Hello again! I hope you are all well, have stayed safe from fire, floods, and virus, and have been keeping up with the ebb and flow of the creative life. Despite me doing so with my painting and more slowly, with my writing, the last few months and weeks have been crawling along, being somehow dominated by my waiting for personal changes in a few of my close family members lives, so that I can be on hand to give practical and emotional support. I went through my own changes about eight years ago. Admittedly these changes were more internal than external, with a serious reassessment of personal values and a painful letting go of the old. But still, change is change, and external life changes for those I care about can lead to internal ones for them just the same, with new perspectives and fresh possibilities.
I tried to find some suitable images for this post and found some tricky contrasts coming from the feel of them. Which to choose? As an artist I care. There were short magical bridges for transitions or transformations versus long stretched out viaducts, threatening to go on forever. There were waiting images, counting down time in a cosy vibe bubble, to a harder, matter of fact and irrevocable, downloading of a new program. I wanted to pick the pretty ones for positivity, but the latter ones cut me to the core and made me uncomfortable. So since change, as well as waiting for change, can go either way or fluctuate, here they all are because I just couldn’t choose! (all from pixabay):
A full of promise change to a dark threatening unseen outcome:
A wafting gentle time bubble to a cold clinical ‘stand by’
To give you the gist of what’s going on, my hubby is about to start a life of semi-retirement. ‘Semi’ still counts, right? And his challenge will be to reconnect with meaningful things he enjoyed in the past but hasn’t given time to for many years. That, or find new pursuits for that all important life meaning. And I want to help him with this. Maybe we can share something new? My sister has been living with my mother for the whole of Covid times while she endeavoured to find a house to buy in the area after her marital life transition to single status. Having eventually found a house, the red tape, the numerous ‘checks’ required, the back and forth with estate agents and solicitors and the vendors, who have dragged out the time of waiting, has been a roller coaster of stress and frustration for her, and by proxy for me, because I have been with her on this journey emotionally. Add her looking after a puppy dog into the mix for more stress. My mother has also been going through changes as her short term memory is becoming more troublesome and having had my sister in her house for almost two years, she will need to, and most importantly wants to, readjust to living on her own again – at least for a time to see how she gets on. She will need help with this and other issues, and I want to help my sister move into her new house so she can embrace her new life phase. So that’s three family members I want to be there for.
So why, I ask myself, has this waiting been so frustrating and tension inducing for me too ? And why have I almost put my own life on the back burner while I wait?
Well writing this blog seems to be helping me sort it out in my mind.
There has been a lot of forward thinking going on , with influences coming from too far and wide. What ifs, what happens when? There has been some catastrophising, some panicking, negative forecasting, even some sabotage, none of which I can personally tolerate very well. And I’d go as far as to say, it becomes anger inducing when these ripples spread to touch me too. And of course, I’ve had to ask myself why am I angry? Well I think it’s because one of my most important life lessons has been to see how things develop, to deal with things as they crop up in a more organic state of flow, to mindfully bend like a reed in the wind, to let others develop at their own pace and not to second guess any possible outcomes. It doesn’t mean you don’t plan for the future or take practical action to put a few things in place, it simply means you do one day at a time, knowing that is all any of us can realistically do. At the same time we can stay conscious, in the sense of remaining aware of what is going on within ourselves as a form of guidance for ourselves and others.
I think I see these family members needing to recover their own space again and I want to help where I can. I know it will make all the difference, so the waiting affects me too, as I try to help maintain perspective for me and for them.
Good changes can be about simplification, moving from confusion to clarity. A paring away of what isn’t working anymore, both practically speaking and developmentally speaking. Everything can be up for re-evaluation. This is what I experienced for myself and it took time. Once again it comes down to ‘waiting to see’ what emerges. You can’t rush it or force it into being. It needs to be slowly crafted like a sculpture out of clay, making little adjustments as you work, adjustments that can really have a distinct effect upon the integrity of the finished whole. So trying to force results, which I know doesn’t work, makes no sense to me and makes me tense, like butting up against a mindset which can be so destructive. I’ve just come across something Casey Kochmer says in one of his articles on transformation and living from a Taoist perspective. Of all the reading I did at the time of my own transformation, it was Taoism I kept returning to:
A Taoist embraces life fully and with gusto. This means within each moment to move with what feels best and right over working to a pre-defined plan on where a person needs to be.
After expressing the above, I may be overly invested in my family members outcomes. I may be trying to protect my own interests? After all, if they have an easier time, then so do I. I’ve got to admit this is true. So what do I need now? Acceptance, always acceptance. It eases the tensions and resigns the mind. It opens you up. It releases you. A lifelong lesson – here is a reminder: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/the-power-of-acceptance-stop-resisting-and-find-the-lesson/
I’m expecting others to understand life lessons I’ve put lots of time and effort into learning for myself. But I can’t be responsible for teaching them. Their journey is their own.
So from very specific reasons to more abstract deeper ones! I will try a bit of release and stop putting my own life on pause as it were, while hubby is due to change his hours in a week and my sister is still waiting for her moving-in date.
Here’s wishing you well and thank you for bearing with my sporadic posting this year :>)