I've posted some threads by Richard Rohr before...with some hesitation because he is a Franciscan priest and so espouses the Christian point of view, but there are some "larger than life" lessons in what he offers. Here is one of those (edited): "...Most of what we call "thinking" is narcissistic reaction to the moment. Moment by moment, you're judging things and labeling them, whether they attract or repel you. That really isn't thinking, but self-centered reactions and the stating of your preferences to yourself. It takes work to return to the placeholder space within you that is quiet, that doesn't get caught up in all your commentaries and emotional evaluations, up and down, in and out, with or against. Some kind of contemplative practice will allow you to watch yourself doing all of this and notice how futile it all is. In contemplation, your inner witness is still...and lets everything else float by. It observes and learns from your thoughts and sensations, but it doesn't attach to any of them. It lets go and lets go and lets go. This takes years of practice, until letting go becomes an art form. You learn not to be so opinionated, not to be emotionally dragged up and down, but to stay in this quiet place that watches everything come and go with calm equanimity. When you learn how to stay here, you'll recognize you are not your thinking and you are not your feelings. What you were thinking even an hour ago, you're not thinking anymore. Therefore it is not you. Your thinking is essentially unstable. Yet most people think they are their thinking! Such a life is inherently insecure. Many people in contemporary secular society have little solid ground on which to stand, to create a mature and happy life." ********************* I think this big idea has so much to do with us. I remember when Difficult Child was at his worst, and I was at my worst, and completely and totally in despair and miserable. How was I going to live with the fact that my precious, precious son was completely lost? And that it looked like despite EVERYTHING I had tried, he was going to continue to BE LOST. How to live with this? I slowly grew to understand that I was going to have to change. I could not live in this completely out of control mindset that I had much of the time. I was filled with fear, despair, sadness, grief, disappointment...on and on. You know. You have felt/do feel the same way about your precious child. It is nearly intolerable, to function and still feel this way. I had to change. I had no choice (rock bottom). I was completely sick and tired of myself and my thoughts and my feelings. Rock bottom. That is when I started listening and working hard to change. Over time, I began to grasp this concept Rohr describes here. That I am not my feelings. I don't have to act on my feelings. One of the biggest turnarounds in my life---hearing this, really hearing it, and then working to learn how to do it. Feelings R me. Or Feelings WERE me. Separating myself---and my actions---from my feelings meant this: I had to sit with those feelings and feel them and let them flow through me...and not. do. anything. Was the hardest thing I had ever done, and at first I thought the intensity and force of those feelings was going to literally kill me. But they didn't. And better yet, I saw that I "recovered" and was able to better function for a while...little by little I started to change...first by not pushing away my very real feelings...a kind of reverse action---letting them in....feeling them...not doing anything. That took some more boundaries with Difficult Child because as I was doing this work on me, I couldn't allow the drama of his life to take me over again...some of these times were when he was in jail...so it made a natural boundary...others I set. I developed a bitter distaste for the drama of his ongoing, neverending story. I would get physically sickened by the bs and the emergency of his life. I began to see that basically nothing was truly an emergency when it came to him. I really didn't have to do...anything. That helped a lot, understanding that. Please know that I am still very much a work in progress. Sometimes, right in the middle of a reaction, I step outside myself and see what I am doing. I recognize it as I am doing it. Sometimes I don't until later. Sometimes, I'm sure, I never recognize it. Old habits die very very hard. But I have made a lot of progress here. This is a place of peace, getting to this point. It is so worth the work. Food for thought.