Fulcrums

I have been wondering if four points of the annual natural Earth cycles, can be experienced as a fulcrum of our existence as people.

I concur with the essence of output from people such as Kristina Dryza (website Kristinadryza.com), who teaches about natural cycles and the value of tuning into them, in a modern world.  There are benefits to health, wellbeing and sanity, for being able to keep attuned with natural cycles, rather than running one’s life only on the rhythm of alarm clocks and computer notifications.

The four points I was thinking of are:

  • The Summer Solstice
  • The Autumn Equinox
  • The Winter Solstice
  • The Spring Equinox.

Solstice = longest or shortest day

Equinox = when day and night are equal length.

I am wondering about the art of living, with those things in mind.  It’s kind of like a natural annual cycle recognition and observance.

That’s not to say one worships the cycles.  It’s just saying, acknowledging that they’re there – year-in, year-out, every year, for decade after decade and century after century, millennium after millennium.

I’ve been thinking, one could live a life with observance to those four annual points and consider the creation of one’s life as being, alongside those annual features.

In one’s life, did one manage to live with some harmony with those natural points.  Did one understand that, after the summer solstice, energies tend to gradually wane back from the outward and doingness, towards the inner again.

How many times do people, organizations etc panic when they think that productivity is not sufficiently high etc but instead of allowing seasons of regrouping, contemplation etc., they plough on, over-wired and wastefully stumbling through self-made debris, on the way to…?

I don’t believe either in doing nothing just because the Winter Solstice has arrived, however I have started to allow myself to relent to tendencies in that direction.  I’m not lazy and I’m self-motivated so if anything I think I can afford to drop back on self-flagellation if I’m not overmuch active with much for a time.

Building up into summer, after the Spring Equinox, that can be a time definitely for outward efforts to have some harmony with the natural cycle of days being longer than nights, with longer and longer days until the peak of the summer equinox.  So, the harmonious trend would be, work on ideas etc and take action and be active, with less proportional time spent on inward contemplation.

Although, something that could be seen as an action could be, taking a summer holiday with one’s family.  That can be seen as, an action that was birthed from a need seen in the inner realms, of a family holiday which can have the purpose of, having experiences as a family that can aid in bonding, renewal, possible new connections (eg meet someone on the journey and/or destination that makes a difference in one’s life and possibly several lives).  Then in the summer, the holiday is born.  It might be a holiday but there is a lot of action involved.

Then, as the energies pull right back leading up to the Winter Solstice, one can well use that time to really go inside and really see what’s waiting to be resolved and also acknowledged in terms of what might want to germinate, God-willing, come the Spring (Spring spoken in slightly general terms – a time when the days are that bit longer and the sun is out that extra bit).

If one looked at one’s life as a whole and thought, right, I want to create from now on alongside those natural cycles, I suspect one would find a more honed person whose roots were more firmly planted in reality, rather than less.

Power with integrity can perhaps only happen when one is willing to acknowledge the reality of such cycles.

That has applications in an old or a modern world.

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Working with Light and Shadow

(Written prior to a breathing circle).

Perhaps it is a very light thing to do, to do processes that can assist in any needed healing around one’s shadow side!

I wanted to write this piece because of having looked at that part of myself very deeply and I felt that I had some things to share about it.

I have worked as a medium and that has especially given me cause to know my way in an inner world, where both light and dark are a part.

In talking about the subject of Shadow, I mention Light and Dark as relevant principles.  It’s part of an orientation to an inner world.  Our psyche is an example of an inner-world environment and in looking at our shadow side, understanding light and dark and where they sit, can be useful.

One of my friends and mentors who works in the area of healing and spirituality, has commented that we need to know what the dark is, in order to also know the light.

‘Dark’ can have a bad name, and yet, creativity and life exist within dark places.  For example, we are conceived in a place hidden from light and the outside world, yet that occurrence is a Divine one – life comes into existence and grows, in that manner.  It is how each of us came to be able to be born.  Maybe test-tube babies are a little different with respect to the conception process but they still had to develop and grow in a womb!

Another principle that I recently came across through mediumship studies was that unless one is able to come to terms with the dark to an extent, then one doesn’t get to have as much light either.

As far as our psyches go, this relates to the shadow in terms of, as we accept more of our shadow, we also get to have more of our light and bright side(s).

This I believe can happen as a gradual process.  I don’t believe it reasonable to face one’s shadow side all at once.

For me, facing my shadow side took place over a number of years, in situations such as everyday life situations, and through healing and other therapeutic processes such as rebirthing.

Past-life therapy I believe also can be relevant because it can hold keys to past lives where one did evil things.  No matter whether one set out to do such things in a lifetime, things such as murdering other people (no matter what the provocation), still carry karma.

I’ve heard it said (by Julie Way, Adelaide Rebirth practitioner) that people who go back to a past life, nearly always go back to one where they were a victim, not a perpetrator.

Perhaps when one is ready to face past lives and/or current life situations where they were a perpetrator, that is when that person is in the process of facing their shadow side.

Perhaps the key to being able to face one’s shadow side is in a willingness to accept where one has been a perpetrator.

Another teacher recently commented, in a context of raising consciousness and perhaps also living integrally now, that it is possible to do negative things and use one’s Pope consciousness to justify what one has done.  Personally I don’t want to be someone who does that:  I want to be someone who is willing and able to face things that I’ve done and/or am doing, and be coming from a place of honesty and being someone who is in integrity and ethics in one’s life.  That perhaps entails constantly being willing to face any shadow side in myself.  Perhaps that also lets one also be in a position to assist others in facing their shadow sides.  That is about being empowered – someone who can’t face their own shadow side, will surely be susceptible also to being victimised by others’ shadow sides and associated behaviours.

Personally something that has recently been helpful to me has been doing some readings and prayers from the Baha’i Faith.  I personally have found those prayers and readings worth looking at.  They help in understanding about God’s current plan for humanity.  My own experience is that I’ve been helped as an individual, by doing those Readings and saying some of the prayers.

Difficult to talk about

I have just realized that possibly I picked up a pattern inadvertently from my mother, where there was something pretty significant in my memory of experience and I just didn’t talk about it.

 

It was certainly a generational thing that people didn’t talk about things in my mother’s generation.  Perhaps reticence was and maybe still is, a personal trait of hers.

 

Anyway I have found it difficult to talk about patches of experience in my life.

 

It’s one thing talking something over with a Counsellor or a good friend.  It’s another thing airing things at a more social level where one is prepared to mention difficult patches.  Perhaps it’s not appropriate to share all details (ever?  In all social situations?) and maybe that is why, I find some things that have happened in my life, difficult to talk about.

 

When did the difficult period start and has it ended yet?

 

My difficult period possibly started when there was violence in my marriage.  However I already had a dilemma before that (I had a looming change of career and had no idea how to accomplish it, and also wanted a relationship and children at least as much as a career).

 

And strangely enough, what happened in my marriage and while I was having my children and while they were very young, helped me to have a new career.

 

It hasn’t been a lucrative one financially-speaking, and it’s been an un-applauded one by other human beings in the main (in fact I’ve been hated plenty of times by people who probably have felt justified in hating me, for doing things differently and maybe for breaking some kind(s) of social rules).

 

I experienced a difficulty in changing careers; I got married; there was violence in my marriage (as well as mostly harmonious, happy, productive times); I had children; my then husband physically hurt one of our children and was convicted of assaulting him.  There were events around that, that shook me for example the child who had been hurt, was removed from my custody by the State.  I was looking after him and was fully breastfeeding him.  I felt blamed.  At the time of my leaving my marriage which I did eventually, I was very depressed.

 

I spent about four years going through a pretty serious illness which took the form of severely depressed episodes and some violently manic episodes.  That same period was peppered with medications and also ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy or shock treatment).  I did odd things for example walking or bike riding for hours at a time.  Medications including anti-psychotics (some of which were taken via depot injection), mood stabilizers and anti-depressants, helped to quiet moods and behaviour.  They also had devastating effects on my metabolism and helped to cause weight gain.

 

After stabilizing and also getting myself organized for example in having stable housing once again and some supports and a community, I started to recover and explore interests once again and to reconnect with my children and to have them more regularly.  That was difficult and awkward at times.

 

Even at this point, instead of finding myself welcomed back with open arms and tasting life with ease and happiness again, it was a battle step by step as I had to win my way back to being a free citizen again.  Maybe that was done among people who would have preferred to not see that happen.  Maybe some people, it didn’t suit their world view to see someone emerge back from being so ill and challenge their assumptions and mind-set perhaps.  I wrote letter after letter and went through Court systems in attempts to recover some rights as a parent and also to recover some funds which I’d given to a former boyfriend who had gambled them, when I was ill.  In those processes I learned a lot.  Some did not thank me for bringing up issues but others such as friends who had had struggles themselves, encouraged me and told me that I was strong and brave and that not everyone could do that.

 

I’ve remembered to focus on what I enjoyed.  Music was a key thing.  There’s a danger in fighting issues that one can feel like, and be open to be accused of being, simply bitter and angry.  But maybe there’s a place for someone who’ll just openly be someone who’ll speak out and share of perspectives and be an example of a point of view where things can be fair for everybody.  Maybe some don’t think that everybody can win.  Maybe everybody needs to deserve to win.  Maybe not in the way that they might have previously thought, but in a way where they’re genuinely happy and peaceful and know themselves to be contributing as well as having.  Maybe I’m still working out how to do that myself.  Maybe I need to stick at my path and also just give of myself, just be myself.  Maybe there are some that need to change their ways and also put in some work of the right kinds, so that others aren’t doing all of the difficult work, while also being denied reward.

 

I was told by one teacher, don’t steal, because there are services that are there to help people when they are in need.  I’ve been refused help by a service.  Not at a level where I had absolutely nothing to eat, but if I have played my part in life as best I can and ended up where I was worried about affording a new washing machine for example, in the Western world, is it too much to ask that that be given, if that was the only thing that I asked?  I wasn’t even asking for the whole machine.  I was willing to pay for some of it.  There is an issue in Australia where people seem to be thought deserving of a very meagre existence if they don’t work.  The people who refused me the funds for the washing machine, they have incomes and jobs and free choice in how they spend the money that they earn.

 

I haven’t worked for an employer for several years now.  Earlier in my life, I did.  Then events during my life caused difficulties for me and there were few supports at times.  I feel that the work that I have done in the past several years has added something somehow.  I’ve done voluntary work in English teaching and in offering social connection for refugees.  I’ve continued to parent, with no parental allowance, while also paying child support to my former husband, who owns a home and has a good income and whose partner has a good income.  I’ve dealt with health issues and there have continued to be many days when I didn’t feel able to work and where I’ve gone back to nurse my health.

 

There is a National Disability Insurance Scheme being introduced in Australia.  Maybe it’s a good idea.  It might help to ensure that people who can’t work for reason of a disability, have more income than just a pension.  It’s a lot of life to live, with little means of doing much with it, on just a pension if someone can’t work.

 

I hate feeling as though I am whinging and I wonder at times, should I have just worked and had done with it.

 

But I feel that I’ve had special abilities and things to learn and unique opportunities where I could contribute and learn, and I’ve stuck with that.  I’ve also needed flexible hours, for health reasons, and for allowing of attending many appoints such as naturopathic, counselling and medical.  In peri-menopause my health issues have been unpredictable at times.  There are emotional issues for example it’s been difficult living without my children at times, and in peri-menopause for example, when I’ve been unable to ignore the fact that I have a womb, it’s been upsetting to concurrently miss my children and remember the persecution that I experienced on leaving an unhealthy and violent marriage situation, and later leaving my children in the care of my former husband and his supports (because I was too ill to have them myself).  That persecution and blocking of rights as a parent, didn’t stop after I started getting well again.

 

Additionally my music for example, to be involved in that, I’ve needed to be available for daytime practices at times.  If I’ve wanted to do Gigs, they have mostly been during weekdays in the daytime.

 

I’ve been able to be of service with massage and those appointments have come when they’ve come.  There’s website maintenance etc to do in the meantimes.  It takes quite a lot to able to manage a client load and screen customers etc.

 

So I guess I’ve done what I could.

 

I’ve reflected on what I can give.  Maybe sometimes it’s in non-traditional settings (I’m thinking of the music group of which I’m a part) for example, that we can best contribute.  I’m a fan of Brian Molko from Placebo.  He was terrified of having a normal job, and a desk job, and wanted to give something else a go.  He’s done well in the music industry in a rock band.  I’m not terrified of having a normal job, or wasn’t when I started out working.  Actually I was a bit, but ended up doing it anyway.  Now I’m terrified all over again.  Maybe I’m also the same as I was before – I wanted an office job because it complemented my wanting to ride horses and do other things, outside of my work hours.  I’m the same now.  I don’t mind working for an employer possibly, if it works with what else I need to have and do in my life.  I’m not theirs either (I’m not just here for myself but I’m not just here for an employer, either).

 

But the right employer, the right job, that could work.

 

Maybe it’s enough to just be wanted somewhere.  It perhaps doesn’t have to be fancy.  It could simply be a matching of what might be wanted with what is able to be offered, on both sides.  Then it’s a happy and free and maybe also abundant situation which adds to wealth of many kinds for that employer and that employee.

 

So yeah, difficult to talk about.  How does one explain some of what I’ve included in this post, in a job interview?

 

Probably something like what I’ve put in a draft of a Resume, ‘during this period I took some time off to deal with some personal matters.’  (I nearly died and was on a lot of drugs and spent some months in mental hospital wards.  In some of my episodes I appeared nude at my local supermarket.  Not sure why that was but I promise to be clothed when I turn up for work).  But in a job interview situation it needs to be put drily perhaps.  Is there a half-way point?  Eg I was seriously ill and battling for my life at some points and needed time to resolve both the health issues and some other accompanying life issues.  I took that time and put in many efforts and managed to stabilize and slowly rebuild my life.  I learned a lot in that process.  Some of what I achieved during that time is documented in the Resume.

 

Can one add that some days, I feel traumatised at just memories of what happened and at grief that things just didn’t go how I thought they might (for about 16 years?).  Maybe that is with positive thinking, maybe that is with best efforts put in.  Maybe that is with having been well-educated and having top-class supports.  Maybe that is with having been resourceful and having had virtues such as persistence.

 

Anyway maybe it doesn’t matter how long something might take.

 

As Ursula leGuin said, “It is good to have an end to journey towards, but tis the journey that matters in the end.”

 

She sounds like a pretty gutsy and sensible type of person which makes me feel all the happier to remember that quote.

 

Anyway I hope that this post might serve as encouragement and to give heart somehow to anyone who might be struggling in any way with any socially unrevealable issues.

 

Billionaire businessman

Today I heard on my car radio that Australian actress Melissa George was recently accused of attempting to get herself and her children out of the country (France, I think), on a private jet.

The person who accused her (according to the report) was her husband who was said to be a billionaire businessman.  He had also recently appeared in Court on charges of assaulting Melissa.

I reflected after hearing the report on a couple of things.  One was, whether Melissa sees much of his money.  Another was, how it is for women in terms of, probably he’d find it quite easy to win in any legal battle and possibly also in any custody battle, so ensuring that it’s harder for her to get away from him if she so wanted and/or saw reasonably fit.

And legally it could possibly be proved that she did something wrong in any attempted leaving of the country with her children, whereas possibly it could never be proven that he did anything wrong in terms of the alleged assault on her.

I wonder also, in the business of what?  He was said to be a businessman.  In the business of what?

He’d have some professional focus and/or product and/or service that he sells, but what about his private life?

If someone was in the ‘business’ of controlling and bullying women, who would choose to continue to do business of any other kind with that person?  Is that person really about anything that people can’t do without?

At least women are attempting things (it’s not the first story that I’ve heard of a woman in an abusive situation, attempting to exit the situation and it being made hard for her).  That attempt to leave, if nothing else lets others know, she’s thinking of how to resolve the situation and get herself and her children out of there.  She’s thinking that there could be a better situation for her and her kids.  One would hope that she’d be right.

If one single other woman or anyone draws some comfort from this Post, as well as myself, well, that is a bonus in my world and maybe the world in general.

I have lived experience of similar to what was reported as having been experienced by Melissa George.  I know in Australia at least where it can be tough to legitimately exit an abusive situation.  It is as though the law would prefer that the family stay together no matter what, and if that situation is at the expense of the woman, nothing much seems to be thought of that.  The children’s welfare in Australia is greatly prized by the law and yet the law system does not seem to see where the low priority given to women’s part in the situation, might relate to the children’s welfare (including for example if the children experience their mother becoming depressed).  Why are resources so readily given to men and protected for them to keep those resources to themselves, and yet those same resources are not given in the same level to women?  Also why deny women protection of rights such as basic safety?

Once again I think that undervaluing of the feminine is at play here.

Oddly perhaps, I draw comfort these days in people who are of unusual gender/ sexuality status.  Effeminate men for example.  Conchita Wurst would be an example.  Brian Molko from the band Placebo also I’m inspired by.  I relate to things expressed in the Placebo song Bosco, where he’s grateful to someone in his life who helps to protect him when he’s vulnerable.  He acknowledges in the song, his imperfections and downfalls and yet where his love is there for him.  Possibly I can relate to Brian Molko’s example because it seems to me that it’s his feminine self singing the song and it’s right out there easy to see, easier to see perhaps than an area where it’s so easy to be blind, ie just another vulnerable woman.

Maybe being male, Brian is more able to fight for his position in life.  Being female, one can’t fight all the time without just getting worn-out and non-feminine.  Probably no-one can but females more so because they’re mostly made up of female energy.  The feminine is not designed to fight.  Men have female energy in them too.  So they’re not all fight either.  So what’s going on when there is a fight and a man hits a woman and doesn’t get consequences and it’s also made hard for her to leave?

I suppose one wouldn’t want to be able to leave a relationship too easily.  It’s got importance and one wouldn’t want it to mean nothing.  But I suspect that since women naturally tend to value Relationship, by the time that it gets to them going to Court and making an attempt to leave a country with their children, it’s pretty serious and it needs to be treated as that if we’re to function in a healthy way in the world.

It’s a sick world where women are treated so low.

It’s a healthy world where the feminine is acknowledged and allowed back in balance and harmony with the masculine.

That can look like, withdrawing energy from perpetrators in difficult marriage situations and giving more to the vulnerable in those situations.  It could even turn out better for all concerned and overall result in a balanced, healed and happy world.  Where all have abundance, peace and health.

Truth

I live near the beach.  It’s a beautiful beach, with a river outlet nearby, and the beach is regularly polluted by materials and substances which flow out from the river and stormwater drains.

The river itself is fine – it’s what goes into it with the influence of decisions that people make, that makes it smelly and be able to help to pollute the beach area.

I think of the movie done with the help of Al Gore, an Inconvenient Truth.  I saw that in 2006.

I wonder about decisions that I make in my life.  For example I’ve elected to streak my hair and I wonder how much any of that product, affects the local environment.  When using unnatural products I do intend that it be safe and any negative affects be transmuted.  That is different to just doing it and not caring.  Maybe sometimes we get grace for certain things by holding a certain attitude, which means that a person with that attitude, can do more, not less, of whatever they want to do. I keep an open mind and would certainly consider stopping if that seemed right.

I grew up with a Christian influence.  I don’t know if it matters too much what influence it was, but something that reminded me of a code to live by, and that there are energies and presences and powers beyond the physical world (and in it also), that are not only physical.

It might seem at times that people who are able to make a lot of money, win all of the time and are better off.  I wonder if that has been allowed to happen.  There is a purpose for everything under the sun (and in general).  I wonder if some have been allowed to make choices and whether some have experienced that they won’t survive or do well or sort of be an OK person, unless they are able to hold a certain stance in the world materially-speaking.  For example an organization may favour customers who are able to pay the most.  They don’t want customers with no or little money.  But some people who can pay money don’t actually pay.  Also it can then become only about money and they it is easy to get many people saying well that organization doesn’t care about people.  So we won’t shop there.

People these days notice values.  I was in England last year and discovered that a major department store had lost business because (in my understanding) people perceived that it didn’t have anything to offer the vulnerable or the average person.  It’s getting un-trendy to be rich and simply indulging in things like, sports cars, and not showing regard to say, the hungry or those who don’t have clean water.  It’s a different thing seeing some people in a sports car than others – did that person walk over others in order to get that sports car or did that person ‘win’ that car from completely integral means?  Some have nice cars etc and at the same time, support a charity or charities.  That’s totally different to someone who only thinks of money and themselves and maybe their immediate family.  Some people don’t know the difference and will simply admire someone who makes a show of having money.

I’ve recently had a thought that to be too materialistic, leads to one being worse-off eventually.

If one looks at things like, the recent World Cup game in Brazil, people were aware that some people were moved-on from makeshift homes in the area near the stadium, to help make way for the stadium to be built.  I’d take a guess that it was not allowed for in the budget for that event, for re-homing people in the area and allowing for their ongoing support, having been forced out from their homes.  But the things to do with the show of the event that people see on television etc., they would have been funded.

I wonder also about values that mean that for local Councils for example, they have policies in place to extract a certain amount of money from (property) developers who want to make money from developments, but no policies in place to ensure responsible development and no requirement for people to keep building sites clean.

In my local area there are also few Council bins.  In parks etc there are.  But if one is out on a walk, one can see rubbish (food and drink containers, junk mail pamphlets for example), alongside the footpath.  There are no bins in those areas.

Some local Councils in my area have provided bio-bins which help to cut down on land-fill and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The green waste goes back to the environment.  I haven’t been doing that recently but I am thinking about it and I do recycle all possible containers.  I buy a high percentage of organic products and I use products that are natural wherever possible, for example vinegar for floor-cleaning; vinegar and sometimes also Bi-carbonate of Soda for bathroom cleaning; I own a Kangen Water machine which makes waters which can be used for different cleaning and disinfectant purposes; I use primarily natural, bio-degradable hair products (which also agree with my hair), and a natural, bio-degradable laundry and dish detergent.  That all surely lifts a big burden from the environment.

Nature can probably forgive and renew to a large and possibly also miraculous extent.  But people, groups and organizations that don’t hold her welfare in mind (and similar probably hold similar attitudes towards say anything female, without perhaps even realizing that), will add to a burden and they’re not doing much to mitigate it.

There is a place for family love in terms of, people who love each other, that adds a lot to the world already in terms of a beautiful place where everything is OK.  But families who don’t live by any code in terms of anything beyond themselves, end up being toxic.  That affects attitudes, decisions and policies at a personal, family, community, organizational (eg with their influence in any workplace with which they’re connected), societal and world level.

I felt that while I might not have gotten everything right in this piece of writing, it was important to say something anyway.

 

Rice

I don’t know how many people, realize the difference between white and brown rice?

Also I wonder how many people are aware, of the effect especially along generations, of over-eating of high GI (Glycaemic Index) foods.

By the way I am not a nutrition expert – what I’ve written here is just my best understanding based on years of observation and also having a long-term interest in Health.

It used to be that one would see very few overweight Asian people.  Now it’s quite common, from my observation.

A medical expert in the field told me that as a generation has damage (eg to Pancreas) from overeating of refined foods, the subsequent generations become more sensitive to the same eating habits, which is why obesity is becoming more common.  There is a lot of eating of High GI and processed foods going on.

To clarify:

  • Wholegrain foods are lower GI than are refined foods
  • Eating high GI foods can give one a temporary energy surge yet over time they stress the body more and can eventually cause damage eg to the Pancreas
  • Eating low GI foods gives one a slower release of energy and is more gentle on the body
  • Depending on one’s metabolism, eating large amounts of high GI foods can either cause obesity or contribute to neurological problems (which I imagine could look like anxiety etc)
  • Brown rice is a wholegrain food. It cooks up quite soft, in about one and a half times the time that white rice takes to cook.
  • White rice is brown rice with the outer shell taken off. It’s easy to eat yet nutritionally incomplete.

I also once read (in a Pregnancy book called The Natural Way to a Better Pregnancy, Naish and Roberts), that refined foods not only lack nutrients which are contained in the stripped wholegrain part, they actually leech nutrients from the body.

It’s an interesting area.

And I’ve also discovered that eating wholemeal bread for example, isn’t necessarily a better food for everyone.  For example, with my blood type and body type, wholegrain Rye bread is great for me but apparently white wheat bread is better than wholemeal wheat bread for me.  Not sure why that is, however I tend to eat wholegrain breads that I know are in the OK or optimum range for me.

Part of the reason why I wrote this post was because a young Asian friend (he’s about 28 years of age), did not know what brown rice was and assumed that he would not like it, and also had no interest in changing because he enjoyed white rice so much.  He did have a weight issue when I last saw him, although was healthy-looking and quite active.

People tend to feel happy with what they grew up with.

I think this relates to time issues also, or at least, how many people’s lives are, with limited time or headspace to make meals.  Some people might also just not have the heart to make independent enquiries about nutrition etc – that’s how all the others do it so we will do that also, white rice, white pasta etc.

However the kinds of messages that I get from my body are, look after me and I can give back to you.  I love you and “every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you” (that’s from a Paul Young song, quite old now!).  Your body loves you or would love to love you and have the most amazing relationship with you.

So for the sake of what you want in life and for more chance of having a great life, consider brown rice?!

 

If women’s issues were in fashion

If women’s issues were fashionable

  • non-monogamy would be an openly-acknowledged option
  • gay men and gay women would not be looked upon with such hatred and suspicion
  • gay men and gay women would have rights to marry etc just like anybody else would
  • no-one would stand for a woman being abused in her home
  • women’s rights would be seen as extending beyond the workplace (they get to have rights at home too – safety etc., just as men have)
  • work arrangements and what was acknowledged as “work” would be more flexible and widespread
  • women asking for their 50% share of rights, wouldn’t be treated as making unreasonable requests
  • women would just have their rights
  • women would be sharing of what they have to offer (which would be more than currently they have), with men benefitting too
  • sharing of resources would be more the norm
  • there would be less wars and rape
  • victims of crime or victims of anything wouldn’t have all of the burden upon them, to ask for help
  • people would be encouraged to be the best that they can be
  • everyone would get more home-cooked meals
  • those with a female partner and/or lover would get much better sex
  • communities would be rich instead of impoverished
  • the streets would be more tidy and nurtured, instead of barren and neglected
  • win-win would outweigh win-lose attitudes
  • services would extend more to the everyday person, rather than being tied-up in control and hoarding by people in leadership positions
  • there would be less fear of losing and more confidence that the needs of all would be met
  • diversity would be more nurtured, with the result that all would have more and be able to create more, as each is able to fulfil potential rather than some winning out at the expense of an/other(s)
  • women’s sport would have higher attendances because of people simply being fascinated about female creatures, doing something amazing
  • men would jump at the chance to share of themselves with a woman, and to nurture and have respected their own female side
  • there would be less language about ‘sides’ and one might instead express a man’s feminine side as, his feminine energy
  • there would be less suspicion and superstition around things like mental illness (anything hidden really), and women’s bodily functions such as periods.
  • the old would be respected and valued instead of disrespected and shunned
  • people wouldn’t have to work for an organization just to prove that they are OK
  • people would be valued just as they are, and encouraged to be their best and contribute what they can, rather than being bullied into taking part in things that they might not even be good at or well able to do
  • the Planet (Planet Earth) would breathe a massive sigh of relief and may even be able to find her rivers running clear again, see the end to mass destruction of her vegetation, and start to find herself returning to a state of health and balance once again
  • Solutions may be found to long-running problems that have contributed to human misery
  • People would feel more relaxed, relieved and free to just be.

The Lost Art of Home Cooking

I am sure that this Post will sound boring by its title.

I find it fascinating, what it takes to make something properly from scratch at home – not even just so much the making of the thing itself, but what it takes to actually produce that thing, in a world which is in the main, not geared towards much in the home any more, except housing of electronic equipment.  Ie, many homes seem simply to be there housing the latest in whatever can be purchased by people busily working sometimes hours away from the location of that home.

Personally I do love technology, as far as where it can add ease and pleasure to everyday life.  That is adding quality of life.  I love that.

Something that I feel empty about, is where walls of houses seem to have become very high in some cases.  A walk around my neighbourhood in metropolitan Beachside South Australia on any evening, offers many opportunities for sights of bluish flickering lights from big-screen televisions, from high-up windows staring out of cement-looking walls, which front on to sterile-looking gardens.

I am happy to think of other people being happy.  I think that television-watching can be a valid, enjoyable and also grounding activity.  I also feel sad at times, thinking of the soul-lessness and heart-lessness, in only having a life where a home is there to just watch telly and make maybe a toasted sandwich in the fancy yet empty-looking kitchen, and lock up securely during all of the hours when you are not there.

Home-cooking and home-made anything is labour-intensive and financially pretty much non-sensicle.

Here though I refer to the story of the man and the Starfish, where a gentleman illustrates to another man, “Made a difference to that one”, when he threw back one Starfish into the sea in order to save it, on a stretch of beach at which he had been told, he couldn’t save all of the Starfish.

I just think that a thorough effort made to produce something beautifully and properly, can make a difference to the quality of one’s own life and maybe also that of another, or others.  There is also joy in the doing.

I would not want to be a full-time chef and I probably would not want to ever cook professionally.  But as a hobby, I think that cooking can be greatly joyous and can spread joy to many.  I don’t entertain much at my home but I often share out batches of things that I’ve cooked (examples are Christmas Pudding, Black Forest Cake, Cold Rolls), to others in Recyclable takeaway containers.  Many of them give things to me such as friendship, money, good service in some way, that help to add to my quality of life (and therefore the quality of life of those around me), and I naturally want to reciprocate, and/or maybe those people are reciprocating to something from me.

“Just like Grandma used to make”, is often used by places like McDonald’s as a marketing slogan.

In order to make things just like Grandma used to make, the person – most often a woman – would need to be able to be home for enough hours to be able to prepare to make the item and also to actually make it.  A Pudding recipe that I have, requires soaking of the dried fruit overnight in Brandy, as a pre-step to making the pudding.  Then on the actual day of making the pudding, one needs to keep an eye on a pot of boiling water, while the pudding cooks.

I’ll also say this:  the pudding recipe that I use, came from the Internet.  I just found the most authentic-looking recipe that I could find.  I used to have one cut-out from the Australian Women’s Weekly – their recipes are normally tried and tested and so tend towards the reliable – but in my moves since leaving my marital home, that batch of recipes is lost or thrown away somewhere now, so I had to find another one.  I can’t realistically afford to buy a whole cooking book just for one recipe, so I just look them up normally now, when I need one.

Perhaps that is contributing to a lost art of books?  Maybe some love books.  I do have a big collection of a pretty wide range of book, but I’ve had little kitchens for a few years now and limited room for cookbooks in them, and limited interest in having them.  I do have a hardback Cordon Bleu cookbook, which I do use often when checking recipes for certain things like a sauce, and I use it when making meringues.  I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but when one is cooking food and liquids tend to get sprayed around at times.  I myself tend to haul around a recipe with me, as I go to different spots in the kitchen and still have to follow the recipe.  I’d feel sorry for a book with its spine being ripped apart as I grab it from one spot to another, while in the throes of thrashing out a recipe.  A piece of paper, my TiraMisu handwritten recipe is all stained and torn now, but I can still read it, and it can be easily recycled and replaced – maybe copied onto a fresh sheet of paper before it is too far gone.

I grew up in the Adelaide Hills (South Australia) and I probably got used to just being functional.  This is where maybe a kitchen does not need to be fancy with soft-closing drawers or anything like that, in order to be a place of happy activity, and beautiful food being prepared.

I was born in Melbourne which is a cosmopolitan capital city in Australia – so I am not simply a small-town girl.

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t think that it’s necessarily small-town or small-minded, to be thinking, let’s have a look at home-cooking and maybe also other home-based arts.

Nigella Lawson helped to create recognition of the Domestic Goddess.  I’d have to say that I’m very much the warrior-type as well as loving some of my home arts – so I don’t think that I fit into any label of Domestic Goddess.  There is also beauty perhaps, in a level of accessibility – Nigella Lawson, most of us will never meet.  She’s been a good ambassador I think, for those kinds of arts – culinary arts and popularising them and raising their benefits, appeal and profile.

In a way, also, it’s maybe been made a joke of.  And seriously, what it takes as I’ve started touching on already, is for the person making those things, to be home for enough hours to make them.

Making Christmas Puddings, or any somewhat involved item, takes several steps.  There are ingredients that one needs, that one might not just always have in stock.  Who checks the list (and he’s checking it twice – sorry, that’s Santa)?  Who makes the list for the shopping?  Who does the shopping?  That involves hauling the bags around etc and transporting it and getting it home in good condition.

If no shopping is done, are the ingredients fresh?  Even if shopping is done on-line, sometimes mistakes happen and one sooner or later has to take delivery of the items and store them properly, etc.

This isn’t just to make heavier weather than needed over something, it’s to celebrate perhaps, the steps needed to even prepare to make a certain specific item of cooking at home.

In order for a person to be able to do even the above steps and do them well, they need:  a home; some kind of transport; enough creative energy to think up what to cook and how they’re going to go about it; time has already been mentioned; a certain level of organization eg to be able to have enough free, clean bench space and utensils in order to prepare and cook the item.  This is all being said of an adult who might have many other things happening in their life, eg being obliged to somehow have enough money to pay the home bills, the transport bills and to pay for the shopping, and they might have family duties to fulfil such as children to help care for or older relatives partly or fully in their care.

Many women, are not supported even to a level of basic rights or conditions, let alone being supported to a level of being able to make really beautiful food from home.

I realize that men cook from home also.

I guess I feel that many more women would cook, if they had the right conditions in which they could do that.

Another factor is that any woman (or man) who chooses to stay at home, will face a degree of social challenge because not many people do it any more.

There are gender-based issues here – it is different living as a woman than as a man.

I come back to the basic elements of Yin and Yang here – Yin is cold, slow, moist, dark and related to the moon; Yang is hot, fast, dry, light and related to the sun.  I realize that we each have a bit of Yin and Yang in each of us.  However men are primarily Yang and women are primarily Yin.  Women in general I believe, thrive on a certain amount of time in a home where they can flourish in whatever aspects are natural for them to flourish in (whether it’s art, entertaining, networking on-line, being mothers, wives, cooks etc.).  More and more men are choosing to explore and express their home-side, being at home hands-on with kids etc.

I’d say that women are much more vulnerable to negative effects of being forced out of their homes in order to just keep a roof over their head, than would be men.  Men are perhaps more vulnerable to losing themselves in a rat race and in succumbing to temptations of a flattering outside world, and so neglecting those at home.

This might all sound very old-fashioned, and I think that much of what I have said, is old-fashioned.  I also think that much of what I’ve said, contains some enduring basics which can contribute to humanity-wide unhappiness and suffering, if they are ignored.

Much of Western society, is based on Christian principles, or a least a man-made interpretation of that.  Some of what I have said here, I grew up with as ideal models of how adults should behave and how it should all work.  The trouble with doing something as a ‘should’, even if it is close to what is actually authentic and natural, is that it doesn’t tend to cope too well when something in fact isn’t as it should be.

Domestic violence is an example.  It ‘should’ be that the man protects and provides, and is also able to experience and express his soft, feminine side.  Sometimes that doesn’t happen.  I recently saw a series of three videos with my mother, which was a Church discussion of domestic violence.  The thing that most stood out to me in the videos was, the principle of Headship in Christian teachings, that the man needs to be respected as head of the partnership and household.  However as one of the authorities said in the videos, in any Church sermon about Headship, there needs to also be a discussion about abuse.

There are elements in our world at present about fundamentalist this and extremist that.  In a way, those elements have a point:  we’ve lost the plot and someone has to help it come back to fundamentals again.

However I’d look at a fundamental as something like, male and female – Yin and Yang is a more stripped-back version of that still – it gets away from simply, women and men.  What are we expressing, what are we living as?

In a capitalist-based society, it is not of interest to people standing to make money from consumption, to have silly little women happily in their homes, free to think and create delights for those around them.  That woman is too empowered – she should be made to want this and want that, that will never fulfil her but she will happily die trying, flying here and flying there, trying to find that thing that was there all along, but she was assaulted into being distracted from just having it.

This might all sound hilarious, except try going against what most people in say a capitalist, patriarchal society think is a good idea, and see what happens.

My Grandmother was actually not that great at cooking.  She did do about nine recipes very well, and that did add much joy to my life and others’ lives, from what I could see.  She had a plaque on her kitchen wall for many years.  It said:

“No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best.”

My Grandma did offer much care and hospitality via her home, however she was also very well-travelled.  She lived abroad from her home country of Australia for about ten years.  Her kitchen was typically basic yet organized, and the rest of her house contained a mixture of fine, and also some very basic, furniture and items of china etc., and artefacts from places such as India and Asia.

My Grandma was born in 1910, which means that she lived before most of us were born, and she lived through eras where technology was very limited.  It would have been quite a phenomenon to her, to have a fully equipped kitchen even.  I think that we have lost the plot in terms of that kind of stuff, ie what can be done simply with basics.  Yes, we all might understand this yet who is actually doing it?

I’ve been on a budget and have been living in an un-renovated place.  It’s freshly-painted and has built-in wardrobes and all the usual facilities of a Western home, yet un-renovated.  I thought about my kitchen and thought, it needs a renovation.

I was out walking with a good male friend, local to my home, and we ended-up taking in a hardwood overhead kitchen cabinet which had been placed on the sidewalk.  I had been wanting some overhead cupboards for my kitchen and thought that I’d need to get a full-blown kitchen renovation in order to have that.  And yet, without even owning the place in which I live, I’ve now managed to install (with my Landlord’s permission and with assistance from my male friend and some others), a freshly-painted (by me) overhead kitchen cabinet.  That all cost pretty much nothing – it just needed a bit of magic, a bit of effort, some time, and the application of some relevant skills such as sanding, painting etc.

A very old female friend lived in her birth country of Germany for some years and I understand there, that one puts in a kitchen etc when one rents a place but in Australia, a rented place comes with a kitchen intact.  That’s the context in which I’ve been speaking.

I’m just saying, it doesn’t have to be, new this, new that, in order to be fantastic.

This might seem unrelated but recently in South Australia, a young man killed himself and his and his wife’s two young sons, by driving off a pier into the sea.  I am very sorry for the family.  I also feel very sad that what is seen as looking perfect, if it’s not actually working perfectly, what options are there for doing anything about that?

Media reports have all said, ‘if you or anyone you know needs help with a mental problem, call these numbers’ – one is Lifeline for example.

I’ve been through serious mental crises and I can tell you, it is not as simple as calling that number.  I and at least one other person I know, have had negative experiences such as either not being answered, and/or experiencing disapproving-sounding feedback from the person at the other end of the line.  Those services, tend to be under-funded and the people on the other end of the lines, are just human beings also.

I think it childish and simplistic, to act as though a person should just acknowledge that they need help and get help.

In my experience, a person experiencing a mental crisis, might have already looked around for signs of hope of help, and not found them.  Of anyone who is saying, oh if only that person had gotten help, why has that person not gotten help themselves, with finding out how they can be someone who can be of help?

I don’t know all of the answers here, but for anyone pretending that these matters are simple, maybe they are, and yet maybe not quite in the way that some might want it to be?

Anything that is man-made and gets away from fundamental building blocks, maybe that is where we need to be a little aware and conscious?

Much seems to have been made of how normal looked the life of the young gentleman who, it appears murder-suicided.  What is normal?  If he wasn’t coping with normal, what would have been the remedies on offer around him?

From my own experience, some results of him having sought help would likely have been:  he would have been prescribed medications; if any were anti-depressants they would likely have dampened his libido and joi de vivre; he would have found himself subject to attending various clinics etc; he would have experienced stigma related to being labelled mentally unwell; he might have ‘lost’ his wife and also been denied access to his two children.  If he had stayed with his wife, there might have been ongoing misery due to effects of medications, if that was accepted as a solution.

What could have been solutions in that situation?  I don’t know for sure.  I think that it is not made very safe for people struggling with an everyday reality that for whatever reason is not working for them, to make changes.  Maybe that is a part of the exhilaration and thrill of daring to be different, for example to forge even at a hobby level, any domestic art.

Maybe that is a part of the legacy of someone who has taken the route of doing what it appears the young gentleman did in South Australia recently – that they can remind the rest of us, how precious is the time that we have, and how will each of us use it?  What risks will we take?  Maybe he served as he was meant to but couldn’t do it any more.  Again, I am very sorry that that happened and my thoughts are with the family.

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I guess more than being about cooking, this post is about, some of the elements of life, and what it can take, to just live a life, in a world which at times to me at least, seems to have gone a little insane – or maybe just a bit out-of-touch!

 

Meltdowns and tantrums

I seem to have an interest in these (abovementioned) types of subjects.

I had actually drafted-up a post entitled Neighbour Day which was essentially saying that people need to be valued more and it should not all be about money.  But I feel that it will be of more use to the world to write about meltdowns and tantrums instead.

By the way I’m aware that Australian slang might come into my writing at times and I’m willing to clarify words if need be – otherwise I simply suggest gauging the meaning among the surrounding words and context of a sentence and/or paragraph.

Australia where I live, is a country which tends to value activity and the rational and logical, and is not so big on giving space and time for people’s emotions, and perhaps linked to those kinds of values, priorities or perhaps styles or operating, it’s not easy to make a living as an artist or musician living in Australia.

I wonder though, whether some of this is also relevant to any developed civilization, society, where ‘we are all adults here, we all know how to behave’, etc., and one just does not step out of that, unless one wants negative consequences for oneself.  One might feel like hitting someone but we could be charged and/or convicted criminally if we do that, so perhaps we desist from hitting other people but where does all of that emotion and energy go?

I grew up in a middle-class family in Australia and my brother and I in particular, have taken much delight over the years, in sharing and discussing stories of people that have stepped-out of the usual, with regard to social norms.

He has related for example seeing an intellectually disabled gentleman on the bus one day, and the bus, which was quite crowded, did something that was out of the gentleman’s routine, eg stopped where it didn’t usually stop, or stopped suddenly or something.  And the gentleman started making a loud, deep wailing noise and stamping his feet up and down.  I think that that eased-off as the bus once again did what it normally did.  I’ve seen similar with a gentleman who I know through what used to be a local Church to where I lived at one point – he made quite a sound when the bus stopped suddenly at one point.  Other passengers seemed to cope with it all right although most were looking at each other and making very mildly alarmed and amused faces.  Most other adults as their own response to say a bus stopping suddenly, might look mildly annoyed and/or grab for a handrail or something, and maybe just breathe or something to deal with the stress, and/or suppress any sentiments that might run through their consciousness.

Another story related by my brother is of a homeless man who had sought shelter one day in a Department Store and was asked to leave by store management.  The man did a poo on the outside step of the store after this had happened, as one of his only ways of deeply, visibly protesting and perhaps expressing, I would say.  Writing about this now, I see it as an artistic act by the man also – an illegal one but one nevertheless.

Coming from a slightly different angle regarding this Blog Post’s subject, I have a quote from a Brandon Bays website which I stored away and will now quote here, hope it’s useful:

“Dr Bruce Lipton, Candace B Pert PhD and Deepak Chopra MD have all shown that repressing emotions can lead to individual cell receptors becoming blocked.”  (I think this is a Brandon Bays quote – I found it on community.thejourney.com/journey_intensive/2012-europe/).

Yet, continuing straight on with my general line in this Post, if we release and/or express emotions in ways that are socially unacceptable, we can end-up in criminal trouble, even with time in prison, and/or finding ourselves in a country’s mental health (illness) system – nuthouse, if you like.

One tip that was once shared with me was Boundaries of Safeness.  Ie, if one finds oneself with a very strong emotion happening, in a public place, don’t just vent the emotion on the spot because that can then upset other people, so one finds ways to safely do it where it can play-out without interference or negative consequences from others.

One example for venting anger as shared by Louise Hay, was to scream and yell in the car while driving along on the road, with the windows rolled-up.  Or say one is in a public place and needs a cry, go to the toilets perhaps and I’ve also found it useful, if I feel teary kinds of emotions starting to well-up, to find a friend or possible support person and say look I’m starting to have a bit of a meltdown here, would you please sit with me for a while?  Recently I was at a public function and found myself in an emotional state, and I thought, I will either need to go home, or get some help if I want to have a chance of staying here.  And I spoke with two women who I knew at the function and told them what was going-on for me, and they were very supportive and sat on either side of me for a while, while I cried a bit into a tissue and gradually settled-down.

I think that one of them at least liked that I’d reached-out, because she didn’t always feel 100% comfortable at public events, and it perhaps showed her that others sometimes aren’t doing 100% comfortably either with the mix of factors at such an event.

For me, because of having been through major life changes, including months of mental hospital hospitalizations at times in relatively recent years, when I am at a public function with a crowd and strangers etc., I sometimes get very emotional and freaked-out, in part because of a sense of, no-one here has been through what I’ve been through, if I cry now they will not understand and maybe even call a mental health service, and it’s like everything is so normal and un-questionable to them, but not to me.

Although when one does spend time with such things, one can also find the occasional person who is empathetic, and family members will often enough love one just as one is – I think something that has also helped me, as I’ve already mentioned, is being able to communicate if I find myself becoming emotional, eg ‘I may need to go outside for a few minutes’; ‘I’m feeling very teary and a bit overwhelmed, would you please sit with me for a while or get someone to sit with me for a while.’  Then others have some idea of what they can do to help.

The movie Nell with the main role played by Jodie Foster, is an example of a story of a girl who comes from the wild and has quite a journey in learning about living in the social context of a local town.

In the group therapy known as Psychodrama, people are invited to bring an emotion and/or story forward, and act-out the elements of it visibly in front of the group, enlisting other group members and/or pieces of furniture and/or other physical objects if needed.  So they have a safe place in which to give a full expression to something, and also there is skilled facilitation and guidance from the facilitator, and there is also witnessing and support from other group members.  My own experience of Psychodrama is that it was liberating and certainly a memorable event for me, which probably means that I don’t normally feel welcome to so fully play things out in front of other people in that kind of way.  Anyway I am glad that I had that experience.

One doesn’t always want to show one’s emotions and/or processes to others – one has a right to boundaries there, and privacy, if one wishes.

I find it interesting that doctors, who have the most power and authority and I’d say, policymaking say-so in mental health systems, do not have training in either nutrition, or in emotions.  They can’t study everything after all in what is a limited time, but it is as though they have studied everything and know about anything that’s important to do with people’s health.

As recent blood tests have shown for me, I had a high copper level and under-methylation of my liver.  Also there were signs that my zinc level was low.  All of which can have outwardly visible effects on one’s mental health and associated behaviours.  All of those issues are addressed simply by taking of natural supplements – ie, Zinc, a particular Vitamin B supplement called P5P, a molybdenum supplement, and Methionine which is a blend targeting under-methylation of someone’s liver.  I also had stored trauma connected to a number of past events including violence in my marriage.  None of these seemed to have been treated as significant, when I went through the South Australian Mental Health system – no tests were taken for example, concerning high copper, liver methylation or low zinc.  And so those things were certainly not treated – I was given medication (with the legal right to forcibly inject me also for example, if I did not voluntarily have regular anti-psychotic injections), and diagnosed as bi-polar, among other things (schizophrenia was also a diagnosis in one ward).

I do know of some good therapists and knew where I could go in order to specifically and safely process emotions, which I did.  Other than that, I did not feel welcome to process my emotions in public.  I had some negative experiences around that, and I gradually have learned to understand, as I’ve mentioned already in this Post, how to communicate with others in order to help them to understand where I might be at, for example if I become teary, and how to assist me.

I know that the world does not revolve around only me, but also I think there is a point where, be oneself, and help the world to understand if necessary, what one needs in order to have a place in the world – or the world can just lose a person.  Like what can happen if people suicide and/or maim themselves in some way.  Those of us who are too ‘strong’ for that, can live on past some of those people but we may no longer have those people with us.  In a way, they have perhaps won the privilege of dying as they’ve done their journey, and that is just sometimes how things will go with people, if they feel that their time is done – I don’t anyone who has had a loved one die from suicide, to go into, ‘it was my fault’.  It’s similar if anyone dies of anything, ie we can ask ourselves if we did all that we could, to help that person while they were still alive.

Maybe in a different yet similar way, I’ve ‘lost’ people at times, where they could not relate to where I was at or what I was saying.

Anyway I’m just acknowledging some of the issues here, and saying well we all do our best to be ourselves in life and be the best version that we can be.  In my case I found myself in an unusual position ie that I’m well-educated and quite a capable person normally, and I found myself in some respects a social outcast, for example when I attempted to reconnect with my children, after leaving my marriage and going through an illness, and having some disconnection with them during those times.  I was not well enough to even see them, for months at a time.  When I did start to come back from that, I was treated with some hostility by some, and some of my own responses to that, probably did not help my cause.

For a song version of some of the above, please feel free to visit my first YouTube post https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OdnO0TR_Eg .

Anyway we do our best and that is all that we are required to do.

Something that I am inspired to do after writing this, is to give myself some time when alone, and see if there are any physical tantrum-like movements and sounds that I want to do, to help to release and/or express anything.  I believe that if more adults let themselves have the occasional tantrum, that they wouldn’t be so judgemental or upset if a child had one in public.  I saw a child lie down and pin itself to the floor recently when at one of my local supermarkets.  Right near the checkouts where there was a good audience.  The mother coped well I thought, and I was impressed at the commitment of the toddler who was doing it – they (the toddler) were on that floor and no-one was getting them off that floor, without consequence at least, even if they were several times its size.  I just see that as such a full, complete expression of, for the toddler, profound grief, profound frustration at being denied something, perhaps an un-jamming of circuits which had been temporarily jammed somehow probably by some thwarting of some dearly-held desire – and yet if an adult simply gives the child a bit of time, and gently explains sorry I can’t give you that thing right now, we’re going now OK, what if we do (nice thing for the child), once we get out of here in a sec’ – if the adult is together enough at the time to think of all of those things of course, it could ease the situation.

In France and Germany when I’ve been to those countries, I’ve observed certain public situations for example, in lines for train tickets and similar.  In Germany it has seemed very ordered and quite systematic and I get that they pride themselves on that.  In France I’ve been in a line where the person at the front of the line, and the cashier (person behind the window) have taken it upon themselves to have a deep, animated discussion about whatever the transaction and/or problem is.  Both seem happily in agreement to do that.  The one that I have in my memory, played-out over the course of a few minutes and was eventually sorted and the person happily left and the queue moved up one.  If I wanted to be emotional in a similar kind of context in South Australia, I suspect that I’d be pointed towards a sign which is typically prominently displayed in such places now in Australia, ie we will not tolerate abusive behaviour toward staff.  But how open are they to hear someone out if they’re simply very very upset, maybe with reason to be?!

I have also recently learned, that some people are simply not so comfortable with emotional-relational issues and linked to that, can’t so easily cognitize and/or articulate and/or express, feelings.  This is linked to studies that I’ve done in High Capacity Communications, with Dr Arini Beaumaris and Dr Reza Samvat.  For someone like me, what this can mean is that if I want my needs met, and I want to be proactive about it which I’d say is something that I do need to do and learn and develop in, is that I need to help to teach others, how to support me.  In that way I’m supporting them as I’m reminding them of something that they don’t yet know.  I’m getting past the idea of, well maybe I’m the flawed one and maybe I should just learn to be a proper human being.  Yes that is a process of living at one’s optimum and being the best that one can be, however there’s also this point of, I am me and I might as well be me in the world, and offer teaching and an example through that – or I’m not adding to it perhaps, I’m just blending-in.  Maybe it’s OK to blend-in sometimes but maybe that is not always appropriate or the best or highest or even most fun thing!!!!

A favourite, favourite story is from a good friend who lives in a city community.  In the area there are some community members who have been through some life struggles (eg alcoholism and/or mental health issues), and need support.  A gentleman one day had entered an episode kind of state and had commandeered an entire side street, refusing to allow others to freely pass along it.  At one point, someone attempted to make a call from a public phone along the street, and he on hearing them say that they wanted to do that please, said irately, “I’m the only one making the calls around here.”  The scenario is not that different to say when my Dad would have an emotional meltdown in our family home when I was young and still living there – he was not overtly violent but would say drop something in the kitchen (by accident) and then say something with an irate expression on his face, eg ‘Oh jingers that bloody thing.  Someone clean that up for me will you?’ and out of the kitchen he’d go.  I remember feeling that it was more of a mercy that he’d exited the scene, than feeling upset by any sense of burden of any mess that Dad had left behind him.  He did a pretty good job as a suburban Dad – what he didn’t do so well perhaps, for example in effectively processing built-up stressors, helped to inspire me to find positive and effective ways of doing that, since I’ve been an adult.

I think also that I need to remember to have fun, and perhaps part of parenting my own inner child and teen now, is to allow them to have their needs met, including to express in their own way, what may be up for them, whether it’s a desire and/or need wanting to be fulfilled, and/or a blocked emotional expression that needs proper playing-out – in a safe and supported way (which perhaps starts with me, understanding what it takes to feel safe with that).

Now, where’s that brick.. just kidding.

Boundaries and Mental Health

A trigger for writing this post is that I heard yesterday, a brief excerpt from an interview done with Robert Downey Jnr, where he ended an interview after being asked a potentially highly-charged question in what seemed an inappropriate context.

My understanding is that Mr Downey had agreed to do some interviews for promotional purposes (I gather for an upcoming movie or other project with which he was involved), and the journalist asked about what are probably Mr Downey Jnr’s most personal issues, ie his relationship with his father and where he currently stands in relation to his past drug use.

And I’d gather that it would take a certain amount of time, and a safe environment and opportunity, in order for Mr Downey to have been able to properly answer that question – so I can understand that a reasonable response from him if he was working in a specific context, would be to simply end the interview.  When he did that, the journalist sounded incredulous and indignant and it’s almost as though his sole purpose was to rattle Mr Downey and/or to get at some personal information, rather than to achieve what the supposed aim of the interview was – I do not have all of the information about this situation, but it is as though there were agreed parameters for the interview and the journalist crossed them, and Mr Downey’s response was to end the interview.

I just find this a good example of, someone who has learned to have boundaries with regard to themselves and their personal issues, and I think this a mental health issue, among other things.

I have been working on the issue of boundaries myself and it’s a fascinating area.  People who don’t know how to say ‘no’, can get sick and have problems – although I think that boundaries have other aspects, than simply saying yes or no.

If one does want to be black-and-white about this, I’d simply say, OK, we can say yes or no, and yet to be able to say one or the other, there can be a lot involved in that – for example:  self-awareness; feeling safe enough in the context and environment in order to be able to respond as one truly feels and is; and perhaps also an ability to follow-up on the yes or no – but that is where this becomes even more about boundaries because for example, one might say no to someone as to something that the other person wants, and then if that person then disregards that ‘no’ and acts against that expressed wish of that person, then the person who’s said no, in order to have boundaries, needs to have a backup in place in order to enforce that boundary.  I learned for example that say someone assaulted me in some way in my home, to go and get help.  I’m female but even say I was male, it’s not always possible or appropriate to attempt to solve problems alone in a relationship.  Yes, argue things out for sure but if one assaults the other – ie infringes another’s basic rights to safety, personal space etc – then that’s a problem that quite possibly needs help in order to be sorted-out.

I’ve thought about boundaries particularly in the last few days and I’ve thought, there is so much that makes up having a boundary – for example, say one sends a communication to someone which requires a response, and the other party does not respond, then it is havingness of boundaries, for the sender to follow-up and politely request a response.  If it’s a reasonable request and someone else doesn’t respond, then it’s havingness of boundaries, in order to follow that up.

Underneath that, is a need for someone to be able to back-up things that they say and do, and to have qualities like consistency and integrity – otherwise they could be full of enforcement of boundaries, and yet be falling into holes of their own making – for example say one is having family disputes, and one is attempting to have something out with say a parent or sibling, and one is not even looking after one’s own physical health, then one will find it hard to sustain any effort in the outer world because one will be called within, to sort-out one’s own basic issues.  So I guess that nature will always help us to come back to what is right and solid, in some way.

It seems that some, attempt to use physical health issues in order to try to control other people – and I guess there is a difference here between manipulation – or attempted manipulation – and boundaries.

A friend of a friend who has had long-term depression, had an issue with his mother showing disregard for his condition, for example by putting away his packet of medication, from where he had left it, in order to clearly remind himself on a daily basis, to take it.  He knew where it was and wanted to know where it was.  She kept putting it away in a drawer.  She may have said, that he was trying to manipulate sympathy or invoke guilt or something by leaving out the packet, but I think that she was not honouring his boundaries in doing that without negotiating some agreement with him about where the packet of medication should go.  Perhaps also, he could have attempted to negotiate same with her, although my sense is that he did not feel comfortable to do that, and my sense about his mother was that she was not receptive to that.  The person not long after that, moved out of his parents’ home which was probably a good idea – as I understand it, it’s been an ongoing process of him slowly finding ways forward, and change slowly happening in the situation in general (within their family and also in the outside world with new opportunities gradually opening-up – for example they upgraded their home which has indirectly uplifted him) – that is what it can take, as I’ve seen it, for someone’s life to improve and perhaps for a family situation in general, to improve.

With someone like Mr Downey Jnr, what it can look like if he does not maintain boundaries, is that a journalist (for example), can get verbal abuse for asking what’s seen as a question out-of-context – then Mr Downey Jnr if he’s done the verbal abuse can look like the bad guy, and the lesson can get missed altogether.  If the journalist wanted a deeper interview about Mr Downey’s view of his current personal-level situation with regard to his relationship with his father and past drug use, then he probably needed to work on creating a suitable opportunity and perhaps that can sometimes involve patience, and wanting something enough, with a genuine reason, and having another’s permission, in order for that to come about.

Another possible consequence of someone not being able to maintain boundaries, is that their mental and physical health gets affected, and that means that no-one else gets the benefit of that person for a certain amount of time either – as they’d be forced to go back to the drawing-board (eg go to rehab, hospital and/or just take time out in order to recover in some way – attend to health issues (mental and/or physical)).  Everyone I would think, needs a certain amount of time-out, and knowing when that’s needed, and taking that – just having it really – for oneself – is a part of maintaining healthy boundaries as it relates to health, centredness etc.  If time-out was overdone, then that is avoidance perhaps – and that’s not having healthy boundaries either.

So perhaps one needs balance in order to have healthy boundaries also, or they’re just boundaries, they’re not healthy ones.