Meditation is such a brilliant help with coping with stressful times. Recently one of those stressful time was mums ‘can’t be bothered with cleaning’ problem and my desire to change her mindset. Here is mindfulness in action – a down and dirty, practical way that mindfulness helps…
Have you ever seen the television programme ‘Call the Cleaners? It’s the one where a team visits exceptionally dirty and cluttered houses and makes them over.
My mother lives in a house just like these.
For my mum it means that no visitors will come, none of her grandchildren will visit and there is nowhere for my husband or I to sit after we have driven 120 miles to see her. This is her life sadly and at times it becomes my life too.
Mum gets angry
11pm 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 had 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. Mum didn’t like hearing that. She didn’t like hearing that at all.
When her Care phone call came through she was angry and frustrated that the world does not run according to her rules. And still she was not willing to make any changes to make her, or anyone else’s life easier.
I get angry
Immediately I put the phone down, my mind went ranting through all the times I patiently showed her how washing her breakfast dishes takes 5 MINUTES…no reason not to do it mum! All it takes is a modicum of effort…Why can’t you see this is oh so simple mum…
How many times have we have deep cleaned her house, but within hours the mess is back?
And the monthly visits to keep the mess at a safe level – cleaning the dishes and throwing away rotten food – only to have to do exactly the same thing during the next visit. Sigh…..
How do I calm down?
We have been in this situation for years, and I know its not going to change, but the following day I am still feeling angry and really struggling with ‘letting it all go’. How do I get my equilibrium back?
This is a situation when I need to take up my normal meditation position – my mind is trained to be calm when I sit like this – very soon I came ‘off the boil’ and down to a simmer…
Me vs her. My wants vs her wants.
The calmer me realises that it is me who wants my mum to live in a clean house, and in a safe environment. These are things that I want, not what she wants. 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
During the next couple of days, another version of the story kept popping up in my mind. I became the heroine of the story, where I found just the right thing to say which transformed my mum’s life. I needed to bin these thoughts and keep reminding myself that I can only transform myself, and however much I would love too, I can’t do it for my mum.
Have had a similar experience with a loved one? How have you coped with it? I would really love to know as hearing other people’s experiences of similar circumstances helps immeasurably! I know then I am not going it alone.
For further help
Achieve more calm in your day – Try my Nine Breaths for a Calmer Mind download