‘I hate you’ cannot touch Unconditional Love

green gauri

Within each of us is a sea of Unconditional LOVE, yearning for us to remember that it is who we are. Waves come and call themselves sadness, fear, anger, hatred, joy, excitement, etc. They do that. But the sea is LOVE – you are love.

The same happens with our children – but they quickly act as if  they are the waves. They feel a moment of hatred and say ‘I hate you’, they feel a moment of sadness and cry with all their might; they are angry and they express it with their whole selves because they live soooo in the NOW! And that is good, healthy to feel what is arising for them, completely. It is good if we as adults remember always who they are, they are LOVE.

Even as they are ‘waving’ (in anger, sadness, fear, etc), they ARE love and if we keep talking to them knowing, remembering that the unconditional LOVE is way stronger than whatever passing wave of feeling is coming up for them, they will (eventually) return to that, too, their trust and connection with us re-built.

Honour your child’s feelings as they come up. They are real, very real to them. Listen to them deeply, remind them that this feeling is valid… but hold in your heart the certainty that they are LOVE expressing a passing emotion (of anger, hatred, over-excitement), etc. The more often you can come back to love, even as they are ‘waving’ the safer they will feel in showing you all the passing BIG feelings that come for them, as they will sense that you know that is not who they are, it is just what they are feeling, for a moment.

And whether or not they grow up to believe themselves to be an ‘angry person’ or if they know that they are LOVE who happens to occasionally express some passing anger is, in large part, up to you. You can remind your child always, through your actions and words, that feelings are bubbles that come up for us and they pass, but the unconditional bond between you is unbreakable. More  importantly still, who they are is, at its core, LOVE and they can always return their attention to that in fullness, once the very human, very natural feeling has done its waving and is passed.

This is our job, in my opinion, to remember they are love, even when they forget it. Is it easy? No, not always. Not when our beloved child is shouting that they hate us, trying to hit their innocent little sibling or generally pushing our buttons. It is not easy but it is our calling, in my view.

One trick that can be useful for those starting out on this path is to choose one memory from a time in which you were with your child and felt only love for them and then consciously chose to recall that memory at the very moment when you are almost about to believe they are anger, and get pulled into being angry, too… instead, hold the pleasant memory, feel that love and answer from that space. You still validate their feelings but you also remember the unconditional love that binds you.

It becomes a virtuous cycle, remembering they are love and that feelings are just passing clouds (to mix my metaphors) can help us reconnect with the unconditional love inside of us (that is us). And us holding ourselves in our own centres, even as we are challenged to come out of it (and become angry/fearful/sad/etc – and believe we are that – too) will help our child express everything they have to express, fully, and then, when the catharsis, is complete, come back to their own center, knowing they are LOVE.

It is possible to feel love, even as we are angry. The unconditional love for me is like an unmoving background, always there, even as other passing-feelings project themselves on that canvas. The more we practice connecting with and seeing the unconditional LOVE (definitely different from romantic love or infatuation), the more we remember that LOVE is stronger and the easier it becomes to come back to it, even in times of crises.

Again, I waver. I don’t always find it easy, either… but I do find it true. I do find it a very worthwhile practice. I do see it helps in every facet of my life to know the LOVE is not just unconditional, it is truly eternal and ever present.

I am LOVE and remembering that helps me remember my child is LOVE, too… even when she isn’t acting like it.

Gauri

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Self-image: what is this ‘Self’ of which you talk?

"Mirror, mirror on the stall" - Bang...

Image by Sailing "Footprints: Real to Reel" (Ronn ashore) via Flickr

This is a post about a post about a post. That post is about living without mirrors.

I did that once or twice, when travelling. It feels great and is very freeing. You feel like you look gorgeous all the time. I also found I forgot about race and thought I looked just like everyone around me (Asian in this case… but I am actually white). And then I saw a mirror and realised I had the worse case of acne ever! My hubby had said, ‘I am so proud of you, you have got all these spots and you are totally cool about it’. I shrieked: ‘I have spots?’ and ran for the nearest mirror, in terror. Hah.

Meanwhile, the other day, I was musing about what it must be doing to this generation of kids that is growing up with a camera in their face, mirrors EVERYWHERE, TV, smart-phones, etc. They are aware of what they look like from so early on. Pip (DD’s nickname – making a slow transition to using it on here) has started not only playing ‘photographer’ but posing for photos, too. She is 20 months old. The thing with this heightened awareness of what you look like, from so young is that it must also make you more likely to identify with the body, first and foremost, no?

From a spiritual point of view this is kind of journeying in the ‘wrong’ direction. Okay, it is normal to start off thinking we are the body but most of us realise quickly there is more of import, here. The you might find yourself asking: Am I the body? Am I the mind? Am I the spirit or are am I something beyond even all of these?

I once had a very powerful conversation with a patient in a hospice I used to volunteer at about that. He was a Christian evangelical preacher. I come from an Advaita background. Advaita is a direct-path (or mystic) branch of Hinduism. I am not so into the philosophy of it all, nowadays. Just the practice. Anyway, the point is that this man, this black-power, formerly homeless man with whom on the surface I had nothing in common with bonded very deeply. This one time he confided in me about the pain in his body and his fear of death. For a moment, in the middle of a noisy room, full of people, I asked if he was the body. He said ‘no’. In seconds the conversation went from small talk to real connection. He told me he knew he was not the body, he was not the mind. He was prior to all that…

Perhaps being surrounded by mirrors and images of your physical form will bring these questions on sooner for some… for others it will undoubtedly keep them focussed on the shiny veneer, distracted from looking any deeper. Sad?

The post that sparked this post: The Path Less Taken: A Year Without Mirrors.

I only need to check in once: Mothering from the Heart

Sometimes I find that I question everything. I ask myself what I want to do… then start second guessing myself – ‘but is that the best thing for Anya?’, ‘Is that what will make her happy right now?’, ‘what will my mother/brother/aunt/neighbour think if they see me?!’, ‘what would my husband want me to do?’ Grr!… it is enough to make your head spin and make you really doubt yourself. In the end, I find I don’t know what I want anymore. This can affect big decisions but it can affect very small daily choices like what music to put on, whether to take Anya out in a stroller (once, just that once, to the grocery store) or whatever. I worry about everything: long-term impact on the social, emotional, physical and mental wellbeing of my child as well as how others will judge me and eventually I’ll factor in my own enjoyment. It is crazy-making.

Then I remember. Slowly, quietly, the little voice within takes over. There is only one truth (with many faces, perhaps – but only one, at its core). I only need to check-in once. The best way to access this truth is to go within. Be still. Listen. When I check in my heart, all the other voices harmonise, somehow. Does this make sense? I am no longer looking to find out what is ‘right’ or what I should do, I am only checking in to find out my truth right now – what feels good to me in the moment. Then I trust that when I do that I am tapping into something bigger than myself, actually. I stop trying to use my mind or my left brain to solve the ‘problem’ and I give over to intuition, to Heart. Every time I do that, switch from ‘manual to automatic’ (to quote Mooji, way out of context) everything starts to go smoothly again. In fact I am no longer trying to ‘solve’ the problem, I am just going to move to doing what feels right to me and trust that, as we are all one, that same movement is what is good for Anya, too.

This is tricky stuff to talk about. I am not, of course, saying – ‘be selfish and do whatever you want to do with no regard for others’ feelings or the impact on your child’ – quite the opposite actually. What I am saying, though, is that your logical brain is not always the best at making these decisions. Your own inner light, your mother’s intuition is a much better guide than any book will ever be – and your mind’s propensity to weigh up pros and cons (ad infinitum, in my case) may lead to some interesting philosophical conclusions but will not tell you what is best for you and your baby as unique souls – your Heart can. Trust that.

Keeping my birthing Zen – what worked for me

You may remember, I planned a homebirth and instead got a c-section. Yet, I have got to say I felt remarkably at peace, as I moved through the process. Somebody recently asked me what one piece of practical advice I would share with someone about to give birth, who wanted to stay calm and centred. Me being me, I found it hard to stop at ‘one’. Everything below is what worked for me, a description, rather than a prescription.

Two things leap to the top of the list. The first came before delivery. In my ‘Birthing from Within‘ class they led us through this meditation, they call it confronting your tigers (or your fears). The second is a flower essence mix I took during labour to help with my energy and with staying strong and true to myself (in making decisions regarding the choices that come up).

So, the ‘facing your tigers’ meditation, if I remember correctly is just this: first think of the thing you are most afraid of regarding birth. For me I had just learned my baby was breech so my fear was that she wouldn’t turn and I’d have to have a cesarean. Then you imagine that ‘worst case scenario’ in detail and how you would feel. Then put a big cross through that image in your mind. Next, open your eyes and think what you would need to be able to cope with that same scenario. For me it was ‘acceptance’ although it could be something very practical too, like support, music, talking to the doctor first, whatever… Next you go in and visualise the same scenario but with this thing you needed. For me I saw my daughter coming out triumphantly through a window in my belly and I became sure that whichever way she came out was going to be amazing and in accordance to God/the Universe’s plan. A great serenity came over me since then. You can repeat for every fear you find inside yourself.

The flower essences I took were Australian Bush Flower Essences and they were outstanding (as always). I really didn’t feel tired, even though my labour lasted 30 hours!!! and I felt very centered and in tune with my higher self or intuition in making any choices (for example regarding who could be in the room, whether to go for a certain intervention and when, etc.). I would suggest identifying what you feel you are most likely to need help with during the labour and take ABF Essences which target that.

Go here for a list of essences. They are amazing, truly!

My combination of essences, which I mixed myself at home, included Macrocarpa (for energy) and Sturt Desert Pea (for staying in and trusting my own truth) among others – seven in total. I am sure it was the essences that enabled me to say I could go another 8 hours, if needed (till morning) after having gone through 30 already!

A couple of tennis balls pushed between lower back and the wall or the bed are useful for a while to alieviate lower back pain. After that I really wanted a person pushing on my lower back, hard. That really helped.

With breathing I found that for me, personally, that K. breathing deeply WITH me was much better than someone saying ‘breathe in… breathe out’!

Additionally, I really benefitted from watching videos of real births and reading the inspiring birth stories in Ina May Gaskin’s books. I found reading and seeing real births helped me gain a more realistic grasp of what it would be like. It was especially good for K to see them too, to ready himself for what was to come.

Plus I would recommend the documentary ‘The Business of Being Born’ produced by Ricky Lake (which we saw online, here). It is very illuminating as it discusses the medical, financial and human backdrop to birthing in western countries.

Apart from that, just go with it and stay in the moment… which I found happened naturally: mind, body and soul are all focussed as each contraction or surge pulls you inexorably into the Now. I rode each wave of sensation without anticipating what was to come or dwelling on what had passed and I found the pain was bearable. Or at least each rush reached a peak of pain which was excruciating but lasted, at that maximum intensity, only a few seconds – and I knew that so even if for those seconds I thought I was going to die, seconds later all was well and I was singing show tunes in my head again and thinking ‘I can do this. I am doing this!’

Trust in your spirit’s intuition and surrender to what is, meeting what arises. Breathe.