I did it! Woo hoo! My detox diet complete and I feel so positive about having completed seven days of "sacrificing". The week was hard for all the aforementioned reasons in my last blog posting. Food, food preparation, and thinking about meals choices and combinations gives me much pleasure as part of my daily routine. The freedom of my food choices is a such a point of gratitude right now. Post detox diet meals have been an incredible experience. Many of the foods and flavors are like having something new and delicious again - but for the first time - an interesting complex of sensations. I feel strong and healthy, but did before the diet began, so I cannot claim any heightened sense of wellbeing, rather an increased intensity of experience in the simple aspects associated with dining. The week of detox dieting coincided with another big event in my life. My 21-year-old daughter had bunion surgery last Friday, the midpoint of our diet. Thinking about the logistics of the surgery, I was concerned about my overall energy, organizing food issues around going to the surgical center and waiting for her, and the follow-up of care-taking her post-surgical needs which I knew would be no small task given the significance of the surgery and how it would incapacitate her. Going into it, we had decided if the diet didn't fit and would present any problems for us because of the surgical situation and her needs, the diet would have to be compromised. We both were okay with the thought of this, but hoped we could indeed make it through the time and complete our goal. We did.
My revelation came during a morning meditation/prayer time. (As so many revelations do.) The subtle yet clear knowing came slipping into my awareness as I watched the train of my thoughts and the content these thoughts held. Sitting quietly, I watched as my mind played out my care-taking activities, organizing the days and events that would take place, my inner attempt at controlling what I could in the situation. I became aware of the emotional content of my inner compassion for wanting to care well for my daughter, be available to make this experience as "painless" as I could (in my emotionally supportive contributions and nursing activities like providing pain medication in a timely manner so the pain would not get ahead of her). I also recognized the fatigue that came with just thinking about it along with what I would be giving up of my usual routine to provide these things. As I sat in calm observation of these thoughts and feelings, I could see the fine lines that run through care-taking and the experience of performing these duties, offering these services to others as a gesture of love versus another thing to get done during the day. And I could see my own history of becoming the helper when my mother was in need, how this translated into wanting to be the good daughter and the well-behaved child and then the following resentment that came at some point when I was doing the "good" girl thing unconsciously, for some confused reasons internally as a misguided attempt to control the life that went on around me in some way - making it more pleasant, more harmonious, more kind. And I could feel that fine line in me in that moment, when I could so easily slip from offering freely my compassionate caring, to remote doing and nursing - suddenly going into in auto-pilot mode and forgetting to consider my needs and my life, not taking the time to fit in what I can to make the day a bit of what I desire too, perhaps then unconsciously slipping into some resentment. I could see the thoughts organizing as my attempt at control in order to manage a difficult situation. A situation that included the reality that others would not get my attention in the ways they are accustomed to, and there may be feelings about this by-product of the post surgery time that I would be dealing with as well. I would have to keep the bigger picture in mind so that I remembered this was a month of my life to embody "the good mother" again, perhaps the last time one of my "children" would need this kind of care from me because other people will come into their lives, growing into an expanded support system for them.
So the revelation came pulsing out from among all this awareness as the thoughts floated through my mind and I watched it all forming and reforming. The momentary knowing was like, "this is Laurel doing life... organizing, planning, wanting to be "good" to and for those she is living with, "making" life as harmonious as she possibly can... see Laurel wanting to control her environment.... here is her "control stuff" again... is she compassionate and caring as a means of controlling her environment?" Woooooshh..... there it was. Wake up! My consciousness fully reconnected again and I looked at what I had just become aware of, seeing the fine line that got lit up by my higher awareness during my sitting. As I began to process what was so clearly highlighted, my realizations were these -
No I am not compassionate and caring today because I want to control my environment. Yes, I am compassionate and caring because I want to influence my environment in a healthy manner: it feels natural. No I am not compassionate and caring to make others like/love me. Yes, I am compassionate and caring because I love those I live with and want to care for them well and developing positive relationships feels right for me. Yes, I want to give freely and offer my service with a loving heart. No, I cannot do this endlessly, I am a person with limited resources so that when I exhaust my energy and keep giving I am prone to resentment because that is my old pattern.
Yes, care-taking can be a loving gesture - but proceed with caution else you care too far and then want to control rather than just care for. It can be a real fine line.
With my new fine line revelation I am watching myself carefully for how I am giving and caring, not just for others but for me too. I am watching myself for my inner intentions behind this being of service to others, always on the look out for a misguided need to control my environment rather than just giving my best and letting others be themselves while I meet my needs too. Harmony may be a bi-product of that, or not. What I have learned is that harmony exists from the inside out. Controlling our environment to create harmony doesn't happen. We influence others by thoughts, words and deeds. Each of us creates our own inner harmony, or not. We bring this to our environment and it shapes the experience we collectively create.Taking ownership of our individual inner happiness and harmony is a great gift we offer not only to ourselves, but to all the world.