I recently took the first holiday I’ve had in many years and I spent the entire thing working on deconstructing much of my life to accommodate the care my parents now require.
None of this is what I would have ever hoped for in life. It’s busy and chaotic and it means my parents aren’t feeling well as I’d like, but this is just part of the deal of being human. They’re well over ninety.
Life can hurt. It can force us into experiences we do not want. Being in love entails dealing with extra pain when a loved one is absent. Yin and yang. It’s just built into how life functions.
Life is like a ball we’re balancing on top of. Our egos try to stay on the good side of the ball, but our spiritual and psychological health are tied more to simply enjoying the process of keeping our balance on either side of it, because when we die is when the universe takes away our ball and we have to go home.
Of course there are no problems, we create them with our thinking. We do this by imagining how life should be. But think about how many factors and people and decisions need to happen for that to occur! It’s like winning the lottery if it happens the way we imagine.
Life is messy, and getting angry or depressed that there’s not more order and sense in things is to waste our lives. Us railing at the universe will not change its laws. All we can do is learn to surf the uncertainty.
Even as I move in a direction away from my previous goals I’m aware I’m still fortunate. It’s amazing that as of this writing, my Mom still drives to a church and teaches an exercise class three times a week. At the same time, if something falls on the floor they have to wait for someone else to show up to retrieve it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
As it is, we spend many hours together each day, but I’ve now taken my little break to organize being with them almost all of the time, so they’re comfortable and safe and properly cared for. That’s most important to me.
But that means sacrifices, sometimes of things that mean a great deal to me –things I put many years worth of work into. But this is life. This is where most people get stressed and it’s where I let go. Being ourselves demands sacrifice.
We can all get physically stressed. We can ask our bodies to do more than is physically reasonable. But psychological stress is another thing altogether. That is something we create for ourselves by what we choose to load into our consciousness.
While I am caring for my parents there is nothing stopping me from listening to enjoyable podcasts with them. I can enjoy the food I cook for them. I can enjoy recalling memories from my childhood and all the fun I had in that house with my siblings and cousins. I can enjoy making them laugh a lot.
Or I could think about all the things I’m missing out on by not getting to fulfill my original direction in life. Yet in the end, it’s not how good the plans were, it’s how good the life is.
This is what detachment is: we’re going somewhere but we’re not attached to getting there. When life says, hey, go here and do this, and we feel that as a thing we just know is right for us, then that is us feeling our truth.
Others may disagree with what we do, but our job is only to trust that feeling and ignore theirs. We can respect other’s input, but how they feel about it isn’t relevant if it’s our life. They’re only telling us what they would do as the person they are.
I’ve always had a great life. I’m not thrilled by having to surrender even more of it in order to live up to the person I naturally am. But I am also a person who values experiences with loved ones more than any other thing and so that makes this decision easy.
I don’t run the universe. It might tumble things toward me in a painful way sometimes, but it’s also pretty generous a lot of the time. So who knows, maybe I benefit a lot more from this than my parents do.
Either way, if I’m keeping my eye out for good signs, that’ll help a lot with noticing and appreciating the positive things that will only serve to reinforce my sense that things are fine just the way they are.
Have a great week everyone.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.