First, I apologize for not being in touch lately. Honestly, this has been an extremely difficult and trying time. As the only living child, my 89 year-old parents’ have needed all of my time and attention. Yet, I teach a spiritual law that says, “Life happens for us, not to us.” And, living with this knowledge, has helped me turn this painful life challenge into useful life lessons. In this article, I share 2 lessons that will hopefully make life easier for you too!
Lesson 1 Skills: Let go of what just happened, unless it can serve you.
During my visit, I bought my Dad a fancy birthday cake and brought it into their nursing home room so we could celebrate his 89th birthday. Now, you should know as background, that both my parents suffer from advanced dementia. And, my mom’s short-term memory is only about 5 minutes. And, as we all sat around and chatted before heading out to the dining area for dinner, we caught up on the latest news. Of course, that meant we repeated the same conversations over and over again!
Yet, every 5 minutes, my Mom would add an extra accent to the conversation, as she looked up to notice there was a cake in the room. She would chime in, “What a beautiful cake, what is it doing here?”
Because of her Alzheimer diagnosis, Mom truly lives in the moment. And, according to Buddhist philosophy, this is a good thing. You see Buddhists believe that clinging to the present moment at the same time as you move into the next moment, can create needless suffering.
And, I agree enthusiastically, as long as this advice isn’t taken to an extreme. You see sometimes the present moment offer’s an important gift of insight that we need to examine and remember as the next moment unfolds. (Like there is a delicious birthday cake in the room!)
Yet, after my mom broke her hip and had to do physical therapy, she never remembered the pain of the therapy and, as a result, each therapy session was met with positive expectations. So, if you want to have your cake and eat it too, sometimes you just need to let go of what just happened and move gracefully onto the next moment and leave the pain behind like my mom was so good at doing!
Lesson 2: Can “delusions” serve as authentic power?
My dad lives in a delusional reality. He thinks he is still living in his apartment, running errands for mom, taking weekend trips, paying all his bills, trading securities and has absolutely no serious health issues. Of course, the opposite is true. His failing heart is only one of the numerous physical challenges he faces; he is incontinent, will never walk again…the list goes on.
Yet, a deep inner belief in himself - keeps his spirits high and his stresses down. And, if for some reason I must tell Dad any “bad” news about his finances or his health, he just doesn’t remember that information and he returns to the belief construct he wants to be true.
Let me be clear, I am not saying you should live in a delusional false reality like my dad. Yet, truth be told, too much of our thought patterns and reality constructs are living in a “delusional” reality.
For instance, if you sat still for the next 30 minutes and examined your thought patterns and sensations in the body, so many of your beliefs, sensations, and thought patterns would not be anchored into the truth of your Core Being brilliance. Your Core Being (the name I call it) is the truth of who you really are!
Instead, you would see your reality based on your false self, inner pain, unhealthy defenses, insecure attachment system, dysregulated limbic brain reactivity and negative ego.
Why? Well, it is because we still have a caveman brain. Our brain is always looking at the negative in order to find safety. However, most of us don’t have a cougar walking around the corner that is crouching to attack us. So that old caveman way can cause us problems in modern society.
So what if, just today, you moved out of your caveman brain and you took a note from my dad’s self-care book? What if, just today, no matter what happens, you decide to create a reality where you believed in yourself! Where you understand that you will be successful. And, if you make a mistake, it is not a litmus test on your inner value!
Just for today, what if you awake from the illusion of this reality and foster the belief that life happens for you, not to you. That you are safe and lovable, even if someone rejects you.
Just for today, like my dad has done, you decide to turn down the volume of your negative ego and false self! Instead, breathe deep, and be kind to your human!
I know that as I recover from the trying visit and travels to help my parents out, these two lessons have served me well.
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