Friday, November 29, 2013

"Solicitous Domination"

Eeew!  A very creepy phrase: solicitous domination." I read this in a recent reading in one of my meditation books.  It was referring to the pattern of behavior that's common to folks taking care of someone who needs care. 

I noticed when I worked for the Alzheimer's Association and talked to a lot of family members who were caring for someone with Alzheimer's that it was very common for the caregiver to speak to the person as though he or she was not all there.

Of course, the person actually wasn't "all there," but he or she didn't know that and usually became very angry about being spoken to in a way that seemed very disrespectful to him or her.  Solicitous domination. 

Then I began to notice that that "solicitous domination" was very common with all caregivers.  I used to say that it seemed to be a human thing to become obnoxiously bossy when someone needed help. 

Then I noticed that I was that way with my husband when he was ill.  I seemed to think that I should tell him what to do all the time.  I eventually apologized to him and, for the most part, was able to give him enough respect to let him decide for himself how he was going to live his life.

Of course, I had good motives:  I loved him and I wanted him to feel better and I wanted him to live for a long time.  However, good motives didn't excuse obnoxious bossiness (solicitous domination). 

After the 2005 wreck when the love of my life died and I was seriously injured, the awareness of the common behavior pattern in caregivers came in handy.  For quite awhile I was completely dependent on the people around me and had the experience of being bossed.  Because I knew it was a common behavior in caregivers, I didn't get my feelings hurt or get angry.

Not everyone was like that and the ones that were probably had the same good motives as I had when I was like that.  They loved me and wanted me to get better and thought they knew what I should do.  Sometimes they were right.  A lot of the time they were wrong. 

I didn't say much because I didn't want to piss anyone off.  I just ignored as much of it as I could and when it was necessary, I called in expert opinions to be sure what was right.  In my heart, I had to know that this was a case of "what goes around, comes around."  I gave my husband several years of bossiness (solicitous domination), and I only had to deal with a much shorter time. 

I am still learning that although I might be very very sure that I know what someone ought to do about whatever problem is going on in his/her life, I actually cannot be sure at all.  Plus I am way out of line by telling them what to do when I haven't even been asked because their lives are theirs.

Of course, I think I'm pretty smart so it's often been hard to shut up.  I've collected some lovely rolls of masking tape that I keep around to remind me that I will never regret keeping my mouth shut!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Living from Intention and Intuition

I've been listening to Oprah and Deepak Chopra's 21 day meditation challenge.  One of the recent ones reminded me of some old, old lessons I've learned.

By old I mean that one of them was first taught to me over 30 years ago before I even got into recovery and the other one I learned very early in recovery.

The concept of "intention" was something I learned in some pretty off-the-wall seminars I took in the 70s.  Off-the-wall or not, I got some information that really helped me navigate some very difficult times. 

The concept is that we can either have unconscious or conscious intentions.  Either way our intentions guide our behavior and therefore create our lives.  It's a whole lot better to have intentions that we choose because otherwise we are kind of driven by whatever our brains come up with at the spur of the moment - which may or may not be what we actually want.  Impulses are not always healthy or positive!

I learned early in recovery from my spiritual mother that rational thinking has it's place but intuition often trumps it for inspiration, God connection, and living from a spirit of love. 

Intention was relatively easy for me to grasp how to use it.  I understood that I could have a vision and intention for my life, for each day of my life and for each moment of my life.  By consciously choosing my purpose/intention, my life grew more and more satisfying.

Intuition was much, much harder.  All the explanations and definitions just seemed kind of lofty and full of air - nothing to get hold of; nothing real.  My spiritual mother suggested I just look back through my life for situations when I had had understanding or knowledge that didn't come from my rational mind. 

Sure enough I could remember many of them and how when I ignored the knowledge, I paid a price.  She said she thought that God and our hearts spoke to us through our intuition, and that by following that guidance we would be able to steer through difficulties that used to have us stumped. 

I'm still practicing choosing intention and daily practicing connection with my intuition.  It's easier but still pretty mysterious.  It has paid off in so many ways.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Struggle, Struggle, Struggle

Periodically I read back through my journals.  I've been journaling pretty much every day since 1996 so I have piles of them.  (I've requested that my oldest daughter gather them up and trash them as the first thing she does after my death since there's not a thing in them worth reading by anyone else.  No secrets, no dramatic revelations.)

What's in all those piles of paper is a long history of struggling to use my time and energy in the way I most want to.  I'm pretty much always writing about the war I'm having with myself to lose weight, eat right, exercise, keep tight track of my finances, get done for my kids with disabilities what I think needs to be done, and last but hardly least, finish the writing projects I start.

In little teeny, tiny inches forward, I can see by reading back that I make progress and that it is worth the struggle. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Powerlessness does not Equal Helpless nor Hopeless

I am so amazingly powerless.  I thought that was a terrible thing when I first admitted it.

Turns out it's just the first step to real power.

I have an infinite number of options in every situation of powerlessness.  I just don't have to power to overcome addiction, other people, remove my own character defects, etc.

I can always ask God for direction and the power to carry out that direction. 

What is absolutely certain:  God's ideas are always for the absolute good for everyone and I would never have thought of them by myself.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Surrender is a Wonderful Thing

I am pretty sure that surrender to God's will was the first thing I did in recovery.  I didn't know what that even meant since I didn't believe in God.  But desperation is a really useful thing.

When I get in a tight spot now, I conveniently (or inconveniently) forget about surrender. But in order to have radical acceptance where I accept myself and everything else in the universe as being exactly the way it is supposed to be, I have to first surrender - to the truth - that God is the boss and not me.

Why Accept Everything?
Well, for starters, fighting reality, fighting things that I'm powerless to change, complaining incessantly about the way things are, got me absolutely nowhere in my life.  With the spiritual practice of acceptance, I've gained huge amounts of peace of mind.

How is it possible to accept EVERYTHING?
I think it's possible because of God's grace.  I believe I am in God's care and I remind myself of this every day.  My dear spiritual mother used to ask me, "Did you turn your life and your will over to the care of God this morning?"  When I said, "yes," she would say, "Then everything is exactly the way it's supposed to be." 

Of course, the first several times she said that, I got really angry because things were happening that I did not like and that I thought were WRONG!  After awhile I began to suspect that she might be right.  After some more time passed, I realized that the more I acceptance I had, the more joy and peace I had. 

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