Channeling Oprah, I have come to the conclusion that it is your right to “live your best life.” It is your right to seek that for those you love as well. Moreover, if that means banishing the negative influences in your world, then that is what you should do. Well I guess up to a point.
I don’t believe in the “tough love” solution to problems. Maybe it has something to do with parenting autistic offspring, that I realize that no matter what the issue, I would never turn my back on them. I don’t know how any parent could do that to a child. I hear time and time again, about parents who throw their recalcitrant 15 or 16 year olds out onto the street. In truth, I doubt these people were the best parents to begin with, but then again perhaps they were, they had just come to the end of their proverbial rope. But what, short of attempted murder of another sibling, or parent, would cause a parent to throw a child out of their house? A child that is not able to care for themselves at that point in their life to boot, a child that would be at the mercy of all that is nasty and predatory in our world. The parent is angry because the child said they didn’t need you? Sassed you? Didn’t follow the rules you set out? How unmitigatingly self-centered and egocentric is that person who calls themselves a parent?
Now there are some children, with such debilitating mental health conditions that you need to send them to residential therapy (and that is not abandoning them, but recognizing that in parenting sometimes we need help), but beyond that, what is there in this world that you, the parent, cannot deal with? You really are not allowed to “live your best life” if you haven’t made certain that your child has the ability to live theirs. Sorry. But this column is not a “get out of parenthood” free card.
You can seek harmony in your life, but what kind of parent seeks harmony at the expense of their child? What kind of parent puts themselves and their needs before their child’s, especially if that child is not well? This is not what I consider getting rid of negative influences. This is what I call, “the need to do your job as a parent”…so the idea to live your best life to the exclusion of your child does not exist in my book.
Now on to harmony and how to extract the negative from the chaff.
We all have this need, especially in our daily world, to try to balance work, and home. I don’t say family life, because not all of us have a family at home. We have extended family perhaps, parent, siblings, aunts, uncles cousins, grandparents, but they are not necessarily there at the end of every day greeting you when you walk in the door. Sometimes our family is merely that furry little four legged friend who waits patiently for you to greet them, and who needs to be greeted with the same joy they have upon seeing you. Simple unconditional love is a wonderful bit of harmony. Some of us also don’t have furry friends, but a potted plant. Simply allow that bit of nature to give you joy and promote harmony as well.
Harmony can come from any area of your life. It is the act upon channeling the essence of the moment. Of trying to figure out how to make certain that the moment you are living is one of which you are completely a part. You need to be in the moment, as they say, in order to garner harmony from your life.
Many people swear by meditation. I have never really practiced it. I don’t think I have ever felt truly that calm. My mind has never been clear of thought. I have swirling ideas, sounds, designs, and desires continually circling in an eddy of thought. I can’t stop it. Yes, I have heard that in true meditation that would stop. But I can’t even complete a calming exercise without feeling anxious. Forget the adult coloring book craze. It only made me more anxiety ridden with the thought that the coloring would never get done, and those little tiny minuscule designs that needed to be colored, only made me jump out of my skin.
I do find sitting outside in nature comforting. But sitting not in a tent camping, but in a screened in porch, with an overhead fan and a bottle of sparkling water at my side. I have tried camping, in my rather wayward youth as a sleep away camp counselor, and I can honestly say, for me, there was no harmony in that endeavor. In fact, I came to the complete conclusion that my dreams to go backwards in time is something I am glad never came to fruition. (I, like many little girls, always liked the frilly dresses that they wore in the past, be it colonial times, or the antebellum period. I never gave much thought to the politics, the medical or the societal issues of those time periods, what child would?)
In truth, unlike in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, I am not one inclined for the lack of comfort in an age of ancient technology and creature comforts. Her heroine, Claire, is able to function on a successful level at a time when humanity was not very humane. Never mind the lack of medicine and scientific knowledge, the idea of historical human barbarity does not appeal to me on any level. Now of course, if I were propelled back in time by some magical druid stones, I too would also make do with the reality of my situation. Granted it would be easier for someone from the future to acclimate to the past, than vice versa, I am just saying it is not something I think about wanting to do anymore as I did during that fanciful period of my adolescence. (I was a very cheeky, and at times, a rather odd child).
Heck, even going back to the year I was born, in the mid 20th century, doesn’t appeal to me, not one wit. While we like to think of the good old days, they were not days of harmony, but days of upheaval. And even if we want to think back to the days of the 1950s, a time when America was beginning her glory days, those were not days in which all Americans, or all peoples for that matter, shared in the goodness and the freedoms for which the US stands. And granted, we still have problems that need fixing, but it is a lot more harmonious in the nation today, despite the lack of Presidential leadership, than it has ever really been. The reason being is simply that we are not afraid of our issues, annoyed by them perhaps, confused on occasion, angry that they still rear their ugly heads, but definitely not afraid of them.
I suspect that harmony and ridding your life of negative influences is a task that may seem overwhelming to some. I remember simply deciding one day to do it. To cut back on my schedule. To stop organizing everything. To allow some down time during the day. To not feel guilty when I didn’t want to talk to a frenemy (and that included some blood relatives as well). That is what I call self-love. Taking care of yourself, so you can take care of others.
I also recognized that an important aspect of my life is to let each day build upon itself.
Well yes, we need to have schedules. That is not what I am saying. I am saying that every minute of every day doesn’t have to be filled with being productive. Sometimes we can just be. We don’t have to pick up the phone if we really don’t want to talk to someone, and we don’t have to deal with other people’s issues. Sometimes you really need to be able to balance your own world. You need to remain centered in your life, so that you can feel the essence of the world around you.
By the way, harmony is not living in a world without “drama.” Life is drama because with life comes problems, issues, joys, and solutions. Harmony is being able to balance what life throws at you, and being positive on the other side of the dam after it has burst. The question is are there always answers to every problem? Perhaps that is the first issue with harmony, understanding that there is not always an answer, or always a reason for a predicament. Sometimes you get yourself in trouble, sometimes others get you trouble, but other times it really is because of the cosmic conundrum called life.
Many say that there is a method to the universe. That there are reasons why things happen. That there are no coincidences, if you do the math right. But sometimes, reality is not under your control and “shit” happens, whether we like it or not. And as much as we can plan, work toward, and hope that unharmonious predicaments don’t show their specters in our home, doesn’t mean the beasts won’t show up uninvited.
They say life is unfair. And so it is. Humanity has tried to balance that lack of harmony by telling us that the evil will get theirs in the afterlife. We have been told that there is a reward for living a good life, and a detriment for living a poor one. I am not so certain about that. If life is not so simple, then the explanations of the vagaries of life are not so simple either. Or you could say that is my pessimistic side coming out.
I think we reach harmony when we come to the realization that, yes, this is all there is and if we want to live a good, happy and joyful life then we need to know how to balance our world. We need to center ourselves in the life that we have been given, not necessarily chosen, but given. We don’t all choose to be sick, have disabled loved ones, or have to make Sophie’s Choices, but we need to deal with the consequences of what happens to ourselves, and we need to deal with them in order to reach a level of harmony about our own world. We need to deal with them to be able to wake up the next day and move forward.
That is an interesting topic to be certain-the human need, desire, to want, to exist, to be and to move forward. I simply find it interesting this instinctive need to survive, to move to the next day, this natural order of things that we need to persevere and succeed. Mother nature sure is a curious caretaker
So as I sit here, reaching out for my harmony, on my modern screened in porch, with a laptop, cell phone and very nosey greyhound licking my arm, I feel the wind off the trees, on a hot summer day, and I close my eyes and just breath.