What happens when you don’t have a mother and you aren’t fond enough of their memory to celebrate? I have forgiven my mother for abusing me but I don’t really feel like honouring her either like she was some sort of saint. So I guess I won’t do anything. Anyone else have a mother alive or deceased they have/had a poor relationship with? How do you ‘recognize’ Mother’s Day in your situation? Or do you ignore it as I do?
One of my favorite times in the day is when the Osho Zen Tarot App pops up on my phone with a message for the day. I always find I receive the perfect card; the wisdom and simplicity that Osho brings helps me to step into the day with a sense of openness, playfulness and curiosity. When today's card arrived it read, "Comparison".
"Remember, each one of us has the power to change the world. Just start thinking peace, and the message will spread quicker than you think."~Yoko Ono
Over 550 people have liked Bloggers for Peace on Wordpress and Facebook. People like what we are doing. Let's keep it up. I realized last week that finding peace is the channel I have been searching for my entire life.
Tuesday I met my new counsellor after my last one had to leave because her internship had ended. The new counsellor seems good so far. I felt a connection so that’s a positive sign since I don’t like having to ask to see someone else. Unexpectedly, I ended up crying quite a bit as I recounted what I thought by now would be ‘routine’. Instead, I sat crying for a fair portion of the session. It’s a good sign if I am able to be emotionally vulnerable on my first meeting with a therapist or counsellor. Otherwise it means I am guarded. So I see the crying as a good thing.
I won’t get to see my new counsellor again until the end of the month because she’s going on vacation. Hopefully things will be okay and I will be alright. The only thing plaguing me is what do I do next? I thought by now I’d know what I want to do but I am still clueless. Thus, all I have been capable of is housekeeping and yard work. Both things that aren’t very much fun but they do give me a feeling of satisfaction when I can make a space look nicer than before. I’ve also been helping my dad sell his car. So I have been keeping busy but I feel like I ought to have a better idea of what I’m doing when and where. Right now I just see myself as doing things that need to be done but maybe aren’t important. They’re things that need doing though. Living in a messy and unclean environment doesn’t make me feel positive. In that sense, then, I am contributing at least to the maintenance of my home. Also, I try to provide an ear to my dad and help him out.
It was warm and sunny today so I got outside and trimmed the rose bushes a bit more. Otherwise I stayed indoors because the sun was actually a bit much for me. Even though it was only 20 Celsius it was humid. It’s hard to feel like doing much when you’re warm. Mind you in a month or two this will feel cool! Already the mosquitoes and black flies are out-I could live without them though!
As I continue my Spring cleaning I am getting outside more to work on the yard. It seems that there is a sort of momentum that has come about as a result of my cleaning efforts. Even my dad is beginning to assess what he needs to hold on to or get rid of. I never imagined Spring cleaning could develop into a part of my daily life. For a long time I existed in clutter and dirt but once I started cleaning it’s been impossible to go back. There has been a steady development from decluttering to actually managing to turn to smaller details. It used to be so hard to clean because of all the clutter but as I have gotten rid of so much it’s become easier to keep the ball rolling so to speak. A clean and tidy space sounds like no big deal but it is a da*n miracle in my house. My mother was a compulsive hoarder when she was still alive so housework was nearly impossible. Now I can think about cleaning without wondering how on earth I will manage it because there’s so much stuff in the way. It just feels so liberating! Unless you have lived with a compulsive hoarder for years you may not fully appreciate the gravity of my experience and feelings. It’s hard to convey the utter despair, frustration and lethargy that can descend in such an atmosphere of over cluttering and dirt. Just moving about is hard because of everything that is in the way. Now I am actually able to move about easily and see the surface of things again! I can even clean them!
There are still areas of my home needing decluttering and cleaning but I can identify them now whereas before everything was requiring decluttering and cleaning! Before I thought in terms of what areas were clean and how might I keep them that way in such an environment of disorganization and chaos. So I am truly grateful these days for having the energy to continue my efforts in decluttering and cleaning. These are simple things but so important to your wellness. Have you ever noticed the effects a dirty, cluttered room has on your mood or energy levels? It literally can zap your good mood and energy if you have to stay in it any length of time. Just imagine living like that for years! I had no control over anything as a child so I developed an eating disorder. For 15 years I either starved or deprived myself of food to stay very underweight. A part of the reason I did that was to feel like I had some kind of power in my life. My parents were quite neglectful so didn’t consider my low weight an issue. Thankfully, I am in a healthier state these days.
Spring cleaning has brought about a sense of calm and peace in my life never present before. I really delight in the simple things. A clean bathroom or dust free shelf is enough to give me a feeling of balance. When I look about and see order and organization after so many awful years of disaster I smile inwardly. Not feeling a sense of shame when someone unexpectedly shows up for a visit is worth its weight in gold. Life can be hard but keeping a Zen-like environment can be extremely helpful for bringing that sense of calm and peace I mentioned earlier. Attending to one’s living space is not about impressing others but to reflect the respect you have for yourself. I realize lots of people clean for other reasons but to me it is a measure of how much I respect myself. If I leave my living space to get cluttered and dirty I feel that means I don’t value myself very much. I’m sure there are a number of interpretations one could find that are positive but for me dirt and clutter is a negative thing.
How do you view clutter and dirt in your living space? Is it something you can live with or do you need to keep things more in order?
My portfolio workshop I was in for the past ten weeks ended Monday; thus I was busy trying to finish it to present to my fellow participants. It went well and I feel a lot better about my skills and myself generally than before I took it. So I would say it was useful and beneficial. We started out with 10 people but only had 4 by the end! Now I will have nothing to do on Mondays! Well, I can find something but I don’t have anything planned yet. Monday was super nice too since we had sun all day and 20 Celsius. It’s really great having such pleasant weather after the crappy winter we had. It stayed around for far too long. Dang groundhog was actually right this year!
Tuesday was my last session with my counsellor because she was an intern so her placement ended at the end of April. I wasn’t really upset or sad to have to change counsellors. She was really nice and I got along with her well but often I felt we were not focused enough. I felt like I was indulging a lot of her curiosities during our sessions together, rather than focusing on a particular solution or even just having her listen. I am not unhappy about our sessions we had together though as she was genuinely a lovely person I connected with. I’m seeing a new counsellor next week. Since I haven’t met her yet I am a bit nervous but glad I can still go. My dad pays for the sessions since I am unemployed. Thankfully the fee will not increase so I am relieved about that. If the fee would have increased by much I likely would not have been able to return. However, I was told once you agree on a fee it stays the same usually (if you are on a sliding scale).
Tomorrow I am supposed to see my employment counsellor. I haven’t seen her since February when she suggested I consider counselling after I came to her depressed from my S.A.D. She had wanted me to focus on talking to someone from the Student Loans office, in person, about an amount of money owing that has prevented me from applying for further financial help to return to school. But I very stubbornly felt a great deal of internal resistance to this idea. I was angry that she was fixated on my student loans. Perhaps we had reached a stalemate and she thought this was the move that would get things moving again. Instead, for me, it just made me annoyed!(I don’t like being told what to do either!). So I never talked to anyone from Student loans about the issue I was supposed to and now I am to see my employment counsellor tomorrow. My present plan is to go to the appointment and end our counselling because we’ve pretty well taken it as far as it wants to go in my opinion. I’ve been going to her since the end of 2011 and I don’t feel like we’ve made much progress. I’ve gotten more from the workshops put on by the agency my employment counsellor is at than our individual sessions together. So I think I will just take the workshops and quit the individual employment counselling I’ve been getting.
Last night was the deadline for filing your taxes here in Canada so I had to do that yesterday when I got home after counselling (therapy counselling not employment). Fortunately I didn’t have much to do since I was unemployed for the 2012 tax year. The only reason I bothered filing was to get the GST(gov’t sales tax) cheque (a small sum of money you get quarterly if you make very little) and to keep my voting status current. Consequently I was too tired to check WordPress and read your blogs or update my own here. I’ll do my best to get caught up.
- Publish a post on how to teach children peace. How do we raise children to be peaceful? What do children need to know about peace? How do we teach them what peace means?
How do we teach peace to children? By living and breathing it everyday of our lives. Children learn by watching adults so if we want peace we have to behave peacefully. We’re role models as adults so it’s our job to make sure children understand everyone deserves to be treated equally and with compassion. Of course many adults do not treat others as equals or with compassion so this is where problems may arise. Do as I say and not as I do is a phrase often said by parents but what if parents and adults alike decided to not be hypocritical and walk the talk? Children are very sensitive to incongruities and learn that if you say one thing and do another they will understandably be confused.
As adults we must understand the concept we wish children to learn. How can you teach something if you don’t understand it yourself? Or you understand it but don’t value it enough to live it? Peace is a value a lot of people say they have but they don’t necessarily behave peacefully. Adults commit crimes and acts of violence on other adults and even children and animals. To teach peace to children is not hard if all you are doing is talking. But peace is not only words but our actions too. Our actions will always speak louder than our words. We are responsible for doing our part as parents or aunts, uncles and/or grandparents, ensuring our children see us behaving peacefully. If we are shouting, hitting, or hurting others in some way then we are not conveying the message of peace.
Peace is not just a symbol on a T-shirt or something “hippies” subscribe to. It can and should be something everyone sees the value of. Unfortunately there are many awful things happening in our world that go against peace. Murder, rape, genocide, racism, sexism, child abuse, animal abuse, torture of any kind, and more. All of these things damage the goal of peace yet we can still do our best to let children know that those things are wrong and unacceptable. Maybe it’s as simple as explaining each time the news reports on something bad happening that those responsible were doing bad things. I think we need to differentiate between the person and the action since people are not all bad; their behaviour may be terrible but not them as a person. Likewise, when children misbehave they are not bad but their behaviour is. Peace is living non violently, respecting all people and animals, and eschewing intentionally hurting others.
If we are to achieve a state of peace we have to treat everyone and thing we come into contact with in a compassionate, humane and respectful way. Animals deserve to be treated kindly and humanely. Ideally, everyone would stop eating animals and exploiting them for their own gratification. Exploitation of animals, children and women is a problem we need to deal with if we are to ever live in a peaceful world. Our hearts must open to others as though they are our family because they are our family! They and we belong to the Human race so there is no reason to not value and respect people because they came from somewhere unfamiliar to us. Similarly, those living with radically different values and beliefs from us deserve our compassion and tolerance. We cannot all live the same and think the same but we can all learn empathy and compassion. If you’re compassionate and empathetic to everyone then violence is less likely. Understanding other people is an important step on the way to peace.
Children need to learn other people may think differently from them so should try understanding when someone does something they do not like. By acknowledging our own beliefs are not everyone else’s and don’t have to be we stop feeling frustrated. Believing everyone should think like we do creates conflict especially if we try overtly imposing our beliefs on others. We must accept differences even when they violate one of our values. So long as the belief or value is not harming anyone or thing then it should not concern us. Even if the belief or value harms but is within the law we should either try to tolerate it or try to change it by petitioning government and/or law enforcement. That way we are not creating more harm and are attempting to act peacefully to invoke change.
Writing and illustrating children’s stories on peace would be a good way to easily teach the concept. Most children enjoy books with imaginative stories and illustrations thus it would reach many children. Make the books accessible through public libraries and schools so that it is widely available. Teachers could incorporate peace into their curriculum at the appropriate developmental level for the child’s age. If school boards took the initiative they could ensure peace was on the curriculum for sure.
Violence is a theme prevalent in our T.V. shows, movies and video games. Children watch and play these forms of entertainment and become desensitized to it. If we want children to learn peace they will have to understand what they choose to play and or watch has ramifications. Parents or guardians must be willing to explain to children the significance of what they watch on T.V. or in movies as well as their games. Letting children witness these forms of gratuitous violence without responsibly providing a disclaimer will teach them to think violence is acceptable. I know some children are quite intelligent and can figure this out on their own but erring on the side of caution is best; better to explain to them about the violence they’re witnessing than be sorry later.
Peace is not hard to teach in theory but we as adults destroy the message of peace when we condone various forms of violence. In practice peace is difficult for a lot of adults to teach to children because they may not be living with peace as their primary intention. Using violence to try eliminating it is like trying to put a fire out with gasoline or another flammable substance. Peace begins within us and is up to each of us to BE peace. We cannot change others but we can change ourselves. If we really value peace we will find peace inside ourselves then embody it and show children what peace looks like.
Ways to achieve peace (in no particular order):
- Meditate regularly
- Practice yoga or Tai Chi regularly
- Love yourself (in a non narcissistic way!)
- Learn to enjoy your own company
- Be compassionate to yourself
- Be compassionate to others
- Respect yourself and others too
- Live ethically/ sustainably
- Play and/or have innocent fun
- Laugh regularly
- Appreciate differences
- Breathe fully
- Live simply
- Live with intention and integrity
- Spend time in nature
Yes, that’s me. I murdered a large quantity of tiny black ants today because I got sick of having my kitchen overtaken by them. When there were only a few I could handle it but when they started coming by the dozens I got fed up and vacuumed them up. So I murdered them and may have created a lot of negative karma for myself. But then I decided I ought to see if I could repel them naturally without having to be a murderer (guess I ought to have done that in the first place!). Apparently cinnamon is good to repel them because they dislike the smell. I was so desperate to keep them away I covered my counter top in cinnamon! At first they kept coming but soon they discovered the cinnamon was staying so they left! WOO HOO!!! Now I feel like the worst person ever because of all the ants I killed. What a shameful person I am. My head hurts. I think I’m having remorse finally. Before I was too intent on getting rid of the ants to feel shame but I feel very ashamed now. Why couldn’t I have just used the cinnamon at the start? Why was I so annoyed at seeing so many ants crawling around my kitchen counter? It’s natural yet I chose to forget I am generally compassionate and instead went for the vacuum sucking up the tiny creatures cold heart’d-like.
Okay, that’s my confession. So much shame
Today I was quite busy running errands so didn’t get a chance to blog but I will try to do better tomorrow. I do have a few things left to do but will try writing a proper post anyway. My taxes still haven’t been done so I will be doing those too with the help of my TurboTax software. If you ever want to do your own taxes and are not an accountant or math wiz TurboTax is awesome! Totally “idiot friendly”, LOL.