Healing Cafe Message 26th April 2020
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning.
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.”
And yes I did this morning. I looked outside and saw how beautiful our world is right now.
I’m Kathleen and welcome to the Healing Cafe.
Those words were so significant particularly at this time of isolation and honoring those who fought for us, including my father in World War 2. Yes he did survive however continued to live with the effects of trauma and the stress of memory and trained to not talk about it……….. may we prove worthy of their sacrifice.
Having yesterday with ourselves to focus on memory and even when we were doing other things like picking figs Beck or yoga poses later on or whatever we felt like doing or being, the significance of the day impacted greatly on most of us.
There I was standing out on my driveway with my candle that my kids had sent for my birthday and thinking I wonder what Dad would have thought about this then? He was such a quiet man in his older years, not so when he was younger, and we all were as well.
What changed direction for my father was when he retired from his job with Telstra or Telecom or PMG back in the olden days. Everything stopped for him. His world as he knew it.
Getting up and going to work every day except the weekends, then he would focus on us as a family. Making sure the car drove well, he did all that work on it himself, we washed and polished it. At one stage we had a Holden FJ, then a series of different holdens – always the Holden. Wonder what he would say now about Holdens going offshore?
So, sometime after Dad retired, he suffered a complete nervous breakdown – of course he would. Who would have prepared him for retirement? He would never, ever have spoken to anybody about that.
People were not encouraged to talk much in those days – well we weren’t anyway. Now I’m presuming everybody was the same – geeezzz…..
So, Mum phoned me one day and told me Dad wouldn’t stop crying and she didn’t know what to do. Of course, she wouldn’t; things were tough in those days of no communication – well certainly not the type of communication we have these days – well what most of us yearn for these days.
Being the ripe old age of early twenties, I instructed my mother to call the doctor. As I think back, it’s interesting how she would always phone me when things went wrong with Dad. I was not the eldest, I was the third eldest daughter.
Having time to ponder about the why’s and what is it all about, is something that can cause us comfort or overwhelm, do you agree?
Mum even called me the day that Dad did pass on and she found him laying dead and phoned me. She didn’t know what to do – of course she wouldn’t, she was in shock. They lived in Caloundra, Golden Beach actually Kevin, and I was living at Carina at the time.
Again, I said, Mum call the doctor, gosh I didn’t know what else to say, I had to organize 5 kids from school in different directions and trains and all sorts of things.
However, I do digress, I was back when Dad first had the nervous breakdown at 65, he did not pass until he was 78.
What happened was, he was taken to the Greenslopes Hospital and thank you Amanda Lucas for highlighting this in your Newsletter last week. Amanda is one of the amazing oncology nurses at the Cyril Gilbert Centre at Greenslopes and she shares a newsletter every month with us patients who have an affiliation with Greenslopes and the Wellness Centre.
Here is what she wrote last week:
Greenslopes Private Hospital values providing a special quality of care for Australian veterans and their widows. In 1947, following the end of World War II, Greenslopes became the Repatriation General Hospital. It is a slice of Australian national history, a permanent vestige of personal stories about the people who risked life and limb for their country, and about those who cared for them. Along with the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, Greenslopes Private Hospital is dedicated to honoring a proud history of military service in Australia.
Thank you, Amanda, for sharing this.
And, Dad was helped and supported through the process of his recovery, seeing doctors and counsellors, I think. Although counsellors may not have been invented yet in those days, certainly not coaches. I remember him saying that he was given vitamins and spoke a lot about where he would be going next after leaving the hospital.
He was instructed to sell the house he and my Mum had their entire married life and where we all grew up at Chermside and leave and find somewhere he would really like to live now.
He wanted to live near the water, and they chose Golden Beach. My father loved fishing and he bought a little boat. Their lives changed forever and hopefully they were a lot happier.
My 4 sisters and I and being their kids and having our own families, didn’t think about that or them that much. We were all busy and they lived so far away, well it was a 2-hour trip. We still visited though and chatted on the phone – well to our mother. My father wouldn’t answer the phone predominantly.
He’d call out to my mother to answer it and if any of us asked a question. They would want us to visit more and they didn’t come to visit much mainly for birthdays however we all did what we could.
Life was busy.
I was growing 5 kids myself, going through my own life and set of traumas or what I perceived to be traumas in those days. Then divorce hit for a second time and with that a whole different set of stuff I certainly won’t bore you all with right now. I was diverted.
Just notice in your own lives – see how we repeat patterns though in our families’ histories.
What’s important is going back through our upbringings and noticing those times in our lives of significance and even as I wrote these words this morning, I couldn’t believe the patterns and the coincidences of my life with my parents and probably many similarities with their parents as well and so it goes on.
Dad was at war, now I’m at war. Mum married twice – so did I. 5 kids – yep 5 kids.
Now back to our Healing Café:
How was our week just gone?
Busy with Zoom sessions? Who would have thought huh? Zooming all over the place.
One thing that is really nice though, is when people I have assessed in the past, via Skype in other States have now contacted me for counselling because the pressure of not having to meet in person has been taken away.
Maybe it’s the isolation and time to focus on what is really needed.
It was ok back then as well however now, because they were living in another State – now that we’re not allowed to as such, it’s so much easier.
It’s like we’ve been given the permission to talk via Zoom or Skype and it’s all ok. So, thank you for your trust and connections. I must admit the true counsellor in me does come out in my coaching role.
People do find out when they take me on as a coach that a lot of what I have studied historically in the field and intellectually does impact the way I am.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others” Mahatma Gandhi said that.
I booked in The Spiritual Survival Guide came via my email feed as a 6 day Zoom experience with speakers from all over the world such as Marianne Williamson, Russel Brand, Deepak Chopra and others. The first day I tuned in Marianne Williamson spoke to me specifically about forgiveness and the quote:
“forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” a petition included in the Lord’s Prayer. Anger can be righteous, but when we let it harden into resentment it becomes a poison that blocks the grace of God from flowing into us and through us.
Marianne Williamson continued with some lines that I was compelled to write down because they were relative to me and now, I would love to share them with you.
You cannot take a pill for psychic pain. It’s a process; it’s a journey. You have to re-set that pain like a broken leg. Nurture yourself. Life is not about what happens to us. It’s what we choose if we are upset with our heart broken – and we need to be treated gently. This works with our immune system.
Loved this bit: “the wound may not be my fault, but healing is my responsibility” – how’s that then?
In quietness people find their wisdom. Practise a lot of self-care – absolutely NOT – If only, If only I hadn’t said that, if only I hadn’t done that, if only I hadn’t thought that way and done something different, blah blah blah.
We’re all moving way too fast. The other night, there I was and it was late, with the TV on beside me at the computer responding to email, writing to 3 different people at the same time with 3 separate email, making appointments, changing appointments, moving things around, researching stuff on Google, considering my next Newsletter for my website, also this Healing Café and writing different things, checking social media of course, laughing at the private messages with jokes and relative stuff of course and responding immediately – well mostly of course, all at the same time and it’s like 11pm and I’m feeling wired and thinking about my promise to myself about the addiction of staying up late and trying to get to bed that hour earlier.
So, there I was forcing myself to go to bed, wondering why I can’t sleep before midnight when I was doing all of those things at the same time before I decided to take myself to bed.
What the hell.
See, we’re not taking time to reflect. Just stop. Just stop.
So, I did reflect, I did stop. On Friday morning I went to the beautiful Wellington Point, which is my next choice to Redcliffe, and some say it’s difficult getting over the Gateway Bridge, so I won’t go there yet. For those who do not know I live on the South side of Brisbane. For those watching from other States.
To stop and reflect is best done in nature. Just enjoy the peacefulness and some say mindfulness of just gazing at nature. Maybe one thing in particular, that ant crawling along, except ants don’t really crawl do they, they always seem to be in a hurry – so maybe choose something else to gaze at in nature that moves slower or not at all; like the ocean.
I love the ocean; I find peace being near the water. It has to be the ocean water though. A river, a lake, a stream, is lovely – just for me, not the same as sand and ocean water – you know?
Forgiveness, it’s massive isn’t it? Letting it go – cannot change the past. Focusing more on self-growth than presumptions about what could have changed somebody’s behaviours, attitudes, outlook about what they think you have done to them.
Look nobody has done so much wrong in my life as what I have done to myself and I take responsibility for that.
“I take responsibility” is a technique taught in Gestalt Experiential Therapy however….
Next week, well Wednesday actually, is the Advanced Skills In Action: Person Centered Therapy – By the way, would you have noticed the various skills in action my father could have experienced when he went for treatment at the Greenslopes Hospital? I’ll bet the first session would have definitely been Person Centered Therapy.
No judgement, having an unconditional positive regard for my Dad’s story, getting to know him, what he is all about. The doctor would have displayed genuiness (hopefully) the skills of accurate empathic understanding, congruence, sharing attitudes, values and interests while building rapport. Otherwise my Dad would not have taken the time to stay, he would have left unless of course he really was completely broken, which I believe he probably was. He came back though, another survivor of the war after the war – years after – many don’t you know. They die.
See, how important that is though with the first contact? Trust is the foundation of Person-Centered Therapy.
Then prior to his release from hospital, it was Solution Focused Therapy and goal setting about what he was going to do next, where he was going, with whom, and most important – the big WHY.
So, Skills In Action next week will once again be transmitted via Zoom and bookings made through the college. Yes, this is only for students this one, however if anybody else would like to experience one of these sessions, please book with me and they can be designed around you personally, or in some cases, with a group of your family or friends. Yes, group sessions are working really quite well on Zoom.
Actually, many compliments about Danielle and my Zoom session/her presentation of her art therapy classes through the week. We may do another one hey using specifically Person-Centered Therapy, mainly because when Danielle first started studying counselling, she admitted she didn’t like it much at all and I’m thinking because she was a very solution-focused person.
She was very busy and very busily living a life out of the ordinary, with lots to do, work, mothering particularly a daughter with a disability is not easy and all the other challenges life was throwing her way and then there was me saying things like “and how does that make you feel” – well she probably felt like running over and slapping me – hahahaaa!!!!!!!
Of course, that stage was all part of the counselling course and therapy is somewhat different to everyday life. Therapy does work a lot, lot slower and that’s the whole idea. To utilize that introspection, remember?
Here’s another quote and this one is by Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – remember that one?
Some people say they won’t book me when I’m going through treatment. Trust me, I so appreciate continuing to work while I am going through treatment. There is nothing worse than being consumed by pain, thoughts of pain, laying around focusing on ill health – please, please, I truly have done enough focusing, let’s move on now.
Ok so treatment is continuing for me – yes, there is still more to learn, to do, to heal, however it is definitely not my life, not my entire life. My life is what I do, how I am and yes, my body is a big part of that, but it is not the whole of me. And yes, it’s ok to not be ok sometimes.
I am more than this body. Sort of reminds me of that meditation Cheryl my yoga teacher shared once.
You can close your eyes through this meditation if you like:
I have a body, I am aware of the body, but I am not the body.
I have a mind, I am aware of the mind, but I am not the mind.
I have thoughts, I am aware of the thoughts, but I am not the thoughts.
I have desires, I am aware of the desires, but I am not the desires.
I have emotions, I am aware of the emotions, but I am not the emotions.
Who, then is aware of the body?
Who is aware of the mind?
Who is aware of the thoughts, desires and emotions?
Who is the thinker of every thought?
Who is the experiencer of every experience?
Who am I?
Wake up now…..wake up!!!
Well I’m still finding out; we all are; we’re all wounded soldiers in some form. Life can be tough; life is also beautiful because we are here and as Clarissa Pinkola Estes says:
“Story is a medicine. It is meant to take the spirit into a decent to find something that is lost or missing and to bring it back into consciousness again.
Just like a nano drone it is supposed to travel inside your body, touch you on a deep level and heal your inner wounds”.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for arriving here in The Healing Café and listening to my story and watching me share vulnerabilities. Looking forward to painting another picture of our lives through my eyes next week, same time on Sunday.
Bye for now, Namaste and may peace be with you.