And meditation to the rescue…
This is a short story about how meditation allowed me to grab some much need perspective and understanding about me and my Mum.
After Dad died, Mum lived in a hazardously untidy house. No matter how hard we (hubby and me) tried, we couldn’t ignite any motivation in her to look after her surroundings, not even to wash the dishes.
Every time we visited her house, it was in a real state. Have you ever seen the television programme ‘Call the Cleaners’? Her house would have topped the bill. Alarms bells rang out each time we were there.
I was so sure that if she lived in a cleaner, tidier house she’d feel much better in herself. If I could get her to clean up just one part of it regularly, I thought (hoped) it would lift her spirits. I know it would have definitely lifted mine.
Take me as they find me
One Monday evening, I picked up a call from Mum’s carers. They said she was crying but won’t tell them why. “Hmm…” I thought. I knew a befriending service had come out to Mum’s house earlier in the week to do an assessment. It turned out they’d phoned her to say they couldn’t put a volunteer in to come and chat with her because the house was too much of a health and safety risk.
This made Mum hugely angry … she’d always had the attitude that visitors must ‘take her as they find her’ .
She just couldn’t see how off-putting (and risk-filled) the state of her house had become.
Immediately after putting the phone down, my mind was in turmoil. We were our best keep the mess at a safe level. Washing mounds of dishes and throwing away rotten food, but within hours of leaving, the mess is back!
What else could we do? What would actually work?
The question bouncing about in my head was “why can’t you make an effort, Mum”?
How did I going to calm down and get my equilibrium back? Thankfully, just the act of settling into my usual meditation position was enough . When I sit like this, my mind soon begins to settle.
Me vs Her. My wants vs Her wants.
As I calmed down, I realised that it was me who wanted my mum to live in a clean(er) house and a safe environment. These were things that I wanted, not what she wanted.
- I can’t make her change her thinking or her behaviour.
- She has to want to do that for herself and for her own reasons.
The other penny that dropped was recognising that whilst i couldn’t change her, I could change myself. I could change how I felt, thought and responded to her situation.
After these insights, I was able to go into her house and clean up without the caustic resentment that used to rise up. I wanted to care for her and being more relaxed about the situation made our visits go smoother and with less effort.
If you have any questions about meditation then feel free to email me. I’d love to hear from you and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.