanted to be heard, weren’t, felt unloved, and the result is you feel angry. If you spoke to a deaf man and he didn’t hear you, wouldn’t the anger be foolish! When we try to talk to people who are caught up in their own junk, they are not in a place to hear us. It is sad for them! Imagine how isolating it must be for your sister to have such rigid thinking and deep judgement.
When your sister says those things to you, you have the option to simply see her delusion and not take in the present she offers. In that way it stays about her. Instead, though, you take it as proof that your sister isn’t what you hoped, and that disappointment makes you angry. Not your sister. Your disappointment.
There is a notion taught to me called “negative negativity” where our anger becomes so strong we think it is justified and it tries to force us into acting from a place of anger to “balance the scales of justice.” This has to be killed, smashed, destroyed. Bring the potency of your will against it and cut the cycle down.
Letting go is about you. Your peace of mind. Your healing. You getting the joy you deserve from your lifetime of effort. Don’t let your mind fool you that you need something from your sister to get peace, you only need to set down the torch.
Great name! Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. No where does it say “doesn’t need help”. We all need help! When I became an eagle, it was because of the efforts of many scouts and leaders teaching and reteaching. Even the project is about getting the community to help us do service.
Perhaps you could talk to a guidance counselor about your difficulty with self esteem. They are an often overlooked resource!
Beautiful and potent! Pema Chodron has a book entitled “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.” It addresses the yearning and fear directly, in a very compassionate and well presented language.
It is only a joke if both people are laughing. If you are getting hurt feelings, its not actually joking, its abusive (even if playfully intended) and will eventually undermine the intimacy you have with him.
If two people in love like to hit each other, on the butt for instance, it is fine thing for the intimacy to strike one another. If one likes to hit and one likes to be hit, that is fine. If one likes to hit and the other gets bruised and hurt feelings, it is not fine.
This seems like an issue with boundaries. If you have told him you do not like the cutting remarks, they hurt your feelings, and you don’t want him to do it anymore, and he continues… then it is not about being “tougher” or creating something inside you to deal with his mannerisms. It is about realizing that an intimacy that is based in mutual acceptance and respect would not look like what you have. If you wish to keep the intimacy alive, you have to set the boundaries and enforce them. Otherwise you’ll eventually lose your trust of him and look for a different partner.
Sometimes the lesson of the thornbush isn’t how to move through it without a wound, its to learn to disengage.
MattJuly 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm in reply to: When You Lose Yourself in the Midst of Doing What You Love #37700
Sometimes when we invest a lot of energy into the running, we don’t nurture the runner. There are two extremes of such a life. One, a person is in a state of inner peace, where each step is a courageous leap into the unknown. That type of person might say things just like you. Another is someone who is afraid of the unknown, and so fills their time with known activities so they do not have to look in the mirror the fundamental nature of their being.
Consider scheduling a time where you don’t have anything scheduled. Go for a walk, or a sit, or a drive. When you get to the blank spot in your schedule, is your mind peaceful? Do you have the ability to be spontaneously creative with your own direction? Can you sit and listing contently to birds and wind and nothing?
Its like someone who loves listening to music and dancing, so they put it on and dance and dance. When the music stops, are they uprooted by the silence? Do you NEED the music?
If you do, then your absorbing into roles is really just running away. A filling up of your time so you don’t have to confront your fears of meaninglessness, death, impermanence and so forth. If you make that discovery, there is the work of non-work to be done!
Remember that we are born with an ignorance of how to become joyous and buoyant, running won’t teach us… we have to run and listen and look and learn. Otherwise we burnout and become old, tired, and serious.
It is odd, because you say you cannot do things you are doing! Your post says you can’t open, but the post is open! How strange!
I think you need to confront your fear so it stops controlling your decisions. It isn’t “I can’t take a big problem and ask for help” it is “I am afraid to ask for help.” We are all afraid of asking for help, and those of us who genuinely heal are the ones who ask anyway. You already did, so no more excuses why you can’t! 🙂
Ticht Naht Hahn says that when we are suffering, it is difficult to say to our loved ones “I am suffering, please help.” It is difficult to be so vulnerable and open. However, it is within that vulnerability that we find the strength and community that helps us to heal. When we open, we find that we are not alone, and people have been through similar difficulties and are more than willing to share the innovations that help us.
Part of the courage to open is accepting that not all people will open back. It has nothing to do with you, it is just them and where they are. If you put your self out there and are rejected, don’t give up, just move on. I have found so many people who open back, I know that if we keep jumping, trusting, learning, we will eventually fly.
Sometimes we can have such a strong “future focus” that we don’t know how to enjoy the road. For instance, you had great grades which were part of being “headgirl” but don’t seem to have had any happiness as their own event. Always it was a check on the list, with the next item on the list looming. Said differently, if we get absorbed in the destination, we lose our joy along the way. And, when we get to that destination, we just trade it for another destination and keep pushing and pushing.
The solution is simple but difficult. We have to stop and smell the roses. When we get good grades, we have to stop, let go of the “tomorrow goal” and see the accomplishment for what it is. When we are with our friends, we have to stop thinking about the next items of the list and see them for who they are, and surrender into the beauty and nourishment of playing. When we stop playing, our heart closes and our mind takes over. How could there be joy in such a place?
This world is only as serious as we make it. Perhaps it is time to find your laughter again!
Sometimes when we are in chronic pain, we can become absorbed by “our side” of the situation. As you said, it is difficult for you to do certain activities, which is just how it is.
Consider that perhaps the responses you receive from your family are unskillful, but motivated by genuine love and warm feelings. If they had not cared, they would not have lashed out. Instead, it sounds like their feelings were hurt, they felt unimportant to you, and in their pain said things that hurt your feelings. Now, when your sister wants to let go and move on(“pretend nothing happened”), you wish to club her in the heart by telling her that her words were cruel, mean, and so on.
What that really says is “I do not accept your feelings and the way you acted on those feelings.” It is like passing the hot potato of anger between you and her, right now you feel stuck with it and want to get rid of it by throwing it at your sister. Consider that it is OK to just set it down and forgive her without needing to tell her that her words were unacceptable.
Were I to have that conversation (and I have had to have it plenty of times before) I would tell her that family is very important to me. I was sorry for all of the causes of me not being at the party, and all of the effects of my not being there. Then, I would say that I understand why my sister would lash out like that, because it is painful when we feel unloved or unsupported. Then I would assure her that it is the furthest thing from the truth, and that the connection to her was so important it had tied me up on knots, and how beautiful it is to be connecting with my sister again.
Can you forgive them for feeling hurt and doing things like ignoring you or judging you as they healed that hurt? Do you HAVE to make it about you? Can you let go without trying to punish her for the feelings of hurt you felt? Your heart seems strong and bright to me, and I am confident you can put the anger down and love them without reserve. Let go! Its done, gone, past!
July 1, 2013 at 8:08 am in reply to: The end, or the beginning? Starting from square 1.. #37684
- This reply was modified 7 years, 3 months ago by Matt.
In addition to Jerry’s well considered words about the benefits of group support, also consider that you are being extra hard with yourself. You already have patterns of addiction to overcome, no need for self-blame on top of it. If you consider how many people have joined AA, you can see just how many people have fallen into patterns like you’ve had! You’re not especially broken or somehow unworthy… you are quite ordinary in the way you fell into unskillful habits. Its happened to us all of us in one way or another.
What I ask you to consider is this: perhaps our bodies and minds need fuel, and you were just filling up with icky food. This wasn’t just drinking and smoking, but perhaps in negative self talk. Pia Melody and Melody Beattie have great books on codependency which can help us find food which is genuinely nourishing. Then, we no longer have the empty feeling inside which pushes us to get fuel from our partners and intoxication. Instead, we remain buoyant and well fueled so we don’t crave/get pissed when our craving isn’t fed.
In regards to your cowboy prince, it seems like you have to let go. If he is the one, don’t be afraid he will end up with someone else. If he isn’t, then he isn’t. Either way, you have a duty to yourself, your future partner, and your child to find that spark inside yourself and turn it into a flame. Then you will naturally and authentically give and receive love, because it will be driven by joy, rather than craving.
Healing requires patience and deep looking. If you ask yourself “what is really here” and try to let go of the old patterns, healing will occur naturally without a need to force it. You will see what actions lead to what results, and then it is worth a laugh and a “well, I’ll not do it that way again.” Then the clouds drift away, and we are left with peace and authenticity.
It is a sad but necessary lesson to learn. Jack Johnson sings a song Sitting Waiting Wishing, and in it says “I aint the Lord, no I’m just a fool, learning loving somebody don’t make them love you.” People have walls until they have the courage to drop them. There is nothing we can do to break those walls for them, we have to wait for them to step up.
The good news is you can turn that romantic spirit inward and dream a dream for yourself. Forgiving yourself, keeping your heart open, finding peace… those desires inside are genuine and can guide you into a relationship that becomes the love of your life… with yourself! From developing self love, we are content alone. Then a lover or husband is icing on the cake, rather than filling the hole.
In regards to the wall, don’t be afraid of it! We can think of it as armor, where years of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse helped us become resilient and strong. Yet, you have the courage to set down the armor and bear your heart and flesh when you know you’re safe. You’re not “damaged and broken”, rather “strong and courageous”.
The question to ask ourselves is “how long do I keep doing things that I see only hurt myself”… we think it is our destiny to have to push through something thick and terrible in order to be happy. However, happiness is only a few breaths away… whether it is 10,000 breaths or 10 depends on how stubbornly we are set in the old way.
Consider that you might be afraid to trust your heart, because look where it landed you in the past! But your heart is learning to stop loving the dream of the other and looking clearer at what is there. Your heart knows, and wouldn’t lead you back into an abusive situation. Your mind might, saying “this is better than being alone” or “maybe they will change” but then your heart is too busy loving the dream to advise you to move on. We dream, we crash, we learn and hopefully move on wiser and more in tune with our inner beauty.
In Buddhism it is said that a breakdown plus awareness is breakthrough. Said differently, when we decide we will look at our side of things and how we are creating or maintaining the conditions for our painful experiences, we blossom. Remember, the wall is only armor, and it is a fine thing to put it on when we are in a difficult environment. We just don’t keep it on when there is no need, because the armor feels icky and isolating compared to the genuine connection we share with other open people (such as trusted friends, spiritual community and so forth)
We see very different things! You feel like you have no soul, and I see someone who doesn’t recognize herself. In those moments, your soul was dedication. Keeping your nails done in such a way to please him still is a very dedicated and motivated effort. That just means you’ll be a great partner! It just seems like its time to become your own partner, turn your effort and love toward someone deserving… you!
Not knowing what color nails you like is not soul-less, its just not knowing what color nails you like. Good thing you woke up so you can explore and find out!
What a great question! Ruminating thoughts vs feeling the emotions… how does one accept the truth of what is going on without getting sucked into spinning and spinning?
Emotions are in the body, thoughts in the mind. If you use your emotion as a meditation object the emotions and thoughts settle. It is not like “I will think of my thesis and feel the emotions” like a progressive desensitization in therapy. It is “how does my body feel right now, in this moment?” The thoughts will come up and distract your awareness away from the body and back into the mind. When that happens, just say to yourself “yes mind, thank you for being powerful, but now is a time to settle.” And move your attention back to the feelings in the body. Just breathe, notice the fluttering the the chest, and keep moving the attention back when it strays.
If it is especially powerful, imagine holding the emotion in your arms like you would a newborn baby… as a delicate thing needing your care. “Yes, my fear/anxiety/anger, here you are with me, let me soothe your crying.”
I described the practice in the first reply, if that doesn’t strike you, consider a YouTube search for “jayasaro metta”
As for becoming immune, yes and no. It would not be compassionate to be immune such as closing our front door and keeping her suffering out. Compassion is the willingness to co-suffer with people. However, we can keep our back door open, so it is like wind which blows in, through, and out. The more we hold ourselves open and alert, others’ suffering doesn’t “stick” in us and instead, just remains information about them and their challenges.
Her side is the whirlwind of criticism and needn’t be about you. Your side is wishing she was different than she actually is, which makes you compare her to your dream of what could be if only…. 🙂
Its great to hear you have been doing mindful practices and exploring Buddhist ideas.
Stress is difficult for all of us, and can be daunting to try to settle. From your description, it seems that you might be experiencing a type of compression. Before one stressor is managed, another arrives, then another. Soon, we are ready to pop at even little things, such as the phone ringing or our couch getting in our way.
Consider doing something ridiculous to get your energy moving again. Stand in front of a mirror, wave your arms, jiggle your body, yell nonsense. The motion and yelling will provide cathartic release, and watching yourself act goofy will help you stop taking things so seriously. If its difficult in a mirror, perhaps in bed screaming into a pillow and flailing around.
When you’ve had your rhythm, you remember how easily things fell into place? Consider that part of that rhythm is the playfulness you have, which is difficult when we are under a mountain.
Metta is a practice and emotion, rather than a concept.
In regards to the doormat notion, it reminds me of one of my teachers. He said that often children will throw a tantrum when they don’t get what they want. However, if they want a sugar sandwich (gratifying but not nourishing) then even if they throw a tantrum, we don’t give it to them. If we do, we are perpetuating their suffering.
So, it might actually be the kindest thing to do to simply tell her that if she talks like that you will hang up or leave, and follow through consistently. It might help her learn that there are consequences to her actions, which is a huge step in recovery. The tantrum will follow, but without your side there to sustain it, it will blow itself out.