No Matter How You Slice it— Patriarchy & a Poem

I was asked by my husband to watch a video with Mike Tyson interviewing Sadhguru. It offered many helpful nuggets to help me through the challenging time I’m in. And something else stuck out, I’d be surprised if any man would notice. This is the first piece (don’t worry, it will come together).

The second piece is how I’ve been impacted by what has been going on with my dad. He was hospitalized early September. He then has spent 3 weeks in a transitional care unit. Tomorrow he goes home, with advisement of 24-hour care. I could go into this loop, but I won’t because here is the main point— the fear and the deep-rooted patterning that has surfaced because of this.

In a nutshell: the patterning is around saving dad. I also felt I had to save mom. This has led to me thinking I have to save everyone. It has caused significant stress, and now causing harm to my body and mind. And why do I try to “save” everyone? Because I felt, for one reason or another, my primary caregivers needed saving. Underneath that, I love them and care for them. Underneath that, or maybe on top of that is, if they are okay, I am okay. But they aren’t okay so I need to save them so I am okay. Hope that makes sense. And now I have to leave this loop so I don’t get you, the reader, lost.

So this morning, reflecting on the video, In my journal and began to open the window to my fear. Mike’s first question to Sadhguru was: why am I afraid? I wrote: The fear— my life will be taken over or completely taken for the needs of my father. I don’t want this. This is a whole can of worms I am not opening here.

As I continued to write in my journal, in the back of my mind was a part of the talk that I don’t think Sadhguru even intended to share.

But first back to my dad. As he thinks about going home, how ready he is and how he tells me it will be okay and he can take care of himself, I breakdown to him and tell him how terrible I’ve been feeling. How stressed and how afraid I am of losing the life that I have to take care of him.

He said: well the women here (at the facility) have been helping me.

I said, dad, yes, but they aren’t following you home. It will be me, one woman, who has a life she likes and wants to continue in.

And he says, well what else do you have to do, you have the time to do that.

And I said, dad, no I don’t. You don’t know all that I’ve had to do in the background of your life.

I’ve been paying his bills, talking with doctors, nurses, lawyers, care coordinators. Worrying about where he will live. Taking care of his plants, checking his mail. This one woman.

My dad is a very spiritual man. Meaning he has meditated for 30+ years. He has studied with the theosophical society. He reads a lot, he writes and he and I did Sadhguru’s Inner Engineering program. My dad, with his other faculties declining, has entered into an expanded consciousness that is either right on point or delusional. I can’t quite discern. And while I keep his earthy life of bills and health and daily living afloat, he can continue to float amongst the clouds in the spiritual realm. Meanwhile, I’d like my own state of bliss. I’d like to write my own books. Maybe I could be a woman up on a stage giving my spiritual perspective.

And here is where Sadhguru comes back in. He chose to share with the audience that his father, within in the next few hours, will be dead. He said not be there with him does not mean he does not care and he sent his “girl” (maybe his daughter or granddaughter) to be with his dad (did any man catch that). Sadhguru was with the Americans and Mike Tyson. His girl was with the dying dad.

There are so many layers to the space I am in, but this one keeps hitting. This one where it is the goddam women trying to save us all and I just can’t stop thinking about it. I just can’t stop thinking about how yes, the underlying and very real psychological layers of conditioning and the trauma of childhood neglect does indeed contribute to this fear of my life being taken over AND also, the very real threat of a woman’s life being taken over by man and his needs and his privileged requirements and expectations. Where his life stays afloat while the women work their asses off in the background of their existence.

And here is my sad little poem to reflect on this time I am in:

The poetry has stopped. 
Sometimes I think this is the biggest loss. 

I'm surrounded by those who need
But never ask 
I just do
Too much 
And yet nothing at all. 

***full disclosure- I realize some victim narrative here, that may be dramatic or even false when unpacked to its bare bones. However, I am not at the bare bones. I am still in the meat and it occurs as salty and sour. My writings are moments I share as I process my experience. They aren’t meant to be fixed or static. I continue to evolve, grow, expand.

I also recognize there likely was no ill intent in Sadhguru’s words. This is only how it occurred to me based on where I am in my own unfolding. And lastly, I recognize to care for an elderly parent is different than caring for them in other ways. Two things can be true at the same time: I don’t want to give up my life and I want to help my dad during this time in his life. I also know that I have taken on this “burden” of trying to save others as a way to stabilize my purpose in this life and it is no longer stabilizing me. It is debilitating me. There are other possibilities right now and I am open and willing to discover what they are so a more authentic, stabilizing and sustainable future can be created.

Thanks for sharing this moment with me,

~Nikki, The Soul Reporter

Dad

My dad got into my bones
I didn't know he was there 
until he started to fade away 

The other night at Red Lobster he talked about bunnies eating lettuce—
the kind on his plate
He didn't just talk, he mimicked their bunny eating ways

I thought: what is he talking about....
and what does this have to do with anything....

You see, for me, the conversation has changed 
as my dad's brain gets chipped away by diabetes or 
alzheimer's— we don't know. He says it’s spiritual, he's going "higher" so maybe it's that

But gone is the comfort of bringing him anything 
and him always knowing the right thing to say
or when not to
Now I speak and he munches on his salad like a bunny and laughs

Later we sit on his driveway at dusk
There are the bunnies!
They munch on his grass and 
driveway crack microgreens
I see what he means

There are two chairs on his lawn—
two choices on where to sit and watch the bunnies munch
As we watch together the crows caw and he says
the crows crow, the squirrels squirrel and, yes dad, the bunnies bunny
This is his lesson now

He was once an athlete, 
top of his football and baseball game
Then handball
It's hard to see the cuts and bruises on his body from losing balance 
Once a strong, intimidating man—and still so damn stubborn—
he now laughs, smiles and attunes to my emotions, 
even the angry ones about what is happening to him

Lou, my dad's name, is Lou-ing, 
becoming more real
As he fades and goes higher the strength and wisdom of him 
is in my bones. 

~Nikki, The Soul Reporter