Witnessing a beautiful thing

Mother-holding-childs-han-001

Today I took a diversion from my normal Monday routine that is to attend my support group.  Part of my current practice is about allowing myself as much time to follow my heart’s desire and be in the present moment – shift towards my Leo North Node in the first house.   The routine of my day always starts with taking my puppy Japser to the park.  We had another foggy morning and I didn’t feel much like getting up but the miracle this morning was that as soon as I was ready to leave with J, after having stewed apples and made porridge to serve with them this morning, the sun finally peaked out from behind the fog and clouds.

We got to the park and played, soon to be joined with by Jasper’s other playmates: Pymer, Bobby, Bootstrap, Charlie,  and Harry and then little Poppy who had been under the weather.  An hour passed in play and conversation about various issues, most importantly our distress at the Australian government’s response to the refuge issue.  We got onto the subject of the “it’s their own fault” argument, a view apparently expressed by someone at the park a few day ago. a view which made our collective blood boil.  We were talking about the lack of compassion that can be shown.  At the moment a man appeared who had been conscripted to the Vietnam War and was just saved from deployment due to election of Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam in the 70s33….. we spoke about the devastation of war, the impact on the soldiers and most especially the inhabitants of Vietnam from Agent Orange.  And then the subject of ancestry and history as this gentleman was of Chinese/Scottish background, his grandparents had been involved in the gold rush.

Soon it was time to leave and I made my way to my local coffee shop in a shopping centre not far from the park.  As I was sitting there I decided just to watch the passers by and be in the present moment.  At that moment I witnessed the most beautiful thing.  Close to where I was sitting is a two level staircase.  A little boy, probably not much older than 3 was standing on the bottom step holding onto the rail and attempting to climb.  His mother watched from a distance.  Rather than call him away or shout at him she came to where he was struggling to climb, took his little hand in hers and gently and slowly accompanied him on the slow climb up the two flights of stairs and back again.   Slowly, patiently, attentively she was beside him every step of the way as he worked to negotiate the task that would develop in him a sense of competence and mastery.   He had the most beautiful expression of delight on his face.  I cant tell you the feeling of happiness that came over me in witnessing this moment.  I felt it to be a precious gift.  It showed me so much of what was lacking in my own childhood, and yet I did not feel sad.   But there was just a great deal of understanding.

Yesterday I met my sister for a cup of tea.  She is recently out of hospital after undergoing a three month stay for depression.  She is in the process of trying to get herself together to move into her own unit, back staying with my mother for a time.  She was telling me how at every step she is taking, rather than be supportive my mother is undermining, criticising, and projecting her doubts and fears onto her.  I know my mother is tired and I know she wants her space.  It has been a long journey with my sister as she has struggled from manic depression, and my mother had endured some difficult so called “manic” episodes but while listening,  I did feel so much empathy for my sister.  We were sharing about how little joy there has been, and was in our upbringing.  I could identify, too, the negative unsupportive and admonishing voice that sometimes lives in my own head in much of what my sister was sharing.

I didn’t sleep great last night.  What came to me after a few hours of twisting and turning was how my Mum’s own attempts at independence were shot down in flames by her own mother.  Mum was strong enough to rebel and follow her own calling, and yet I realised the voices she suffers and which she is projecting on my sister have very deep roots.

As I write this I am reflecting on how, today, life has shown me something very important.  Has in two days, given me two very different examples of nurturance and non nurturance.  I was so grateful I made the decision today to give my support group a miss.  It occurred to me as I wandered off after having watched the little boy and his mother, that today I was in EXACTLY the right  place.  I had a deep feeling of peace, due to having been centred fully in the present moment.

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