High chair tyrants

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Oh my. This is amazing.
    Luminous Darkness

    A Bright Sadness
    Friday, October 24, 2014

    “Because I die by brightness and the Holy Spirit.”
    —Thomas Merton, “The Blessed Virgin Mary Compared to a Window”

    There is a gravitas in the second half of life, but it is now held up by a much deeper lightness, or “okayness.” Our mature years are characterized by a kind of bright sadness and a sober happiness, if that makes any sense. There is still darkness in the second half of life—in fact maybe even more. But there is now a changed capacity to hold it creatively and with less anxiety. It is what John of the Cross called “luminous darkness,” and it explains the simultaneous coexistence of deep suffering and intense joy that we see in the saints, which is almost impossible for most of us to imagine.

    Life is much more spacious now, the boundaries of the container having been enlarged by the constant addition of new experiences and relationships. You are like an expandable suitcase, and you became so almost without your noticing. Now you are just here, and here holds more than enough. Such “hereness,” however, has its own heft, authority, and influence.

    One’s growing sense of infinity and spaciousness is no longer found just “out there” but most especially “in here.” The inner and the outer have become one. You can trust your inner experience now, because even God has allowed it, used it, received it, and refined it. As St. Augustine dramatically put it in his Confessions:

    You were within, but I was without. You were with me, but I was not with you. So you called, you shouted, you broke through my deafness, you flared, blazed, and banished my blindness, you lavished your fragrance, and I gasped.

    Adapted from Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life,
    pp. 117, 119, 121-122

    Gateway to Silence:
    “Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover.” – John of the Cross
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is beautiful COM, thank you for continuing this thread.

    Many years ago I asked a therapist of mine, one who utilized transpersonal therapy so it had a spiritual component to it, what she thought spiritual growth in this context was. She replied, " living within the paradoxes of life and not going crazy." I thought that was a superb response and I've thought about it throughout the years. As I have gotten older it has greater meaning because as your post says, as we age, I think we do become able to hold all the sorrow and joy within us simultaneously and remain intact.

    When I was younger I saw things in a more black and white, right and wrong, win or lose, up or down kind of way. It's what we are taught, all the judgements, as we learn how to identify life and where we fit in all of it. I've often read that we have to throw off what our perception of "the truth" is so we can see a higher perspective, which to me, often expands my capacity for compassion and kindness to myself and to others. Between all that 'black and white' exists that middle ground which Buddhists speak about, perhaps that can only be born out of finding that great sorrow and living that immense joy and being able to hold it all in our heart simultaneously.........without it having to be 'either/or.'

    I watched a clip of Eckart Tolle speaking about suffering. He suggested practicing breathing into as many moments as we can and creating "spaciousness" a sense of openness and recognition of the present moment without our preoccupation with the past or the future. I have been practicing that. He said to remember to take a breath and just be, release the thoughts and expand. This is my new practice. It keeps bringing me back to the moment, and ultimately to myself. The past and the future fade out and what is left is simply the now, this moment, all there really is.......

    This is especially valuable for me and any of us who have leaned more to enabling.............the balancing of the internal and the external. My okayness is no longer validated by the external, it is already okay within me. That was an enormous shift. And, I learned that on the bumpy road to recovery from enabling.

  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Wow. This is right on the money. (emphasis mine below...boldface)...Reinforcing the value of waiting, of developing patience, of saying nothing, of letting other people be who they are, whatever that means. It is the act of creating a new space so that something new can flow in and we can be changed.


    Silence as an
    Alternative Consciousness
    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    For me, the two correctives of all spirituality are silence and service. If either of those is missing, it is not true, healthy spirituality. Without silence, we do not really experience our experiences. We may serve others and have many experiences, but without silence, nothing has the power to change us, to awaken us, to give us that joy that the world cannot give, as Jesus says (John 16:22). And without clear acts of free service (needing no payback of any sort, even “heaven”), a person’s spiritual authenticity can and should be called into question. Divine Love always needs to and must overflow!

    To live in this primordial, foundational being itself, which I am calling silence, creates a kind of sympathetic resonance with what is right in front of us. Without it, we just react instead of respond. Without some degree of silence, we are never living, never tasting, as there is not much capacity to enjoy, appreciate, or taste the moment as it purely is. The opposite of contemplation is not action, it is reaction. We must wait for pure action, which always proceeds from a contemplative silence in which we are able to listen anew to truth and to what is really happening. Such spiritual silence demands a deep presence to oneself in the moment, which will probably have the same practical effect as presence to God.

    You do not hear silence (precisely!), but it is that by which you do hear. You cannot capture silence. It captures you. Silence is a kind of thinking that is not thinking. It’s a kind of thinking which mostly sees (contemplata). Silence, then, is an alternative consciousness. It is a form of intelligence, a form of knowing beyond bodily reacting or emotion. It is a form of knowing beyond mental analysis, which is what we usually call thinking. All of the great world religions at the higher levels (mystical) discovered that our tyrannical mode of everyday thinking (which is largely compulsive, brain-driven, and based on early patterning and conditioning) has to be relativized and limited, or it takes over, to the loss of our primal being and identity in God and in ourselves. I used to think that mysticism was the eventual fruit of years of contemplation; now I think it all begins with one clear moment of mystic consciousness, which then becomes the constant “spring inside us, welling up unto eternal life” (John 4:14).

    Adapted from Letting Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction, disc 3
    (Published by Franciscan Media.);
    and Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation, pp. 4-5, 9

    Gateway to Silence:
    Just be.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Great article COM. Thank you. This is exactly my practice lately.............presence, space between the relentless thoughts, being in the moment, stillness, allowing. It works!
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Thank you, COM.

    I've read that it is the silence between the notes that makes music possible, that silent instant between one breath and the next where we are present in meditation. There was something too about it being not the stars, but the space between them that ordered the whole.

    One of us posted, this past week, about comparison as the mind's mechanism for keeping us hooked and hooked. Comparison with others, or even with who we think we should be, with where we've fallen short.


  6. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Hi friends, I hope you have not forgotten who I am. I have definitely not forgotten any of you. I have been away because I am dealing with the hardest thing with difficult child I have yet to experience . I still can't write about it.There is something about seeing it in black-and-white in front of me that makes it too real- although I certainly know it's there & in in my face. The comparison of rubbing salt into a wound comes to mind...
    Anyway,this thread has a calming effect on me because contemplating silence and practicing being present in the moment are things I really don't do enough of. Just trying to cope with stress causes me to neglect this important journey of the mind. Thank you for bringing me back into it and reminding me of the power of my inner self so that I can take on the outer self and eventually combine them, as you described. Maybe the pain all around me won't hurt as badly if I can keep this frame of mind. Thank you, COM, for these inspirational posts.
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    We haven't forgotten you, Try. It is good to see you again, and to know you are alright. Whatever has happened, you will heal. Your child will heal. It will be whatever it is, and that will be alright.

    It will, Try. There is nothing to compare to the trauma we go through with our kids.


    Even here, on the site, there are those whose stories are so wrong and chaotic that the only thing we can know for sure is that time will pass, and the situation will have resolved.

    It gets to be about survival. It becomes a cold, clear eyed decision to survive it. Once we have made that decision, we have a kind of road map.

    Whatever has happened, we are here, Try.

    I am so glad you posted.

    Holding you and yours in my thoughts tonight.


    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  8. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Try, it's good to see you again.
    Best wishes and a prayer for you!
    Your signature quote has been immensely helpful to me..."Let go or be dragged".
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We're all here for you Tryagain.........sending prayers and hugs for you and your difficult child...........hang in there........
  10. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Cedar, Daze, and Recovering, bless you for reaching out. I am saying prayers of thanks for your caring hearts tonight.

    It occurred to me just now how powerful kindness and caring are. I believe that we on this site are oozing with it. The impact of it all being harnessed and given freely, simply to comfort another whose pain you understand, really amazes me. Thank you, and I have already reread your posts again because they feel like warm hugs. I'll probably repeat it often.
    Here's hoping each of you are feeling some measure of peace tonight.
    • Friendly Friendly x 3
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  11. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Friends, this was in Richard Rohr's daily email this week---the Lectio Divina. He suggests reading it four times---focusing on something different each time. Something like this, or this, could become part of our daily practice, the daily practice that each of us must undertake in order to change. In order to reclaim our own lives, we have to work at changing. It's daily work. It takes regular time spent in thought, reading, prayer/meditation, journaling, silence, therapy, at 12-step meetings or any other daily practice that we find helps us turn the bright light AWAY from another person, and focus that light on ourselves. There is truly no way to let go of someone we love so much without drastic change in our own lives. Trying doesn't work. Just like trying to get them to change doesn't work. We have to put that same energy into ourselves. And if we do, we will start to receive glimpses of joy, peace, serenity. And then those times will lengthen, and after a while, those times are the norm instead of the exception. What a blessing it can be to change. I never would have thought it, but it is true. I wish you well in your journey. You help me so much every single day.


    Lectio Divina (a prayerful way of reading the Bible)

    With the first reading, listen with your heart's ear for a phrase or word that stands out for you. During the second reading, reflect on what touches you, perhaps speaking that response aloud or writing in a journal. Third, respond with a prayer or expression of what you have experienced and what it calls you to. Fourth, rest in silence after the reading.

    And now I understand everything, hidden or visible,
    for Wisdom, the designer of all things, has instructed me.
    For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy,
    unique, manifold, subtle,
    mobile, incisive, unsullied,
    lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, shrewd,
    irresistible, beneficent, friendly to human beings,
    steadfast, dependable, unperturbed,
    almighty, all-surveying,
    penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits.
    For Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion;
    she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.
    She is a breath of the power of God,
    pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty;
    so nothing impure can find its way into her.
    For she is a reflection of the eternal light,
    untarnished mirror of God's active power,
    and image of his goodness.
    Although she is alone, she can do everything;
    herself unchanging, she renews the world,
    and, generation after generation, passing into holy souls,
    she makes them into God's friends and prophets;
    for God loves only those who dwell with Wisdom.
    She is indeed more splendid than the sun,
    she outshines all the constellations;
    compared with light, she takes first place,
    for light must yield to night,
    but against Wisdom evil cannot prevail.

    - The Book of Wisdom 7:21-30 (The New Jerusalem Bible)
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I can't even imagine. That is what I thought, when I read the words quoted above. And close on their heels, the words, the thought images, that I am not worth it because I failed ~ failed at everything that mattered. Not looking for you to talk me out of anything here, just noting what continually failing where our kids are involved costs.


    I am so big on efficacy this morning.

    I must be ready to reclaim those parts of self I felt I had lost the right to when the kids ~ both kids ~ have (or did have, in difficult child son's case), so many problems. I think we sell pieces of ourselves, sort of bet on the kids or maybe, bargain with God; reach further down than we knew existed to try to come back, carrying our kids to safety.

    I have been down there a very, very long time.

  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This verse you have given us this morning is a true thing. I love it.

    Thank you.


    P.S. On the fridge it goes. I can feel something different in me from having read it, from having been given those words and images. It has the same feel that piece I read about yielding to the joy beneath has.

    Like something you've already known, something you maybe have always known, coming clear in those perfect, simple words.

    I love the part about friendly to humans. Who would think to include that and yet, it's perfect.

    Remember that song we were posting about for a time, "Halleluiah"?

    "So ring the bells that you can ring.
    Forget your perfect offering.
    There is a crack in everything.
    That's how the light gets in."

  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I have been re-reading this morning, too.

    Perfect timing, Copa.

    Thank you.

    I needed to stand in sacred space, again. COM, thank you for posting for us originally.

    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Here is my map.

    I never saw it so clearly before.

    If I choose to stay in bed...If I choose to not go to Alanon...If I choose on Fridays to not join my religious community...If I choose to mark myself as "other" as the suffering one, by wearing the same tattered (clean) clothes every day...to never cut my hair--with Chanel makeup and a closet bursting of clothes, who is it that is lost?

    I never saw it before.

    My son is his own.

    I am my own...(there is no amount of suffering and need that will bring my mother back...who actually always chose herself before me....)

    Who is it really that needs and has always needed my care, kindness, devotion...and respect?

    Thank you COM and Cedar.
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes. This is me. I am not alone. Thank you Cedar and ChildofMine
  18. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Copa, the first step on the road back is seeing with new eyes. It is wonderful to look at the same situation and see something different.

    We're here for you on this road back.
  19. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Copa, the first step on the road back is seeing with new eyes. It is wonderful to look at the same situation and see something different.

    We're here for you on this road back.
  20. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Copa, the first step on the road back is seeing with new eyes. It is wonderful to look at the same situation and see something different.

    We're here for you on this road back.