23:34 having some weird aha moments… I started reading through journal entries from just before I started my other WP blog (which happened about six months before I started this one). I was so sad and depressed then! Sometimes I think I’m still so messed up, but honestly, back then I was much worse! I forget so easily.
Tonight one of my boys had a fit because I took away his e-reader. He’s been behaving in a way that is unkind to his brothers and he’s completely addicted to tech (as so many of us are — hello *me,* case in point; though I am very selective with my input and it is almost entirely used for reading and writing).
When he is not allowed on his computer, he’s on his e-reader… I checked out the books he’s been reading and it’s so disappointing… mostly I feel disappointed in myself for allowing him to get an e-reader for his birthday. It’s my responsibility to help him filter his input! This is much harder to do electronically.
The books that are offered up can be so filled with negative input, propagating such myths of what true love is… in these books, true love is equated with emotional enslavement and a powerful sex drive. That is not true love!
At the camp, we were offered the five mindfulness trainings. Number Three states that the elements of true love are as follows: loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness.
That makes so much sense to me on every level. These four elements are mostly missing from the false love characterized in these types of books. I know it so well, because I myself feasted on books such as these when I was in my teens. I stumbled across a whole shelf full of them in a relative’s spare bedroom. I was only thirteen or so and it completely shaped the way I would think about sexuality and love, for at least the next decade.
Mindfulness Training Number Five states:
“I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, [certain] electronic games, [certain] TV programs, [certain] films, magazines, books, and conversations.”
These core principles are what I’m trying to teach to my boys through osmosis and discussion.
It’s tricky! They don’t want any kind of dogma preached to them. I must mostly lead by example, which is of course the more challenging route.
But okay. Back to the aha moment. My son, when I removed his e-reader from his possession, started shouting and calling me names. But I remained calm! I have been reading and re-reading the trainings. In Training number Four it says:
When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person.
I practiced this. In the midst of managing a raging teen after just having gotten two younger ones to bed, I managed to do this! Well sort of. It took an hour and a half of dealing with his anger and frustration. I was not perfect. I did raise my voice. I did manifest impatience at certain times. But I did not resort to lower tactics. I did not “stoop.” In other words, I did some serious adulting.
I am so grateful for these trainings… and to the monastics who teach them to us…
Okay. So the aha moment was reading my journal from nine months ago and seeing how sad and anxious and self-loathing I was… and reading exact descriptions of my attempts to cut out “what little” wine I was drinking… and failing, repeatedly.
The shame, the constant shame, that I could not achieve this… yes, okay, so my immediate friends and family did not think I was alcoholic, but honestly I *was,* at that time! Because are we not addicted, if we cannot stop doing something we wish to stop doing?!? I feel so ashamed, reliving it now…
Yes, dear Tree, I was indeed an alcoholic… how could I forget all of this?
—You have never forgotten… you are here now, isn’t it true, dear one?
I will not be shouting it from the rooftops any time soon. To each their own on this matter. But even Bill W lays it out clearly in the AA Big Book preface. As well as in the 12 steps themselves. We will admit to ourselves, and to God, and to at least one other person, the exact nature of our addiction, and of our perceived wrongs.
I don’t have a sponsor… I don’t attend AA meetings. (Partly because they are rare and far away. And partly because I’m damn scared.) But I have admitted anything and everything I can think of to one other person besides my journal and the Great Universal Goodness: my husband. And he and I are staying together, in part, I believe, through all the ups and downs, because of that… and because of his immense solidity.
By the way, I had such a talk with him yesterday… I feel his communication skills have been helped immensely by his experience at the mindfulness retreat. And that is in turn helping me, and our relationship, immensely…
I feel truly grateful right now. Though it is so very hard and sad to read my journal from just over nine months ago, and also very sad and hard to read back on old blog posts, to see my state of mind then, I am happy knowing that as much as I sometimes still feel in the mud of things, there is a green shoot of something new and fresh and vibrant growing once again inside of me. And I know I must nurture this with all I’ve got…
Please Tree, I offer myself to thee, do do with me as thou wilt…
— Go to bed. You must go to bed! And say your prayers. And follow your breath. Focus there, mindfully, on the breath’s simple course through your body. Be thankful for life, and observant of all the good things around you. And know that I love you, always and no matter what…
Right you are again, as always, Tree…
good night, with gratitude.
p.s. Thanks for bearing with yet another rambling post…