After weeks of checking out on life, not only did I start seeing things again, I started doing things again. Friday night is SciFi Stargate SG-1, etc night but at 8:45 I was falling asleep. Usually I stay up very late so I can guarantee myself a good five hours of uninterrupted sleep. Waking up between 5 and 6 is pretty much the norm and there is the usual wake up in the middle of the night too. But Saturday morning I found myself waking up at 6 a.m. with no wake ups inbetween. I had gotten a good and solid nine hours of sleep.
I felt so energized. I put on the coffee, fell into my book to wake myself up, pruned and watered the backyard, filled the spa/fountain as it was getting low, wrote and posted a poem about Solitude, wrote to my sister, showered and headed out the door. And this was all before 10 a.m. House of Java provided my second cup of the day and I settled in with a copy of O Magazine, an August 2002 issue devoted to weight and body image. Martha Beck has an article in there on Page 57 that is totally worth reading. I turned my light on and pulled many of the loose ends of my thoughts over the past two weeks into a cohesiveness I had not expected.
My husband is very good at detachment. I have failed completely. Yet in Acceptance on the Road to Happiness Martha Beck not only says this is key to learning acceptance but she gives suggestions that I can make sense of. NOTICE JUDGMENTAL THOUGHTS. Judgmental thoughts court what she calls dirty pain, obsessing about what should be rather than accepting what is. The woulds and coulds and shoulds of life can amount to mental suicide. They remove us from reality and leave us with a terrible emptiness.
There is so much truth to this that it leave me cringing as I think of the time wasted but even this reaction is a waste of time. It's useless energy and does no good for the problem at hand. To surrender to reality, to detach and accept, is the pathway to effectively helping my mother. The how of detaching and surrendering is to COMPASSIONATELY OBSERVE. Don't try to control anything. Merely do what you know must be done. Observing the nurses and therapists, I now understand why this sort of work was not my calling. If these people were not able to stand back and observe compassionately I think they would burn out very very fast. So my job is to give her love, support, compassion, and time. Her fate is God's alone to know. Handwringing is useless and guilt and anger are banished by detaching.
Accomplishing this, I find a deeper, stronger self. Through meditation and prayer contentment arises. Contentment awakens our capacity for joy. I see little contentment in my mother's eyes these days but that does not mean I can't help her find her way to it. I can give her joyful smiles, hope, and thereness. As I become more relaxed within myself, I more fully experience the fruits of acceptance. There is a sense of relief; a sense of being in control instead of being controlled; clarity of thought. Acceptance points me in the right direction and I feel a release within that leads to a new sense of found happiness. There is an Asian proverb that says The mind makes a wonderful servant but a terrible master. By being in control of my own emotions and reactions, I can more fully utilize my mind so that I am no longer getting in my own way. I find I am even sleeping better.
It is ironic that the letting go process can give you exactly what you were struggling to achieve but failed to obtain by force. Yesterday I had a wonderful and successful visit with mom. But later in the evening when I stopped by she was startled, disoriented and combative. A few days ago I would have been wringing my hands, trying to snap her out of it, and causing disturbance within myself. But taking the lessons of acceptance to heart, I stepped back a bit. Mom responds well to one CNA in particular and I let her do her job. I reminded myself - her job is to serve and care, my job is to provide love and thereness.
And today I gave myself a day off. We went to Mass, breakfasted with friends, looked in on mom who was sleeping, and went home. And here I am now wrapping this up feeling okay with the decision to not see mom again today; to leave her in the good hands of good people and just let her hide for a while in sleep. Tomorrow will be here soon enough.