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

Crisis

My body knew, for weeks, something was coming. Dreams were foreboding. The Power Path reported- September: Crisis.

I assume what is happening is the crisis. I really don’t want to go into it now. But at some point I will. However, I do want to share some lessons I am learning, not necessarily new ones, but occurring in a deeper and more impactful way.

  1. Crisis points: serve many opportunities for healing and expansion.
  2. Patterns: one of those opportunities is noticing psychological patterning. This is important because some patterns at one time served a protective purpose but eventually can and will destroy in one way or another if consciousness is not brought to them.
  3. Stress: fear/anxiety based programming/thinking only creates stress. The answers/wider paths and perspectives don’t live in this superficial, chaotic space.
  4. A quote from Olivia Newton John: Optimism is a choice. I’m aware of the bad; I just don’t choose to tune into it. I am aware of the fear/worry based thinking. At 50 y/o I am very aware of what it creates. I know it is there, I am learning not to engage with it and instead move into the deeper, wider space.
  5. Acceptance: is an important salve to suffering and anxiety based thinking. It creates space for possibilities that could not be seen in tight thoughts and creates space for grieving and feeling what it is we are trying to avoid.
  6. Writing: it helps me slow down the hits of life that just keep coming, to ground, to process and to share and hopefully help.

~Nikki, The Soul Reporter

Cascade Trail

Life....
I’m not getting my life right 

Nature.... 
She will keep destroying you until you see what you’ve done 

The Way Back Trail.... 
The Way Back Trail is more
Relaxed and refined 
There’s a calmness to it 
A way of knowing 
The steps slow 
The air breathed 
A smile 
I’m not trying to get anywhere 
I’ve been

A broken tree....
There She is again 
Within Her a touchstone
Circles of life that tell Her Story 
Unburdened now by life, 
A relic of her life 
For me to wonder about 
To receive a lesson 

Back to the Way Back Trail....
The Way Back Trail is a gift I hope all receive 
It tells you more about those layers, those circles within 
So many circles 
They accumulate 
It’s important to sit and rest along this trail 
And listen, feel, understand 
And say thank you 
And ask:
What do I need for my soul?
What does my deepest nature want?


~Nikki, The Soul Reporter

*Repost of the post with the most views* Now~ a sort of poem about healing the mother wound

Now

my mom greets me like a small child. Her eyes light up and she is filled with such love for me. 

This is what flowed beneath the layers of suffering that was my mom- that was our relationship. 

I hated her a lot. And I believed she hated me the same. 

We must be careful who we deem unworthy of love but worthy of hate and abandonment. We must not dismiss a family as dysfunctional or a person damaged and leave it there as if it/they held nothing else. 

Now

I really know this.

For there were many necessary years I felt anger and betrayal- sometimes rightly so- and the only way I could function in our dysfunction was to protect myself. 

And yet, now…

I feel I am a good daughter for sticking with her- for staying in the process, the journey that is ours. 

Now

I understand I needed to love her but couldn’t and wouldn’t and instead exchanged vulnerability for codependency (unknowingly of course). 

Now

I continue to play this out within my marriage. 

And yet, now

I see the possibility that what flows beneath the wounds of my suffering might redeem me

Maybe not quite now but eventually. 

Indestructible

I wake up wrapped in a hidden grief. A grief so big I’m grateful it’s hidden. The personal losses and changes, along with the national and global might take lifetimes to process and who even knows what is left over from other lives. It truly does seem to be too much and yet, here we are, here I am, here is Life- an undeniable and indestructible force.

~Nikki, The Soul Reporter

In this moment…

I don’t understand why any of us are cruel 

It’s super bowl Sunday 

I drive to the store. Not for snacks, but for donuts and coffee. 

I think of my mom. Likely not an actual lover of football, although she claimed to love the Vikings. But more like just wants to be a part of life, of whatever is going on. 

Today she may or may not have the super bowl on. And if it is, she won’t watch. 

My mom has dementia. She sits alone—except on the days some of us in the family get to visit her. 

I reminisce about past super bowls. It was all a party to her. I cry for the woman she was. The woman I lost. 

I get my coffee. My donuts. I find when I get home, I don’t want them as much as I did before the tears fell. 

Walking through the front door of my home, I understand I feel, something I have noticed lately. I feel. Tears fall, and not from a place of pity for myself or cyclical suffering, but from somewhere real. 

Driving home from the store, I understand I can feel something other than what has come from a 33-year relationship (perhaps, we will get into that another time).

The year 2021— it said to me: I will be bittersweet. 

Already, it most certainly is 🌸

A Glimpse Ahead in the Days of COVID-19

In every home I’ve lived I have found a trail.

In my current home, it is a wooded trail— the Mississippi backwaters on one side and a junk yard on another. I’ve worked to ignore the latter. Although I appreciate the trees and the river, this trail is my least favorite of all the ones I’ve walked. And so I found another one that goes mostly through my neighborhood to a dirt road circling an abandoned lot edged with pine trees. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken to sitting under one of the pines, the one that now has a sign that reads: No Trespassing. Also ignored.

But today I needed the backwater trail. It is a short trail, made a bit longer if I take the narrow, tree root, moss filled one along the rivers edge. I took this route. On my way back to the neighborhood I noticed another trail with fresh black dirt and took steps. To my surprise it extended beyond the trail I have known and further, extended not only my walk but my time with the trees. As it ended in a familiar place, I felt grateful for the creation of a path I had wanted since I moved here.

During COVID-19, other than moving from panic to calm, panic to calm, I’ve observed people in my life and the ones I see on my essential runs, and notice how they are responding to this pandemic. My father, for instance, finds hope in the blades of green grass sprouting in a newly dug out hole in the ground. Another laughs loudly with the gas station attendant saying, “Well you know we are all going to get it.” My mother texts daily from her assisted living facility, “Is everyone at home now?” Or today, “Prince Charles has the virus.” Sadly, others have become more self-centered, ego-centric, individualistic and shut down.

As for me—today, on my walk I found a new path that shows me the life road I am currently on. The soil is fresh. It has not been traveled yet. It comes as a surprise, and yet offers what I have been seeking for a very long time. It tells me if I venture to take a new path, even while things are falling apart and feel unstable, I will arrive in a familiar place, feeling grateful and changed.

I wish for all us to be guided and changed for the better, while knowing there is loss and unimaginable grief, known and unknown to us.

Guest Post: “The One Who Walks Beside.”

On December 11, 2015 my father lost his wife. Below are the words, images, lessons and teachings from his experience…..

There is an American Indian phrase that is used to designate the person who walks beside another, through out their life; it is, “the one who walks beside.”  This simple expression is clearly referring to a spouse, a best friend, a brother, a sister, etc., who, regardless of the kind of conditions or circumstances that surround the beloved person, will walk by his or her’s side.  This kind of relationship exudes characteristics of loyalty, love, support, protection, respect, selflessness: my wife would say, “they are attached at the hip.”

This phrase accurately describes the relationship my wife and I had.  She was the one who walked beside.  I say “was” because my wife passed away, unexpectedly Dec. 11, 2015.  My wife, Mary Lou, was  not feeling well after Thanksgiving.  She complained of stomach pains, thinking she had an urinary infection, which she had had several times previous.  We went to urgent care, and she was diagnosed with a severe urinary infection, and was given three antibiotic pills.  Mary Lou seemed satisfied that the pills would cure her infection, as they had on previous occasions, and she would be fully recovered in three days.  The next day, Mary Lou wasn’t feeling any better and complained of lower back pain and a severe headache.  We went to see an orthopedic doctor who took x-rays of her lower  back with the result that, other than some arthritis her lumbar area was fine.  The next day Mary Lou was getting weaker. and we decided to go to the hospital emergency facility.  She was so weak that she could not put on her socks and shoes, I had to put them on her feet. Continue reading…..