Monday, 28 February 2011

Don't catch me when I fall......

Catch me if you can
We're all closet adventurers (though we might deny it ) but most of us are just too scared to venture out of the wardrobe. Why? Because we're too afraid to take a fall or a blow to our egos. We strive for perfection like it really exists....but we're just deluding ourselves. 

Life is full of adventure and risk but we avoid the road less travelled for the well worn path that others have stumbled through. It's a well known fact that you before you learn to walk you have to fall down several times. As toddlers we never stopped trying to walk until we succeeded give up but in later life we give up even before we've tried. The problem lies with our minds. 

In youth our  minds are less cluttered therefore less fearful. We don't know enough so nothing can stop us.
As we enter adulthood, we mimic the adults around us, usually our parents. They are the first guides on this  
precarious journey of life but far from supporting us to be independent and resourceful they try to make us like them - responsible and dull. They warn us that we'll come to no good if we don't get an education, career etc. 

High Flyer
Some of us lean on our parents and some of us have learnt to avoid them. The latter is by far the most constructive option.....independent thinkers know how to free fall....they don't need a safety net...'cos wherever they land they  know how to make it work.


Sunday, 27 February 2011

Stress laboratories

Relationships are fraught with difficulties. Human  love can be a weapon of mass destruction - in the wrong hands!

Man/woman inequalities are played out in the arena of marriage and, if statisics can be believed, it's not a huge success.  A brave, new world is upon us with all the opportunities and problems it brings.

Being bound together in holy matrimony has proved an unmitigated disaster. It places upon two people the greatest stress of having to live with the choices they made as a result of little life experience.

The choices and promises we make at 20 will surely not be the same as those we make in our 40's. We are not the same people we were. Life has changed and so have we.
Why then is it so hard for us to admit that the experiment we partcipated in has failed?
Why can we not accept the disappointments and failures in relationships as a catalyst to modify the chemical compounds? After all, in many cases, it was a strange chemistry that drew us to this significant other.

The path to disillusionment is set by society's need to create structures. Marriage and family are structures. Structure is important but there should be fluidity to enable meaningful change.
 In our teens, we are exposed to romantic notions of finding "the one" - someone who will love and comfort us. Someone who will "rescue me and "take me in your arms; 'cos I'm lonely and I'm blue" etc....
As we mature (and our hormones take a ride in the slow lane) we know that this is hogwash.
For worse...or....worser

There's no one out there who knows us better than we know ourselves. There's no one out there to heal our pain.
There's no one who can dry our tears better than us ('cos it's only we who know what we're crying about!)
The stress laboratory where the experiments of relationship are carried out reveal that we are a cheer leading team of one.
One is not a sad number; it's the symbol of power.


Saturday, 26 February 2011

Youth is wasted on the young

My 16 year old has returned from a 5 day trip to New York. Was he excited and enthralled by his maiden voyage across the Atlantic to the  "concrete jungle where dreams are made of"?
Not in any way I can tell.

My mother and I have been badgering him in breathless tones to spill the beans on the Big Apple but he appears nonchalant. Yes the skyscrapers are neck-breaking, the malls are huge and sprawling (when compared to little old London) and yellow cabs drive on the wrong side of the road.
Concrete boredom

What about the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and riding on the subway? 
My jet lagged teenager yawned and said it was "okay". Apparently New York (in his opinion) was not the trip of a lifetime - it was cold (below freezing and snowing a few days) and he didn't have enough money to get all the things he wanted to. Since he didn't mix with any of the natives (and only his school party) I don't feel he's had much of a travel experience. It's just another urban landscape not dissimilar to the one he lives in. He told me that he already  had some idea about New York from looking it up on the internet and would have preferred to visit in the summer. 
Summer in a heavily polluted city? I don't think so!

My son is not very different to any other teen.  He's been born into a world of opportunity and enjoys all the comforts of Western civilisation that includes indulgent parenting. He has an awareness of poverty and hardship but it's all a far cry from his own life experience. I hope life continues to bless him and that one day on his life's journey he will be challenged to think deeper and broaden his mind.
A slice of Granma Smith
As he matures, I hope he reflects on the innovation that has enabled travel and information to seem so common place and someday he may think that going to New York was pretty cool!


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The high price of low self-esteem

Self-esteem is a difficult thing to quantify. If you have too much of it, you could be considered arrogant -too little of it and you're insecure. To my mind, you can never have too much since an overdose is never harmful. However, the other end of the spectrum - low self esteem - often sends us on a downward spiral.

Many addictions and mental disorders manifest as a result of poor self-esteem. We are attracted to the wrong people because of the negative self image we hold. Everyone else becomes an expert and knows better. We don't act on our deepest yearnings in case it doesn't get approval. We hide our light under a bushel. We find it hard to accept compliments. We look in the mirror and all we notice are the imperfections. We don't even dare look deeply into our souls because we can't face the truth. We lie to ourselves and drown our dreams in the whirlpools of our inadequacies. Low self-esteem makes us think that we're not in control.

Low self-esteem comes with a price tag and it's extortionate. The ego becomes distorted and many become freaks of their own making. The important thing is to recognise it and deal with it.
Face your fears and slay the inner demon. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Stop paying your tolls and break out!


Sunday, 13 February 2011

Parental rights and wrongs

Three's a crowd
The recent story about another surrogacy arrangement that has failed as the birth mother refused to hand over the baby after discovering (during the  pregnancy) that the father was physically abusive to his wife. The surrogate mother acted responsibly by being concerned about the kind of family environment the baby would grow up in. Rightly so since this is one of the most worrisome aspects of surrogacy. Can you be sure that the couple receiving this child are fit parents? In fact, given the state of the world, how many parents are fit for the purpose?

My view is that good parents are few and far between. There are great many parents who, emotionally, have not reached maturity and perhaps never will! The children of today are being raised by overgrown children themselves! It seems misguided that medical science pioneers new techniques in the creation of progeny but it is left to society to deal with the backlash of the poorly parented in-vitro fertilised offspring. According to political correctness we can all be parents, naturally or not, regardless of our lifestyles and life choices. The most horrific scenario being that two long term drug users can have access to IVF and surrogacy with no thought as to the disadvantage suffered by the child.

Bringing a child into the world is a privilege and a huge responsibility. It is a human right but a delicate one.
We cannot all produce babies as a right in the way that we all cannot buy a Mercedes Benz.
Fashion accessories?
 A baby is not a cute accessory for the ego. They are tiny people who need constant love, attention and opportunties for growth and development. It is wrong to bring a child into the world for the sake of vanity and it may reduce some of the insanity to apply restraint.


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

When the student is ready......

You've no doubt come across that famous phrase...when the student is ready the teacher will appear.... and I are one
On my spiritual highway, which has taken me on quite a few wild goose chases and dead ends, my teachers appeared in the most unlikeliest of guises.

Many of them have been unstable, eccentric and downright nasty individuals. None of them were particularly inspiring or noble beings and I'd even go far as calling them the unfriendliest of souls. Nonetheless, during my formative years (and I didn't really mature until the age of 40!!) they played a pivotal part in my spiritual development.

They taught me the art of gritting my teeth, the art of smiling when my heart was breaking and the art of staying calm under the most trying of circumstances. Thanks to them I've been on an accelerated spiritual development programme and, after mastering the art of forgiveness, I've finally graduated.
I've left them all behind and turned inward to the greatest teacher - my soul.

My feeling is that the teacher and the student are one. When the teacher in us is ready the lesson is imparted and when the student in us is ready the lesson is absorbed.


Sole Mate

A hunk of burning love!
The idea of a soul mate is well documented; so much has been written about their existence that we have come to believe that there is someone for everyone...."who knows how to love you without being told".

My opinion is that a soul mate is tied into the fantasy of romance and serves a purpose as much needed escapism from the mundanities of our daily lives.

Everyone must have one.....a romantic fantasy....but whether this can be personified as a soul mate is another matter altogether. Every idol has clay feet and any hero can have a zero day.

Spend time with your spirit
If you accept that you are your best friend and (sometimes) hero then it's very unlikely that you'll  be waiting for that special other to appear. People who seek within (and without) for a deeper connection with spirit do not get distracted with sifting through the crowd.

People may become attracted to you for your unique qualities and you may access another's heart but there must be spaces in between for healthy growth of the soul. Some souls are impoverished, some souls are in transition and some are fully enlightened. The latter do not need  a soul mate but others will find a soul mate in them.

On my personal journey, I am a sole mate. I'm not ready to carry any passengers. I haven't met my equal soul but......just like the rest of you.....I'll keep dreaming and wishing.