Resilience

August 21, 2022

The definition of the word resilience is the ability to be flexible in all kinds of situations; in other words, to be able to weather the various storms of life. My Mom, at 95 years of age, is a wonderful example of resilience. She is a real example to me of how to just allow the world to be whatever it’s going to be and life within it. Why I feel this way is the subject of this article.

My Mom was born in 1927, just a couple years before the Great Depression. Therefore, her parents had to live through the Great Depression. She grew up during a time when what had been for sure, wasn’t any longer. This country had known prosperity for quite a while and then suddenly it all came crashing down. We’ve learned since then to be more careful with investing in the stock market (or many of us have learned this lesson, but not all!). In any case, these were uncertain times that required those that lived through it to be flexible.

In addition, my mom was born just a decade after the Pandemic of 1918 – otherwise known as the Spanish Flu. Millions of people died leaving only the strongest to survive. With no vaccine and only cotton masks, people self-isolated and did their best to wash their hands with little more that they could do. Only those with a relatively strong immune system lived through this time. My Mom’s parents (my grandparents). did and they gave this immunity to my mother.

A third point is that my grandparents were either newly arrived in this country or the first generation here. They were immigrants making their way in a new place, willing to do hard work to survive. My mother’s father was a merchant, making his living from ownership of various businesses that he created – a gas station and then a furniture store. Both were successful enough to support the family at that time.

Thus, my mom had good genes as they say and she gave those genes to me. As time goes on and I get older I reflect on just how much my mom has passed her resilience on to me. I watch how she adapts to changes in her life with relative ease. When my brothers and I graduated from high school and moved on, she started working as a substitute teacher using the degree, she obtained many years before. Eventually, she earned first her teaching certificate and then her masters from an exceptionally fine university – that of John Hopkins in Baltimore. I still get the newsletter and magazine from them as I now receive all my mom’s mail since I’m her guardian at this late stage in her life. I know how difficult it is to workday time and then attend classes in the evening since I earned my graduate degree while working (from the University of Maryland in Technology Management).

It was not easy for me and I am sure it wasn’t easy for her either; but I never heard her speak of it. She just did it in her classic style. That is the way people who were brought up during the depression are; I have no way of knowing for sure, but it just seems that way to me. Those were challenging times and people had to adapt or not make it through. When I was cleaning out her apartment to move her from California to Virginia, her graduation certificate was there. I had never seen it. My mom had just gotten it and then put it away. When I think of all the visits to my home in Baltimore and never once did she say, “I just graduated from Johns Hopkins University with my masters in liberal arts; do you want to see my graduate certificate?” I can assure you that I would have been immensely proud and would have wanted others to know about it. Wait a second, now that I think back, when I did graduate with my graduate certificate I was married, and we were moving from one house to another, and I don’t think I made any kind of special thing about it. At the time, I just completed my coursework and did not even bother with the ceremony. The more I think about it, the more I realize that, I’m very much like my mother.

How else is my mom resilient? Last October, Mom fell in her apartment and the staff called me to come over as she was badly bruised. I went over and took her to the nearby ER. After being in the ER for several hours, the doctors decided to admit Mom to the hospital where she stayed for four days. During this time, I spent the entire day with her watching the nurses and doctors coming in/out of her room with lots of electronic documents for me to sign. Of course, I had no idea what I was signing away. Does anyone these days? The staff points to a line and tells you to sign and you do it. I tried to read what I was signing but the language isn’t really understandable by a normal human being even with all my degrees. Of course, it’s meant to be that way. If you understood what you were signing, you would not do it. Undoubtedly, you are giving away your rights to any compensation if the staff screws up. In any case, after four days of every test known to man except the ones that make sense – like an EKG, Mom said, “I want to go home”. So, I told one of the nurses, “ok, you have one hour to get my mom ready as I’m taking her home”. And they did. At that point, Mom said, “Do not put me in the hospital”. My reply was, “So don’t fall and don’t get sick”.

Months passed and my mother was going downhill. She was not coherent and seemed to sleep a lot. I was preparing for her demise. So, I decided to talk to her soul and I said, “It’s a lot of trouble for me to take care of you, so either be here or leave”. She looked at me and said, “You’re right”. After that she came out of wherever she had been and started getting better day by day. Her soul decided to stay for awhile longer. During this time, I got her a care worker first 3 days a week and then 4 days a week, not so much because she needed that much care, but more to keep her company. Yes, it is an expensive adult play mate, but it did the trick. I visit during the week also, but she really likes having someone around. And on Saturday, I have a guy come over for therapeutic exercise and massage. She likes Robert and thinks he is cute (no, she’s not dead yet). So, whatever he costs, it’s worth it.

We are fortunate to have the means for this type of care. I’m certainly glad that I’ve saved for the eventuality that I’ll need extensive care towards the end of my life. Meanwhile, I exercise as much as I can to stay strong and healthy.

On a final note, Mom continues to surprise me. I called the other evening to check on her with no answer. After three tries I called the staff getting worried asking the night duty person to check on her. When I called back, he told me that my mother had gone to the movie down the hall. Go MOM!


The downside of too much control

September 27, 2021

I grew up with depression-era parents where our opinion was neither asked for nor tolerated. We were ruled with an iron hand and expected to obey without question. I was scared to death of my father and although not as much of my mother, she had her ways of making me pay for not listening to her. She would get upset with me at the slightest provocation and wouldn’t speak to me like she did before my wedding. Forget that it’s supposed to be the happiest time in a young woman’s life, that’s just how my Mom was, and still is, frankly. You just didn’t want to get on the wrong side of her. So I really get that the next generation, raised by similar types of parents would allow the pendulum, so to speak, to swing the other way.

Misbehaving

So what are the up and the down side of this type of child raising? Certainly it’s a great idea to promote well-being in a child. Regardless of the child’s IQ or physical ability, he or she should be encouraged to do their best to succeed in life. Success should be judged individually and not against a yard stick of others. There will always be someone faster, smarter or slimmer out there, so what is this child good at? Perhaps they are kind, willing to share or a born leader. They may not be the best reader or understand calculus. We should promote and encourage each child for what they bring into this world. I saw an amazing story the other day about a beautiful woman born without legs. She was actually adopted by truly loving parents who supported her being the best she could be and she didn’t let them down. Her friends accepted that she was just a smaller version of what they knew as a person but she is really beautiful. This girl grew up not knowing limitations and went on to excel in acrobatics. Seeing her perform on the internet not only made me smile, it gave me a great sense of awe in the world we live in. She had beauty inside and out. So here is an example of supporting a child and having it work out.

There are many similar examples of parents teaching their kids to be self-sufficient and growing into productive, highly functioning adults that accept responsibility in the world. But what can go wrong when parents treat their kids as if the child is the center of the universe? We’ve all experienced the screaming kid in the restaurant where the parent is hardly noticing while the rest of the diners try to look away or somehow quickly finish their own meals to leave. It’s so annoying to listen to loud voices in a restaurant of any kind, let alone a screaming kid. One goes out to dinner to enjoy a meal otherwise, well, just stay home. Then there’s the similar situation on a plane. I’ve had very long flights where young children are either crying or fighting with each other while the parents don’t do any kind of productive parenting. When we were kids, we were given Dramamine and simply slept during the trip. It was better for everyone involved. If anyone disagrees with me, feel free to express your opinion since I’m certainly expressing mine.

So what else can happen when kids are given too much free rein? Well, in the case of my brother’s kids, they grew up with wonderful athletic skills as well as doing quite well in the academic department also. They were surrounded by friends and as they came from good looking parents they had no trouble finding boy/girl-friends. Thus by most standards they were good kids, doing well in school, getting good grades and being quite popular. So what happened when they hit the real world? Well, here’s where things get a bit dicey. Since just about everything had been done for them for way beyond the beginning of adulthood (normally, when kids graduate from college they go off to start their own careers and also pay for their own apartments/homes, food, clothing, cars, etc.) As their parents could afford it, the kids continued to get their way paid for and to have their way with most things well into the next decade. When they hit a snag, like the girl had an argument with her long-time boyfriend, she just left him. If I said anything to her that she didn’t like, even casually, she’d act really snippy with me. And the boy began to exhibit extreme anger tendencies when things didn’t go his way, even to the point of personal attacks reminiscent of a much younger person. In other words, they were both rather emotionally immature because they didn’t learn much from the school of hard knocks. Their parents had so protected them from the world, when the world finally came in around them, they kind of failed the test from my vantage point. That’s not to say that they will never learn, but they haven’t learned yet.

If it seems that I have an axe to grind, you are correct, but I won’t air my dirty laundry. The general idea is enough for you to get my point. Too much control isn’t good just as too little control isn’t either. Like most things in life, we need to find balance.


Fine line between love and hate

June 10, 2021

Have you ever noticed how fine the line is between love and hate? People can be married for many years and suddenly get divorced hating each other. Normally, one assumes there is love when people marry. So how does the transition to hate occur? There are many answers to this question. In this blog article I will tackle a few of them including: a sudden incident, a gradual loss of connection, and finally, it was a mistake in the first place.

Let’s take the first cause of sudden disinterest in a marriage or relationship. (Perhaps one party changes with age, or there could be a situation that brings out extreme anger, rage or signs of abuse exciting fear on the other partner. Inappropriate intimacies with others can excite betrayal. Such strong emotions are very difficult to overcome and even if excused, often cause love to turn sour…and also, to hate.

Love Hate Computer Keys Shows Emotion Anger And Conflict

Taking a step back for the moment, it’s important to understand what emotions come from the second, third and fourth chakras. Fear (2nd chakra) and love (4th chakra) are opposing energies and cannot coexist. So if one is operating, the other will not be. In other words, fear and love cannot be present at the same time. Once a person begins to fear for safety of self or their integrity (as in betrayal) love is sure to die and to do so rather quickly. So second chances are rare and rarely succeed. The answer is to not do it! Think first or risk the relationship. Meanwhile, the third chakra is the seat of one’s personal power. Thus, if there is little energy in this solar plexus area, then the person feels the victim or without power. If there is too much energy in this area, then the person may be a power person or when taken to the extreme, a manipulator, narcissist, or bully over using one’s power.  

Unfortunately, I’ve had experiences with most of these situations including feeling powerless, a victim and even being bullied. Luckily, I learned from each of them and came out stronger. Not everyone is capable of coming into their authentic self to own their power, and be able to love without fear.  The more we do our “homework”, that is, work through our personal issues, the stronger we become in each of our chakras. The goal is to be as balanced as possible. Even love can be too strong wherein we give out too much forgetting ourselves.

The heart is like an emotional bank account with withdrawals when others are mean to us or we give freely to be of service. We then need to take in emotional support and loving kindness in order to balance out this heart energy. I’m providing just the tip of the discussion here but enough for you to get the idea. Don’t give so much that you get depleted or you will get overdrawn, just like your financial bank account would be.

Here’s a story of a situation that happened recently. A woman went to visit a guy friend who wasn’t finished with his routine weekend chores. Rather than stop his activities when she arrived, he insisted upon keeping her waiting another hour past their agreed meeting time. She was a bit aggravated but kept silent about it. She tried to lighten him up by joking around as he seemed so tense about getting things done. As she leaned into to him, his arms flew up in a protective stance – one that a man would take if he was concerned for his safety. This maneuver was totally unnecessary since the woman was much smaller than the man. None the less his arm hit her in the face knocking her on her nose. She was not only stunned by his behavior, she was really physically hurt. He never said he was sorry.

As she was reeling and dizzy from the strike to her face, she stayed in his house for the next few hours while he watched tv and ate dinner. She quietly planned how she would leave so as not to cause any trouble. Eventually, she felt well enough to make excuses and leave. When she did so, he said nothing and watched her walk out. It was only the next day that he realized that he’d just about ruined his chances with this woman and began to beg her to forgive him. She wanted no part of it. And so it went for a week. Eventually, she felt bad for him and gave him a reprieve but only on probation to monitor his behavior. The relationship lasted a few more weeks and then she ended it for good realizing that she could be in her power and not live in fear that he could be violent again.

The next reason is loss of connection. This can happen at any stage of a relationship. Perhaps people get started based on physical attraction and then really get to know each other finding there is little in common. Or what was in common loses interest. Sometimes people get together for the wrong reasons, like over an activity that one partner no longer wishes to pursue. There are many reasons for falling out including just getting older and changing.

The last reason – it was a mistake in the first place often happens when the couple is too young, there is too big an age gap, the financial circumstances are very different, some cultural norm is very different or there isn’t agreement on how it is to be handled, etc. Sometimes people come together to work out karma and the lessons are done; hence the basis for the relationship is done. I’ve experienced this one a number of times.

One thing I can say for sure: if two people come together and feel strongly about a relationship, there is a reason for it. It may be for a time, for a season or for a lifetime. Only you and your divine essence know. Your comments are always welcome.


Why did you leave me?

March 15, 2021

From what I’ve read there are a number of states that people go through after losing a loved one including denial and anger among others. A few months ago I had to put my dear cat Skylar to sleep after many years of caring for him. It was a heart breaking  experience to look for ;hope one day and take him to be euthanized the next.

Making that kind of decision is beyond expression. From the vet’s office I went to the crematorium to part with my little boy forever. I returned several days later to pick up his ashes and prepared his final resting place near my home. As I was about to conduct his funeral, I got the call that my brother, long suffering from cancer, had passed that morning without awakening from a coma he’d been in for the past week.   Why did you leave me?

Within two weeks after my brother’s passing I was on a plane to the west coast to stay with my mother, my initial thinking was that I’d stay for a while, take her to the cemetery and do a service for him since she’d been excluded due to the pandemic and just figure out long range care for her. However, once I arrived, the situation quickly changed. I soon realized that my brother’s family was hidding the fact that he’d gotten Covid from them and they wanted me to leave, but their agenda was unclear. Although their motives can be surmised I can’t prove them. I accepted their rude behavior over the years when we’d get to get her and I’d be left out of conversations attributing it to not living  nearby, however I now realize my inner notion that my sister in law just had no use for me is clear. Its all about control and money. Its very sad really. She just lost her husband and has his estate and details to occupy her yet she monitors my where a bouts, my car, and has my nephew bring in other external people to try to take over insisting that I’m not taking proper care of my own mother. She doesn’t have enough on her own plate? One would think she’d be glad to have someone else here to care for Her husband’s mother as she works and is shutting down his business. Unless it’s not about my Mom but about her money. Oh now we have it, although she inherited mucho from my brother….. what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too!! No?

Unfortunately,  I’m now caring for my Mother in a way that represents me taking responsibility for her much as a role reversal,  which, of course feels very strange.  I’m doing her laundry, making meals and taking care of other daily details of life. Meanwhile I have a woman  looking in on my own house back home. It’s four months now with no end in sight.

I keep asking my brother now in spirit why he left me with such evil people at my heels making my life so miserable? I have great responsibility and yet have such burdens on top of it.

And in the quiet moments I think of my little boy Skylar and miss him. He tells me that he’s ok and no longer in pain in that little body he had. Surprisingly enough my brother agrees that his wife is not acting properly and he agrees with the defensive actions that I’m forced to take.

Why did you leave me….with this mess??


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