Monday, 8 December 2008

Tears and Hallucinations

It's been a strange old time and it's been a tough old time. I set up this blog in order for it to act as a timeline of my own spiritual development, a kind of on line journal or a diary, something that would work to act as a series of markers in the sand of particular milestones, rites of passage and of my journey through the valleys as well as my walks upon the mountain tops. These past weeks, although not borne in meditation, ritual or ceremony, have seen something of a change within me and this has been borne from nothing other than 'living my life'. It's been stressful, difficult, painful, scary and demanding and I kid you not, I feel absolutely shattered emotionally, physically and spiritually. I'm feeling somewhat spent right now. I have a strong inpatient sense of frustration about this.

Seeing my father in hospital, wired up to heaven knows how many machines, drains and drips everywhere, taking a cocktail of pills and potions has had a powerful effect upon me and in truth I don't fully understand or appreciate the depth or profundity of that effect. I'm in here in this incarnation for a reason and a purpose, no doubt, and I am sure that this present moment in time is all part of that plan, but I don't quite get the lesson at the moment. Seeing my dad in this fragile state has sent me back to so many times in my childhood as well as catapulting me into possible eventualities in the future that I'd rather not think about. It's caused me to reflect on great times, times of regret, and also of unsaid things that probably need to be said. There have been times when I've felt like a child in adult clothes, scared and wanting my parents to look out for me, yet as I look at them both, there have been times, many times recently, where the look in their eyes has been calling out for me to do the self same thing for them. That's tough and difficult to handle. It's more than a role reversal, it's something of a dynamic inner change. I also don't want to do anything that robs them of their own control over their lives and destiny - I don't want to take them over. All I've been able to do is be there for them, and I hope that's enough and I hope it tells them I love them, because I do.

I've had a funny old time with my parents. As born again Christians they were unable to cope with my sexuality and through my coming out I was sent away not only from the family home, but the town as well. The Christian Church disowned me and a rift appeared between my parents and I. My eventual embracing of pagan spirituality did little to heal that rift. However, over time a bridge has been made and a new relationship established and that's such a comfort and joy to me. They still don't fully approve of what they see as my 'choice of sexuality' although I don't see where choice comes into it, and I don't go into detail with them about my spiritual practice, as I see little purpose in that, I know they struggle with it and why put them through that? However, the fruit of my path, and perhaps theirs also, as led to us all being in a new place. The fact that I am able to provide such a strong level of support at the moment, at a time when they really need it, is a powerful testimony to a significant period of healing, and that's a wonderful thing. So that's one positive thing in the midst of all this.

Spiritually I feel a bit all over the place. I've not been able to focus on anything in particular, as my mind and concentration is shot. I'm finding it hard to give myself to anything at the moment, as my head seems to be dealing with so many thoughts and things that I need to do. I'm not happy about that as I feel I should be doing better in this regard, I should be more disciplined and more in control of myself and this situation. That's what my Inner Critic is telling me anyway, and I have to agree with him to a degree! "This is a lesson in powerlessness" my partner said, and whilst I understand where he is coming from in his humanistic approach to life, I don't like hearing it because I feel if I were in a stronger, more powerful place, I wouldn't be powerless. I'd be able to harness the natural forces in nature and do something more positive and effectual for my father, and indeed for my mother. So I'm not happy about that and I'm feeling somewhat feeble spiritually. I don't know if that makes any sense at all - I guess I'm just beating myself up when I shouldn't be I suppose.

Dad was told that for a while following his triple heart by-pass that he would have a couple days where he would feel emotional. Seeing ones 76 year old father cry is incredibly humbling. Not embarrassing, not uncomfortable, not something that I wanted to ignore, simply humbling. The old stiff British lip crumbled and he cried, not really knowing why and not really having any control over it. I think it was a combination of medication, his body's shock following such radical surgery and probably a sense of relief of still being here. I'm sure an operation of this scale forces one to face ones own apparent mortality, even for a born again Christian. "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of glory divine" we used to sing as a family in Church, and I have no doubt at all that my fathers faith has been tested in this area. I'm not about to criticise him for his faith or his path. It may not be my path, I have serious questions and problems with it, but I won't deny his right to it. I obviously ask the same of him. This open expression of humanity, a place where roles were momentarily suspended and we came together as people without boundaries and pretence was special for me. It's an odd moment to treasure, I guess, but I do feel a sense of privilege that I was able to share that moment.

So he is home now, following the surgery, and appears to be slowly improving. There are some concerns around recent blood tests, and these worry me slightly, as they could potentially point to other problems, but I'm trying to put those concerns to one side as nothing definite has been said at this time. He's looking better each day, if only in very small ways, but I take that as positive. I just want his confidence in himself and in life to start returning, as his 'stuffing' has been knocked out of him, that's for sure. The pills he is on give him some concerning hallucinations at times, and they're not pleasant for him at all, but many of his medications are on a reducing programme, so I hope that soon enough this too will pass.

For me, I'm not sure what this period of time is all about. Clearly it's about cementing, reestablishing and to a degree, redefining, relationships, but I'm sure there are deeper things for me to get to grips with here as well. I want to grow out of this situation, to become stronger and find myself in a more spiritually robust place, but at the moment, I'm still feeling as though I'm in something of a fog, looking for the open door.


Anonymous said...

Andy- such good news that Dad is now home & on the way to a full recovery.
I know what you mean about feeling like being in fog and finding the way Hazey- I have felt- still feel a little confused with my emotions and my lifes direction- since the flu episode and the whole negative vibes this world recession is giving out.
There is light at the end of the tunnel and some quality time with family & friends this coming yuletide will help us all on our way.
you take good care of yourself my friend. Brightest Blessings.

Fox said...

It is good to hear that your father is on his way to getting better. I've been checking back often to see if you'd posted an update.

Remember that as humans we are only capable of expending so much energy. It isn't about the ability to control that energy, just that we have a limit to the amount we can deal with at a single moment. I think it is quite possible that your inability to focus on your spirituality right now is the Universe's way of telling you that it knows your desire to continue that connection, but your focus is needed elsewhere. In a way it is the Universe saying "I understand. It is okay. I will be here when you have the energy to sit with me again."

Now is not the time to push yourself beyond your limits. Just be there for your family while still maintaining a level of energy that you are still able to care for yourself. You will do no one any good if you are out of commission because you've gone and overdone it.


mahud said...

I like to think that my own ritual practices will open up my heart and fill me with compassion for others, such as you have for your father, despite the fact that he doesn't fully accept who you are.

I hope you'll find some clarity and focus soon. I know how difficult it can be from personal experience to practice my own spirituality when life is full of seemingly unending distractions.

I'm a believer that everything happens for a purpose (nothing is truly meaningless) and all experiences (good or bad) can be harnessed for the good of ourselves and those who surround us.

Blessings and good health to both you and your parents.

Tess said...

I'm sorry not to have been a very regular commenter here lately.
You sum up beautifully your experiences and those of your father. The title of your post is so eloquent.
I'm glad that the bridge between you and your parents was built in time for your father's illness, and that he seems to be on the mend.
I was struck by what you said about seeing your father cry. It's actually heartbreaking that as a society we make it so unacceptable for men to cry - almost as if they need a medical 'excuse'.
Thinking of you all. Oh and by the way, tell your inner critic to go and bug someone else for a while!

Anonymous said...

Andy, that goshdarned inner critic of yours is in overdrive, no? You haven't got much to reproach yourself for, in my opinion!

Lets enumerate: you've supported your APs, who by your own account haven't necessarily supported you when you needed them. You're working flat you (this I know), you're trying to organise your spiritual life and you're dealing with a feeling of powerlessness. This is ironic - it seems to me that you have been enormously effective and powerFUL through this incredibly difficult time.

Try and get the critic to shut up, my dear. You're winning. Putting that bread of human kindness out there. You are strong. And there will be time for you to relax and spend with your partner when the water is a bit less choppy.

I'm so glad your father is on the mend. A relief!!Now you've got less to worry about on his behalf, take the time you need for you!!

Thinking of you - Happy Yule my dear.

TGW xxx

Anonymous said...

Be gentle with yourself, Andy. You are looking squarely at the mortality of someone you love and at your own mortality. I, for one, know how that can take the wind out of your sails and send you spinning. Feel what you need to feel, be there for those you love. This is not a time of action, but of feeling and digesting the emotional lessons on a subconscious level. The conscious analysis will come later.
Don't forget to look after yourself while you are looking after others ... a dry well can quench nobody's thirst.
A blessed Yule to you, my dear.

Anonymous said...

Peace Andy,

Allah! Although I haven't stopped by your blog in a while, can I add my own prayer for healing for your father?

My own father is coping with something at the moment (though not, insha Allah, as serious) and so I can relate to some of what you say. At any rate, regardless of this, I can clearly see that this has been difficult and trying for you. A traditional Muslim understanding of sickness (and coping with it) is to see it as a purification. So, though this has been difficult for you, I hope it has been something of a purification too.

It is entirely natural to feel drained - in all senses. Spirituality, it seems to me, is (if anything) an attempt to become more human. Thus, we become more aware of (and open to) just how connected to all things we are. Given the stressful circumstances you describe, it is small wonder that you've not had time for 'spiritual' things! Or, in other words, dealing with the mortality of our parents is a deeply spiritual matter. In any case, is spirituality merely a matter of ritualised action? Or, is it also an orientation to life?

In my work in university student support, I deal with many students in stressful situations who relate much the same feeling of 'not doing enough'. It always strikes me, though, that a human being has only a finite amount of energy - and when difficulties come (as they always do) it is right, fit and proper that your attention should be directed towards them.

In closing, may God grant physical healing to your father and the beautiful healing of patience to you and your mother.


Abdur Rahman

Andy said...

Thank you so much for all your responses, you're such magickal and special people, and I really value you and what you say. I intend to get this poor forsaken blog back up and running in the very near future. This has been a time of deep work for me and I'll attempt to share something of that with you all very soon.

Many blessings, Andy

Cloudia said...

Aloha, Andy-
My intuition was telling me to look in on you. Lo & behold a new post! It seems that you and I are going through a similar life passage. My Dad is fighting cancer, my mom is (finally) growing up a bit; and I'm humbled, emotional. Actually you expressed it quite well. I too had to follow a "not normal" path that complicated my life and relations, but now all that seems so insignificant in the face of mortality.
It is a mercy, I think, when our "practice" gets side-tracked by life. I have found REIKI to be transformative! wish I'd begun years ago; do think about it. These are actually the times of great growth for us both, I'm certain. I too am learning about the elements and finding it helpful. "Healing With Form, Energy & Light" by Rinpoche is a TREASURE of good info. Stop by my blog, comfortSpiral, for some tropical pictures & warm wishes. I am intending all good for you, Brother. Warm Aloha, Cloudia

mahud said...

Hi Andy. I've been checking up on your blog to see how you're doing. Looking forward to hearing more of you.

Happy New Year!

The Shepton Witch said...

How are you Andy? Thinking of you and sending best wishes xx

MsFuddle said...

Hi. I just found your blog and have read back through a good few posts. I love your honesty and open approach to life.

I wouldn't worry about not being able to focus on your spirituality at the moment - your father needs you and I'm certain the divine (who/whatever that is to you) understands that. Nothing's changed inside, it's just your conscious thoughts that aren't focused, that's all.

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Hi there Andy. Hope you're ok, we've missed you about the blogosphere. It must have been a difficult time for you.At times like this I always find it helpful to listen to music. Thanks for your message.


Andy said...

I really want to thank each and every one of you for your lovely, supportive, encouraging and inspiration messages. You've no idea how you have helped me over what have been some pretty dark days.

I do intend to return to my Blog, and start visiting the blogs I've enjoyed so much very shortly. My father makes very slow, but thankfully, very steady progress. He has a checkup with his consultant on Tuesday of this week, and once that is out of the way, things should begin to return to some kind of normality. Also, my mother has been rather poorly with what appears to be a very vicious bug indeed, and she's not totally well yet herself. Add the fact that my work life is ever changing I've been somewhat dragged into dealing with the matters of this realm in a very real way I guess.

Also, I now have an allotment that is taking up lots of my time at the moment!

But I will be back - promise! I hear Imbolc calling, the quickening, an inner stirring deep within me is very evident. I hear the call and I am responding, and I will be sharing this and many other things with you very soon, I hope!

Love, Andy, x