Time to take, time to give

As our parents are getting old, there are some sides of their personality which worsen. The love for them gives us the energy to stand by their side. And we need lots of energy! Maintaining our inner balance can be a challenge and an opportunity for personal growth.

You too must have a special person whom you call first when you have a joy or sorrow to share. It comes a time when it’s your turn to be by her side.

You tap into the most empathic and compassionate side of yourself and you listen. You’ve learned from previous experiences that it’s better to be silent.

Previously, you may have tried to be helpful with positive arguments and solutions.

Alas, every single time, the unawareness kept her as hostage in a world of gloom and fears.

This time you’ll take a different approach – you’ll absorb the negative thoughts.

Her soul is tormented and you can’t do anything about it. You can only love her because she’s your mother!

On verge of falling in the abyss of desolation, you realise that the ultimate help is for you to stay present and keep the joy alive.

The joy and hope she’ll have more constructive thoughts too.

In your heart, there is the memory of her – an energetic fighter, kind to you. Today, she’s been ageing.

Today, your relationship has changed. You are her shoulder to cry on from now.

You look at your child and you see your mother in you – when she was young.

Time is irreversibly changing you and her. You can only hold onto the gratefulness that she’s in your life.

It is painful to watch your mother ageing. Each one of us identifies partly with their parents and when they decline, a part of us goes with them.

A new phase starts when the roles have changed – you’re the parent and she’s the child.

Now, about you – how do you cope seeing your parents ageing? How has your relationship with them changed?

When negativity sneaked into my heart

It was the end of one of those days when the little one had been wining all day long. I was in the supermarket, on my mind with the “to buy” list and at the same time, I was trying to entertain our baby who was already getting bored in the shopping cart. Mothers know how it feels! A thought crossed my mind: “Gosh, I badly need half an hour to breathe in peace!”

When my husband finished his day of work, I informed him about my wish. I hoped I could prepare dinner while our baby would spend quality time with his father. What happened was that my husband started doing something else in the kitchen, which was important but maybe not as important. The baby was left alone with his toys. Being mommy’s boy, of course he came crawling to my feet. That was the last drop. I started boiling. He was pulling my pants and wining. You know, that kind of wining that is meant to drive parents nuts.

I looked daggers at my husband who was singing while emptying the dish washer. I looked at the baby’s tears and I sighed, “What is wrong, baby?”. I held him with one hand and with the other, I continued stirring in the sizzling chicken curry. Thanks God, I have two hands. In moments like that, I wished I had three or four. When my arm got tired of holding the baby, I went straight to my husband and … I felt like a bull in a  Spanish arena, starring my husband as the toreador. I started micromanaging him on a low voice. I briefed him on what was needed to be done in order to prepare our baby for bed time. He took the baby and moved to the bathroom singing. I was growling inside!

It was midnight when I was lying awake and feeling the huge irritability inside of me. I could hear the pitter pattering of the rain drops at the window. Under normal circumstances, that sound would put me in a peaceful and dreamy mood. But that night, the sound annoyed me to death. What was wrong with me? I wondered how mothers of more than one child were managing. Compared to their lives, my life must be a walk in the park. :) Luckily, the fatigue came to rescue. I managed to fall asleep despite the irritability being still present.

The next morning, I remembered this article that I came across in the Scientific American, The Joyful Mind. The article discusses the biology of pleasure, how different regions of the brain work together to create pleasure. The path to pleasure is a cause and effect between anticipation, desire, sensation and satisfaction. “Well, good morning!”, I said to myself. That was my problem the night before. This path to pleasure had been broken when my top desire to have half an hour of peace had not been satisfied.

Life is not only white and black. According to Aristotle, a person’s happiness is composed of two elements: pleasure and meaningfulness. I am living the most meaningful time of my life, when I witness the development of our baby each day. Then how can I have these moments of frightening negativity? How could a moment of broken pleasure cloud the happiness of a meaningful life? Back to the article A Joyful Mind, the scientists have not understood yet how the brain creates the perception of a meaningful life. Maybe I missed something that the brain scientists can’t find in the brain either. Something that Eckhart Tolle refers to as the “power of now”.

In these moments when my reality does not unfold as expected and triggers the out of balance, getting in touch with my consciousness is the salvation. Again, easier said than done, but hey it is worth trying! If I succeed, I will be knowing how it feels “To stay present in everyday life”. I will know what it means “to be deeply rooted within yourself; otherwise, the mind, which has incredible momentum will drag you along like a wild river…To always have some of your attention in the inner energy field of your body. To feel the body from within, so to speak”. (Eckhart Tolle, Practising the Power of Now, pp. 51)