Life is Wonderful (Oct 1995)

Jan and I had a celebration this month in nature … enjoying all that life has to offer, at the beach, on a picnic with men friends and their children. We weren’t quite as formal looking as the nuns on the front cover having a picnic. But we enjoyed good food and I had fun with the kids, slinging mud and splashing water. Children teach me much about lightening up and showing me creative ways to enjoy life. Laughing and screaming with delight is a great way to let go tension and the responsibilities of being an adult.

We celebrated because Jan and I are now business partners …. we bought the land and buildings at 254 Ellis Street. We intend to continue networking and educating the public on alternative ways to live and stay well.

Last week someone came by the Centre and dropped off a magazine for us to read. It was published in Florida and is called Going Bonkers? It had great articles for people trying to change the old programming tapes and develop new ways of being.

I reacted strongly to one of the articles. It was titled How (Some) Men and (Some) Women Differ, written by John Gray, PhD. His opening statement was … “Husbands do not leave wives because they no longer love them; they leave because they can’t make them happy.” He goes on to say that …. “Today’s wives do not leave husbands because they’re not provided for. They leave because they are emotionally and romantically unfulfilled.”

I objected … as a human being, why should I expect another person to make me happy? Does he not realize that the only person that can make me happy is myself? Sharing my joy and my sorrow may deepen or expand those feelings, but ultimately it is up to me to figure out how I feel.

Many of his statements were genderized, which took away their validity. Relationships are changing fast and we are entering into a whole new way of thinking about ourselves and the world. The ever-growing list of self-help books on the market these days tell us how important it is that each of us take responsibility to be clear in expressing our needs to friends, workers and mates.

For me, relationships are a way to help me become more aware of my basic programming, so that I may choose how to act or react. Friends are like mirrors; they reflect both the good and the not-so-good side of my personality. And children are the best mirrors we have, for their innocence provides us with a clear perception of how an adult faces the challenges in life. The younger they are, the more honest children are in the way they express their feelings. The need for approval is so strong that they usually imitate all that they see and feel. For example, if one parent is a deep thinker who takes life pretty seriously, then his/her child may try to do the same. This moodiness may not be understood and if it is not expressed or listened to, it will lead to future misunderstanding with friends or mates. Children learn by example and are very good at picking up unspoken messages and projecting them back at the adults. We need to see this projection and correct our ways … not reprimand the children for their feelings.

Being honest and coming from the heart isn’t always easy, for our programming runs deep. We were all told from a very young age to keep quiet or to shut up. We don’t say this or that because it is rude or we can’t be feeling this or that because ours parent don’t want to hear it expressed. Remember when Mom would say “You can’t be hungry … you just ate.” “You can’t be tired, you just woke up,” or “Don’t say you don’t love your little brother.” etc. etc. These messages confuse children and they learn to intellectualize rather than feel.

As adults, we need to get into our feelings and our hearts. Counsellors are there for people who want to stay sane. Understanding and feeling our hearts is possible with a bit of knowledge, patience and some practice at listening to the signals the body gives. Your subconscious uses the most surprising and creative techniques on your behalf. It can manipulate your body to stop you from doing things that you really don’t want to do but feel you have to. Ever had a ‘tension headache’ or a ‘nervous stomach?’ These are messages that are connected to thoughts, feelings and memories that happened to you once and are now forgotten. If you have ignored these sensations or feelings in the past, you may wish to try this exercise. Stop everything you are doing and acknowledge the body by speaking directly to it. In your imagination say “Thank you for this knot in my stomach. I know you are doing this to protect me, and if I am ready please let me find some way to let myself know what it means so that I may understand my feeling once again.” You may find yourself hungry, sleepy or thinking about something. You may have a thought that seems out of place or you may experience feeling angry or sad. Acknowledge the information and see where it leads you. With time, you will come to understand yourself and your reactions to people and events.

My favorite saying is, “If I react to something somebody said or did, it is because I need to look at why I reacted. It isn’t the other person’s problem; it is a gift to me to help me understand myself just a little bit better.”

People are starting to realize that to change the world, we need to start with ourselves. Our children, friends or mates can help us to see old patterns and ways of being. We now have the knowledge and the insight so that we can choose to change them. We have an ever-increasing supply of trained counsellors who are only too glad to help. I believe I am the only person responsible for making myself happy, and I don’t think that John Gray, PhD. gave good advice in telling people otherwise.

Judy Armstrong has the right idea with her song

Give Yourself Love, the last verse goes like this….☛

Give yourself Love ’cause that’s where it starts
You’re never gonna live if you can’t hear your heart
Time to feel your feelings, let them come
Out of the rain, beat your own drum.
You came here to turn on the the Light;
Make yourself known, help people unite
Cause all ya gotta do … Is give yourself love.