To Every Yin, There is a Yang

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by HeadlightsMom, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    RE posted this, below, on Friday and I just saw it today. I knew it would stick with me all day. It has and it is....

    I can look back and see how my angers and judgements, my own resentments and hurts, although justified, prevented me from seeing the whole picture of my daughter. And, I had to look at my own judgements about people who look a certain way, or live a certain way.........realizing that underneath those perceptions I had, are people with stories, people who are down and out for whatever reason, people with talents and fears, hurts and feelings, like me. My daughter doesn't have that judgement. When I look back in time, I realize she never did, she is able to walk in these circles comfortably offering help without judgement or attachment. This is not an either or thing, she has made monumental mistakes with her own family, with me, she's hurt others, but that is not ALL she is.....

    RE -- I have thought about this ever since I read it. Reminded of the day our difficult child got our of rehab (10/1/14) and we took him for a haircut. husband and I took a little walk and found difficult child out of his haircut early -- talking with 3 people. They were all homeless and all known from his drug world. I did not want to go near (not because of their homelessness, but because of their drug connection). But husband and I did.

    I watched difficult child hug them all. He was freshly showered and they probably hadn't in weeks. He was freshly fed, and they may not have been in days. They were missing teeth and utterly drunk. But I marveled at difficult child's compassion and he moved me. He impressed me. He inspired me. He convicted me in my own judgments.

    I reached my hand out to shake theirs and extend dignity. difficult child had MRSA (still has) now. I found myself wondering if any of the other 3 had MRSA...or some other communicable disease. This woman missing so many teeth was so sad and she held onto my hand at length. I thought....."Who do I want to be?" I want to be on the higher path ALWAYS (knowing I am not). I reached my other hand back onto hers and held it. She asked for $600 (no kidding). I said no. But I held her hand, still.

    She talked on and on and I kept looking at her dirty, ragged hand, thinking........ "There but for the grace of God go I." Maybe not. But maybe. We may all just be one event away from being homeless.

    The thing is.......... I did NOT s-l-o-w down long enough or deeply enough to SEE these 3 people until difficult child did. I felt moved by just holding her hand. Yet difficult child embraced her fully in his arms and smiled and held her without reservation. difficult child is 24. This woman was 45-ish? I am 53. At that moment, it was difficult child who showed us all the higher path.

    Dammit........ It really hurts my heart that he has so much beauty inside him when he's reachable. He's just so rarely reachable. I love that "reachable" young man so much. But I just cannot bear to be around that "UNreachable" young man who hurts us all so much for so many years.

    I fully believe, that who difficult child is, and who we all are (deep down), is our highest self. It's just that our lowest selves are so, know...."unembraceable".

    Now I cannot shake this image from my mind. There is no doubt difficult child teaches me. We all know how our difficult child's teach us what NOT to do. But I think I often forget how they teach us, also, what TO do.

    RE -- Thank you for posting your perceptions on this. Let me not forget that to every YIN there is always a YANG to see, embrace, and be grateful for.
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  2. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    See I wish my difficult child had this type of compassion for others. She might if she had known them for a while but since she has never had to go without I don't think she realizes what it is like. Her convictions and moral highground are so set in stone that she can't even tone them down for her sister. A sister she knows has a really hard time with wanting to be understood and loved. It makes life difficult for the sister and the rest of us.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You're a gem HLM, thanks for bringing that back to my attention.

    I've been thinking about judgement lately.


    I was listening to a CD by Eckhart Tolle and he was talking about how when we do not accept what is, we suffer. He gave some examples and made this statement, "being morally superior to reality." When we don't participate in parts of reality because we are 'above' it. We don't accept what is. It made me smile initially and then made me think (I love when that happens!) I started to think about myself saying "I took the high ground", or I didn't participate in something because it was beneath me...........and then it occurred to me what judgements those were.... to presume that not only did I 'own' the high ground, but that whomever/whatever I was referring to was the "lower ground." I've been looking at that......the places where I presume I am right, or I presume I know more or better....... (with my daughter!) Since I was wrong about my daughter in not seeing her completely, managing to miss a pretty big part of her personality, I have to presume there are other things I've missed in my judgements. So, I'm picking apart my way of analyzing and categorizing things, people, events.............and it's really helping me to be able to have a different perspective. The other bonus is that I feel a different kind of peace. It's turning out, (for me) that all of that judgement carried it's own kind of stress, or pattern of thinking........which when I'm able to let go of it, there is more "space" in my thoughts, more presence, more awareness........without the continuing evaluations, assessments, labeling, categorizing.........the stream of thoughts that go nowhere, are repetitive and often serve no real purpose. There is liberation in it. Without that stream of thinking going on, there is room to see differently.

    On Christmas Eve I ran around my new neighborhood delivering my newly baked cookies. One of our neighbors has been a tad unfriendly and even borderline nasty a few times. I was a little scared to go over there, but in the spirit of Christmas, I pushed myself to do it. She was actually friendly and appreciative. I felt good about it. The day after Christmas, she dropped by. I invited her in for more cookies and coffee. She told me so many things about herself, how she lost the love of her life 6 years ago, how her perception of life is that people are unfriendly and she didn't feel welcomed in the neighborhood........ and she'd lived here for 5 years! I was the first person to initiate a kindness. She cried a little relating that to me. I was blown away. When she left I couldn't stop thinking about her. About her story and how sad and lonely she appeared. The tiniest act of kindness meant so much to her because it was so rare. I told my husband, "we are so lucky, this is an ordinary thing for us, kindness, to be seen, to be heard, to be recognized and loved, but to so many, it is not." It was like the young man on Christmas, a tiny act of kindness meant so much to him........... I wouldn't have known him if it weren't for my daughter.........he isn't in my the people your son hangs with........I don't know where I'm going with this, but something inside me is changing about how I have judged others, good Lord, in so many ways......

    This practice of being in the moment and suspending my relentless thinking mind, is opening me up to be able to see differently. It started with my daughter, but now it's extending out...........expanding........

    As I write that I realize how much I've judged myself too........relentlessly........and lately I'm letting a lot of that go too. Perhaps as I stop judging myself so harshly, I can then see others more clearly. Having more compassion for myself extends to others too.

    What is underneath judgment? Why would I presume myself to be superior to another? Or superior to a way of life, a way of thinking, a belief. Some part of this, for me, has to do with acceptance I think. If I accept myself, it becomes easier for me to accept others too. And in that acceptance, the 'other' feels seen. Being seen is very important, how many of us don't feel seen or known, or acknowledged....... those who are homeless, those "fringe" people. The people our kids often hang out with. That woman HLM, who held your hand and asked for $600. I thought the asking is almost rote, but the human touch, the connection is something we all want, we all need. It makes my heart ache, to feel the disconnect that so many must feel.......that woman who held on to your hand, the musician with new strings, the neighbor who feels so unwelcome. No one should have to feel that way.

    I was thinking today, what if I dropped my judgements about my daughter's lifestyle (still practicing that)........she is surviving, she is managing, she is helping others, she does much I don't understand or even agree with........but is my way intrinsically better because that's what most people do? What if I just accept all of it, which is what I have been attempting to do since August when the warrant went out for her arrest. This is her life , perhaps going back to jail, or not, I don't know. It's odd to be thinking this way........and yet it's opening up many doors for me to peer into and see differently. I am really enjoying it. There are so many layers of judgment.........I pick apart one layer and another one pops up.

    I was sharing the story of my daughter with my acupuncturist who knows her, she was moved and told me to tell my daughter that she will give her acupuncture treatments for no charge, she felt that my daughter was doing "good work." I'm still taking all of this's a different perspective for me. I have been judging my daughter for so long, it's taking me time to open up to this. And, it makes me feel a little melancholy that she has always wanted me to be proud of her.........and now I feel that........and I told her that too..........there is a healing taking place for she and I. It goes beyond her present status in the world and has to do with my perceptions of her, my perceptions of a lot of life and my ability/inability to unconditionally accept another.........and for her to be able to show up in the world with all of her exposed, not just the parts I identified and judged, so that she can accept herself and move beyond my lack of approval of her in to her own approval of herself. I think she has waited a long time for my approval.........not that I withheld it, I was just so busy trying to fit her into what I believed she should be, not allowing her to be what she is.

    I just keep wondering where else in my life I may not have been seeing clearly...........there's a certain excitement about opening my eyes like this..........there is awe in it........

    There is much here for me to digest and consider. It is a big ball of wax.

    HLM, that 'hallway' door we talked about is opening now.........
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  4. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    We feel so isolated by our neighbors. They don't include us in any reindeer games (LOL) Seriously, I tried baking at the holidays for them but for some reason they just can connect to us. It's really irritating.

    I love this thought, yes, each of us is like an onion, made up of many layers. Some we keep closed to protect our (once open) heart.

    It is hard for me to judge others because I am such an Empath (can feel what others are feeling) but sometimes this can be a curse more than a blessing as I always 'feel" for the other person even when they don't feel for me.
  5. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I had neighbors I loved and then they left. Now I have the extremely religious family next door and they think I am the antichrist because I drink with my friends on occasion and let my daughter watch an episode of Honey BooBoo. Yikes!

    On the other side I have about 5 families with very young kids. The kids run wild and litterally drive me nuts. We have tried to include them in things but we stay up too late for them. They try to include us but I don't have much in common with 5 year olds who are mouthy.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My difficult child is judgmental too. Very. You smoke pot. You're trash. You don't have a job. You are useless. You live in a bad part of town. You are lazy. The thing that puzzles me is that we never had a lot, although we probably spoiled the kids too much. He is the only one with such a nose in the air. And it bothers me a lot because I've always been like the girl who hugs everyone and isn't afraid and my other kids do not judge people harshly at all. It is just him.I've always been unashamed of shopping at thrift stores and garage sales and will tell the truth about where I acquired something if asked. If it's at Macy's, I'll say so (I've never been to Macy's:)) If it's at a garage sale, I'll say so. No need to lie or not be myself. All my kids are humble and don't even care about name brand clothing and never did, except for 37. And ex was so cheap he wore the same suit we got married in to every single Christmas Eve at his family's get together until we got a divorce. Even I was embarassed about

    RE, I am trying to do what you are. I try not to judge or figure him out, even though his values and personality are sooooo different from me and I don't understand him. He is what he is.
  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I love this story. You're a nice lady. :)
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  8. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    RE --- Wow! What a terrific post you wrote, above! I'm tellin' ya, you are just one continual source of new ideas and inspiration for me. Keep on keepin' on!

    This phrase really caught my attention. First, because I can relate in thoughts.....I wrestle with judgment sometimes and I really dislike how it feels when I judge (sometimes ridiculously judge, too). Second, because I wanted to clarify that when I say, "Higher Path", I mean "Unconditional Love/Radical Acceptance" (sans enabling). For me, it's been hard to stay a true course of Unconditional Love/Radical Acceptance because I have often gotten it confused with one extreme (judging) or the other (enabling). Such a balancing act for me. And when I find how difficult that "balancing act" can be for me, I lapse into judging myself. I used to go from 0-60 at a moments' notice between any of those extremes. Now I can still go to those extremes........but it's USUALLY s-l-o-w-e-r.... but not always. you bring me more food for thought this morning!

    RE -- I'm with Lil on this one...........You are such a nice lady! You brighten your neighbors' day and you brighten our day, here! So exciting to hear that a new "hallway door" is opening for you now! As you venture through another door, please share if/when you ever feel inclined. I like the rooms you venture into... :)

    dstc_99 and 2m2r --- Sorry to hear your current batch of neighbors aren't easy to "join in any reindeer games" (2m2r -- I use that phrase, too!). Once one has had good neighbors, it's just such a straaaange experience having neighbors who are....uh....not. But it does make one wonder why they're not. I GREATLY admire RE for taking it to the next level with her Christmas cookies and cheer. I guess we just never know what others may be thinking? And, conversely, others may never know what we're thinking.

    Most of my life I've had great neighbors. Didn't have my first batch of stand-off-ish neighbors until I was 40. It blew me away because I'd never experienced it. But we've been living here for 4 years now and, once again, have absolutely terrific neighbors. Whew!

    MWM --- Our difficult child is hit-and-miss with judging. Mostly, he's not. And I do admire that in him. However, when he gets "in a tizzy" (which ain't rare), he lapses into this temporary judgmental bit. But he judges others for NOT giving to him. IT's kinda weird watching him go through it. A social worker once called it an "emotional seizure" of sorts for him. It was that dramatic of a shift. Sounds like, maybe, your difficult child is more consistent with that behavior? Can't be easy to be around.