Second Arrow

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Albatross, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Our minds are habituated to relate to suffering by resisting it through blame, bitterness, anger, resentment. That resistance is what the Buddha called 'the second arrow,' which follows the first arrow, the direct experience of pain. So much additional suffering comes from believing that 'things shouldn't be this way'-when in fact they are that way. -Ronna Kabatznick
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  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Albatross, hello! It is very nice to see you again after so long a time.


    Headlights Mom posted, on a thread here on P.E. last week, about the issue of comparison versus Radical Acceptance. In responding, I came to understand that I have been choosing a perspective come of comparing what I have, to what I had, to how it "should be" based on television shows from the 50s.

    Or the Brady Bunch, for you youngsters on the site.

    We do suffer, and the suffering is very real, as we relearn the meaning of our holidays without our children safe beside us ~ or even, just safe, at all. There is no comfort for us. There is no way to change what is, or the grief that attends those understandings. But maybe we can find the strength to stand again around that concept of the second arrow.

    The kernel of truth at the heart of that concept is real.

    But the living horror at the heart of our situations, especially when our children are young adults going a wrong way...that's real, too.

    COM posted this morning: "I am reminded that this is HIS LIFE, not my life, and I have no crystal ball to see his future." I copied that down to put it on my fridge for myself. I think COM would not mind that I post it here for you.

    I hope you can take some comfort there, Albatross.


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  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks Albatross.

    Recently I heard it stated like this, "argue with reality and you suffer." This way of looking at life is saying "YES" to the moment, whatever the moment brings, without judging it as good or bad, but simply as what is. We are the ones that interpret that it isn't 'good' and thereby bringing pain. Geez, I have a lifetime of doing that. However, as I observe my responses and detach myself from my responses, I can see how I can evaluate my moments and how they can come up short by my own thinking......and then the emotional reaction follows.......oh boy.......

    I've been reading a lot about how to not interpret, to attempt to simply perceive something without a label, without a judgement, simply an observation..........then there is an expansion of vitality, a sense of openness, whatever I am perceiving isn't diminished by my own thinking about it as right or wrong, or good or bad, or up or down, whatever........I practiced with my daughter in just allowing her to show up and my not having any thoughts about what she should be doing or what she should have done or been or said or's been a very interesting expansion of our connection in ways I couldn't have understood before.

    Someone pointed out to me years ago that I was "suffering over my suffering." It caught me off guard and I was pushed off of my reaction long enough to see that I was indeed doing that. (not without a certain amount of resentment first!!)

    Our own thoughts can take us to the brink of insanity........well, mine can anyway.......I was reading the other day that suffering begins to subside when we simply say, "I've had enough of this, I don't want to do it anymore." My daughter pushed me into that place, it was so much suffering that I just got to a point where I refused to do it anymore. I think in understanding that second arrow you have the power to stop it.

    To come to grips with this kind of acceptance where our children are involved is, in my humble opinion, a spiritual path of the highest order.....really, I do believe come to learn that we can accept what is when our children are, in our perceptions, suffering, is a tall order, and yet, it is not impossible. If one can walk through this particular fire and come out the other side having learned acceptance and to have let go of suffering.......... it brings a new level of awareness and the ability to let go allow life.........

    So, those of us here on this path, doing this incredibly difficult work to learn to let go......well, it isn't for naught, it is a high calling........and if it doesn't kill us, it will certainly set us free........

    And, now, back to my cookie baking..........
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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    RE, this is a GREAT post. Love it!
  6. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Thanks Cedar! I have been here and there for a few minutes at a time but really haven't had as much time to share as I would like.

    Yes, that is exactly how the second arrow quote jumped out at me. Blame, bitterness, anger, resentment...for me it's check, check, check, check. Add sorrow, self-destruction, depression, maybe throw in a couple of real tantrums, just to name just a few. And for what? Does it change one single thing about the situation?

    I was thinking about this today and was going to start a separate thread, something on the order of GOOD things we've learned from our difficult children and the ways they live their lives. Some of you might remember that difficult child took off on a cross-country bike trip with $40 in his pocket and no preparation. He did make it all the way across the country and back, though part of it was via bus tickets a friend purchased for him.

    I am happy to report that he is back and safe now, not in our home but living nearby in a halfway house. For today he is sober and working and seems to have grown from his experience. He spent Christmas with us, and he and I had a chance to talk for a few minutes. At one point he said, "I know it's just talk, but I wanted to tell you that I'm very sorry for they way I treated you and Dad. You really gave me some breaks, especially the last time I moved back in, and I treated you very badly and I know that, and I'm really sorry." I thanked him and told him that meant a lot, and I told him his dad and I have always believed those sorts of things were the alcohol and drugs talking more than him.

    I also told him that, drunk or sober (and of course I prefer sober), it takes an adventurous spirit to leave on a trip like that, with $40 in your pocket, and just put it out there to the universe and see what happens. I told him I really admire that about him. And it's true.

    And I have learned from it.

    As an example, in the last month I made a career change, from a field that had become boring and grueling to something I care about and enjoy. It was going to be a pay cut, but I decided to just put it out there and see what happens...and it turned out to NOT be a pay cut, because I enjoy it, and I guess that shows.

    As another example, I think back on all the little and big ways I've tried to let go of difficult child on the surface, but underneath it all I was like a puppetmaster pulling hidden strings or making my decisions in anticipation of how I thought difficult child would likely respond. It wasn't letting go, it was just taking my game underground. Today I am seeing that so much of my orchestrating is so silly and futile, not only because I don't control anything about how he lives his life, but also because maybe he has a few things I can learn from him, if I stop spending every interaction trying to fix him.

    So RE, what you said, about just letting go, just ALLOWING life to be what it is, really hits a chord with me today. Let's face it--I don't ALLOW anything! Life happens, with or without my permission!

    I am sure that tomorrow I will find myself trying to be master of the universe again, but for today (haha, who am I kidding, for a few MINUTES today) I was able to just spend a little time talking to my son and just allowing our lives to happen.
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  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Glad he finished his trip. Sounds like it was good for him. GREAT! Also sounds like he may be doing the 12 Steps and be on the step about asking forgiveness and righting wrongs. That is very positive. He definitely sounds like he is on the right track now. I'm very happy for all of you and hope it just keeps on getting better! :)
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  8. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Great post and thread Alb and all. One day at a time, one change inside ourselves at a time, for them and for us. Merry Christmas to each of you dear, dear people and Warriors on this forum.
  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Very happy to hear that. It sounds very positive. A nice Christmas gift. :)
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What a gift those moments are Albatross. Focus on those moments. I'm a believer in 'what you focus on expands' where we put our attention becomes the fertile ground for thoughts to bloom...........when we're struggling it really is a human response to focus on the struggle, however, I am finding that when I disengage from focusing on the struggle and focus on what is actually working, what is working begins to expand and grow.

    I've been focusing on staying in the moment and that leads me to focusing on gratitude for what is, which leads me to feel good and focus on what is positive and working.......the same cycle I was in with struggle and suffering.......round and round I go.........well what do you know, I have the power to shift that shift it onto what is working........those moments talking to your son and allowing your lives to unfold, however they unfold.........and be okay with it, are the moments to expand............ I'm happy that you experienced those moments with your son.

    I think it's a very important observation you're've taken huge steps in detachment and now acceptance is trickling in............little by little.........and it all changes..........