Those Endless Days

6 November, 2009

oxford

I am having one of those days. One of those days when you are just happy to be alive, and grateful for everything in this life. A day when the universe said “I’m looking after you honey”. The sun is shining, warm on my face it is a beautiful day. I glide effortlessly through a spectrum of autumnal colour. I drift off for a few moments of much needed rest, in warmth and comfort. Everything in here is still, everything out there is frantic. I am in the “Now” as Eckhart Tolle would say. Sami, the wonder kid, has arranged this day for me and I haven’t even thanked him. In fact I was on irritation autopilot as I left the house. But now, on reflection, there are so many people I have to be grateful to, because without them I wouldn’t have appreciated these peaceful moments so much. I am having a day off and it is exactly what I need on the first Monday of half term. So, without further delay, I would like to say “thank you” to a few of the supporting cast that made this possible.

The very first “thank you”  must go to Mr. Ex. for refusing to have the kids one hour earlier than normal,  so that I could make it to the theatre in London. I should also thank him for his three phone calls at 1.30am as he tried to clarify this with me – sorry I didn’t pick up, but it wasn’t a great time for me. I did find an unsuspecting grandmother in London to have the kids (borrowed her from a friend).  It was very good of her, especially as she didn’t know we were coming.  The theatre was wonderful, Bellydance Superstars at the Bloomsbury.  The kids have loved our weekend away – although ironically, my idea had been a break from them, rather than with them. Anyway, we got out and about and managed to do both the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum on the same day – we got there really early.

Which leads nicely into my second “thank you”. This goes to Mr. George Hudson, an entomologist (bug collector) living in New Zealand who died in 1946. Hudson It was Mr. Hudson’s brilliant idea to change the clocks twice a year. This was so that he could have more time to collect bugs in daylight.  Strangely, I can think of a much simpler solutions to this problem.  That Mr Hudson could have got up just a bit earlier and stay out just a little bit later doing his bug-thang. But somehow, changing the time in half the world made far better sense to him. He also thought it was a shame how much daylight was wasted by people sleeping. Well, Mr. Hudson, I really hope that reincarnation exists and that you were one of the parents queuing with me, outside the Natural History Museum last Sunday morning.  All of us wishing we had stayed in bed that extra hour, instead of lining up outside a closed door. Or perhaps Mr. Hudson,  you might be one of the circus performers we saw last Spring – wondering why we trooped in so rudely, halfway through your show.  Anyway, it’s not Hudson’s fault.  I think if the clocks are going to change twice a year, then we should be properly informed.  They should announce it from loudspeakers on the top of a car.  There should be government texts sent out to us all.  One thing is for sure, we should never find ourselves on a tube train at 8.30am with four young children, when we could be in bed.

My third “thank you” goes to the wonderful AA man who opened my car for me, in a record 30 seconds, when we got back that night. The record is strictly for AA/RAC men who open my cars, not joy riders etc. Just in case you’re interested, the worst attempt was an RAC man who took 35 minutes to open a Volvo that had my keys in the ignition. How dumb was he? The year I had Asha, I used all of my available RAC call-outs on locking my keys, or baby, in the car. Then I had to leave and join the AA. Anyway, Mr AA Man, it was just a tiny bit, well, patronising of you to show me how to lock it, without the keys, by pressing the button. Shame then, that I hadn’t got my stuff out of the car and you had to open it up again. Even though it took you 20 minutes the second time, I’m still going to count your first attempt as my current record. Thanks AA man.

A very special “thank you” to Sami, my first born. Top marks for your brilliant attempt to keep my car keys safe in your hoodie as we crossed London. I had absolutely no idea that you would attempt something so resourceful. Yes, your failure (and I specifically choose that word) was disappointing for both of us. But hopefully I will be able to find the spares when I get back to Oxfordshire.   I know they are in the house somewhere, I think I saw them about six months ago.

Thanks now to our wonderful railway network, which can get me back near home in less than an hour. Also for the innovations in online ticket purchasing. I discovered you can even buy tickets for trains which are canceled.  In fact, I have one in my purse right now.  Amazing, I bet you couldn’t do that in the olden days.

Lastly, my sincere thanks to the wonderful Oxford Tube coach service. Next time I will definitely buy the ticket which was £7 cheaper than the one you sold me. Thanks for telling me about it as you passed me my change. And lastly a massive thank you to the mechanic who is working on the engine right now at the back of the coach on the side of the M40.

But the truth of the matter is, that this wonderful day-off is a choice.  It is a choice whether to focus on the pain and disharmony of life – it’s always going to be there.  Or whether to take a different view of what’s happneing to us.  Which lens we look through, the short sighted one, or the one that gives us a bigger picture.  The warmth and silence that this opportunity has provided me with, is exactly what I needed today.  I need a rest before half term takes a hold of my time and energy.  I’m going to make the most of the beautiful scenery and the chance to catch a nap in a comfy seat. Right here, right now, nothing is wrong and I can choose to find everything perfectly right with life, if I want to.  And just for today, I do.

peace

“Thank you for the days, those endless days, those sacred days you gave me”

Resentments

3 November, 2009

He walks away. My children hand in hand with him, my baby in my sling but now wrapped around his waist. Not even a “bye”, I sit in the now empty car, the invisible woman. Anger rises inside me, my mind races, hurting itself with the shrapnel wounds of pains now past. Rage boils at all that I have been through. He walks away, oblivious. With our happy children beside him, excited at his Sunday company.  I need to do something to calm down.

The Doctor is running an hour late.  I read “Hello” magazine in the waiting room, feeling fatter and poorer than when I arrived.  There’s a book called  “I can mend your broken heart” by Paul McKenna in a box on the floor. I can mend It’s in the secondhand pile, which means he’ll mend it for nominal fee, it seems like a reasonable deal. I throw my lefty principles aside and invest 50p in private healthcare.

Dr Late asks me how I’m feeling – “Totally fine, except for odd outbursts of overwhelming anger and resentment”. I don’t mention how the Hello magazine has just destroyed the last of my self-esteem – now is not the time to criticize the NHS. I explain that everyone else has recovered and moved on from the break up. The children are much happier now Mr. Ex is finally having them one night a week. But I find myself looking back over the pregnancy wondering why Mr. Ex made it so hard. I feel angry. I want to be Mrs. Cool. I want the moral high ground, the dignified position. But I’m struggling to hold it together. I ask for counseling on the NHS. Dr. Late is a kind gentleman who listens when his patients talk, he thinks about his patients’ needs. He gives everyone the time it takes to hear them out, hence he is called “Dr. Late”. He probably hasn’t had a lunch hour in 30 years. He writes me a letter of referral, by hand, with an ink pen. Then he tells me that there is only a slim chance I’ll actually get any help, but he’ll give it his best shot.

The days roll on and nothing much changes, except I clean the car out and find Paul McKenna under some crisp packets. His nose is now a yellow boiled lolly, licked to stick and dusted with dirt. I settle down in the driver’s seat for my first appointment. I do as he instructs and read the book in one go. The exercise for resentment is simple – so simple in fact that it’s a bit of a joke, here it is. When I feel resentful, I have to freeze the image, put it on an imaginary TV screen and turn up the whiteness until the picture disappears. That’s it – well at least I only paid 50p. Private medicine is obviously not all it’s cracked up to be.  I decide not to use the CD – it’s in brand new condition.  If I don’t scratch it, I’ll get more for it on ebay, the lolly has left him in dire need of a nose-job though.

The next time I see Mr. Ex he is in newly aquired smart casual attire for his newly aquired job.  I am in something from ebay customized with custard and ketchup. He leaves the casual house but stays with me. He’s in my mind, and I feel the irritation, the anger the resentment. The jealousy – he is so free and I am so trapped. I stop it there, time to call in McKenna. I freeze the thought and hold the image of him in my angry mind’s eye. Slowly I turn up the whiteness and I blast him out of my inner vision. I blast him with brilliant white light and add some sparkles to it and keep it going until there is not trace of him. But there is no epiphany, I get on with my day as if nothing has happened.

But something has happened.  Something different has been going on and I haven’t even been aware of it.   It’s not until the evening that I notice it. I haven’t given Mr. Ex. a single thought for the entire day. I have thought nothing about him whatsoever. I have completely forgotten to feel resentful of him. I have forgotten to feel hard done by. I am amazed, I can’t believe it’s actually worked. I am shocked. I search for the resentment in my head and I find it, but it is dormant, no longer charging round my mind kicking off. I leave it resting and creep away.

It happens again the next time I see him. I blast his irritating image from my mind and forget all about it until hours later.  Same magical result as before.  It’s happened twice and I am speechless (almost). But then the time after that when I see him, it is different again. I dont blast him with light this time.  I dont need to because I don’t feel resentful anymore. It’s stopped, it’s over, it’s gone.  grateful am I to have my peace again. I cannot believe that it has happened so simply.  My best friend or worst enemy mind, I am glad to have it back on my side.  As I think about the changes, I have realizations about the break up, and these help me to take more responsibility for what happened. I suspect these have been triggered by Mr. McKenna. I have searched my mind for them in the past, but not been able to find the answers, now they are clear to me. I am less of a victim, I understand what I got out of marrying Mr. Ex and why it didn’t work. The results are so amazing that I take McKenna’s book off ebay.

About three months later, I get a phone,call out of the blue. It’s Mrs Psychotherapist from the NHS calling to assess me for her “list”. My referral has finally come through, and she wants to find out just how nuts I am so she can decide how long I can wait to get her help. Obviously she says it a lot nicer than that on the phone. I tell her that I think I’m OK, I get a slightly patronising, “Really?”, in response. It’s the voice of someone who doesn’t want to rain on my parade, but who also clearly doesn’t believe that I am able to get well without a lot of intervention. I tell her about the whitening-out exercise and how well it worked. She is listening, she is curious. I share with her my realization about the marriage; I explain how I got to an age when I wanted a baby, so I looked around and found a really nice baby and married him. How I loved that baby. I bought him nice clothes and cooked him nice meals. I sent him to the best college. But as that baby grew up, he became a teenager and got very difficult. Then he started hanging out with the bad boys in the local pub, and coming home late. He started arguments and picked fights and didn’t want to go out with me anymore, he’d rather be with his friends. Finally, he took some money from my purse and left home blaming all of his problems on me.

There is a pause at the other end of the line.  I wait for the verdict on my mental health.  She  calmly says that she is taking me off her list.  That in her professional opinion I don’t need psychotherapy. Then she asks for the name of the book, because she wants to write it down.

And as she wrote, she said to me, “I wish I could get results like that with my clients”.


heart

Dr Late asks me how I’m feeling – “Totally fine, except for odd outbursts of overwhelming anger and resentment”. I don’t mention how the Hello magazine has just destroyed the last of my self-esteem – now is not the time to criticize the NHS. I explain that everyone else has recovered and moved on from the break up. The children are much happier now Mr. Ex is finally having them one night a week. But I find myself looking back over the pregnancy wondering why Mr. Ex made it so hard. I feel angry. I want to be Mrs. Cool. I want the moral high ground, the dignified position. But I’m struggling to hold it together. I ask for counseling on the NHS. Dr. Late is a kind gentleman who listens when his patients talk, who thinks about his patients’ needs. He gives everyone the time it takes to hear them out, hence he is called “Dr. Late”. He probably hasn’t had a lunch hour in 30 years. He writes me a letter of referral, by hand, with an ink pen. Then he tells me that there is only a slim chance I’ll actually get any help, but he’ll give it his best shot.

The days roll on and nothing much changes, except I clean the car out and find Paul McKenna under some crisp packets. His nose is now a yellow boiled lolly, licked to stick and dusted with dirt. I settle down in the driver’s seat for my first appointment. I do as he instructs and read the book in one go. The exercise for resentment is simple – so simple in fact that it’s a bit of a joke, here it is. When I feel resentful, I have to freeze the image, put it on an imaginary TV screen and turn up the whiteness until the picture disappears. That’s it – well at least I only paid 50p. Private medicine is obviously not all it’s cracked up to be.

The next time I see Mr. Ex he is in one of his new outfits for the office, I am in something customized with custard and ketchup. He leaves the house but stays with me. He’s in my mind, and I feel the irritation, the anger the resentment. The jealousy – he is so free. I am so trapped. I stop it there, time to call McKenna. I freeze the thought and hold the image of him in my angry mind’s eye. Slowly I turn up the whiteness and I blast him out of my inner vision. I blast him with brilliant white light and add some sparkles to it and keep it going until there is not trace of him. But there is no epiphany, nothing else happens, I get on with my day. That evening I a thought crosses my mind. I reflect on what’s happened. I haven’t given Mr. Ex. a single thought for the entire day. I have completely forgotten to feel resentful of him. I am amazed, I can’t believe it’s actually worked. I am shocked. I search for the resentment in my mind and I find it, but it is dormant, not alive and kicking me. I leave it resting and creep away.

It happens again the next time I see him. I blast his irritating image from my mind and forget all about it until hours later. I dont even remember I’ve done the exercise for hours. Then the time after that I dont need to blast him with light. Because I don’t feel resentful anymore. It’s stopped, it’s over, it’s gone. I am amazed and grateful. I have my mind back, I have my peace. I cannot believe that it has happened so simply. As they say, the mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I am so glad to have mine back on my side. As I think about the change, I have realizations about the break up that help me to take more responsibility for what happened. I suspect these have been triggered by Mr. McKenna. I have searched for this in the past, but not been able to find the answers, now it is clear to me. I am less of a victim, I understand what I got out of marrying Mr. Ex and why it didn’t work. I resolve not to sell McKenna’s book on Ebay.

About three months later, I get a phone,call out of the blue. It’s Mrs Psychotherapist from the NHS calling to assess me for her “list”. My referral has finally come through and she wants to find out just how nuts I am so she can decide how long I can wait to get her help. Obviously she says it a lot nicer than that on the phone. I tell her that I think I’m OK, I get a slightly patronising, “Really?”, back from her. It’s the voice of someone who doesn’t want to rain on my parade, but clearly doesn’t believe that I am able to get well without a lot of intervention. I tell her about the whitening-out exercise and how well it worked. She is amazed. I share with her my realization about the marriage; I explain how I got to an age when I wanted a baby, so I looked around and found a really nice baby and married him. How I loved that baby. I bought him nice clothes and cooked him nice meals. I sent him to the best college. But as that baby grew up, he became a teenager and got very difficult. Then he started hanging out with the bad boys in the local pub, and coming home late. He started arguments and picked fights and didn’t want to go out with me anymore, he’d rather be with his friends. Finally, he took some money from my purse and left home blaming all of his problems on me.

Mrs. Psychotherapist, crosses me off her list. In her professional opinion I don’t need psychotherapy. Then she asks for the name of the book, writing it down she says, “I wish I could get results like that with my clients”.