Day 209

This Too Shall Pass

My aunt is dying. Well, at least that is the report I get from my mom when I talk with her. The other day we had a tearful conversation about my aunt’s condition. It looks pretty bleak, but I believe strongly that there is still hope, but I am still learning how to communicate this to my mother and more importantly to my aunt.

My mother and cousins had a meeting with the team of medical professionals who have been taking care of my aunt. The doctors say there isn’t any more they can do for her. Her internal organs are dying because they are not getting any blood. There is nothing they can do to stop this.

I believe that when you’re fighting for your life and the doctors have done all that they can do, turning to the spiritual world is one avenue to take towards healing. Mediation has proven to be effective for pain management and depression, and I believe that with guidance one can go within to find the answers to problems manifesting themselves physically. However, I am still learning how to gain the confidence necessary to share this with my loved ones.

Part of me feels like these possibilities are known to my mother, my aunt, and my cousins. After all, they live in a place where it is rare to find someone who is not aware of  spirituality, yoga, and alternative medicine. I think that if I say something they might interpret my behavior as being self righteous or presumptuous. Moreover, I feel that it is not my place to offer feedback or help where it hasn’t been requested.

Years ago I made a promise to myself that I would not help others unless they asked me, that I would only say, “if you need anything please ask me,” and leave it at that when I see someone struggling or suffering. I made this promise because I believe we all have it within ourselves to solve our own problems, and that is my way of standing by what I believe.

Well, my aunt is dying, and they are thinking about transitioning to hospice care. So it is difficult for me to hold my tongue. I want to say there is still a way to turn this around. Embrace the pain, the disease, and learn from it, but again, it is not my place; it is not my choice. Instead, I choose to offer emotional support, and make my presence known. That is all I will do, and that is enough.

As is my habit when faced with difficult decisions and tasks, I ask the question, “What would someone who loved themselves do?” The answer is, “Be there. Be available. Have faith that whatever is happening or is going to happen is part of my aunt’s path. Accept it. Learn what I can from it, and allow myself to feel, to grieve, and to hope. And remember, this too shall pass.”

To those of you who read this, if you are facing a similar situation, I wish you peace and the strength to find acceptance.

Day 199

An Uncomfortable Truth

Last Friday, I met with my daughter’s teacher along with the Vice Principal and the teacher’s aide that helps my daughter stay focused in class twice a week. I don’t think any parent wants to hear that their child isn’t adjusting well to school life. I certainly didn’t want to be sitting opposite stone faced administrators reporting to me their concerns with my daughter’s behavior and the fact that she was way behind her peers in reading and writing as well as math. I really just wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else than in that room.

However, it happened, my daughter is behind, and worse, she doesn’t seem to be happy at school at all. At home she seems happy, but at school from the description they gave me, she’s restless and has a hard time focusing or following directions. I won’t go into too much detail, but basically, the school told me that they wanted to know how best to help Naomi. I didn’t have an answer. Neither did they.

I left that meeting feeling frustrated, angry, sorrowful and guilty. I was frustrated and angry because my daughter’s educators didn’t seem very helpful at all. They seemed to be looking for the answers from me. I was also angry with myself for not preparing my daughter for first grade. All the other mothers had taught their children two of the three Japanese writing systems from the time they turned three, so Naomi’s peers were already reading and writing when they started school. Naomi started at square one. I was angry at myself for not getting her started sooner, and I felt sad because her struggles could have been prevented. I felt like an utter failure as a mother.

I spent most of Friday night feeling sorry for myself and beating myself up. I hardly slept, but I forced myself to be productive the next day. I reminded myself that it was a new day and the past was in the past, and that the present was all that mattered. I wrote down all of my emotions, the anger, the frustrations, the fear, the regret, the guilt, the forgiveness, the love, and finally the hope. I came out of the darkness into the light facing an uncomfortable truth along the way. It was the answer to why things had come to this, and the answer, though painful and hard to accept was simply that I had neglected my daughter.

As a parent, I do my best, but I feel like I spend most of my time trying to keep my head above water, and I usually succeed a fraction of the time. The rest of the time, I’m focusing on the immediate needs–providing sustenance, shelter and clothing for my family, and getting my daughter to her various appointments making sure she gets her homework done, and attending to my infant son. In my struggle to survive, I’ve missed out on spending quality time with my growing daughter. She’s maturing and growing and experiencing life but I haven’t been present for most of it.  Sure, I’ve been there, but my mind has been else where obsessing over things that didn’t get done or still needed to get done, but rarely on what was happening in the moment.

Being mindful and being present seems to be the lesson I am meant to learn these days. Almost every struggle I encounter is a direct result of not being present. I read in “Living Enlightenment” that the past is dead and we should let go of the past to be free of suffering. I have decided to take this to heart, so I have forgiven myself for not being present in my children’s lives thus far. I have let go of the sorrow and regret that goes with that, and now I am stepping into the present with my eyes wide open and my mind focused on the here and now.

It won’t be easy and I am sure to slip up, but the uncomfortable truth of my neglecting my daughter taught me the importance of being present. It is the knock on the head I needed to get motivated to commit to being present. Tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning, and the unveiling of a new truth–I only have the present moment, and I am going to claim it with all my heart.

 

 

Day 196

Love, Compassion, and Validation: A Declaration of My Life’s Purpose

Love

I love. It is as natural and as easy as breathing. I don’t need a reason. Love to me is a life affirming energy that surrounds us. It flows through me and in me. I am uplifted and driven by love.

love

Compassion

I recognize and appreciate the divine in all people. I believe that there is greatness in us all. Although we experience life differently, we all have the tools to find lasting peace and happiness. When I see others struggling, I want them to know that they have the power to turn their suffering into something positive. I want them to remember that pain can be an excellent teacher if we are willing to listen, learn, grow, and expand. I will be present with any and all people suffering, and I will wait quietly gently reminding you that pain is not forever and “This too shall pass.”

compassion

Validation

I believe that everyone matters. Everyone has a place in this vast universe. Our worth does not stem from our intellect, our wealth, or our contribution to human progress. We are worthy because we are; we exist. We are enough.

validation

This is why I am on Earth. I am here to love, to show compassion, and to remind people that they matter.

So, I may not have met you, but I love you. You matter, and I’m happy you are here in this universe with me.