Tag Archives: love

Who am I really?

Gardenia bud

We live in illusion and the appearance of things.
There is a reality, we are that reality.
When you understand this, you will see “you” are nothing.
And, being nothing, you are everything.
Kalu Ripnoche

Valentine’s Day beckons, and, like all single folk, I am meant to be either moping around because I am on my own, or celebrating the fabulousness of being a single gal by going out and treating myself to all sorts of indulgent goodies.

I am, however, not doing that. Instead I am going to my friends’ wedding, and I couldn’t be happier about it as they are a lovely couple who give me hope that true love exists because of the way they care for, and connect with, each other. It will be a delight to celebrate this day with them

Besides, it’s just another day – sunrise, sunset, stuff in-between. Like most things in our lives, the meaning it has is created in our heads – it doesn’t really exist except as concept. For example, even though it is February 14 here in New Zealand, on the other side of the dateline it is still February 13 – Black Friday. We are in the same time/space continuum but two very different meanings are given to this time and place – because – well just because somebody said so.

One of the hardest concepts I’ve found  to grasp in Buddhism is the concept of ego and self. That our ego is a construct of our mind and is an illusion. So in same way that Friday the 13th is considered unlucky, yet Saturday the 14th romantic even though it is the exact same day on earth, so is our ego or sense of self  a construct that we have build over the years from experiences, memories and predisposition.

So what if we let this all go? What if we could release the ego and embrace who we want to be without being held back by the artificial construct we have created about ourselves? It is a powerful freedom – not that easy but surely worth a try?

Perhaps one way to look at this is when, in one of my favourite episodes of Seinfeld,  George Costanza decides to do the opposite of everything he has ever done. Because, why not? Who says we have to be the way we are, who says it has to always be done that way and why can’t we be whatever we want to be?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlYGardenia bud

Four seasons times two

Dad
Your absence has gone through me / Like thread through a needle. / Everything I do is stitched with its colour.

Soon I will be 50, and it surprises me how fast that age seems to have arrived. As with all lives, I have had a wealth of experiences – fun and foolishness, love and loss, mistakes and right turns, rich and poor. But the hardest experience, and one I think we all shy away from, is the loss of those we love. As I get older, I’m more aware of my own mortality and that of the people I care about. Grief and loss are like so many things, unless you have been through it yourself, it is hard to understand. I was talking to a friend who recently lost her dad in similar circumstances to the way my dad died – a painful slow illness. It is agonising to watch men who have been the big strong guy all your life dying by inches – and it is painful to lose a parent. They are not meant to die, that isn’t the deal, they are meant to live forever.

My friend is now on the first part of the journey of grief that I went through, and it is one of those things that no matter how much advice and comfort we seek from others, it is a road we travel alone.

I was once given some advice by a psychologist that all loss and grieving takes at least four seasons times two. Each season in the first year brings a cue and a memory that we have to face – the first Christmas, the first birthday, the first anniversary of an special event – winter, spring, summer, autumn – all carry a moment and a memory. Then the second year is the beginning of healing – the second time is easier – the loss less painful, the memory special.

Grief is painful and hard – you just want it to end, the tightness in the chest and throat to go away, the sorrow and the tears. But it does go away, and now I understand that it is all part of the process. We grieve because we loved, we cry because it hurts, and as time passes, the memories transform and become not painful but tender and we change with it. It is life.

Why relationships are good for men

Go on, give him a hug.

This is an article I wrote for M2 magazine when I worked at the Neurological Foundation. I don’t have a print version but it is still relevant.

Why relationships are good for men’s health

Generally it is accepted that married men live longer than single men and have better health. The reasons why aren’t clear, but scientists have theorised that marriage provides the social, psychological and economic resources needed for good health, which in turn promotes longevity. Continue reading Why relationships are good for men

The sun is always there, it is just hiding behind the clouds

A week or so before the Christchurch earthquake, some 19 months after my father died, my family gathered to scatter his ashes. He had often joked that he wanted them to be spread in the sea near my parent’s home so he could float in and out on the tide and keep an eye on my mother.

There was no good reason why we didn’t do it sooner, and it took a great deal of persuasion, several arguments and a tad of negotiation to get us together on that afternoon. Behind our reticence lay one thing – we weren’t ready to say goodbye.

How can someone we loved, and who was so much part of the fabric of our lives, become this dust that scatters in the wind and sinks beneath water? Continue reading The sun is always there, it is just hiding behind the clouds