Lately I’ve been reflecting, remembering my childhood, little vignettes, windows open along the time line that passes for my life. As I remember the big windows that let in the light and shadows of my past I remember more and more little stories, for that is what they are, little stories, maybe they are partly fiction, constructed from photos, from stories I’ve been told, memories reconstituted as I recall more ingredients.
My father was a bitter man who died with no friends at his funeral. His life passed, probably not remembered, because we as humans avoid the difficult moments, unless force fed by Doctor Life and Nurse Reflect.
Think. When do you talk about your deep concerns, admit to your own character flaws? Yeah, well it’s usually only when the gloom of sadness descends or the mask of tragedy is drawn on the face of your experiences. Then you and I scramble to the self help books: “Seven Steps to Happiness” ,”Hell to Heaven through Tantric Sex” ,”Eat as Much as you Want and Still be Thin”, “You’re Already a Millionaire, You Just Don’t Know It”, ”How to Snag the Perfect Man”…
Or, then perhaps the Doctor’s pills (anti depressant, anti coagulant, anti inflammatory, heart stoppers, heart starters, anti fungals, vitamins, pain killers) prescribed in vast numbers and often as a first resort. I’m not adverse to the judicious use of medications. Did I say judicious? I mean careful, cautious, prudent.
I owe my independent, some would say, delinquent inquiring nature to my clever father whose indifference to me made me unselfconsciously able to observe behaviour. As a child it was a survival tactic. I could read the nuances of mood in the grind of my father’s heavy hand and foot on the accelerator and brake as he coasted or lurched up the drive way. I knew from afar the smell of tyranny emanating from the hall. I felt dark disdain from my father even in his most benign moments. There I was, a child learning the basic lesson of the spiritual initiate: “Don’t take other’s behaviour personally.” It took a while but I realised not only did I dislike him, nearly everyone else did too. I remember sighing as I sat at my desk one Autumn, I think I was reading a history book, and I thought, “There must be a better way to be.”
That thought led me through many a dark place and I often opened up to experiences that more loved souls, more balanced personalities would have eschewed. I have lived on some sort of edge and as a result balance often escapes me and then my search for balance escalates. There are many types of balance and imbalance and many events just throw you. For example, your work gets excessively busy, the economy sucks blood from stones and you have to work immoderate hours just to pull a dollar in. You panic, forget or can’t (your perception) go to the gym, attend your yoga class or even shop for a decent meal, it’s ‘take-out-city’, there you go, tired in the morning, revved on coffee, taking an antacid, worried, even the bloody roses are not worth sniffing as they’re all scentless hybrids, there’s no stopping the descent into physical pain, stomach ulcers and exhaustion. You visit your doctor and if wise in any way they advise more exercise and/or sleep, but you can’t sleep you are stressed so you promise to exercise and to only use the Sleeping Pills when you absolutely have to. Yeah sure.
How do you escape that cycle. Well it’s not easy. It starts with a decision to be well at all costs and then to take baby steps towards that end. Maybe it starts with taking 10 minutes to relax, breathe, stretch. Maybe it starts with taking a few minutes during the day to stand up from your computer and stretch. Maybe it starts with drinking more water. A friend of mine was chronically constipated, he became really ill with a flu and rather than taking the over the counter flu medication he rang me. I prescribed a homoeopathic, suggested bed rest, lots of water with lemon juice, soup and a few amusing DVD’s. Within 48 hours he was feeling much better and returned to work. In the 48 hours of rest his bowels started to move and he realised for himself that the water, which I had suggested he drink more of for years, had cured his constipation and to this day he drinks at least 2 litres or more a day and had never suffered constipation again.
What can I say to you all reading this far into this missive, be careful, realise that you have a future self one who needs exercise for bone density later, you have a future body that will deteriorate rapidly if you don’t put some foundations in today, good food and the careful use of all substances. There are so many ways to achieve balance even that illusive fey thing called happiness is doable or at least more possible if you inhabit a body uninhibited by chemical or physical imbalance. In that state wise decisions are more possible. Relax! Life has an innate tendency towards growth and balance.
Take care my friends
Meditation and Relaxation Course
With Maggi Nimmo
Time: Wednesday 16th June, 7:00 to 8:15pm
Limited to 5 people.
Duration: 4 weeks Venue: Balmain