Meditation is such a brilliant help with coping with stressful times and I’m sooo grateful I have it in my armory! One of these times was mum’s ‘can’t be bothered with cleaning‘ problem after Dad developed dementia and died. Every time we visited her house was in a real state. Have you ever seen the television programme ‘Call the Cleaners’? It was like that.
“It set off alarm bells in my head each time I saw it”
I was so sure that if she lived in a cleaner, brighter house she would feel much brighter in herself. If I could get her clean up regularly I thought it would lift her spirits. I knew it would definitely help us (me and hubby). It was so incredibly hard to see her living like this.
Mum gets angry
11 pm Monday evening…
A phone call from Mum’s carers. She is crying uncontrollably but won’t tell them why…do I know?
I tell them. A new befriending service was being set up and they’d come out to Mum’s house to do an assessment prior to placing a volunteer. But they can’t put a volunteer in to come and chat with her because the house is 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’ even before Dad’s illness. She just couldn’t see how off-putting the state of her house was.
I get angry
Immediately I put the phone down, my mind went in a rant!
All the times I patiently showed her how washing her breakfast dishes takes just 5 MINUTES. There was no reason not to do it mum!
All the times have we’ve deep cleaned her house, but within hours the mess is back!
Throwing things in the bin takes is a modicum of effort…why can’t you see this is oh so simple mum?
We were doing monthly visits to keep the mess at a safe level – washing the dishes and throwing away rotten food – only to have to do exactly the same thing during the next visit. Sigh…..
The following day I was still feeling angry and really struggling with ‘letting it all go’.
How was I going to calm down and get my equilibrium back?
Thankfully, just the act of settling into my usual meditation position came to the rescue. Meditation practice has trained my mind to be calm when I sit like this and very soon that took effect.
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 house, and in a safe environment.
These were things that I wanted, not what she wanted.
I realised 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. However,
I am in charge as to how I am feeling, thinking and responding to this situation; here I do get to make the rules.
I can’t change her, but I can change myself.
For further help
I can’t speak highly enough of how meditation has been and still is a strong support and stabilser when the hard, stressful stuff starts to appear in your life.
My recommendation is to use a meditation like 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 if you have any questions, email me. I’d love to hear from you!