The Language of I Love you

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What do you mean when you say ‘I love you’?

Those three magical words, I love you, they mean so much to so many and different things to so many, in our culture where these words carry such tremendous weight and emotion for us all, what do they actually mean?

Such ambiguity, the word love can mean anything from how a mother feels towards her child to how much we might love an object, as well as romantic love.

“Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty, Greek three, and English only one.  This is indicative of the poverty of awareness or emphasis that we give to that tremendously important realm of feeling. Eskimos have thirty words for snow, because it is a life-and death matter to them to have exact information about the element they live with so intimately.  If we had a vocabulary of thirty words for love … we would immediately be richer and more intelligent in this human element so close to our heart.  An Eskimo probably would die of clumsiness if he had only one word for snow; we are close to dying of loneliness because we have only one word for love.  Of all the Western languages, English may be the most lacking when it come to feeling.” – Robert Johnson, Fisher King.

Within romantic love there are also many different kinds of love, many ways to have a relationship and many variations of what is meant when someone says I love you, it is no surprise that there is so much confusion amongst us all as to what we are being told when sometimes tells us they love us, or what we are expressing when we tell someone ourselves. How can we possibly all mean the same thing? When there are many versions of love, perhaps we are sometimes confusing each other by not saying more than just I love you, perhaps we need to explain exactly what we mean by that.

Psychologist Robert Sternbergs’ triangular theory of love, is based on the idea that love between two partners could be defined as having three parts, intimacy, commitment and passion. All three of these are not always a part of every relationship. A relationship without intimacy or commitment would be just passion, just sex or infatuation, one with only intimacy would be more a friendship and one with just commitment would be an empty, lonely love, held together by a deep sense of responsibility. But within all of these we might say that we love the other person.

I have had relationships where the words I love you, were used, or not used, very differently. It made me wonder what effect hearing them was having on me, what did I feel these words meant and was my definition unlike that of the man saying them.

In one relationship, my partner never said I love you. We talked about the fact that he didn’t say it and he would tell me he felt it, that he was trying to show me in other ways, but just couldn’t say it. I never really understood why, but he did make me feel loved, there was intimacy, commitment and a passion in the relationship. When the relationship ended I wondered if maybe I’d been kidding myself because he never said those words, perhaps he actually hadn’t felt that for me. For me I had always felt an emptiness in not saying it to him, because for me the words meant something wonderful, vibrant and alive. He had been hurt by the words in the past and felt them useless, obsolete in his life, pointless perhaps because they are just words, they mean nothing.  I agreed that it is better to show someone your feelings through your actions.

Perhaps in our culture we have tainted the words I love you by overusing them, having them mean too many different things and by their unfortunate misuse as a manipulative tool, perhaps we need to make these words sacred once again, only uttered in truly committed, deeply loving unions between partners.

I had another relationship in the past that had great intimacy and wonderful passion but I soon discovered there was no commitment and the words I love you had been used constantly. It went further to even be called true love, which could be a step up perhaps from ordinary love? It was reassuring and exciting to hear these words, but of course I heard them to mean what I wanted them to mean for me and so I found myself sinking deeper into something that was an illusion. Underneath the words and the passionate feeling, it had no substance and was only real in that moment, this left me with an uncomfortable, slightly used feeling.

In Thich Nhat Hanh’s book ‘How to Love’ he says:

‘Love is a beautiful word, and we have to restore its meaning. When we say ‘I love hamburgers’ we spoil the word. We have to make the effort to heal words by using them properly and carefully. True love includes a sense of responsibility and accepting the other person as she is, with all her strengths and weaknesses. If you only like the best things in a person, that is not love. You have to accept her weaknesses and bring your patience, understanding and energy to help her transform. This kind of love brings protection and safety.’

I love you, a one stop summing up of everything you wish and hope for in a lover?

‘I am here for you’, ‘I think you’re beautiful and amazing’, ‘I feel blessed to be with you here and I want it to stay this way’, ‘I won’t hurt you, you’re wellbeing is at the centre of my heart and my intentions’, ‘I am committed to you, you are my only lover’, ‘I accept you as you are’, and on the list goes. For someone else it could mean many other possible variations. ‘I need you so don’t leave me’, ‘I want to make love to you but that is all’, ‘I love you as a friend’, ‘I only love you if you stay perfect and don’t ever show me the real, flawed side to yourself’, ‘I want you to tell me you love me, so I will say it first and you can say it back’.  It is unfortunate that I love you can be used as to manipulate and control, to get what we want from someone in the short term. Do we need to talk more within our relationships about what we are trying to say?

Its not very romantic to stop your lover in a moment of passion and ask them what they meant by ‘I love you’, but perhaps at another moment an intimate talk could help clarify and avoid future problems. Culturally, we don’t find it easy to talk about our true feelings and perhaps this is why we make it dysfunctionally simple, with three words at our disposal,  to describe such intense, diverse and confusing feelings. I wonder if a lot of heartache and suffering could be avoided if we just talked more openly about what we mean, if we were brave enough to ask our lover what he/she means, we could perhaps be clearer about their intentions.

I also find it interesting to look at the meaning of the other words that make up the idea of what love is:

Commitment: a willingness to give your time and energy to something that you believe in, or a promise or firm decision to do something.

Intimacy: things that are said or done only by people who have a close relationship with each other

Passion: a very powerful feeling, for example of sexual attraction, love, hate, anger, or other emotion.

So if we are lucky enough to find all three of these with another person we must cherish it. If we can share what we mean by the three magical words ‘I love you’ and agree that they sum up the three components that make up ‘love’ we can perhaps begin to unravel some of the confusion and misconceptions that our difficult, rather backward, unfeeling language gives us.

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The day I knew I was over you

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The day I knew I was over you was the day I realised I had created you.

The man I had loved was pure fantasy. He shone like a star. He was perfect; full of radiant light that would dissolve our shadows and create a blissful harmony. A truly spiritual, conscious relationship.

The day I knew I was over you was the day I realised you were just a man – just a human being with all the fears, insecurities and needs of any other. You did not deserve to be placed on the golden pedestal I had created, a pedestal that shone so brightly, it would inevitably burn itself to cinder, leaving a pile of ash where you had once stood.

I turned you into a man who was happy, when you were absorbed by sadness. I turned you into a man who was spiritually rich, when you were poor. I turned you into a man who was emotionally available, when you were stuck and blocked within yourself. I turned you into a man who believed in the abundance of life, the joy, the Shakti that runs through the cells of all beings. I believed you had that within you. I was blind to your suffering. I refused to see the depression that made you wake with a frown each morning. I convinced myself that your obsessive craving for me was true love, your possessive need for my attention was adoration. I was an addiction like any other; drugs, drink, women, quick fixes for your inner torment.

The day I knew I was over you was the day I realised that you hurt me to try to protect yourself from your own pain. You manipulated me. You needed me to be weak to make yourself feel strong. You needed to feel power over yourself, over your life, over your destiny and so you needed to abandon me. Knowing you who had the strength to walk away, to move on without looking back, having control over both of us made you feel strong, You had overcome your human weakness.  But you were just a man.

The day I knew I was over you was the day I realised it was easier for you to walk away than to step into your shadow and look within. A heart that has been barricaded in for decades cannot easily be thrown open. Far easier to throw your hands up and fight. To throw aside the love, patience and loyalty I offered you. The man I had created would never have stooped so low. He would have tried, he would have talked, he would have held on and never let me go.

The day I knew I was over you was the day I realised you meant all the lies you had told me because you were convinced of them yourself. You believed in the fantasy, just as much as I did. I was the playwright and you played out the role. You too believed that you could be there for me and our children. You believed that you had enough to give. You were sure you had let go of the past. You weren’t aware that you had just carelessly buried it, hoping that by smothering those years you might escape them.

The day I knew I was over you was the day I realised that I had known all along that we were wrong, I hadn’t wanted to listen to my heart along the way as it warned me to stop. And then we were in so deep that I had to create another you to make it okay for me to stay. And I stayed. I clung on, living in my hopeless dream, praying that one day I would wake up and find you there, my fantasy man. Each time I forgave you, I was burying myself further into my contented dream, pushing reality to the outer edges of my consciousness and sinking into a spiralling fantasy where you were all the things you never could be. I dreamt of a life where you would inspire me, guide me, fly with me, laugh and cry with me.

But the day came when I knew I was over you. The day came when I knew I could never find real love with a man whose heart was caged like a forlorn creature, that has long lost all sight or memory of what it means to be free.

The day I knew I was over you was the day I realised my heart was beginning to open and I could feel again. The day that love started to rush through my veins again. The day my eyes opened wide and my heart felt willing to risk loving and believing. The day I felt the love rise up inside me, a love that is pure and whole without the need to possess.

The day I knew I was over you was the day I realised you were the last fantasy man in a line of no-hope, broken, desperate men that I had placed too high, too bright, loved too much all my life.

The day I knew I was over you, was the day I began to awaken to myself.

28 reasons why we love you. From three children to their single mum.

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I awoke this morning to a pink glittery bag next to my head on the pillow, it was Valentines Day. I have three children, Libby, 16 yrs, Tallulah, 11 yrs and Phoenix, 9 yrs and they had crept in and left me the gifts whilst I slept. They came running in when they heard I was awake. I opened the bag, surprised to be given anything by them today and feeling blessed that they had been so thoughtful. I found sweet little presents and a hand written booklet titled ’28 Reasons Why We Love You’.

I read each page, sobbed emotionally and hugged them tightly, leaving them all stunned as they really didn’t expect this kind of reaction! But after 11 years living alone as a single mother, having had more than our share of ups, downs, freak outs, melt downs, stress, teenage depression, anxiety, love, joy, let downs and all the unconditional loving a mother and her children can muster, a list like this is possibly the most loving and kind thing that anyone or anything has ever given to me.

I share with you…

  1. You are never too busy to solve my problems. Tallulah
  2. You just love us. Phoenix
  3. You always believe in me and you’re understanding. Libby
  4. Eeek, eeek, eeek. Translation: You move us from the cold, into the warm and from the woods to the grass! The guinea pigs
  5. Meow, meow, meow. Translation: You always give me catnip when I want it! The cats
  6. You don’t get angry when we are naughty. Phoenix
  7. You let us have days off school when there is no real point. Phoenix
  8. You don’t get angry when I come home late on school nights. Libby
  9. You are very understanding. Tallulah
  10. You always help me make the right decisions. Libby
  11. You help me with my craft/projects no matter how crazy they are! Tallulah
  12. We always gossip together and you give me the best advice. Libby
  13. You know me better than I do. Tallulah
  14. You let me borrow your clothes. Libby
  15. You helped me deal with my anxiety. Tallulah
  16. No one would know you are a single mum, you cope as if you have a maid! Tallulah
  17. You buy me my favourite foods even if it is expensive. Libby
  18. You got me awesome Birthday and Christmas presents. Tallulah
  19. Even when Tallulah is having a massive tantrum, you are still lovely to us all. Libby
  20. Eek, eek, eek. Translation: Because you are YOU! The guinea pigs
  21. You taught me how to draw really cool designs and patterns. Tallulah
  22. You have  helped me so much since the beginning of last year and it has all been totally worth it because I am very happy now. Libby
  23. You help me with my homework. Phoenix
  24. You gave me a wholesome childhood. Libby
  25. Your hugs heal me better than medicine. Tallulah
  26. Meow, meow, meow. Translation: You let me sleep virtually on your head while you’re asleep. The cats.
  27. Even though we are not well off, we still have lots of luxuries which you provide for us. Libby
  28. Because you made us how we are!! From us all!!

After everything my children have been through, to know that they have so much love in their hearts, so much compassion, so much forgiveness for all my faults as a parent, a regular single mum who loses it sometimes and has frequent melt downs over the dishwasher or the packed lunches, who has made lots of mistakes, big and small…..it makes me happy to know they found such a special way to let me know, its ok.

We are all just trying our best to cope with life sometimes, none of us have a charmed life, it isn’t easy for anyone. But if we can raise our children to love, then we are doing a little something towards making a huge difference in the world xxx

My beautiful daughter’s recovery from teenage depression, a year on.

I previously wrote a blog post back in November titled Teenage Bullying and Opting out of Mainstream Education, all about my daughter Libby and the terrible time she had at school, being bullied my her peers, judged by her teachers and the drastic steps she took to try to deal with the nightmare she was going through. It has been about a year since Libby’s suicide attempt, I have no desire to remember the date, it just blurs into ‘a Tuesday sometime in late January’. The difference in her is so apparent and so wonderful for me to watch as her mother, it is a great blessing to us and another sign perhaps as to how mainstream education does not always know how to capture the creative energy and imagination of a child.

Last night a most incredible thing happened in amongst all of the heartbreak and joy we have had over the past year. We came home late and Libby brought tea and sat down with me, saying that she was thinking of going on to Sixth Form in September to study A-Levels in Science, English, Language and Maths. I tried to hide my overjoyed need to jump up and hug her as I didn’t want to overwhelm her with my hopes and wishes, I sat calmly and told her how wonderful I thought that would be. Libby had her world crushed by everything that has happened over the years, her self esteem was almost non existent after being judged by so many of her friends, abandoned by her peers at school and all the problems she has had trying to relate to her father. But the learning centre where she has been since last September, an educational environment designed for those children that haven’t been able to cope within the mainstream, has started to give it all back. Over the past few months she has been through many possible paths for furthering her education once her GCSE’s are completed this summer, none of them matching her academic ability and some playing with the idea of leaving education altogether, but that has not been an issue for me, she could do anything and I’d be happy, just so long as she is ok. Libby was always a high achiever at school when she was younger, something was completely trashed in her at her Upper School, apparently one of the best schools in the country and her confidence at being able to manage even a few A-levels disappeared. I am not a pushy parent, if she chose to take a vocational subject or an apprenticeship that would be fine with me, I gave up on my A-Levels and went to art college, but for Libby to just begin to rediscover her confidence in her ability is wonderful.

Whether she changes her mind tomorrow and becomes a sculptress, a singer, a car mechanic or a hairdresser it makes no difference, she’s beautiful. While Libby was having therapy last year, her therapist shared with me that he felt one of the surest ways to help Libby get back to balance and true health was through her education. He quickly picked up on how bright and capable she was, how let down she had been by her school and how tragic it would be if she became lost and didn’t use her talents and abilities to her best advantage. I am looking forward to sharing the news of her confidence returning with him. I hugged her extra tight as I said goodnight later on, told her how very happy I was for her for coming through so much and beginning to feel so sure of herself once again, told her how special she is for turning her life around, and also how happy I was for myself to have such an incredible daughter.

Libby started her first job today too. Working locally for a business making gorgeous craft sets, a few hours a week, fitting perfectly around the flexible timetable she has at the learning centre. So good for her to be in an adult working environment, earning her own wage and within an artistic setting that she can relate to and enjoy. Libby has gained much at the centre from working in the art department for two days a week, it has been like a therapy for her and I have always had faith in art and creativity as a healer, it has worked for my daughter a great deal. The job feels like another blessing for her.

Libby now has  a lovely boyfriend, they have been together a while and he has become like a part of our family, often here, babysitting with Libby while I work late, joining us on mad family outings to the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge, albeit begrudgingly as I woke them at 5am! He is a welcome addition and if anyone makes my daughter smile and laugh they are welcome. Both I and Libby’s younger siblings have commented on how happy she is when he is here and when he’s gone, how the sound of their giggling is one of the most joyous sounds we could hear. I worry of course, any mother of a teenager would. I worry that they are too wrapped up in each other, spending too much time, what if it goes wrong, will she hit the floor again, are they too possessive, too needy. But then I think of how hard it has been for Libby, for all the children, so much loss and grief around relationships. Their own fathers who have often been difficult over the decade I’ve lived alone, making things complicated and sometimes being unsupportive. The last partner I had who made himself a huge feature in their lives and then recently left without a word, leaving all the children with  a hole and a question mark that I’m still not sure how deeply has affected them. I just know they are all angry, confused and their self esteem has taken quite a knock to be left so abruptly. It doesn’t matter how many excuses I make for him, theres a feeling of rejection that they don’t need at their delicate ages, particularly Libby at sixteen. Her younger siblings are still at an age where comfort can be gained by my maternal hugs and kisses, but Libby is moving away from the family bond. Perhaps Libby needs this kind of intense bond with someone her age, he is kind, funny, affectionate, caring and thoughtful, perhaps she needs that and I keep my concerns to myself, standing watchfully back ready to catch her if she falls, isn’t that what being a parent of an adolescent is all about? Isn’t our role simply to offer support, guidance where needed and if asked for, an open heart, an open mind and a never ending amount of forgiveness and compassion for all they do.

We’ve had many more ups and downs over the past year, concerns about smoking and drugs but I was young once too, my mis-spent youth spilled over well into adulthood and although I am like many modern parents in my lack of knowledge about legal highs and the other chemicals our teens are taking, I can also spot a pair of out-of-it eyes a mile off and sense a come-down mood swing before it has a chance to hit the wall. I’ve been worried, very worried but whatever was happening for a few months in autumn last year, it isn’t happening now. We’ve talked a lot about drugs, not just a ‘don’t do it’ chat but about being careful who you trust if you are going to try something, watching out for cheap drugs from dodgy dealers that might be cut with nasty crap, we talked about the reality of what to do if a friend gets really ill and messed up on something and how its always better to call me at 3am for help than to try to cope with any situation alone. But since she’s been with her boyfriend, I have been able to stop worrying so much. They spend most of their time here or at his house in the next village, I know his parents they are also kind and help a lot, taxi-ing them around, we laugh affectionately about them and how sweet and in love they are, it all feels nice, really nice.

For months after Libby’s suicide attempt I would sometimes worry day and night about where she was and whether she was ok, I had to call the police several times to try to find her and had strict boundaries on her staying away from home and calling me at 11 pm to let me know where she was and if she was alright. I had to have the numbers of where ever she was staying, sometimes I’d want to speak to the parents to make sure they were being supervised, it was an endless and heartbreaking stress and worry for me, trying to make sure my vulnerable child was safe, but also knowing she would push further and further away from me if I didn’t try to let her go. All that has changed, it feels like a distant memory now. I can trust Libby, I even left her and her boyfriend home alone a few weeks ago while I went to a Satsang gathering with Satyananda in Wiltshire, I came home to find too sleepy teens on the sofa surrounded by chocolate wrappers and a pile of dishes in the kitchen. The left over champagne and the sloe gin from Christmas untouched in the kitchen cupboard, I was left flummoxed at how responsible and lovely they are!

This weekend is also special because it is the first time in four months that Libby has gone to stay with her father in London. They’ve had ongoing teenage daughter-struggling father issues for a long time and their relationship completely broke down last autumn. Perhaps when my partner left Libby felt like she’d had enough of even trying with any of them, perhaps her pain about that loss only highlighted how difficult things were with her Dad. She stopped going altogether and even refused to spend Christmas with him. This felt like the ultimate rejection and caused me great concern. I want all my children to have relationships with their fathers, there is so much evidence to prove that the long term damage to a child who has no connection to a parent is far greater than that of having contact with a less than ideal one. I have no judgement of Libby’s father, I just want her to be able to know him, so I set about trying to help them heal their rift by taking all of the children up to London after Christmas and us all going out for a fun day and a supper on the south bank. Anyone who knows him and I will know that this was no mean feat! We had such a fun time, everyone enjoyed it, especially Libbys little sister who was so happy to be sat between her mum and dad in a restaurant being hugged and kissed by both! Being together and Libby feeling protected by having me there, meant that she had a chance to remember that her Dad is a funny, cheeky, energetic man who does love and care about her in his own way. Libby needs to know her father and he needs to give her the love and approval that she needs, I sit and pray that their weekend will go well and they will heal their estrangement ready for more time together.

So much has happened in a year, so much has been brought to the surface, so much has healed. We’ve had tears and sorrow but now there is so much laughter and joy in our house, we are happier than we have ever been, I cannot remember a time when all the children were so settled. I have learnt many lessons and will be so much more careful about what kind of man I allow into the children’s lives and who I keep away. I will continue to encourage Libby’s relationship with her Dad but also be there to support her if she needs to make a stand and whatever she decides to make of her future, I will be here. Libby said herself that I will be better prepared to deal with any problems her brother and sister have, either with school or with their dads, friends or with myself as their mother, because I have had to face up to so much through her. I am grateful for my blessings everyday, for Libby’s life, her smile and her loving heart x

9 Affirmations for Unconditional Peace, Love & Happiness

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We are all searching for inner peace, love and happiness. Is it possible to feel all of these joys entirely unattached from needs and wants?

Rather than asking for something to happen in your life to bring you positivity and joy, try asking to have it within yourself.

Rather than having it manifest in your life, ask for it to manifest in you?

Rather than asking for a relationship to fulfil your need for love, ask for your own heart to fill with love so that you can feel it every minute of every day. You don’t need a person to fulfil the dreams of your heart, it is there inside you. Make your affirmation be ‘Help me to feel the Love inside my heart, a Love that will help me feel Whole.’

Rather than asking for a particular person to be in your life, for a certain person to leave you alone or a negative situation to disappear so you can feel peace, ask to feel peace within yourself whatever is happening externally. Create an affirmation ‘I feel peace and serenity at all times, in all situations and no matter who or what is bothering me.’

Rather than needing something to happen in your life to make you happy, ask to feel happy unconditionally. Try to feel happy as life is, without anything having to change. Never mind if that person loves you, or if you get that job, move to that house or buy that car, be happy with no attachments. Try affirming ‘I am happy always, what ever happens today or tomorrow I will keep my heart open and feel loving happiness constantly.’

Rather than asking for money and wealth, can we ask to be happy and comfortable whether we have or have not? Can we be rich in self-love and inner happiness, rather than with material wealth but spiritual poverty? The idea of the law of attraction, often suggests we make a visualisation board, full of pictures of all the material things we wish for, why not a board covered in smiles that we will be wearing no matter what? An affirmation ‘I have all I need to feel full contentment and joy, I thank the Universe for all I have been given, I am blessed,’

Lonely? Ask to feel happy and whole by yourself.
Depressed? Ask to find a glimmer of hope and joy in your heart.
Broke? Ask to feel inner contentment with all that is.
Unwell? Ask for the grace and dignity to accept what is happening. Surrender.
Happy? Ask to be given the opportunity to share your blessing with others.

May you too be blessed with Unconditional Peace, Love and Happiness xxx

Spiritual Survival Tips for Single Mothers #5 #Christmas

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Christmas. I had thought I wouldn’t write about anything connected to Christmas, I thought I’d take the Ostrich stance in this blog. I never imagined anyone would actually read anything I was writing here anyway, but as I’ve had so many emails and now I know people are reading this, I thought I would share my way of managing this time of year as a lone parent. It is the ultimate annual event, in which to work spiritually and throw yourself into being a fully conscious woman.

It’a all in our heads. That is the first piece of wisdom connected to coping with Christmas. Love it or hate it, it is an event that occurs, surrounded by hype and expectation, that is realised through the conditioning of the mind. This is the best way to deal with any problem you are having about being a single parent in December of any year. Whether this is your first Christmas by yourself, whether you have the children or they are with their father, whether you are immersing yourself in family and joy or you are feeling depressed and lonely, remember that Christmas is something that has been made up and it exists only in the mind. If you can just step out of the mind for a  moment and look around you, connect with the present moment state and with the earth beneath your feet, you will come back to your centre and the knowledge that only this moment is real, everything else is mind, ego, humanness. Whatever your situation and circumstance this year, know that it is right for you now and that life can never be wrong.

I’m not going to make nice, fluffy comments about how we can all enjoy this time of year no matter what, we can, but we can also use it as an opportunity to work very deeply with a much larger spiritual tool. Stepping out of mind, ego restricted, disconnection from reality, into peaceful, centred awareness that nothing can ever be wrong. Creation is a powerful, beautiful force that is constant around us and to argue with it, to suggest that the miracle of every moment that exists is wrong in anyway, is missing the very point of living. We need to go  very deep and work with the flow of our life, moment by moment, breath by breath.

So much of what we consider to be ‘wrong’ in our lives, unfair, stressful or painful, is created by the mind, all problems are created by the mind. And as human beings we use our minds to create conditions on our happiness. We can only be happy if this happens, or if that doesn’t happen, or if someone wants to be with us or if someone else leaves us alone, the list is endless and we all have our own personal lists of likes and dislikes that make up whether or not we feel happy. We also create collective lists, so collectively as a society we say you should be happy if you are in a loving relationship, unhappy if you are not, happy if you have a partner to help you bring up your children, unhappy and struggling if you don’t. Happy times are birthdays, Christmas, holidays, celebrations of any kind and these events are all happier if you are part of a family or relationship. If you are on your own, you are expected to not be so joyful around these times. From day one, we are conditioned to have great expectations of how we should be feeling and what should be happening around us, as these particular events occur throughout our lives, throughout the year. If life isn’t giving us the conditions that we need to feel happy, then we see that as wrong, we see it as unfair or as a reason to be unhappy.

Lets try saying ‘why’? Why restrict ourselves to only feeling ok and happy when certain situations around us fit our conditioned model of what is and isn’t alright? Why not just open up to being ok to a whole new and expanded list of possibilities?

Lets try an exercise here. Whether you are reading this at Christmas or at any time of the year, take some deep breaths and bring to mind all the reasons you have at this moment for not being happy, or all the things you need to happen to make you happy.

Some examples might be:
I’m not happy because my partner left me and I’m on my own with my children for Christmas.
I will only be happy this Christmas if I have my children, but they are going to be with their father.
I can’t be happy because my  ex is spending Christmas with his new love and her family, while we are here on our own.
I won’t be happy because this time of year just rubs salt into my wounds.
I could be happy, but only if I had a man in my life to share this time with.
I’m not happy because everyone else is having fun at this time of year and I’m miserable and depressed.
I am going to be unhappy because my boyfriend is spending Christmas with his ex and his children.
This is a difficult time of year because we are broke and I can’t give the children the Christmas they deserve, this makes me unhappy.

Add your own observations and thoughts about what is happening in your own mind.

Then rip up the list! You don’t need the world around you to be a certain way in order to be happy. You don’t need everyone and everything to be this way or that way to feel good inside. You don’t need to take seriously the things that the society we live in, has decided it’s ok for us to be miserable about. Our conditioning tells us what is ok and what isn’t, so it’s also telling us what it’s ok to not be ok about!

Try telling anyone that you are not going to be ok this Christmas because of any of the reasons above and they will most likely say, ‘Poor you, thats really hard, it must be very difficult to be in your situation, you have every right to be upset and unhappy.’ No! Don’t fall into the trap of having it be ok to not be ok, pull yourself out of this one and be alright even when everyone is  telling you it’s alright to not be.
It is painful, it can all be very painful indeed, I know this because I can feel it too sometimes. But don’t see it as wrong, don’t see anything that is happening or not happening in your life as wrong. Nothing is ever wrong, it is life doing its thing, it is your life flowing the way it is, it just is. See life as a flowing river taking you where it will, float along with it, or as a wave, surf it, or as a cloud, sit on and ride it. The river, the wave or the cloud are never wrong, they go where they will but it is never the wrong way, it is just the way. So it is with life, let it flow and relax, surrender into it how ever painful it feels, it’s right, believe that.

I am not in anyway trying to diminish the pain and suffering that you might be feeling, how hard it is to be on your own and how hurt you are feeling about life, particularly today, just before Christmas. But I am suggesting that perhaps it is being made worse by the minds commitment to keeping us down, creating problems and getting hooked into the conditioning that is all around us. By recognising what is happening in the mind, by becoming fully conscious and aware, we can start to unravel some of the negative, engrained patterns of thinking that all that is wrong with the world, all that is unfair and all that is a problem. The mind is creating the problems, it is creating your suffering by not being ok with what is happening. It is creating the pain, because the mind is stuck in a cycle of thinking that things are wrong and shouldn’t be the way that they are.

Lets question that.

Where ever you are, step outside or go to the window. What is happening out there? The sky is blue, dark or there are clouds, it is sunny or it is raining, the weather continues, it is a constant. There might be trees, plants, flowers or grass, leaves fall and sprout again, petals drop and buds grow, this continues in a never ending natural cycle. Bring yourself fully into this present moment, shut out the noise of the mind, the racket of other peoples views and opinions, the hype of the season, just simply be, just be here for this moment completely centred and connected.
This is the truth, you are alright, breathe, be still, you are ok.
You are stood in this beautiful, miraculous and amazing moment of creation. Divine creation that brings us this moment, another moment and another sacred moment. We are standing in witness consciousness, observing each moment of creation as it comes and then it goes. Now smile. You are a divinely connected creature of god, there is nothing wrong with you or the moment that you stand in, it is magical that you are here and that you are witnessing all of these moments as they pass. Nature has no connection with what is happening in the human mind, the conditioning about Christmas or any human created, mind created event that is occurring and you don’t need to connect with it either. You can step out of all of that and be present, like all of nature. Without our minds, we can break down the walls created by our conditioning and live freely and happily, we can step out of the prison of our thoughts and be liberated, walking to freedom and happiness beyond all possibilities.

The question is simply ‘”Do you want to be happy?'”If the answer is yes, then say it without qualifying it. After all, what the question really means is “Do you want to be happy from this point forward for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens?”

Now, if you say yes, it  might happen that your wife leaves you, or your husband dies, or the stock market crashes, or your car breaks down on an open highway at night. These things might happen between now and the end of your life. But if you want to walk the highest spiritual path, then when you answer yes to that simple question, you must really mean it. There are  no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s not a question of whether your happiness is under your control. Of course it’s under your control. It’s just that you don’t really mean it when you say you’re willing to stay happy. You want to qualify it. You want to say that as long as this doesn’t happen, or as long as that does happen, then you’re willing to be happy. That’s why it seems like it is out of your control. Any condition you create will limit your happiness. You simply aren’t going to be able to control things and keep them the way you want them.

You have to give an unconditional answer. If you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will be enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You don’t have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don’t have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens. This is truly a spiritual path, and it is as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.

The Untethered Soul, Michael A Singer

The key to a spiritual pathway is awareness, noticing and observing, being a witness. So how ever you are feeling, just be conscious of it. If you are feeling pain, you don’t need to be rid of it or suppress it, this would be very unhealthy and this is not the way to spiritual freedom. We are human beings and we have hearts, we have emotions, feelings and we suffer. If you need to cry, do that and when the tears pass you can step out of the despair and rise up and out of those feelings to observe what it is your mind is doing, notice the thoughts you are having that are so painful you feel the need to pour it out through your tears. Just notice, that is all. Spirituality is a journey and like any journey there are ups and downs, easy and more difficult paths, mountains and meadows. This might be an uphill climb for you at the  moment, it will get easier and as you make the ascent, stay present in full witness consciousness, this is all you have to do to heal, just notice. It is this simple, but it is the way out of suffering, just notice.

Enjoy Christmas whatever your circumstances, remember you are loved and that you are never alone and that all of this is an illusion, the truth is in your heart, stay with the breath let it keep you anchored. This moment will pass and there will be another, trust the flow and have faith that there is one absolute, that this moment and the next moment, is all there is.

Sit, be still, practice, stand, be still, practice, stop, be still, practice,  keep coming back to that and all will be well.

With love and blessings, Saira xx

Spiritual Survival Tips for Single Mothers #4 Letting him go

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Letting go. One of the most difficult but vital parts of a spiritual practice, if we are serious about moving through life on a yogic pathway, we have to learn to surrender, let go and often give up.

There is no finer way to hone your ability to let go, than within relationships. We all know this and we might have managed it whilst dating or throughout our days pre-children with men, whether they were serious or not. But how about letting go of the father of your children? Not so easy? How do you let go of the man who means so much, not only to you, but to your kids and some might say, why should you? I would say, do it, if you were ever in need of a challenge to your spiritual evolution and if you ever needed to give up and surrender to anything, make him be the one.

There are some excellent excuses not to give up and let go of this man, your children still need him, you will always have decisions to make about them, you want to keep a good, healthy relationship with him for their sake and you are really only doing this for the kids. Forget it and be really truthful with yourself about why you want to maintain this relationship and not let it go. It’s time to search really deep and look at whether you are being healthy or if you have actually just found a great reason to cling to the past and not move on, keeping the dependence, the expectations of needs to be met and ensuring that any future relationships for you both, will be fraught with the baggage left between you.

Whether the break up was instigated by you or by him, sooner or later it doesn’t matter anymore. You are attached to this person because of the children you have together but Karmically your connection needs to be over and the longer you prolong it, the more you both will suffer. The more swiftly you can move to release the Karma between you though forgiveness, compassion, unconditional acceptance and surrender, the better for you I promise. He needs to keep his responsibility to the children but he no longer owes you anything and you can’t demand that from him, trying to get him to continue to fulfil a role, not only as a father but as a partner to you, could end up blurring into manipulation and control, a sad state indeed.

If it is your wish to live an authentic life, developing as a spiritual being and shining the light of your soul more brightly as you move through each challenge, then holding onto this man will not help you. We are in an age where we do not have rules for how to live in separated families, never in history have so many families been broken and so many left bringing up children alone. But the boundaries do not differ to those of relationships that break without little ones to consider, it is still important to part ways and break the ties, you need to be liberated so you can find a new relationship, and however hard it might be, so does he.

You need to get yourself to a place where you are ok with everything, where you will be able to accept your ex’s new love when it arrives and show the children that you are fine with this and that they can be too. It’s the most painful part of splitting with the father of your children and some women never manage to let go enough to accept a new woman into the lives of their kids, but you don’t want to be one of them. This is an opportunity to really grow, a challenging one, but one that will liberate you completely. Surrender to this and you are doing really well, don’t and you are going to stay very stuck, with Karmic blocks that will keep you on a repeating pattern, bringing only more hurt and heartache. Take yourself to a place where you can see yourself giving in and allowing your ex to have a healthy relationship with someone else, where the children are free to enjoy this without guilt about how you feel, where they can all live knowing that you are fine. Imagine a time where your ex, his new partner and your children can get on with their lives and where you have no need or dependency on them all, when they are together you are fine with that, you enjoy that they can spend that time and be happy without you. When the children are home with you, you enjoy that your ex is free to live his life, that he has a new love and an opportunity to start again and find peace, you don’t need him anymore, at all.

This all comes down to going very deep spiritually, its a very deep work and a strong practice, to really let go of the family you once had, the father of your children and to fully immerse yourself in being alone, being independent and giving yourself the space you need to grow. It is about being really honest about whether you are holding on to him, in a truly authentic way, or if you are using the fact that he is the father of your children, to hold a dependency on him out of fear of being alone.If there is any question about whether you are struggling to break your dependency on him, be serious with yourself about it. Let him go, let him move on, let him find new love and let that woman be a part of the lives of your children. Spend nurturing time with the children without him around, spend self healing time alone just with yourself, build yourself a life and let him do the same, without you.

As a spiritual practice this is where the work lies, if you can do this you are doing very well. You are allowing life to flow and take you where it will, you are allowing others the freedom to flow to their own destiny, this is truly giving in and giving up, true surrender, true acceptance.

To help you move through these powerful blocks that any mother feels in this situation, try calling on the Hindu God, Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. This mantra is perfect to chant as you begin the process of letting go of the father of your children, or if you are struggling to come to terms with any part of his moving on and your need to stay dependent on him.

Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha. Chant this mantra 108 times, as often as you need to, helping you to remove negative blocks on your spiritual path and reach your goal, your goal is to be free!

If you are feeling a lot of heartache and pain, be kind to yourself, this takes time, don’t rush it but hold the vision of reaching this place of surrender eventually. Look at an earlier post here for ideas to heal the raw pain of a relationship break down.