As a child, ‘hope’ was the word that meant a lot to me. On a personal level I spent years trying to understand my own identity and make sense of the world. Caught between the crossfire of East and West cultures, with parents who don’t really talk about feelings and so there was much confusion for me and a combination of anger, love and upset towards my parents. I was therefore a very inquisitive child and asked lots of seemingly random questions to understand why people behave in the way they do and their norms and values.
It wasn’t until I entered my thirties the knots and tensions I had with my parents began to unwind and loosen. I realised they are only human, doing the best they can and they were raised a certain way, that I finally understood. It wasn’t that they didn’t care, it was that they weren’t taught how to do it in a way that I have observed and witness from others. My expectations of what I wanted from my parents did not live up to how they are in reality which was creating the sadness and upset within me. When I chose to let go of this expectation and to infuse the relationship with compassion I no longer got worked up and tensed by it all. It wasn’t that I stopped feeling hurt by what was missing in my childhood but the deeper awareness gave me clarity.
As the Zen Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book True Love: “Loving-kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, to bring joy to a beloved person, it is the ability to bring joy and happiness to the person you love, because even if your intention is to love this person, your love might make him or her suffer…you must practice deep looking directed toward the person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love.”
I was so busy looking inside myself and seeing my own wounds that I was only feeling my pain and asking why? In this state, I had at the time booked to go on a weekend retreat and whilst sitting on the coach travelling to the retreat I looked out of the window and saw this big golden moon, which I remember vividly for its colours and thinking how unusual. That weekend was spent meditating, walking and having interesting conversations with people at the retreat. After this period of reflection and upon my return I sensed an inner shift. Over time I finally saw my parents as they are – not as my own projections, not as the source of my pain, it helped my heavy and bruised heart to heal and the re-affirmation that life it is all about love and connection. As 2017 is coming to the end what part of your life are you ready to let go the tension of and infuse with love?