Sorry younger generation, we stuffed up!

ID-10053642.nuchylee

Sorry everyone, we stuffed up.

We the baby boomers.

Our parents came out of surviving the depression and World War 2 determined to make the world a better place, and determined that their children (us) would know a safer era than them. And they did (make the world a better place). And we did (enjoy a safer better childhood than they ever knew). They focussed on home, community, and inclusiveness and we all grew up feeling safe and secure. We inherited a much better world in our twenties than they did … because of them.

In turn, our generation fought for women’s liberation, pacifism, civil rights for all, and sustainability. We did make some progress there.

However, it seems the world is now turning against law, order, the ‘establishment’, democracy, tolerance and common sense. Europe and America are catastrophically divided down the middle. Australia now has ‘border control’ rather than ‘immigration’. WHAT is happening?

Our parents crawled out of the pits of the depression and World War 2 and tried to make things better in the 1950s and 1960s. But rather than carry on the legacy of our parents, and indeed the things we as a generation fought for in our twenties, we baby boomers took to thinking that it was all about us and economic prosperity and we have blown that safe secure world of our childhood, that our parents and grandparents left for us.

Now suddenly it is all going backwards to the dark ages. And unfortunately it has been OUR generation in leadership that has overseen this worrying trend.

Sorry younger generation, we stuffed up.

So there is the temptation to HIDE, try and normalize the abnormal, and hope that the younger generation will one day fix up all this mess …

I can’t.

I have three grand-children. I cannot have them look me in the eye and ask me in twenty years time … “how could you have let this happen?”. In my own little patch, I just have to keep fighting for what I believe is right.

I must carry on. I cannot let what is happening in the world of politics stop me doing my own little bit to try and make the world a better place. As an individual, all that I think is right and good (inclusiveness in society, caring for people less fortunate, saving the planet, and pacifism) is STILL right and is STILL good. I must carry-on believing in all that and spreading that word far and wide, so that will be the world my grand-children will know.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men – and women (my addition) do nothing” Edmund Burke

There is much truth in that.

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I feel the glow …

ID-100376345.M-PicsIn addition to my practical aims for the coming year, I have thought of a word to aim for in regard to my inner self. Last year I chose light. At the time I was just emerging from a very dark place and I felt that I wanted to focus on the emerging light. Mid-year after the death of my mother, who had always been my inspiration, I wondered how I would manage without her until I realized that before her candle went out she had lit my candle and that had become the light within me – her spirit. Furthermore, as the administrative tasks surrounding the marital settlement were gradually completed, I felt less burdened, I felt light with a spring in myself. The chosen word had indeed been appropriate for 2015.

Following on from a year of light, I now feel strengthening into a glow is appropriate for this year. Rather than simply light, or the first sign of hope, my aim will be to –

  1. shine brightly and steadily
  2. overflow with warmth, good health and confidence
  3. experience deep pleasure and pride in achievements
  4. emit light and warmth
  5. flourish and bloom
  6. radiate contentment and well-being

I feel the glow
The glow is me

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Finding my stronger voice

ID-10083213In my quiet space, I have been having flash-backs to past events and feeling how I felt at the time (including negative feelings) rather than stifling those feelings. This has not been looking back at a past happy time and now seeing it in a sad way, it is looking back at a past positive experience that had negative sides and now feeling that negativity.

For example: one new year due to my mother-in-law suffering an injury, I stayed home two nights to care for her and my two younger children while my husband and two older children celebrated with others at the beach. The voices I listened to at the time were my mother-in-law not wanting to be a burden, my husband needing a break and my upbringing of doing the right thing.

My small voice

It was a huge step for me to feel my own feelings at the time of – sadness (missing that celebration with my family), anger (the event was not cancelled so we could be together), and unfairness (my own needs were neglected). I am now allowing myself to feel that pain as I too am vulnerable. I do not have to always be the strong one. My voice is being heard above the crowd. I too am important. I do not always have to stand aside. (Reading between the lines = resentment that he could not give up his NY party).

While it is enlightening that I am recognizing my own voice, that immediate voice I hear has been in some respects reactive rather than responsive. That voice has been my small voice playing the victim of being trampled on rather than the survivor who stands firm. My small voice is me being the warrior who wants to fight for my rights rather than the carer who wants to heal a situation.

The influences on my voice

My own voice had been influenced over the past four years by divorce advice and reading past events as supposedly “red flags” that I had missed. So the voices say to me ‘how selfish of him’, ‘he treated me badly’, ‘I was neglected’ (voice = he is the bad guy) OR ‘I did not stand up for myself’, ‘I became an enabler to his selfishness’,  ‘I created the situation for betrayal’ (voice = I am a weakling). Listening to either voice, someone has to be at “fault” with the casting of either blame at his choices or shame in mine.

In reality, at the time the choices were a compromise that in a good marriage happens all the time. Make allowances. Understand. Care. Quite often in a marriage when there is young children, elderly parents or someone working long hours; sacrifices are made for the greater good of the relationship or family. That is what happened at the time. It was not a missed ‘red flag’.

Finding my stronger voice

I began ignoring other voices including my reactive small voice twisting the past. Instead I looked at why I was feeling pain over an event of 27 years ago. The trigger was an example of me being ‘the good wife’. Perhaps (looking back) I would have preferred he had made the choice to move the new-year event to home so that we could have been together that night. However, I am not responsible for his choice, only mine. What I did that night was to put his mother and her needs as my priority. While at the time I felt I had been appreciated, his decision to leave me 23 years later now overshadowed that. The pain I felt was that my caring side was not considered in his decision. In the here and now, it was the wanting to belong to someone who deeply cared for me and who appreciated me for who I am.

My response

If I responded to my small voice I would get sucked down into the blame and shame game.

I am not a vindictive person so to impulsively demean or blame violates my own values with revenge-thoughts I do not like. Focussing on actions done or words said or how others have behaved towards me adds to the blame-game. I am not that person.

Degrading myself with critical ‘you are hopeless’ makes me think I should become more selfish, less caring and to stop thinking of others. I am not that person.

The truth is the lack of being appreciated by one person for my caring actions does not mean those actions or that trait in me were wrong or weak. Quite the opposite.

Appreciation and caring are a great strength and the greatest acts of human kindness.

I need to focus more on appreciation of others, and those who appreciate me.
I need to focus more on caring for others, and of those in need.

This is empowering.

This is my stronger voice. I have found it.

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Images.courtesy[africa/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Finding my voice …

ID-10072476.PixomarWhen I changed the name of my blog to spring into summer, it was because I felt I had (at last) come through the winter of despair after the collapse of my marriage. My mood had become more upbeat and optimistic looking forward to a new and exciting life ahead, just as the season spring heralds the warm and carefree days of summer to follow. I feel this is a phase of preparation for me and instead of transforming my life from we to me, which was my previous focus, I am finding my voice in preparation for speaking my truth.

What does this mean?

Finding my voice is finding my inner calling and passion, and the ‘why’ or purpose for that passion. Speaking my truth is having the courage to make that voice of mine heard. This post is my first post about finding my voice. As it is a journey of discovery, this is simply the beginning and there will be other posts as I get closer to locating it.

Finding my voice

Ideally a true calling or passion would reflect my inner being that holds my true feelings, needs, values, thoughts and beliefs. My first step therefore is to connect with that inner part of me. That true side of me – my voice – has over many years, and in particular over the last few years, been hidden underneath an overlay of other voices. These have been the voices of my parents, society, religion, friends, my husband, my children and my own ‘I-need-to-be-perfect’ expectations of myself that need not have been so unrealistic. It is somewhat sad – and yet is the truth – that for so long my true voice has been stifled, drowned out by louder voices pounding away, repeating the same rhetoric over and over. Much of that rhetoric has stuck in my head as the truth when it has not necessarily been the truth. Sometimes those other voices have been so repetitive, so loud, and so persuasive that I have had difficulty hearing my own voice, let alone recognize it as mine.

That has now changed.

I have now found quiet.

And in the quiet, since I have been free of the marital settlement, since I have been organizing my life, since I have become an adult orphan, since I have been reflecting on my life with no pressure to do anything or be anywhere or become anyone in particular; I have been having flashbacks to certain events in the past. Now, rather than suppressing my true feelings, for the good of my family, out of care for my husband, out of respect for my mother, out of duty to society; I am allowing myself to feel my own feelings and I am recognizing those feelings as my own. Feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, humiliation, shame, anxiety, happiness, exhilaration, pride, contentment or whatever feeling I was truly experiencing at the time of those flash-back events. Rather than accepting things should have been done a certain way, I am seeing things from my perspective. I am questioning things. I am hearing my own voice. At times my deep needs have gone unchecked or my values were violated or my beliefs crushed or my ambitions curtailed in the name of being the good wife, the dutiful daughter, the loyal friend or the respected law-abiding citizen.

I am now seeing things from my perspective, rather than from the needs of my husband or children. I am understanding the profound effect the sudden early death of my father had on me, rather than seeing it from my mother’s situation. I am remembering times when I did or did not do things that I felt were right or wrong.

I am allowing myself to feel my own feelings.

I am looking underneath those feelings at the violated value or the unmet need or the sense of loss or the crushed (or lifted) pride that is triggering those feelings.

I am thinking of ways I may restore my unmet needs, and self-esteem; and ways I may live by my values and beliefs.

I am planning ways I may transfer my voice onto a pathway of living a richer life for myself and – by ‘speaking my truth‘ – helping others find their own voice.

This is my journey …

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Transmuting anger

“I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power that can move the world” Mahatma Gandhi

ID-10032230 I have written before that I find it difficult feeling, dealing with or expressing anger. I am not inherently an angry person and I hate confrontation. I am generally of a forgiving nature – perhaps too forgiving – and I am tolerant of other people’s up and down moods. However, I tend to put anger in a different category than a simple ‘mood’ and I am prone to associate anger with aggressive, toxic and hostile people.

So if ever I find myself becoming angry, it fills me with angst as I become concerned that I may be turning into an angry toxic person. Then, as I am reluctant to face my anger, my emotions start to twirl around in an uncontrollable fashion.

Having had to deal with a fair amount of anger over the past few years, I have come to realize that the feeling anger has a defensive form and it tends to be this defensive form that is the one that sometimes hits me. Usually it hits me in response to an aggressive action directed at me. In those circumstances my own anger that I feel has actually been the one emotion that is everything to do with defending my values.

Anger is my reactive emotion whenever I have perceived mistreatment, insult or malice. It is the feeling of anger that gives me a sense of justice, and to want to right wrongs. It is anger that leads me on to defend morality. For example, anger is the outrage I feel when I hear about child abuse, racism, mistreatment of women, rape or murder. From a personal perspective, it has been anger that has empowered me to do good in past causes that I have taken on such as the saving of wilderness areas, and fighting for free speech.

Anger is also the feeling that empowers me to become the best I can be. Anger has been the emotion behind my silent protest against what I initially saw as a reprehensible situation, on the collapse of my marriage. Anger planted within me an inner drive to get through the mess, survive and thrive. When I have felt utterly worthless and useless, anger has been the rebellious spirit within me fighting for feelings of self-worth, courage and dignity. Being energy-charged, anger has enabled me to keep going though all the turmoil, through all the mud. When I felt all the values I ever believed in had been violated, it was anger that gave me the drive to fight to maintain my own values, to keep believing in them, and to keep living by them – no matter what. Anger has kept me striving towards a life of moral principles to live by … and to keep doing what I believe is right.

Rather than try and bury anger, which I am prone to do, it is far better that I ask ‘what value do I feel has been violated that is making me feel this way?’ Then with a rightful indignation against the violation of that value, affirm within myself that I will never compromise that value and determine to keep living by that value’s code. Once that value within me is reaffirmed, the course of action out of turmoil into a land of peace and harmony becomes more obvious to me.

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This is a third post in a series on feeling my feelings.
# 1. Feeling my feelings
# 2. Recognizing my own feelings

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I believe

ID-100131775.AfricaOne of my greatest beliefs has always been to be part of a proactive civil society. I believe that if something is not right, one should speak out, or act to change it. As a couple, my husband and I lived by that code and were active in community affairs together. I was the quiet gatherer of information. He was the negotiator, the voice, drawing in supporters with his gregarious nature. One thing was for certain, if there was an issue we believed in, we did not let it go. We were a formidable force. Together we could change the world.

My belief system crumbled with my marriage collapse. For a long time, I could not think of world affairs. I could not think of community. I could only think of myself. I was down on the floor in a reflective haze gazing at the walls thinking only about me. I felt that I had lost my inner compass, that I was not acting on my own beliefs. I was not out there contributing. I was not righting the wrongs. I was not speaking out. I was not standing up for others less fortunate. I thought it must have been us as a steadfast couple that gave me the energy to speak out and the courage to make a difference. I thought it must have been our professed shared values of peace, fairness, and respect for all, and the unity of sharing those values, that gave me my inner core of strength. I was so strong that I was able to stand up and speak out. I wondered what happened to those beliefs that we had stood for together. I wondered whether I only acted the way I did, and I only believed what I thought I believed, because he was beside me.

The truth was, at the time when I was down on the floor, I felt that I had lost peace, fairness, and respect at an individual level. If I had lost them at an individual level, and they were my source of strength and therefore my strength was gone, how could I help others?

I have now changed. My beliefs have changed. They changed when I was down on the floor. This is what I now believe.

  • I believe in me.
  • I believe I can change the world, my world.
  • I believe I can change my world, one decision, one action at a time.
  • I believe it is taking me a while to become the person I want to be… and that’s OK.
  • I believe that although my circumstances may have influenced where I am, I am responsible for who I shall become.
  • I believe that to find kindness, I need to act with kindness.
  • I believe that to find respect, I need to act respectfully.
  • I believe that to find fairness, I need to be fair.
  • I believe that to find love, I need to be loving.
  • I believe that to give peace, I must be at peace within myself.
  • I believe that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences, and regardless of whether anyone notices.
  • I believe that I can become a hero in my own world, and to become that hero will be a great achievement of which I can be proud.
  • I believe that to find balance in my life, and be fully present in my life, means I will become that hero in my own world.
  • I believe that even before I become a hero, I can start changing my outside world, one heart, one person, one soul, one need at a time.
  • I believe in me.

What do you believe in?

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I have changed my mind

ID-100170157 - master isolated imagesI have changed my mind on a few issues surrounding my divorce.

(Disclaimer: My apologies to all those in happy, healthy, monogamous, caring, understanding relationships with partners who love being together and yet who give each other space to be individuals.)

1. Previous thought: I was abandoned.
New thought: I was set free

2. Previous thought: I have no-one to protect me.
New thought: I have no-one to hold me back.

3. Previous thought: I have suffered intolerable losses of assets and income.
New thought: I do not have to stress about what someone else is spending.

4. Previous thought: I am alone in making tough decisions.
New thought: I am able to make my own choices – on absolutely everything.

5. Previous thought: I do not have a soul-mate to share my life with.
New thought: I do not have to compromise on anything, especially values and beliefs.

6. Previous thought: I am trapped in this prison between past and future.
New thought: I am in this wonderful place of now.

I am free. 🙂

 

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