Tuesday 27 November 2012

Dual core processing

As if on demand, the universe has just provided me with a situation to explore how my new understanding of personality and Self interact.

Dirk and I have just had a disagreement.  I thought he had asked me to do ABC and I had done it with delicacy as to what was important to him.  When I told him, he was annoyed with me because he wanted XYZ. 

I was really hurt because I had done my best with a genuine consideration for what mattered to him.  At the point where he was giving out, I realised it wasn't Him giving out to me, he was just running his programming.  And at the point where I was hurt and upset, it was just my programming. 

I still felt my pain, but I saw myself feeling it.  It wasn't all of me.  I was processing on two levels: the immediate feeling level and the observer level that noticed but didn't blame or judge either party.

The cracked shell

The shell of the ego is cracking.  Over the weekend, I realised that I consistently think the same thoughts, react in the same way to external events.  I even say more or less the same things, over and over again.

In that moment, I saw I have two 'selves'.  The ego self, which is almost like a pre-programmed person that consistently behaves in the same way.  Below that, quietly saying almost nothing, is the Self, which is, I assume, the Eternal Self, that exists beyond time, place and personality.

I've read about this but never experienced it before.  Now, having experienced it, I'm trying to remember the fleeting insight.  The things that annoy me don't matter.  The things that please me don't matter.  They are all just stimuli to the personality Jennifer and her pre-programming. 

All this said, I still haven't managed to change my programming!  At the simplest level, I still haven't managed to give up wine or chocolate which my programming thinks will respectively help my spiritual journey and physical appearance.

That's the thing about the spiritual journey.  Insight doesn't always equate to change.  It ebbs and flows. The shell of personality is cracked, but it has not fallen away. Nonetheless, if nothing else, it is allowing me to be a bit looser about what I think is 'good' and 'bad'.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

The chicken pox journals - Day 12

I'm calling it!  The last blister is scabbing over.  It's not the hardest scab, but it's definitely a soft scab: I never thought I'd think so much about scabs in my life.

The last scab was on his foot and would not dry up.  On Day 8 I discovered that one shouldn't bathe children with chicken pox as it prolongs the spots and increases their number.  Hmm, if everyone knows that why did no one tell me?!  Ok, they thought I knew, but clearly, I'm not everyone!  I missed that 'Life skills 101' lecture.  In the end, I left him in his bare feet to try to dry out the blister and that seems to have done the trick.

James has moved on from thinking he has stickers on his face.  He knows it's the chicken pox.  He told our friend Gina, "Jayes chicken puck" the other day!

It's wonderful that James has now had the only 'big' childhood illness (in my day we had mumps, measles, the works!).  I've been very reluctant to bring him out before the final blister scabbed not for other children, but for those with weakened immune systems.  My mum's immune system is as delicate as a fairy sitting on top of a tree in a hurricane.  I hated the thought of him spluttering and inadvertently making someone so frail ill, knowing how much illness takes out of Mum.  Now, freedom beckons.

There have been several rather cute incidents over the past days that I thought I'd share.  I am a big fan of manners, I believe they make social interactions easier in an increasingly impatient epoque.  So 'please', 'thank you', and 'sorry' feature highly in our house.

The other day I accidentally knocked him with the door, he had got between me and the door and I hadn't seen him.  "Sorry James", I said.  He clearly thought it was his cue to apologise, "Sorry de door" came the response from below!

Yesterday, he uttered his first sentence.  Correctly.  [read: he's a genius!]  Up until then - and since - he combines names and nouns or adjectives.  'Jayes, apple',  or 'how 'bout 'nana Mama'.  Yesterday he brought me a picture and said, "Mama, look at that".  I'm so proud!

He's also absorbing Flemish.  This morning I was talking about the hand towel and he informed me it was an 'aandhook' - the Flemish for hand towel.  I didn't know he knew that!

My final anecdote is also from this morning. He was playing with a mummy horse and a baby horse, but unlike other times, he was talking for them.  Here's the conversation I overheard:
"Mama, how 'bout chocolate?"
"Mmm... how 'bout apple?"

Sounds exactly like a conversation at home!

Friday 16 November 2012

The chicken pox journals - Day 7

He's still contagious!  Agh! 

I had resigned myself to no nursery day today, but I still can't even go to the supermarket.  I have said it many times, when life is going well, it's easy to think we don't need others.  When times are hard, when things go wrong, we realise how much we depend on others.  Dirk is working until tomorrow evening and won't be home tonight, so with no one to mind James while I go shopping, James and I will be sure to use every scrap left in the fridge!

A few days ago, in desperation that he wouldn't eat, I suggested he sit up at the table with me for lunch.  He jumped at the idea!  I put a cushion on the chair, covered it over with a blanket and up he clambered.  He ate all his lunch, so he's had lunch with me ever since.  This morning when I asked if he was ready for breakfast, he ran to get the cushion: no more baby chair for him!  It's so touching to see him growing and the pride he feels as he accomplishes ever greater steps of independence.

On a final note, I held a shell to his ear and suggested he could hear the sea. This morning while I was changing his nappy, he held an aloe vera cream to his ear and said, "the sea, the sea"!!

Thursday 15 November 2012

The chicken pox journals - day 6

The good news is we are both still sane.  I'm also hugely relieved that, apparently, this is the only childhood illness apart from colds and flues that children get. 

Less good is that James is although he is healing well, he won't be well in time to go to nursery, which is a shame for us both. 

He has some blisters in his ear and so far he has stuck a raisin in there to scratch them; and a stick!  In general he is in very good form and taking it all in his stride, so I am lucky. 

This morning the land lady minded him while I nipped out to get some supplies at the corner shop.  The plan for today is to make coconut macaroons this afternoon, a sweet treat and it passes some time!

Love heals all

Each one of us is afraid of ourselves.

We may brush it over, pretend not to see, or even steadfastly ignore it.  But that does not invalidate it.  In a little corner of our minds, we are afraid.

We fear our own thoughts.  Sometimes we are ashamed of what we have done - or failed to do.  Often we can assuage this feeling by thinking of someone we know who has done worse, said worse or thought worse than we have, but the relief is only temporary.

In quiet moments, I know that feeling.  I know the inadequacies of my character; the moments when I have chosen the lazy path instead of following through on my intuition. 

In meditation recently, I understood that Love judges nothing; not even our darkest, murkiest shadow.  Divine Love simply invites us to release those thoughts, those fears to its cleansing energy, where they can be assimilated into the light.  I'm so used to shoving my bad thoughts, my fears back into the box that it's taking a lot of courage not to flinch in the presence of my shadow, and offer it to Divine Love to cleanse and clear

When we open a door into a darkened room, it is the light that always melts the darkness.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

The chicken pox journals - day 4

Well, days 1-3 have passed.  We are into Day 4.  And that can only be a good thing.  It's quite difficult to see my beloved son covered in spots with blisters on top, not to mention the itchiness.  He's sleeping with his hands in socks to prevent him scratching himself. 

Yesterday he started to tell me when it was tidy-up time. When he got bored of an activity - normally 5-7 minutes - he'd say 'didyupdide'... or 'tidy up time' to you and me - and proceed to put everything way.  It amazes me how well he does it, putting buttons into their container and closing the lid, and returning books to the book area yet somehow toys he wants to play with don't get tidied up!

Yesterday he ignored the spots.  This morning he saw his face in the mirror.  'Jayes dicker', was his deduction: he thought he had stickers on his face! 

As if he didn't have enough on his plate (he also has a bit of a cold/chest cough) he decided to experiment with limping yesterday!  He walked around keeping his knee straight and limping up and down the room.  I couldn't keep a straight face.

Joyously, we are both still sane after three days indoors.  I think we will go into the garden today and catch falling leaves.  That should pass another 5-7 minute slice of time!

All in all, he's being incredibly good.  He is in great form and doesn't cry much about the discomfort or frustration of feeling itchy.  Honestly: it's not just because I'm biased I think he's so good!

Sunday 11 November 2012

These four walls

There isn't any alchemy in this post.  It's a moan.  A sustained grumble, if you will...

As you may have read in the previous blog, James has the chicken pox.  In short, that means quarantine for the next 4-6 days.

Today I went out to get the last few supplies to ensure we had enough to get us through the next 6 days.  Dirk leaves home at 6am, he's home somewhere between 8pm and 9pm.  This Friday, he's not home at all.  We'll see him on Saturday evening.  So there's really just James and I.

And so this week stretches ahead of me, from 5.30am when we get up to 6pm when James goes to sleep, enclosed in the 50 sq feet of our abode.  No play groups, no nursery, no friends.  Agh!

I once read an article by a woman who's friend was destitute, so she and her tiny son were put up in a B&B by the council.  She had just a room for the two of them.  The author noted how she never once grumbled about her circumstances, exceptionally difficult though they were.  When I am tempted to grumble about our minute living space, I remember this woman I have never met and aspire to her patience and grace. 

Not today.  Today it's just ... blah blah grumble blah.  One day our luck will change.  We will find a home and move.  There will be space for James to have his own room, instead of a corner of our sitting room.  We will have a bedroom with a door.  Not a curtain. 

While in my heart I know I am lucky, in my head I am frustrated, and apprehensive about a week enclosed with a sick two year old with energy to burn.  Patience and grace. 

The alchemical approach in this moment is to live from my heart. Not sure I want to.  It's easier to moan!

This is how it is.  I can't argue with that.  There are no 'it shouldn't be like this...' because that's fighting reality and reality always, always, always wins.

It is. 

I can accept it or fight it.  The fight is doomed, so best accept it.  And if I can come from my heart, then perhaps I can find just a little patience and grace in my frustration and apprehension.

James and the giant pea

"Pea, Mama," said James, looking slightly troubled.

You need to watch children 24 hours a day.  Especially the smaller ones.

"It's up his nose," added Dirk, in shock.
I looked up James left nostril.  Yes, there was a green pea visible up his nostril.  Immediately, images of him inhaling said pea, it causing pneumonia, or worse, ran through my mind.  Or what if he had to have an operation to have it removed from his lungs... all we did was look away from him for less than a minute to say two sentences to each other.  And now he had a pea up his nose.

Adrenaline pumping, I told Dirk to hold him steady while I ran to find his Mucus Terminator.  Okay, that's not it's real name, but I don't know it's real name; suffice to say, small children can't blow their noses, so this creates a vacuum and sucks out the mucus when they have cold.  Too much information?!

Dirk carried him over to the settee from his high chair.  I ran from the bathroom, performing practice suctions on the Terminator, just to get in the hang of it. 
"It's gone, I can't see it," said Dirk, adding to the frazzled tension of the moment.

'Oh no,' I wondered, 'what are we going to do now?'

As I prepared to get the Mucus Terminator in place, practice suctions completed, I saw it.  Shiny, slimy and verdant green: the pea.  It had been dislodged and had come back down James' nose.

Utter relief flooded through us.  I've no idea how it went from so far up his nostril that we couldn't see it to out of his nose, but I am calling it my miracle of the day.  Parenthood: it's the ultimate adrenaline ride.

Did I mention he's covered in the chicken pox as well?

Friday 9 November 2012

James' update

Just a couple of incidents that made me laugh...

A few days ago, James came up to me asking for something.  At first I didn't get it, then I realised... "A chocho road..."  Of course, make up his train set!

Yesterday he called from the bedroom.... " 'Duck Mama, 'duck'.  I went in to see how he was stuck this time.  He sat on our bed with his push car (as big as he is) sitting on his legs!  How he had managed to get on the bed and pull that up on top of him is beyond me.

It seems that he has taken great leaps in the past three weeks.  He is starting to sing along to songs and do the hand motions: his rendition of Twinkle Twinkle is very cute.  He even sings along to himself when he's playing... a sort of 'la la twinkle lidle star...la la la' verion of the songs! 

Numbers have also emerged on his horizon.  He can recognise two of anything, three items pose problems, but he's very confident with two.  He knows the numbers up to ten, though 7,8 and 9, would appear to be his favorites as they come up more frequently than the others in any counting sequence. 

It's wonderful to see the world emerge before his eyes, a place of wonder and mystery.

Not more personal demons...

"How are you with the dark side?" Gary asked.
"Ummm...." I stalled, "what do you mean?"
"Do you go into the dark side?"
"No."  It was an easy answer.  "I prefer to believe that all things can be transformed through love and light."  Yes, really!  And I mean it.

"Well," continued Gary, "that's true and it's not.  Sometimes you have to be willing to really acknowledge a personal limitation before you can truly live its enlightened counterpart."
"Ok..." I wasn't convinced, but an hour perviously I had sat down and said a prayer for help and then Gary rang.  I hadn't heard from him in months.  If this was the help I needed, I didn't want to ignore it.

So looked at resentment: I found an image for the part of me that resents, listened to what that sub-personality feared, what they hoped to get, and what they needed to feel safe and loved.  I blessed them and asked for release.  

That night I had a deeply disturbing dream.  When I awoke I wondered if I was actually going backwards in my spiritual journey.  A few hours later, the meaning of the dream suddenly became clear. I had released that part of my dark side. The work that had to be done was done. 

Now here's the weird bit (no, not the other bits, they're 'normal'!) all four areas of my life that were not just stuck but seemed to be regressing changed over the next five days.  It was as though a new energy had been flushed through them.

The spiritual path can seem lonely and quite hard at times, requiring deep commitment, but this week I feel truly blessed.  I know I'm not alone: I asked for help and got it almost immediately.  I even got proof that it had worked in a tremendously short time frame.  And if more little gremlins pop up, I can welcome them, knowing they will unleash new joy and energy into my life.

I really see that I'm collaborating with the spiritual realms, not beseeching them for this or that insight, but working together with them.  What a blessing.

Monday 5 November 2012

My son's a genius...

"Chee" pronounced James confidently.
I looked down at the fork.
"Yes, James!  That's right!  There are three peas on the fork."

Amazement and awe flooded through me.  At the tender age of two, my son could count.  Was that normal?  I didn't think so.  Oh, my son the genius!

"Chee," pronounced James again.
I looked at the spoon, overflowing with peas and there it was, nestled in the back of the spoon: cheese.

Illusions of genius dispersed in the wind, like seeds from a dandelion head.

Parenthood is a funny thing.  We all know our children are special. We just want a definitive way to prove that to outsiders, so that they will have the same awe and wonder for our amazing children as we do.  But really, no one ever really loves and adores our little wonders in the same way we do.

Statisically, childhood genii are less likely to be adult genii.  It's far more important for children to have a happy childhood than one that pushes them not just to succeed but to excel, from earlier and earlier ages.

So cheese it is.  Not 'chree'.  And humility, Mummy.  He's precious simply because of who he is, my son, not what he can do.