Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Mommy Moments and Cats!

Well, this month’s blog was inspired by my cat!  And the experience with my cat made me realise that the gift of unconditional attention is something that perhaps we can make a regular, but spontaneous, part of our relationships, particularly with our children.

Each morning our cat and our two dogs - not to mention the doves and other birds - clamour to be fed as soon as we step outside onto the terrace, and that often takes precedence over their good morning greeting!

Throughout the summer – and even up to now in December – we take our coffee outside and sit on the terrace to greet the day.  And that’s when the cat, hunger satisfied, claims our attention and will resist the efforts of the dogs to push in!

He tends to prefer my husband’s lap, but will switch between the two of us until his “cuddle hunger” is satisfied, and then he simply takes off into the garden to seek new adventures.  Interestingly, this little ritual seldom takes more than a few minutes and although he curls up and cuddles in to each of us, it’s not with the intention of going to sleep or settling in for the duration!  Perhaps he has a short attention span!  Or perhaps the busy bird table is more interesting!

At other times during the day he will also sit at the door and call for attention - and food is not his focus!  I just have to sit down (usually with a coffee again), offer him my lap and repeat the little ritual for a few minutes until he is happy to go off again. 

So when he calls for his few minutes’ cuddles, I now refer to them as “Mommy moments”.   “Do you want a Mommy moment?” I say to him, and sit down and allow him to jump up for a cuddle. He snuggles in, purrs loudly, and in just a few minutes off he goes again.

So, if my little cat can take comfort from a simple cuddle for a few minutes, it occurred to me that this spontaneity is something to encourage and practise with our children – to sit down and offer a hug and a cuddle for no reason other than to share a special moment.

“Mommy moments” express the joy of loving and the joy of being loved.
They need no words; they have no conditions attached to them; they are not given as a reward; they are not for resolving problems.  They are simply “Mommy moments”.

And because you “step out of time” to share this experience, it’s very likely that after a few minutes your child will also “take off to seek new adventures” fully satisfied with the freely given moment of attention and so not needing to hang on for more!  And the hidden benefit of stopping for a few moments and enjoying the experience is that stress falls away and balance is restored – both in giving and receiving. 

Despite the fact that I only have the cat to offer “Mommy moments” to, I nevertheless experience the benefits of pressing the “pause button” and enjoying a few moments of letting go and listening to the rhymthic purring.

But...... on further consideration, I wonder if I am misreading the cat’s actions?  Am I naive in assuming that the cat wants a cuddle for his own satisfaction?   Perhaps the cat is offering ME a “Mommy moment” to show he cares, and perhaps he swaps laps to make sure we both feel he is giving us equal attention?  If so, isn’t it wonderful to think that an animal can interact with us in such a loving way? 
But.....knowing that cats are self-serving and independent by nature, perhaps he is just “keeping us sweet” so that we continue to “serve” him and respond on demand!
Well they do say “Dogs have masters, but cats have slaves”.

Something to think about.......

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Divine and The Dark

We so often hear speak of imbalances of energy, of there being too much masculine, dark, violent energy, and that the remedy for this is to emphasise the feminine – to empower women, to overturn the patriarchal system and replace it with a matriarchal one.

We hear the statement, “Women’s wisdom/the goddess energy is needed now more than ever to counter the masculine energy that is destroying the planet/society/the environment, etc”

Now that may well be a way forward, a way to overcome the darkness that seems to envelop the world at the moment.  But if the “feminine” energy becomes predominant, will that lead to balance? Or would an over-enthusiastic drive towards increasing the feminine influence and empowering women lead to an imbalance in the other direction? 

And what would be the effect of an imbalance caused by an excess of “feminine” energy?  Would it have negative implications – in the same way that we perceive the negative consequences of an excess of “masculine” energy?

There are many groups which seem to focus only on remedying the imbalance by enhancing the feminine energy through the empowerment of women.  They perceive the masculine energy, i.e., the male influence that permeates every aspect of our lives, as the root cause of every wrong thing that is happening in the world.    

I see this as far too simplistic.  There is the divine feminine and the dark feminine, as well as the divine masculine and the dark masculine.  Women are just as capable of dark deeds and intentions as are men; men are just as capable of divine deeds and intentions as are women.  Who knows what women in power, without balance, would do?  Perhaps the dark feminine would be empowered....??

Energy is neutral  - it is the intention that makes it positive or negative, dark or divine.  Our gender serves to enhance one aspect of energy more than another but we all have within us the divine and the dark.

If we look on the dark masculine energy as the cause of so many problems in the world, surely the need is for an increase in the divine masculine to counter the dark masculine?  Not just more of the feminine, whether dark or divine?  We need the masculine energy just as much as we need the feminine energy.  But in both cases we need the divine aspect to balance out the dark. 

In which case, perhaps the imbalance is between the dark and the divine, not between the masculine and the feminine.

If that is the case, should we not be looking for the light of the masculine and embracing it with the light of the feminine?  Should women be excluding men from the solution to the world’s problems?  If women look at masculine energy as the problem, are they dismissing the potential of masculine energy to also bring about the solution? 

Would change happen faster by encouraging the divine masculine, by focusing on it, enhancing it and welcoming men into the divine energy vibration? Without dark there can be no light – how would we recognise the light if we didn’t have the contrast of the dark? 

Surely it’s the divine energy that is needed – both masculine and feminine - that which exists both in men and women alongside the dark – not just “feminine/women’s/goddess energy” per se?

What is required, perhaps, is not simply the empowerment of women, the raising of “feminine energy”, and the rejection of the masculine, but a powerful intention to raise the divine and subdue the dark in both - and acknowledge that feminine energy can also be flawed.  

Perhaps it’s time to change our approach and acknowledge that masculine energy in its divine form is a necessary balance to the divine feminine;  setting the intention to embrace the divine masculine as well as the divine feminine and use that focus to create the reality - where attention goes, energy flows. 

In other words, to work with the masculine instead of in opposition!

Something to think about......

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Little Death

The child sat on the cold floor beside the tatty cardboard box, her eyes fixed on the sleek still form stretched out inside. Icy tendrils formed glittering patterns on the inside windowpanes where the moisture had collected as the evening warmth of the room had been sucked into the chill of the dawn.

 Many hours had passed since she had heard the yowling at the door. How far had her childhood companion dragged its useless back legs in a last effort to seek the comfort of home and its bed by the fire? Agitation, and then distress had overtaken the child as she picked up the broken body and gently laid it in its favourite spot.
The fire then had still burned brightly and the heat hung heavy in the room. But still the small form shivered and she had hastily removed her cardigan and wrapped it around the trembling bundle. She had stroked the cat’s ears, rubbed its chin and nose - even in its pain, a soft purring had erupted from its throat, appreciation of the affection it had previously taken as its due.

 “Come to bed, Kate” said her mother softly. “There’s nothing we can do for poor Tiggy tonight. Tomorrow we’ll take him to the vet.”
“No, let me stay,” she had pleaded. “I don’t want him to get cold and he may want some milk later.”
Turning to the box, her childish voice had cooed, “There’s a good Tiggy-Winkle. You lay still till you feel better and I’ll keep you warm. Tomorrow we’ll get you some nice chopped liver ‘cos
you‘ll be really hungry when you wake up.”
She had settled down beside the box, convinced that sheer willpower would make everything right in the morning. “I’m not going to let anything bad happen. I’m going to make you better.”

Her aimless chatter continued - what they would do together when he was better, recollections of other scrapes he had survived, happy times which would be repeated. Her childish mind was reassured by this one-sided conversation~ fending off the unthinkable vision of a future without him.
Her hand resting on the soft head she curled her body around the box on the hearthrug. The cat blinked slowly and attempted a mewling response. Night crept on and shadows darkened in the corners of the room as the firelight diminished.
The parents admonished the child to go to bed but she stubbornly refused to relinquish her nightwatch role. In dozing, her dreams had been laced with visions of her pet fleeing before a relentless train of thundering wheels. In wakeful moments, she would squeeze her eyes shut to stop the tears seeping out and endlessly repeat, “Please don’t die, please don’t die”.
She had finally been shaken out of a fitful sleep by the trembling of her body in the chill of the dawn and now she searched for the signs of life she so desperately wanted to see in the box.
The cat’s half-open eyes lacked reflection and depth, gave off no spark of light. Its mouth was frozen in an unnatural grin, the little pink tongue peeping out, almost impudently, between the sharp white picket fence of teeth. Rejecting what she feared, the child tucked the cardigan tighter around the body, feeling in that touch the cold stiffness of death but murmuring still, “I’ll keep you warm and we’ll take you to the vet soon”.
Her own body was cold and stiff from the long vigil and this in itself was a comfort. After all, she would soon get warm again -wouldn’t the cat too? Childish logic was her weapon against the unacceptable reality lapping at the edges of her subconscious.

More competently than could have been thought just the day before, she raked the ashes from the cold grate and with a confidence born of inner desperation, laid a new fire, piling sticks upon paper in unconscious mimicry of a funeral pyre. Her fingers clumsy from the cold, she drew out a match and pulling back her sleeve and stretching out her arms, struck it along the box, remembering to direct it away from her as she had been taught.
She quickly applied the flame to the paper in several places, dropping the match as it blackened and curled towards her fingers. The flames licked the wood greedily and the wood itself began to respond, crackling and spitting, blue and yellow sparks exploding into the air as if in mocking celebration of the event.
With a mature assessment of the right moment to encourage and not discourage the flames, she threw small lumps of coal onto the blaze and watched the fire feed and settle into its shifting pattern.
Satisfied with this success, and somewhat self-satisfied with her own ability at this first attempt, she turned once more to the box. If she stared very hard she was sure she could discern the shallow rise and fall which signified breath, and life.
The harsh electric light mellowed as the natural daylight filtered through the misted windows, and shifting shadows seemed to emphasise the illusion of shallow breathing. She rubbed warmth into her hands and fearfully reached out once more to stroke the cat and to reassure herself that the breath still flowed in its shattered body.
With a child’s ability to make-believe and create a reality of its own, she persisted in her belief that life still existed in the grotesque unyielding shell which had once been soft and warm to her touch.

Convinced, as only a child can be, that life - and God - cannot be so cruel, she lifted the creature into her arms, clutching it to her chest in an attempt to infuse it with the warmth and life of her own body.
But her warmth could not relax the stiffness even though she wrapped the cardigan tighter around it. She rocked and crooned as if to a baby, instinctive actions which are never taught but surface unbidden from deep-seated memory.
And thus she was found by the awaking family, comforting a cold corpse, in a cold room, in the fierce cold light of early morning. Quickly assessing the situation, her mother knelt and put her arms around the child, encompassing both cat and child in the hug. “Look, Tiggy’s gone now. We can’t help him anymore. Let me take him”. And gently but positively she lifted the bundle away and stood up. The child relinquished it without resistance, the tears sliding down her cheeks. Her shoulders slumped in acceptance of her own powerlessness to influence events, and her eyes reflected a new maturity.

The child within had died a little death and the developing adult had seized just a little more space in the battle for survival.

© Brenda El-Leithy 2008

Friday, May 06, 2016

The Twilight Zone

Now as you read the title of this month’s blog how many of you can hear in your mind that spooky music that accompanied the TV series of that name countless years ago?   At least those of my age group (!), or science fiction fans of any age group may find those unearthly echoes of sound rising into consciousness.

But my blog this month is nothing to do with science fiction, psychological thrillers or horror scenarios.  It is, however, to do with the “rising into consciousness”.

I’m going to give you a really useful way to work with your mind in the “Twilight Zone” between waking and sleeping - that dreamy, groggy state when we’re neither one nor the other, but “rising into consciousness”.

As we drift from wakefulness into sleep, and from sleep to full awareness, we naturally pass through a hypnotic state where the subconscious mind is open and active.  As we sleep, it is alert to anything that might require us being pulled back to full consciousness, such as an unusual noise, or an odd smell, or just a sense that something is wrong.   And while our conscious mind sleeps, the subconscious remains alert and aware like a guardian angel watching over us.

As we teeter on the threshold of sleep, we pass through a ‘hypnagogic’ state of ‘natural trance’, a time of lucid dreaming, hallucinations (ever thought you heard loud noises or voices that turned out to be imaginary?), strange sensations (spinning bed?) - and often, on waking, a sudden idea or insight into a problem.

These transition windows of awareness are linked to heightened suggestibility and are perfect opportunities to work with the subconscious mind to imprint suggestions for change.  It may be more difficult to do this in the morning ‘hypnagogic’ state because the effort of remembering to do it brings you back to full conscious awareness, but it is fairly easy to get into this routine at night.

Unfortunately, many of us already engage in the wrong kind of ‘self-suggestion’ as we drift into sleep!  Think about the times you’ve gone to sleep worrying about what may go wrong the next day, anticipating problems or failures.  Your ever-obedient subconscious will do its best to give you what you expect!

So wouldn’t it be a good idea to make a habit of positive statements and useful suggestions as you drift off to dreamland?   You may have something specific you want to target such as a successful project or meeting the next day, letting go of something that’s been bothering you, changing a bad habit, reinforcing a weight loss or exercise program.....

All you have to do is construct a short suggestion which you can repeat to yourself over and over as you fall into sleep, just like a mantra (or make it rhyme like a spell, if you like!).  For example, a good suggestion to support a weight control program is:

From now on I only ever eat the right foods in the right quantities at the right times for the right reasons and I’m perfectly content and satisfied with that.

And if you’re getting over an illness or an injury:

My (arm, leg, shoulder, back, stomach, etc., or just body) heals quickly and comfortably.

It doesn’t mattter if you lose the words as you drift off, just holding the thought in your mind as you go to sleep will imprint the intention on the subconscious. 

And a good basic suggestion to cover everything is:

Every day in every way I am getting better and better.

- and leave it up to your subconscious to work on whatever is needed - physical, mental or emotional!

Something to think about......

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Clean Listening, Clean Hearing, Clean Seeing, Clean Looking

Have you noticed how we rarely wait to hear the whole of a statement before we mentally begin to formulate our response to it?  How we make assumptions and draw conclusions about things we see without taking the time to examine and really look at what is being presented?  How we interpret the intention behind an action as if we have full understanding of what is in the heart and mind of another?

In other words, we do not “hear” the words that are being said or “look” at what is being done because as soon as someone starts speaking or taking action we are going through a mental program that is filtered through thoughts that have nothing to do with the words or action.  For example:

Do I like this person?

Do I respect their opinion?

Do  I want to argue with them or agree with them?

What am I going to reply to make me look good?

What does this person know about this?

Do they want something from me?

Are they winding me up?

He’s scruffy. I don’t like scruffy people.

I haven’t got time for this.

Etc., etc.

All this happens before we even hear what is actually being said or look at what is behind an action!  And because our response is formed from our initial thoughts, we don’t wait for the whole picture!

Our response to what we see and hear in a given situation is often based on assumptions and conclusions drawn from our own mental “programming”, and filtered through the veils of our own beliefs, attitudes, opinions and prejudices.

Those veils and filters that prevent us from “clean” interpretation and response to what we hear and see have many sources - our parents, our family, our teachers, our culture, our religion, our environment, our society, our governments, and of course the media.  We are being “brainwashed” from the day we are born!  

Even relying on our own experiences to determine our responses can be faulty in many cases because our interpretation of and response to those “experiences” has also been  filtered through veils of pre-conceived ideas, beliefs and opinions.

But we are also guilty of the lazy acceptance of other people’s interpretations. Isn’t it easier just to “go with the flow” of opinion, to accept without question someone else’s version of “reality” without checking it out ourselves? 

Examining one’s own thought processes and seeking the source of our deep-seated beliefs, opinions and prejudices is challenging and often uncomfortable, so we just continue listening, hearing, looking and seeing in the same old way – our responses and reactions mirroring our programming.  How often have you heard someone say (or have said yourself!), “That’s just the way I am”? 
When we are already reacting and responding without fully listening or looking, we are hearing and seeing what our minds have been programmed to hear and see by any number of external influences that have become internalised.

Therefore, we are not actually allowing the information given to us to be received, interpreted and processed cleanly.    We are also denying the validity of someone else’s reality!  Reality is subjective and our understanding and interpretation of what we ”hear” and “see” can only be “clean” when we “listen” and “look” fully and openly, i.e. without filters.

When someone says something to us, our first subconscious reaction is to interpret it according to our own internal programs, and unless we pause to listen and hear “cleanly” and fully, our reply is also an automatic reaction rather than a considered response. That’s how relationships break down and wars start! But if we simply listen to what is said fully, and then check if our interpretation is the same as that of the speaker, we may find vast differences in communication and understanding. 

The same applies to what we see in an action or behaviour.  We can interpret something as a personal attack or insult, we can interpret something as “wrong”,  we can interpret something as “dangerous”, we can interpret something as “inconsiderate” or “selfish” or “thoughtless” or “stupid”  or whatever, assuming that we know what the intention and emotions behind it are;  or we can look and see “cleanly” and consider all the possibilities before we respond.  Perhaps your first reaction was right, but perhaps not and it’s too late because you’ve already “responded”!

I am reminded of a person (imaginary) who had formed the opinion that wearing odd socks was stupid and by extension anyone wearing odd socks was stupid.  In discussion with a person wearing odd socks their automatic response to anything the sock-wearer said was to find it wrong.  Before they had even heard what was being said, their mind was already formulating a response based on the odd-sock prejudice!

So why not try “clean listening, clean hearing, clean looking  and clean seeing”? 

Perhaps the secret is as simple as a Pause Button. 

 Try not interrupting when someone is speaking to you.  Press Pause so that you hear everything they have to say.

Allow others to express themselves fully.  Press Pause so that you understand where they’re coming from.

Don’t assume you know the heart, mind and intention behind an action.  Press Pause and look “cleanly” before you respond.

A Pause is very powerful – they say that Nature abhors a vacuum and it is surprising how much more information someone gives you when you pause before responding and they feel the need to add something to fill the space!

The problem is – when I pause and wait, as soon as I come to respond I have forgotten what I was going to say! :) 

Something to think about.....