What’s that saying about if you think you’re enlightened, try spending time with your family? Well, I can’t ever imagine claiming enlightenment, but I don’t see my family as much as I’d like so I can’t often put it to the test anyway… 🙂
But this weekend was a family weekend. I find these times now touched with a certain poignancy, as we all grow older and there is an unavoidable sense of time passing. The feeling is enhanced by seeing my childhood home and garden also grow old and begin to look less cared-for. Because of this I try hard to savour each small moment: a raised eyebrow from Dad hinting at a joke only he and I would understand, a cup of tea in the garden with Mum, the tricky back door to their house with the knob that turns the wrong way and confuses everyone but family and the oldest of friends, the secret places in the garden that were the focus of so many games with my brother.
A new member of the family in the shape of my little niece adds to the sense of time passing. She’s younger than I can almost ever remember being. I watched her pulling her toy dog on wheels up and down the hallway — just as I used to do! I laughed with Mum at how she used to scold me if I bumped the wooden toy into the painted skirting boards. Now she’s more lenient. And the new dog is a shiny plastic one!
And then a reunion with another family member I haven’t seen since the Christmas time explosion. I didn’t want this meeting. I still feel hurt and confused. But life is too short. It’s trite, but it’s true. So how to begin again and move forward from this stalemate? How to negotiate conflicting loyalties and raw emotions, to remain true to myself but let the past go?
Just by breathing — of course!!!
By taking some quiet moments alone, allowing myself to feel what I feel, and then drawing my mind to how she might be feeling. All the yoga stuff about one-ness is meaningless if you don’t at least try to put it into practise. All the empathy I could muster, the awareness of her hurt and her fear, her frustrations and anger. I felt into these places too. And then I tried to create some love and understanding anew. I guess, looking back, it was like some highly personalised metta meditation. Interesting thought!
And our meeting wasn’t perfect. But it was good enough. I was as warm as I could be, I offered what I had. And we’re in a different place now; there are more possibilities ahead of us.
Life moves on. And we have to move with it.