A real occasion

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Authenticity – when your beliefs, your words and your actions are aligned. Be real, that’s the common understanding. Simple, isn’t it?

I do my best to be honest with my children, including about Santa or the Easter Bunny. I am not a “truth” activist, out seeking to destroy fantasies but when they were old enough to ask me the Question, I told them my perspective. The same goes for Mother’s Day. In one view, it is a social construct that we have a day dedicated to mothers. This is not a judgment on whether it should be celebrated or not, or of its ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. To be fair, at the time when it first began (in the US in 1914), perhaps it was needed to raise awareness of this important and valuable role women play. Just as special Days are now being “proclaimed”.

So what happens when these same now-teenage children tell me they don’t see the sense in Mother’s Day, that it is an advertising hoax?

I could take offense and judge their reasons or worse, them, for saying so; or feel unappreciated or unloved; or be compelled to “forgive” them because “they are just being typical teenagers” and we would love them no matter what (even though we didn’t like them much that day); or I could be thrilled that they are perceptive and aware of the potential “fakery” of the world we live in, but with a lingering sense of loss for the occasion.

With our expectations, the emotional reactions when confronted with this will be varied, and so are the words and actions we use to make sense of it all.

And my response? A little hurt, initially. I bet not many positive thoughts were running through your minds reading this. Here is the thing – this ‘poor me’ feeling didn’t sit well. Something nagged at me and it dawned on me; this feeling was a “you should feel” feeling as a reaction to an expected narrative of what ought to happen. But should I?

What was real for me is this. This isn’t about what they do, but about me (after all, it is “Mother’s Day”). I who choose to be a mother, I who choose to love and guide them in the way I do. I who choose to see the reality of a young man who made time to spend his day with me, despite his many commitments and protestations of the commercialism of the day. No grand gestures of flowers, chocolates, breakfast in bed etc. I see a young woman contributing to the day in her usual sweet way, baking. I see these young persons who have been mindful and caring for my feelings, and not just on the day. And for these, I am loved and filled with gratitude.

Okay, the sense of occasion was still calling (I succumbed a little to the big hoo-haa after being bombarded by the media telling us the day had to be significant and “big”). The occasion I desired was to have a time of meaningful connection. Stepping into my authenticity and as any independent woman would, I asked for what I wanted. This was the result. I spent time with my family.

Ultimately, the motivation behind an occasion such as this matters. The real-ness is not about what prompted an occasion or how it is celebrated, it is in the ‘why’ of it. Why did you celebrate Mother’s Day, or any occasion? What feelings go with or into the occasion?

In a similar vein, why do we do any of the things we do each day? Does the doing match the values we hold and the words we expound?

Is what you do an authentic expression of who you are?

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Putting ‘me’ in writing

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Quill-pen

As everyone journeys each day through their lives, it does not surprise me that perhaps no one noticed my lack of writing (except for poetry) of late, except moi. But of course. Perhaps one day I will write about the reasons why but this article is not about the whys but the process itself – this process of not-writing.

I remember a conversation where I had expressed a feeling of guilt for not immersing in my work (my professional work of lawyer and educator), nor ‘taking care of all business’ at home and being with the family, instead choosing to dedicate time to the promotion of my therapy practice. My mentor, without skipping a beat, had asked “what is your therapy practice if not work?” and “is marketing not part of your therapy practice and thus work?” That was a moment of lightbulb switching on.

It has taken a while for me to own that I can write despite the desire to write. It has taken another long while for me to acknowledge the imperative to write and to treat writing as less of a hobby. Yet another long while before I was able to call myself a writer, thus making writing ‘work’.

So in the last few weeks of not-writing, I had contemplated pushing on with writing, quite confident that I can come up with something to post, for sure. But my heart is not in it. And this is the crux of the matter.

I can do a lawyer’s job even when my heart’s not in it. Analysing the case and applying the law of the land is mind matter. It need not require heart, though in my experience, a bit of heart makes a whole lot of difference to the job. 🙂 I can put my emotional state aside and be rather mechanical in the lawyering process. Between you and I, this has happened in some occasions in the past.

But the writing process… no, I have not found a state of writing without heart. A state of mechanistically stringing words and sentences together in order for them to mean something. If anyone has managed to do this, I would love to know your secret! For me, story-telling, particularly meaning making, is about putting myself into my writing. I, all of me, have to be present. My mind, my heart, my emotions… my spirit. And lately, they have been somewhat missing in some other actions :-).

I am present, but in another world which requires my attention. I am constantly looking over here to see this world beckoning, enticing, welcoming… My heart breaks a little each time I turn away, knowing that I cannot give it the attention or the ‘me’ that it deserves.

Perhaps guilt has compelled me here now, though unlikely. I do have something to say, prompted by the people who have liked and commented on my posts, and who have followed Meanings and Musings of late.

So for those of you who are new here on this blog, and to old friends who have dropped in, I hope you are here because you have found something here that touches something in you. I promise to visit you as soon as I can.

And in the meantime, to everyone, do explore my blog and I would love to get your comments/feedback of what attracted you here, or which post or which ‘topic’ resonates with you.

I am around here though not entirely mindful. Ouch!

Be well!

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.