Friday, 19 October 2012

A Buoy In The Sea of Life

It's been some time since I've been able to write a post.  Life has been hectic due to the fact that I've had family visiting combined with the art of parenting teenagers and working.  It's been difficult to get time to myself and I've realized that I really enjoy sitting quietly with no television, radio or computer providing background noise.  The peace of silence is very precious to me.  It helps calm my soul.  I am reminded of the need to keep myself balanced by nurturing the physical, emotional and spiritual parts of me.  I've not been doing this in the last month.and I find myself full of anxiety, frustration and unhappiness.

As I sit quietly and think about the last month, I visualize myself as a buoy that is anchored with a strong chain while the huge waves of life crash over me, heave me sideways and toss me up and down.  My faith in God is that strong, iron link chain that holds me in place during the storms of life.  I have to cling to my faith that I will be fine after the tempest of these trials.  I pray that all my relationships will not just survive these tumultous times but also flourish over the long term.  As I ponder the thought of a strong chain made up of thick, iron links, I am realizing that each link may also symbolize my cherished activities and "alone" time.  One link in the chain may be my love of gardening.  I've denied myself this activity over the last month because I felt the need to be with the family member that was visiting.  I also wanted to avoid being told "You must slow down", and  "Don't do so much".  Another link in the chain may be my meditation time with "The Friendship Book" and "The Book of Awakening".  Again, due to lack of time to myself and my own delay in replacing my "The Friendship Book", I've not been as consistent in reading the daily readings and taking time to contemplate them.  I've not been tending my spiritual self.  Due to this and the various challenges and crises in the last month, I truly have felt like I've been adrift.  The chain is still attached to the buoy but the buoy has been bounced around much more because the links have not been checked and maintained.  My faith is just as strong but it needs to be nurtured which means it needs to be fed and cared for.

At one point last week, I thought of how the lives of each individual family member impacts each other.  When a member of the family is struggling with his/her own life issues, it affects everybody else in the home.  When a mother is anxious about juggling her various roles as well as the well-being of her family, it affects the children, husband and even the pets in the home.  As this week has unfolded, it has been very stressful for everyone in the home.  On Tuesday, I managed to read "The Book of Awakening" by Mark Nepo and it really spoke to me.  I'm going to quote the meditation exercise as I found it very illuminating and helpful.

"Sit quietly and bring to mind your disappointments of dream and love."

"Breathe gently, and try not to be brought too fully into your sadness."

"Instead, breathe deeply and try to see each, not as a failure, but as a shimmering bead on a necklace your life is making."

"Breath cleanly, and let these gems lead you to the next."

As I just re-read this, it has helped again.  I have been struggling with trying to stay out of the dark hole of depression.  It's been very difficult.  I love the line "try not to be brought too fully into your sadness".  It is healthy to acknowledge the sadness but not to dwell on it.  The quote, "try to see each, not as a failure, but as a shimmering bead on a necklace your life is making", is the moment of true illumination for me.  I see it like the sun beginning to peek out from behind the dark storm clouds.  Each crisis, failure or struggle is like a pearl.  It is dull and rough at the beginning but as it matures, it becomes a simple, glowing orb which is added to our appreciation of life.

My sadness at this time comes from how quickly my body still tires, my feelings of failure as a mother, my unhappiness with my body image, my concern about my relationship with my children and the underlying anxiety about a recurrence of my lymphoma.  My strategies for coping with sadness (before it transforms into depression) are walking, gardening, reading, singing, playing music on the piano or on my flute and visiting with close friends.  Unfortunately, I've been unable to do these things due to spending time with a visiting family member.  I'm also still unable to sing as my voice is very tired after teaching.  I haven't tried playing flute because there is still some pressure and sensitivity in the area of my neck where the tumour was.  I don't want to aggravate it and I want it to fully heal before I try playing again.  When I've tried to play the flute in the past few months, this area of the neck ends up with some swelling.  It was good to visit with a friend yesterday and enjoy a good brisk walk at the same time.  I was able to go for another brisk, long walk last night which seems to have helped my emotional well-being.

1 comment:

  1. Don't be too hard on yourself, Cathy. You have had a lot to deal with, and still do. I personally think that you are a remarkable individual, so kind and thoughtful, and that you are a loving and wonderful mother. I can see it simply by the great kids you have. Raising teenagers while trying to juggle other areas in life, can be quite stressful and exhausting. Our children reach an age when they make us questions ourselves, but we shouldn't take it personally; they are trying to find their way, and sometimes their reactions are harsh, especially towards us. Take some time for yourself to rejuvenate; you deserve it. And don't judge yourself so harshly. You are doing fine.