My family is here in LA staying with me for the holidays. We all know that family is the #1 source for pushing our buttons and bringing out the very worst qualities in us. Of course they do....they did all the programming on us and they know every little thing to say and do to get a reaction out of us. And when they don't get those reactions, they have no idea how to relate anymore. They don't know what to do when you stop playing the games with them! So they are forced to have a new experience with you.
I've been in Alanon for a few years now, and I have really gotten better at not taking the bait. And the amazing thing is, the less I react to all the old family games and unwind all this programming, the less my family even tries to engage in unhealthy ways. It's no fun to fuck with people that will not play along. Eventually through your non reactions, they just lose interest. And then something amazing happens; you start to have real relationships and conversations with your family. You leave the old roles and get to know eachother as humans. And that is amazing. Trust me...if I can do it, any of you can. My mothers programming goes so deep and I don't know if it will ever be even slightly loosened. But over the years, as I have learned acceptance, healthy detachment, the ability to pause when agitated (like 80% of the time), forgiveness, and most of all patience, my mom and I have a totally different relationship. And I'll tell you, she has not changed much. So you don't need other people to change in order to have more peaceful relationships. With the right tools, you can really set the tone and change the dynamic. My fav thing to say these days is, "that is interesting" or "you might be right". These two phrases save me from hours of arguments and bad feelings.
This, honestly, isn't even what I wanted to write about, but it's because of these tools, that I had the conversations with my mom the past few days, that inspired this post.
My Mom was a hippy and she thinks of herself as a spiritual person. But she does not meditate, I don't think she is very connected to her source, and she is kinda freaked out by how spiritual I have become; especially about me using the word god so freely. So we talked about it and dissected why it felt unsettling to her.
It was what I would expect. The word has all this complicated baggage for her. Christianity, hateful gods, repression and all sorts of things come up for for her when she hears the word God (and I totally relate, used to feel the same way). Although she believes in something, she is not sure what it is and it's kinda scary for me to have all these strong beliefs that I formed all on my own, without my families input. It's also hard to see me change (even if she sees it's for the better) because it makes her feel like a bad Mom or like I'm moving away from her. This shit is so complicated to unravel, but it feels so good when we can.
Anyway while we were talking she told me a bunch of stuff I had totally forgotten about from when I was a little girl. Like I said in my last post, I did not believe in God 8 years ago. Not only that, I was mad as hell at the God I do not believe in. But my Mom reminded me that when I was a little girl I always asked her about God and what religion we were and wanted to know why we did not have more of a spiritual aspect to our life. She also reminded me that I always went to church with my friends families. I went to every kind of church you can think of. I even let, much to my mothers horror, some Johavoh Witnesses into our home to talk to them about God. This all went on till about 8th grade.
It was around this time that my life got really tumultuous. Family stuff got really bad. I was very unhappy, I started drinking and doing drugs and was on the road to being pretty dark. But even then, I would do acid and think I was having a spiritual experience. I was pretty much looking for God my entire childhood. I had totally forgotten about all of this. I thought I only became interested in spirituality 13 years ago when I went to see a healer in SF, after my divorce. But the truth is, I have been on this path since I was brought into this world, in my current incarnation.
I'll tell you what? It felt really good to find this missing piece to my journey. And I would not have realized this, or maybe not as soon, if I didn't have such a wonderful and repaired relationship with my mother today (who is the exact same person she was always been). 8 years ago I could hardly stand to be in the same room with her and most the time, when we were, we were screaming at eachother. I'm so thankful that this isn't our reality today. I am truly blessed to have her and I'm so happy to receive her insight and wisdom.