Meditation to the Rescue
This is a short story about how meditation allowed me to grab some much need perspective and understanding about the relationship I have with my Mother – an issue I know I share with many others!
After Dad died, Mum was comfortable living in a hazardously untidy house. We did our best to deal with all the problems that resulted from it. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t ignite any motivation in her, not even to just wash the dishes.
Every time we visited her house (a 280 mile round-trip), 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 lifted mine.
Mum gets Upset
One Monday evening, I pick up a call from Mum’s carers. She is 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. They had 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.
I get Upset
Immediately after putting the phone down, my mind was in turmoil. We were doing monthly visits to keep the mess at a safe level. Washing dishes and throwing away rotten food, but within hours the mess is back!
The question bouncing about in my head is “why can’t you make an effort, Mum”?
How was I going to calm down and get my equilibrium back? Thankfully, just the act of settling into my usual meditation position was enough to start settling the waters by the simple fact that 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 understood this was one of those “You can lead a horse to water… “ moments. Not that I thought of my mother as a horse, you understand 😊
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 I have a BIG say in how I feel, think, and respond to this situation. On this, I do get to make the rules.
After both insights, I was able to go into her house and clean up without the caustic resentment that used to rise up. There was something else… Our efforts were made because we wanted to care for her and being more relaxed about the situation made our visits go smoother and with less effort.
Would you like an easy Meditation to try?
If such hard times are making life difficult for you, then my recommendation is to use a meditation like the Nine Breaths for a Calmer Mind as regularly as you can. This is a short and sweet practice that you can easily fit in without having to make lots of extra effort – and it is free 🙂
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.