Tag Archives: family relationships

617. To Be A Part Of

 

Sharing about developing empathy and nurturing my life experience in my community.

I had quite a shift during my day yesterday where I consider I finally understood what was missing in my life experience before, wherein I used to be very ‘utilitarian’ in a sense and judge things based on them being useful for something tangible or not and within this, write off a lot of experiences that had to do with what I judged as a waste of time like getting together in a concert to presence live music, or going to the movies, or seeing a play, or attending a conference about some kind of creative process.

I actually considered that the ‘click’ of realizing this emerged yesterday with a series of small moments of contact and connection with people that renewed this understanding that I’ve actually been expanding on throughout this first half of the year for the most part and getting to genuinely enjoy my human experience – at last – lol.

If anyone has a recollection of me, I defined myself as a Grinch, the person that hates family reunions, large crowds, having to ‘deal with people,’ would rather be alone and isolated from everything that didn’t just ‘make sense’ or ‘agreed’ with how I view things or would be zero productive in a utilitarian sense. I stopped watching anything entertaining and only focused on sucking all kinds of information I could and placed myself in a higher ground where I believed that ‘everyone else that seemed to be enjoying their life were fools and disingenuous about reality.’ Well, the joke was on me, because I truly got bitter and lifeless to say the least, and it was only through a decision to challenge this ‘me’ mindset that I’ve been – slowly but surely – cracking open from that hardened shell.

Now, this is something that I would not have been able to do alone at all. Yes, I had to make the decision to – as they say – put myself out there and actually give myself the time to stop moving from ‘task to task’ for a moment and give myself some time to stop and ‘smell the roses’ so to speak. For example, I’m so used to taking a walk everyday for over a decade now, and I had the phases where I’d do something ‘productive’ in it like taking pictures and videos and so forth – then It was just me walking, going to get things somewhere and come back, have the least contact with people throughout that and be quite generally ‘lacking’ something in my life in doing that,  yet being very disciplined about it and believing I was achieving some form of self mastery in doing so.

Well, from the past year I decided to not only do the walk but actually use the time to also get to interact with others and actually establish relationships through that. It all started with opening up to enjoying listening to music in the street and standing there enough time where I’m not in my usual ‘rush’ of having to leave the place or having this race against time, but genuinely set myself to enjoy observing ‘life passing by’ which is something I had avoided doing – again – within the mindset of: ‘Oh this is just a waste of time, no one is getting anything out of it, I’m not getting anything done’ etc. But over time, I realized that it was through that sort of dedication and openness that I got to connect more with people in my environment and stopped seeing it only as a nice ‘background’ or ‘scenario’ to look at or walk by, and instead I decided to be more a part of it all, to actually stop seeing myself as an outsider, as someone that will most likely ‘leave at any time from here’ and actually grow some roots as I heard someone in a documentary I watched yesterday say.

Man, it’s been such a change and I don’t mean to turn my bleak view on the world into a suddenly rosy everything is fine now mindset, nope, because in actually getting to create relationships with people, getting to know more about their lives and relationships, one does realize a lot of messed up things going on, which have also opened up my eyes tremendously to realize how much I was sort of deluded into just blabbering these higher than life principles but in reality there was no actual decision from me to create an actual Empathy with people, to actually connect, to actually step out of my misanthropy and get to really connect and decide to care about others. That’s the change that I’ve been working on and has definitely changed my life experience in quite a significant way and I’m only starting with this.

How did I got to this? By deciding to grow roots, to finally settle in and ‘go out there’, and instead be more present, be more HERE which I thought I was doing by keeping myself in a semi-monkish way with little to not distractions and very few interactions that I could be perturbed by. I avoided people, that’s the reality – and now it’s sort of the other way around and it’s not a 100% change, but  I definitely now push through to show up to meetings and places and family reunions that I would usually talk myself out of, giving myself certain excuses like being able to use the time for something ‘more productive’ apparently.

Looking back, I can see all the many things that I cut myself off from, like cousins that had kids and I wasn’t there at all when they were baptized or born or had their first birthdays, I always said no to any of it. Now that I’ve been rekindling those relationships, there is a bit of sadness about having missed out on all of that growth and now I see them with 12, 18, 5 years old and missed out on all of their initial developmental phases, including that of my direct nephew and niece because I was in such mindset of detaching myself from everything and everyone and believing that way I would not ‘be hurt’ if I had to leave this place that I live in. I deliberately created detachment to things and that definitely wasn’t the way… and yes, I’ve also gone through the route of being resentful to myself for making such decisions, looking back at ‘all that I didn’t do’ or that ‘could have been different,’ but, at the same time I’ve deliberately decided to not beat myself up for it, to make peace with it because that was me back then, having a very rigid mindset going on about my life and what I should do and how I should think, and yes I deliberately separated myself a lot from virtually everything around me, I was like an alien living where I am but not really TRULY seeing myself as a part of it all, I was just like an observer, a temporary observer. Of course this may sound like I didn’t connect ‘at all’ with people, I remember having had equally enjoyable time when being in art school, but once that was done, I did isolate myself quite a bit.

How did I come to open this up today at last? I was listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast, which is something I’ve been listening to for several months now and I’ve genuinely nurtured myself from it because I find that it is through people’s lives and experiences, the challenges they create for themselves that they create successful and enjoyable lives that do not come easy, they come with hardship, but see the benefit and satisfaction in doing so. So, yesterday’s podcast was about a guy that went to live with a certain kind of monks – not Buddhists – for 15 days and the stuff he gathered from it, and as I was listening to his description of how the monks lived, I realized that for quite a few years I lived like that, I’d like to say these past 7 or more years I sort of did that kind of detachment and unwavering discipline for certain things where one is living in the world and believing one is cultivating certain things – which yes I probably did – but are not really going ‘out there’ and really being a part of the world. I did this detachment for several years and I didn’t have to only go and live somewhere else in a similar seclusion for a year to do that as part of this process, but I sort of continued living that way even when coming back and I consider that was entirely my comfort zone and – still is in many ways – to not challenge myself further, even if I know that doing so is the most supportive thing to do.

Here I want to leave things clear that no one told me to do this but myself, that’s how I saw ‘the way’ to become a better person in this world, by not participating in a lot of what I considered useless, a waste of time, harmful, pointless, brainless, etc. And with that, I lost touch with actually being in reality and being able to enjoy and savor the various seemingly ‘meaningless’ living experiences.

I have to say that I actually have benefitted a lot from the various years I’ve spent going to documentary festivals now, like Ambulante festival here in Mexico, it was through that that I got back to seeing how people are living in the country I live in, the things that are unfortunately going on around me and that I was fully oblivious of, because I was focusing more on expecting some kind of world-reset-overnight-change in the economic and political level and a somehow miraculous ‘saving’ grace for this world to the point where I wasn’t concerned or rather interested at all in what was happening at a local level. It was through the documentaries and actually showing up to the screenings that I started getting ‘in touch’ with people in my community, it was a matter of deciding to care and push through the idea that it was pointless, that it was just entertainment and not judge it as that, and place myself there, learn to watch/hear/see the stories and kind of allow the idea to sink in that this that I am watching is not just some fictional story for entertainment, these are people’s lives.

It’s been such a nurturing process and it has assisted me a lot to finally develop that care, consideration, empathy and – god I will dare to say – affection for people. I never thought I would say that! Lol ‘so out of character’ and sure it damn is! It is as if the center of my being is finally ‘opening up’ in reality, not at an intellectual level in which ‘I thought’ that I cared about people and life on earth…. Seriously? By me having this constant ‘fighting’ mode and bitterness from the moment I’d step out of my home?   No way, how could I have in fact been ‘best for all’ with that sort of misanthropy exuding from my pores? Nope, yet I thought I was the most caring and self aware person walking on the streets…

This is what I was chatting about with my partner today, how much I have benefitted from art or artistic expressions actually, specifically documentaries and going to screenings and start getting to know of my community, and start seeing people that are presenting their work and realize I know them from another contact and getting to see their work and what their interests are and their different views on life and things… it has assisted me a lot to slowly but surely be stepping out of this rigid mentality where I thought that ‘everyone has to be like me’ or ‘think the same way I do’ because ‘it makes sense and it’s best for all,’ and instead, realize it’s about me being open to the myriad of living-ways that each human being represents, each one has got fascinating stories to tell in their own way, their own struggles and motivations to live and with their own purpose. I am now definitely interested in getting to know them, and savor it, and enjoy it.

This is me here writing it out at last, but this has been an accumulation process of several years now, like 3 at least where I noticed that I decided to step out of this ‘Grinch’ mode and started opening up to few things here and there and currently I am a lot more settled into this ‘newly’ found enjoyment and interest in being a part of a community, which I just didn’t care at all to do before.

Yesterday I got to confirm and kind of finally realized why I started being so drawn to these activities like going to watch documentaries or certain live acts downtown and through that developing a kinship to people that are more involved with this kind of activities, people that I had always just ‘passed by’ that I am now deciding to actually talk to and get to know and possibly collaborate with. I went to this short film festival from locals and it is so out of character for me to say this, but it was heart-warming to see some of the youngsters share their story of why they got to do certain works like an animation – which I personally didn’t ‘get’ much – but I got a lot more from seeing the nervous-stricken guy tell the story about his dad leaving home to do some PHD and having certain legos left with him that he got kind of an obsession with and developing an entire animation with them which surely must have been a LOT of work to do, but it was a way for him to deal with that sort of situation of how he lives his life, his own ‘isolation’ if you will and how genuinely happy  – to the brink of tears – he was to be able to show his work, his many hours of production to the people in his community, to his co-citizens, as he called us and at that emblematic place that is built for that kind of local reunion to watch certain acts live – music, theatre, movies, etc.  His words were a way to finally ‘put words’ to the reason why I also showed up, it is a form of care and interesting in other humans and their lives and creations.

Lol, I kind of finally ‘got’ why art is relevant. I laugh because I ‘studied’ it and practice it, but I had not truly given words to the reason ‘why’ it is relevant.  And this I also got from listening to someone in a podcast or so say that we need kids in this world, newborns, that will grow up to be the next inventors, the next artists that enrich our living experience – and that hit a core right there. See, I had no ‘clear’ idea why I would like doing art, or watching movies now on a regular basis as part of my time with my partner and going out to be a part of a communal show like it is to go to the movies, or going to the documentary festivals which I also very much enjoy as those activities that have genuinely made my life better, building myself as a part of the world through these activities. Showing up to all of these is a statement of ‘hey I’m here, I want to commune-icate with you, you are part of my community, we’re all here, let’s connect and support each other’ which to me, is becoming ‘the’ thing that moves me and drives me in my life: developing these relationships and connections with others.

This is quite a big change because I like being productive, there’s no way around it, I ‘dwindle’ if I just place myself in non-action consuming only information or watching something and not ‘doing’ something at the same time, which is why going to the movies is almost a requirement for me to watch something and be still, and it also forces me to go out, to meet with others, to be ‘part’ of a community for a moment, even if I don’t get to speak with the rest of the attendants, I’m there, we’re there and sharing a moment.

I guess that’s what it also boils down to. I was so glad to arrive yesterday to downtown’s theatre and see this long queue of people waiting to come in to watch these 4 short films made by locals. Sure, it could have been that each one of them invited all of their friends and family, but so what! It was such a nice thing to witness and again, be a part of, where I decided to make that time of my day to meet up with these other hundreds of people, fill out an entire auditorium to watch these emerging film makers that share the same city with us. It certainly isn’t the same as watching foreign films, because these are people around you, growing in the same culture, moving through the same spaces and seeing that on film kind of creates a form of bond that I had completely disregarded as ‘pointless’ or a ‘mind thing’ before.

I’ve talked about how I realized the actual care and enjoyment of people around me nowadays and how I went from hating crowds to enjoying the moment of standing in a crowd and watching musicians play, or being sitting around many that are there watching documentaries, and enjoying their laughter and their sadness which at times comes with watching these stories and knowing that we all got that experience right there to stay with us. And that’s – I guess – the power and purpose of the art sharing experience, or simply sharing experiences through film, music, seeing some visual art… but even more so, I get to enjoy hearing the voices behind those creations, that to me is essential nowadays. Yesterday I got to see that as well how some of the things that I watched were just ‘meh’ or not ‘my style’ but hearing the story behind it, about the connections they had to create to have it done, the challenges, the dedication, the effort, the resources pulled for it, that definitely became interesting and inspiring as well.

I was also very much touched by a guy that told his story of how he initially started his documentary wanting to share about how much he loathed his family – lol – because of a treason situation his uncle did, but through making the documentary and getting to know his friends’ stories about their relationship to their family, he realized that his initial premise for the documentary was going to be shitty and not inspiring at all. So through the making process, he literally said it was an act of forgiveness and him realizing the importance of family even if one feels like the ‘odd one out’ which I very much could relate to, so this documentary definitely spoke to me quite a bit because I had been so reluctant about family, family gatherings and such and it is only now throughout these past months that I’ve come to enjoy it and cherish it for what they are and represent, and this documentary also made me realize there’s plenty of people that felt like me, some that are still in that detachment phase – which seems to be related to being a young adult – and others that accept and have come to make peace with the variety of characters that a family represents yet, sticking together for the network of support and community that it is.

It was very cool for me to see this in the shape of several stories linked with this common denominator, somehow seeing people from your same city talking about these things turns a moment into an enriching experience where I felt a little more ‘connected’ to everyone around me and within that, taking one further step out of my bubble. Even with hearing another person next to me laugh at the same situation I could personally relate to from the documentary, became an ‘Ah! I’m not alone!’ type of realization, even if it is very obvious that we live in a city with lots of people and we barely communicate to each other – yet, it is in this kind of gatherings where to me the movie is a bridge to connect with each other, and that’s awesome. I’ve made a couple of friends now this way because of seeing what they created and wanting to get to know more about them and finding that kinship within their drive for this kind of creation.

After I went out from that whole after-film discussion, I was walking down the street with my partner and we saw one of his friends playing at a café, there was barely anyone there so we decided to join in. The sheer fact of seeing him see us decide to come in and drink a cup of coffee while listening to him play was enjoyable in itself, a decision to say ‘Hey I’m here, came to see you!’ and it surely was also enjoyable and ‘out of routine’ to do this kind of decisions, sitting there for a moment and share about our day became such an enjoyable moment as well, where we could later talk with his friend – our friend I’d say now – and get to give him some ideas of how to get out of a rut he was stuck with and impulse him to test out other ways to use his kills and make money out of it. It was a short meeting, a ‘moment’ only if you will, but to me this is the kind of substantial bits that make my life experience a lot richer… and it would not happen if I didn’t take the time to be ‘out there’ and actually have the disposition to connect with others too. I’m grateful for the connections like this that I’ve been able to make through my partner who is also very much linked to the local community and I am appreciating the benefit of having that starting point to be able to relate to many more people. In a way, I’ve come to definitely no longer enjoy myself only being ‘isolated’ and not having this sort of connections around others, and realizing more and more how no man is an island and when I pretended to be so, I definitely sank in it.

One thing I realized as well is that it’s not about creating ‘best friends’ with all kinds of people, but definitely relating to many more and being open to the variety of people in a community is part of what living life is… a complement to the rest of the personal doings, productive ways and personal achievements. I am opening my eyes to see how I definitely want to become a participating-part of my community and use the ways and means I have to start doing so, starting relating to others, instead of living like a hermit even when surrounded by people.

So, it feels like I had some kind of writing constipation for several months – I’ve certainly been processing several things and rerouting a bit my life and deciding to ‘grow roots’ here, which I am finally doing and looking forward to continuing developing.

I also realized that the most important thing is to share my story, how I’ve changed, what I’m busy changing, instead of wanting to come here and stand in a moral highground about how things should be or could be – I’ve been there and done that – so, there’s a tendency for me to want to end this with a note of ‘find your passion’ or ‘find your way’ to enjoy life, to genuinely get to experience that your life, your presence, your words, your doings are creating a form of meaning to you and others that is supportive, that is nurturing and expansive.

I am finding and developing that in ways that are very simple currently, as I shared in my past blog, that still stands and continues to be developing where the sheer process of getting to know one person and having that common stand point of creating a relationship in a way where living together becomes enjoyable and supportive IS worth living for, and seeing how that ripples out into the lives of others, without even ‘wanting’ to have an effect on them. That’s quite the remarkable thing I’d say and not to adjudicate any credits here to myself or anything like that, but simply seeing the effect of deciding to be a part of something and dedicate time to it, dedicate willingness to it, that’s quite an enjoyable thing to do.

This is currently the path for me, but I also understand it’s not everyone’s -and thank god for that, what would be the point if everyone would think or do the same things? – It’s all about being able to challenge ourselves, our ways, our ‘views’ and ask a very honest question: if we are dissatisfied about something in our lives, then what do we need to change and stop doing to stop making them shitty, meaningless and feeling miserable? And then dedicate the effort, time and actions to change that. I know the obstacles, I know the doubts, I know the fears, so, just taking the first steps over time is all I can say will open up new paths in how to get to enjoy living and seeing the benefit of it. I definitely am grateful to all of the people that have decided to share their music, share their films and documentaries, their stories with me and with many more. I get to enjoy my life more ever since opening up more to them and that’s great, otherwise, life would be too bland as I used to experience it.

Thanks for reading.

 Ambulante Puebla Marlen

 

Join us in our process of Self-Expression as LIFE

 

 

 

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598. Opening up with Parents

 

Or sharing bits of my teenage years and how my relationship with my parents has evolved throughout the years of walking this process with Desteni.

I listened to these two Eqafe audio recordings today Children and Isolation – Perfecting the Human Race – Parenting – Part 79 and Parent and Child Communication – Perfecting the Human Race – Parenting – Part 80 and they made me remember a bit of ‘who I was’ as a teenager in relation to my parents and how uncomfortable that phase in my life was where I essentially would keep my communication at a minimal point because of fearing having my parents prohibiting me to go out with certain people, etc. and because of knowing the ways that my sister’s teenage years had been truncated in certain ways by a mostly fearful mother, which is kind of interesting looking back at how she was back then and how she’s changed over the years too, which has enabled me to develop a supportive relationship with her now, but she definitely had to walk her own process in her own way and I’ve done mine, which enabled us to create a good communication nowadays, but it wasn’t always like that.

As a teenager I definitely was the loner kind that didn’t want to go out and do what ‘most people would do’ and instead would prefer being alone in my room – where I had all I needed: my cd’s, my paintings, my vhs cassettes with all my favorite music videos, my books and notebooks for writing – that’s all that I needed ah and my computer later on as well. I did notice that  my parents would be a bit worried that I would never go out on a Friday night like my sisters would do, and in essence they would be comparing how my sisters were very social at my age and I just wasn’t doing that at all, so it’s kind of understandable that they were a bit ‘puzzled’ about it but it was just the beginning of a series of ‘puzzling’ situations I definitely put them though and that I definitely recognize they did accept me and embrace me the best way they could through all my various life phases and somewhat ‘extreme’ changes I went through in my life.

When it came to being a ‘loner’ in my house up to the age of 16, in a way I was in fact craving to connect with people, I really wanted to find a friend or someone I could connect with in terms of tastes and things we could share and enjoy together, so that phase became the time when I started to develop ‘who I am’ in relation to all these things I would soak in from literature, music, artists etc. I was developing my tastes, I was finding my way in terms of how I decide to see life, to view things which I also was able to shape first through books and then through finding people that had similar views to my own, which became the friends that I’d spend most of my time with from age 16 and on until around 21.

Back when I was living with my parents as a teenage and already going out with friends, there were days where all my communication with my parents was ‘I’m leaving home, I’m home again, yes I’ll be careful’ and that was it. I deliberately decided to not do what my sisters did, who would sit around my mother’s room telling all of these stories about their friends and their experiences, I just decided I would not do that because of fearing that my mother would criticize my relationships, my friends and not enable me to explore all the things I wanted to do. This fear of being ‘prohibited’ to do certain things emerged when I started going out more with particular people they didn’t approve of and so that’s how I then made a decision to never tell them anything about my life, which was of course not cool for me at all. It was a constant source of stress, anxiety, fear and worry because ‘what if they would find out about this/that relationship or situation I was in?’ and so, if anything for any parent or future parent reading this: instilling fear is definitely not the way, creating a prohibition is not the way and it’s even worse if it comes within an explosive argument like the ones that I had with them which included threats of sorts which of course, led me to then become the self-proclaimed ‘rebel’ in my own family pattern.

I visited one of my childhood/pre-teen years best friend and her family not long ago, and it was interesting to hear how they remembered how my parents were reacting to ‘my ways’ and how I ‘broke the pattern’ that my sisters had set up in the family, and my friend’s mother explained that she recalled how my mother was very worried about me like ‘could not make sense of me’ lol – and the interesting thing is that I would notice such worry about them whenever they would see me just lying in my couch reading books, listening to music, writing or painting… but they would not say a thing, they never really opened up other than asking ‘if I had any friends?’ and ‘why I didn’t like going out as much?’ and my responses were how everything that everyone was doing was very superficial/shallow or plain stupid at the time and I just don’t like to ‘follow’ like that.

In a way it was cool that I also had that period for myself and that if they didn’t know how to ‘deal with it they did let me be in my own ways. Sure I was at the same time generally sad or depressed because I could not ‘connect’ with anyone in school the way that I had wanted to ‘connect,’ which is through opening up what I would define as interesting conversations, and even though I could usually talk to most people, it would all be superficial talk or ‘peer to peer’ talk but there wasn’t anyone I could dive into the depths of what I was experiencing until I found one person in my school that was into that kind of stuff and so we became best friends and that’s where ‘the world opened up to me’ to a bunch of other relationships and things to test out, live out in a more or less comfortable environment, which of course wasn’t at all a super healthy relationship overall – but I also embrace it now as part of that time in my life that led me to get to know more about people my age and the usual troubles of that time etc.

Of course at my parent’s eyes, this friend of mine was a very polite and well educated in terms of meeting his family etc. and me spending most of my days in his house, so they never questioned that. Only I knew more about the actual truth of what was going on behind the façade, which was quite an interesting relationship for me to have, however it was only later on when ‘shit hit the fan’ that I had to explain to my parents how troubled this friend in fact was and how I had tried to help and how we had to eventually part ways.

So the whole point I want to share here is how because of fear that I got from my parents as a response to my seemingly ‘abnormal ways’ of growing up as a teenager, they didn’t know how to handle it and for the most part I wasn’t going to open up because there wasn’t such development of trust with them, especially with my mother whom I had seen having long and deep talks with my sisters but I never did that or create the space it, and maybe it was for the best considering the things I was into at the time that would have shocked her even more than her already existent constant worry about me and my life choices.

However, at some level they were also certain about having provided certain principles and they knew how responsible I generally was, so, that’s how they actually allowed me to have much more freedom than my older two sisters had, which they still kind of get jealous of – lol – like allowing me to go and live to another city and be the first one to ‘leave the nest,’ or travel on my own at a relatively young age, stuff like that which I’m also grateful for that they did have such trust towards me to do all those things, but I also was a generally responsible person so I sort of ‘earned’ it in a way as well.

In terms of parents having children stepping into their teenage years, I can only suggest to not be judgmental about what they’re going through, sometimes to not even try and understand it completely but rather consider how it was ‘for you’ when going through that phase and how being alone to me was a way to find my way through it – though of course some people will actually benefit from communications so I guess it all has to do with having developed such communication with your kids at a young age so that there’s no ‘awkward’ sudden interest in talking to the children when they start reaching their teenage years.

I also have a small context of how current generations are in terms of kids and their parents. There was a general failure in the internet service in Mexico yesterday and a lot of what I read in twitter was how what I consider were kids or teenagers were suddenly placed in a position of having to get out of their rooms and interact with ‘these old dudes that say are their parents’ which I found interesting, meaning, there is really no interaction at all now with kids doing their thing in the internet. But, who am I kidding? I did the same and would spend hours in the computer when I first got internet and would do the same without computer and be stuck in front of my TV to avoid family time, lol, so it is a phase indeed that can be changed based on supportive communication patterns that can be cultivated from the very first years of a child’s life.

Teenage years are indeed a phase where a lot of things get shaped within our personalities, tastes, preferences – and even if the initial ‘shape’ things are taken is not the best way, it is mostly when one gets into the 20’s that one can actually learn from what one did around that teenage phase and realign our path. This means that maybe for parents it becomes difficult to be able to connect with their children during those first teen years, but once they get into young adulthood, it might get easier.

To me starting this process having 21 years old assisted me tremendously to get back to communicate with my parents in a different way, from a different starting point, deliberately no longer seeing them as ‘my parents’ but starting to see them as people. I did decide to even stop calling them ‘mother’ and ‘father’ and call them by their name till today – which I did ended up doing in a somewhat stubborn manner which caused more reactions in them than any form of support, so I would not suggest anyone doing that because the point is to be open to them as people, no longer as these ‘guardians’ that we have to ‘check in with’ or that we only relate to for the basics of survivalism. So I decided to explain how I wanted to see them, how I want to relate to them as people and no longer as these ‘parental figures’ that I fear or have no comfort to talk to.

And this wasn’t an easy process – my mother had to walk her own process to understand how much of a control freak she was – and she now recognizes it, which is great – and my father has always been quite ok with me doing my thing and being more independent, because he lived his life like that by leaving his home when he was 13 so, nothing’s too shocking for him. So here more in relation to my mother and how it was very supportive for me to start sharing what I am doing in this process which of course at first she didn’t fully understand, she was in shock lol, especially because I went full-blown extremist within it at first. But as time progressed and she started witnessing many of the ‘evolutions’ within me, she’s now at that stage where she asks my perspective for certain things she’s facing with my sisters, the grandchildren, her friends, herself a bit as well and that’s quite cool, to the point where her friends by default appreciate me quite a bit because they always say how my mother goes ‘like Marlen says…’ and shares back what I’ve shared with her about my own realizations and points walked or what I’ve learned through the education at Eqafe and Desteni, my relationships with people etc. which is great really.

But it all wasn’t built in ‘one day’ so to speak, it’s taken almost a decade to get to that point but it is possible to do that even if I had a very sour relationship with my mother back then. 10 years ago I truly thought that I wasn’t ever going to have a ‘healthy communication’ with my mother specifically and that I was going to ‘forever have a grudge towards her’ for certain emotional outbursts that we did have toward each other during my ‘teenage  years’  – while also considering she was going through menopause so, not a good mix lol – and only later on me taking responsibility to place myself in her shoes, understand all the variables of that time and so not take the things said and done personally, but understand her fears and also being honest with myself in how my choice of relationships weren’t also the ‘healthiest’ ones either, which is kind of common at the time as well – we all make mistakes and eventually learn from it, walked my way through it regardless.

Surely at times I did rely on going to the school’s psychologist to ask for a perspective, because I knew I could not talk to my friends about things because ‘they were ‘the point’ of worry/problem in my life’ nor could I go with my parents to talk about it because they would get shit scared about what I was going through and didn’t have any other people around me to open up, so I did go to her and she made me realize one thing that, man,  yep I could have applied for the rest of my life but until not so long ago I was still playing out this pattern as ‘who I am,’ which is how I tried to save people from themselves instead of focusing on myself. I’ll never forget how she said ‘well who’s coming for help? Is it really about them or is it really you that needs help, because you are the one that’s here, not them’ and that clicked quite a lot within me to see that I was the troubled one in fact, not them. But even if I got that realization, it took me over ten years to fully understand what that meant, which means I repeated the same pattern every single time until I saw the consequence it creates and decided to for once and for all say ‘no more.’ But that’s something I’ve already shared a few months ago.

Currently I enjoy going out with my parents and sharing what I’ve discovered about myself, my relationships, what I’ve learned from others, how I see ‘the world’ in general and what I’ve gotten through walking this process with Desteni and educating myself with Eqafe material. It’s become an awesome way for me to connect with them because I’ve now been able to apply that realization that I can ‘connect’ with people because we are all human beings, we all have that one thing in common and so I can share and open up things and ask them questions. I’ve gotten to know a lot more about them as people, the hardship they went through in their own ways while growing up, their family set ups, their environment and relationship with their siblings and parents, their decisions and how that defined their lives etc.

To me that’s been quite cool because it is through that that I’ve been able to see how I came to be ‘who I am’ based on who they both have been in their lives. I also enjoy looking at them as my ‘mirrors’ because of course I am directly coming from them and so I see them in a way as ‘cautionary tales’ for me to look at what patterns they have developed that have become a source of ‘problems’ in their lives, from anger, anxiety and stress issues to control-freakism and general patterns of fear and prejudice that I can see in them that I can then ‘take back to self’ to ensure I am not following ‘the same steps,’ because I can see how things turn out with time and with having an advanced age. Though this is done not in a judgmental way, but through understanding in how it’s now up to me to learn from them and stop repeating the same mistakes they’ve made, which is a general supportive thing to do with our progenitors, to identify their weaknesses and turn them into our strengths and use what we have gotten from them as ‘strengths’ or things we’re good at and develop them even more.

 And the truth is that I would not be able to be doing what I’m doing and who I’ve become without the support of my parents. They both have been very supportive with everything I am doing, they fully support this process and my work in it – even if it was kind of rough for them to understand it at first – and it’s also great to have that confidence and trust to have them meet my friends/partners which I had not done at all throughout my teenage years, they only met my first ‘official partner’ when I was 28 years old, lol.

So this goes to show that I did have quite a distance-relationship to my parents in that sense, but it also was linked to me not having made the kind of ‘supportive choices’ in my life before that I would be confident enough to share with my parents, so it took me quite some time for sure, but I’m quite glad that they understood my process and that I found my way through it all, while also having worked quite extensively on my own to not hold a grudge to them at the time for the impositions they created on my life, but understand where they were ‘coming from’ and also being able to be honest about myself and seeing how if I had been in their shoes, I would have probably freaked out as well with the things I was deciding to do, but I’m here and able to tell J

I’ll open up in another blog about how this ‘openness’ relates to current relationships and the benefits that come along with it, which of course is also an outflow or result of having walked this process with Desteni.

Thanks for reading.

 

Marlenoise_1

Self Portrait circa 2005

 

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