21st July 2019

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Lena's life gives us a chance to look at our life in a safe environment. Use this blog to investigate how you feel about the responsibility you give to others, things and situations.

Lena decided to take stock of her life. To re-cap, lets remind ourselves of Lena’s life up to this point. Lena was born to what the medical profession would class as older parents. Lena's father was 42 years old and her mother 40 years old. Lena’s father, an easy going man, worked in banking most of his working life and well established when Lena came along. Her Mother, a teacher who loved her job, she loved being around children. She was overjoyed when she found that she was having a girl, as she would experience, all the joys of having a daughter…Lena’s mother looked forward to the dressing her in pretty dresses, the hair do’s, the trips to buy these items, taking her daughter to ballet, tap and dance lessons plus all the other groups she may have an interest in. 

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Lena’s mother would spend hours flicking through baby magazines and by the time Lena arrived she had a bedroom filled with clothes, toys and just about anything one would need for a baby up unto the age of three years old. Lena has two brothers who were aged 12 and 15 years when she arrived in their world, both took on a caring protective role. Suffice to say Lena entered a financially, stable, loving family. Lenas’ brothers both went on to university and graduated with great grades, both went into their chosen professions. To date they are both married and confirm that they are living life to the fullest, with holidays every six months, their own properties and no plans to have children until they have crossed off everything on their bucket list! Much to the dismay of their mother who thought that she would have had grandchildren by now. With a stable home life, Lena felt loved, cared for and free to explore the world around her.

Lena enjoyed school, and was called ‘a gifted student’. As Lena grew, she attended all the groups in the area and any that her parents could drive her to. Lena had a full life. As a Responsible teenager Lena was often trusted to get herself to and from the groups her parents had enrolled her in. Lena soon learned that if she produced a letter stating ‘Due to unforeseen circumstances’ Lena will no longer be attending (this group). Lena was then free to pocket the weekly or monthly fees! It surprises Lena that her parents, as attentive as they were, had no idea that she was not attending several groups. Lena became quiet the independent teenager as her parents had full time jobs and her brothers had left home and otherwise occupied.Image result for street youths

As she took control of her life, Lena found friends who may have been less liked by her parents, had they known them. They enjoyed drinking and ‘having a good time’ Lena met Alcohol and kept it close when her parents, brothers or friends were not physically available. (See Blog ‘Where does Your Feet Take You’?) We are aware that,  it is only when Lena has important life changes to manage, she straightens up. When Lena embarked on her ‘A’ levels and told that she had a really good chance of being accepted in a sought after university, she left the sanctity of her friends and concentrated on her studies, as we know, Lena went on to college and University (See Blog ‘Where does Your Feet Take You’?) In Blog ‘Upper Torso’ we see Lena taking life into her hands and making decisions that she felt would keep her parents feeling proud of her. She then embarked on a job that would pay more, offer more prestige and a ton of stress, needless to say Lena turned to her old friend Alcohol to keep her company, Alcohol was always there to signal the passing of a particular date in the calendar which, in different circumstances would herald her child advancing a year older. In the Blog ‘Arms’ we  meet up with Lena as she is on a mission to change her life, and like a run away train, nothing was about to stand in her way.....We could sit here and consider all the hurdles that Lena may face in her quest to change her life and show you how she overcame them, but I will use this opportunity to help ourselves.

Consider for a moment that you decided to leave your job (you do have six months’ rent or mortgage payments, food and bills money saved up). You could sit there for the first week coming up for air, re-centering yourself, or just doing you!....I like to call it re-surfacing. It is very much like coming up for air. This first week you shake off the work You, the You, that had to be up at a certain time, be at work at a certain time and wear that work face for a minimum of 7.5 hours. Then there is the actual work, that you had to do for those 7.5 hours which believe me, your body will thank you for no longer doing, regardless if you are sitting at acomputer desk or standing on a production line. The work would have left its mark. Coming up for air is as the statement suggests....You really feel that a load has been lifted off your shoulders..I think it is that feeling I craved every-time I left my jobs! This feeling does not last long....It is that feeling I believe we all crave....That feeling of freedom from obligations that comes with responsibility. You know the feeling! Its the same feeling you get when you have arrived at your holiday destination, get to the hotel and flop on the bed......Freedom.Image result for test hotel bed

Can we consider these feelings for a second....... Perhaps we all thrive for these feelings, perhaps we all wish our retirement will consist of these feelings....Feelings of contentment. How often do you feel contented? Be honest? Can you recall a time when you felt contented? I must admit I can recall that I have rarely felt total contentment. I put it down to being a single mother and having to have my wits about me at all times. Right, back to leaving your job, you have exhaled, sat down, closed your eyes and smiled. Now! How long you allow this feeling to last, is up to you as you are the decision maker of which emotion you choose to experience and display. For Lena this feeling of relief lasted one day as within 48 hours she had to face reality and seek out a local AA meeting, she wasn't sure what it would entail, but she was willing to 'go see'. Lena made a list of to do's and set about ticking them off. Here's a look at Lena's list....

1) Find a Meeting, join and start attending.

2) Clean up and throw out.

3)Spend time with Family.

4) Find a job.

5) Start a hobby.

Throughout Lenas' 12 step program she had to deal with her many issues....She was often transported back to her childhood, which she felt had been perfect....Lena found that in her parents' attempt to ensure that she was exposed to as many after school activities and possible hobbies, she was given 'too much' freedom as she turned that freedom into 'I need to look after myself' 'I need to find my own entertainment' 'I need to be there for me' Lena internalised feelings of abandonment ....As an adult Lena found a crowd of people (just like her peers at her after school clubs) and participated in the crowds' activity (in this case it was drinking) When Lena would go home from these after school clubs, she often found that there was no one home, Lena had to entertain and or console herself....This Lena did this as an adult when she came home from work. She would entertain herself (as she tried to re-live what she classed as good times....with Alcohol) she consoled herself on bad days (with Alcohol). Lena had no animosity towards her parents, given the new knowledge, but felt that if she wasn't left to her own devices as a teenager she wouldn't have found solace in Alcohol. mmmmmm What do you think? DrScott@loveliveholistically.com

As parents we try to do the best we can to ensure that our children are given just enough Freedom. I remember I gave one my daughters,  permission to go to France with a friend at seventeen, she was responsible and I felt confident that she would act accordingly. I have another daughter that I wouldn't trust that she would go to the corner shops without having some drama to tell me when she returned home.

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We do what we feel is best and to the best of our ability at the time. Iyanla Vanzant tells of a client (Let's call her Mary) who came to her and said that she was living with some 'hate' for her mother. When asked why she hated her mother, Mary states that as a twelve year old she was made to care for her siblings as her mother was an alcoholic, she goes on to say that she had missed out on her childhood because she had to grow up too quick with no one looking after her. Iyanla told Mary that her mother, she states, was an alcoholic and acted......like an alcoholic and as an alcoholic she was not able look after her children. As an alcoholic she did the best she could do. She likened her mother's situation to another client she had who stated that as children their mother would get their food from dumpsters. lyanla had told that client that she needed to picture her mother walking bare footed to the furthest restaurant dumpster she could get to, as she knew that their left overs would be the best she could find. A scenario that was to evoke consideration to that mothers' plight and the efforts she went to in-order to do the best she could do, given her situation and within her ability. Iyanla asked Mary, if she or any of her siblings were taken into care? Mary said 'no' Iyanla then alerted Mary to the fact that her mother managed to do what she could to 'keep' all the children in the home......This story smacks of 'It could have been worst'. Sure it could have been worst, but I think what Iyanla was trying to get at, was the fact that her mother did the very best that she could do as an alcoholic. Mary of course, could only see what she didn't have as a child and the amount she had to cope and deal with as a child. Most parents do what they can, given the situation they are in and their ability. How did or do you fair as a parent? How do you feel about your parents? Are there any unresolved issues that may be eating at you? What do you think of your parents parenting skills? DrScott@loveliveholistically.com 

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Even the bible has a blame scenario... The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Genesis3:13-12

Blame, for me, equals responsibility. Who is responsible for the accident? who is responsible for this mess? To blame someone, something or the situation is to give the responsibility to that person or thing for what has happened. Here's a big one 'It is my parents' (fault) responsibility for me not doing so well at school' like Lena, who felt that it was her parents responsibility (fault) for giving her the opportunity to turn to alcohol for her entertainment and as a friend when feeling lonely! When said like that it seems a little far fetched. But this is what we do in one quick sentence when we say its someone or somethings' fault.Try expanding a 'fault sentence' you often use....Here's an example: Its my Husbands fault that I didn't  take the opportunity to work aboard......Expand the sentence with 'I gave my husband the responsibility of my career'  It my mothers' fault I am afraid of flying....(This is one of mine) At aged nine, my mother had taken me to Jamaica, we had to take a flight from Birmingham to London, on that trip there was a lot of turbulence, my mother held on to the arm rests bowed her head and prayed until we landed in London. I remember feeling afraid for my mother, wondering why she was so upset...I can't remember actually having a fear of being in the air. That was after all, my first airplane ride, what was there to be afraid of? As an adult I added the 'afraid' bit to flying...As an adult I was able to put 2+2 together and come up with 5.

 A number of common flying myths are actually easily debunked

I have decided that an object that is made of metal and weights tons can not possible stay up in the air, I have also not been able to get my head around turbulence, as if feels like one is going over humps! How is this possible when we are suppose to be in the air? As an adult I made flying an issue, when I could have changed things, I could have worked on this issue and sought a cure...But I tell the story of my mother holding on to the arm rests for dear life and praying until the plane landed. Should the subject ever come up, I would proclaim to any one in ear shot that I was afraid of flying....Who's to blame for my flying phobia? Now when I fly, I have a little helper which is taken as soon as I board the airplane. Lets just say, by the time the plane takes off, we are all flying!

Who are you blaming and why? Time to be honest again.....It is easy to blame someone or something, instead of taking responsibility (the blame) ourselves. As children we may not have had a choice in what happened to us, as adults we often have more say in our lives, our thoughts and deeds....If we hold on to thoughts of ' its someones' fault' we allow ourselves to be burdened or held back from experiencing how wonderful life can be. Remember the client I told you about in the last blog? 'Arms' The client told me that she had carried the burden of her parents' expectations into her adult life, when she decided that she was going to be herself and not live up to anyone's expectations. I put it to her, that had she taken her parents' expectations as BEST WISHES she would not have had to carry, what she called a burden, into adult life. I went on to say that we often are the ones who decide to carry that heavy load around in our adult life. We carry the  burden of, I missed out, I wasn't given this or allowed to do that and then we go on to tell others just whose fault it is.....Never our own, We have just seen that a lot of our issues can be re-worded, changed or turned 360 degrees to point the finger at ourselves. I am not saying that being ill-treated and unloved can be re-worded and blame re-directed at ourselves. What I am saying is that as an adult, there are some childhood issues that can be dealt with by removing the 'blame element' we attribute to these issues and begin to take responsibility for our recovery.  Blame, is it easy to blame someone or something for our shortcomings? Could Lena have taken a different route? Maybe...Was it easier for Lena to cope or get over her alcohol addiction by blaming the freedom her parents gave her? Maybe. Blame helps us to cope, it takes some of the pressure we feel, off our shoulders. It saves us from dealing with the issue full on or in any in-dept way. You may find, when listening to someone blame another, the situation or a thing, they will accept very little blame, but attribute the bulk of their shortcomings to one or all three of the above, (thing, person or situation). “If the weather wasn’t so bad I wouldn’t have skidded into that other car” This may be true, but the fact remains that you could have driven slower or taken public transport or changed the worn tires on your car. I had my phone stolen once, the person who stole it, told me that they took it because ' it was just sitting there'! I admit, I am also to be blamed here, as I trusted that that person would not steal from me. The excuse given for stealing my phone had one of my three ‘it’s not my fault, attached to it’. It was the phones fault, why? Because it was just sitting there! I really don’t need to give any more examples. We need to own up to the part we play or played when things don’t go the way we would like, when there is a mishap or when s*** happens. A quote from  Eckhart Tolles’ The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, sums up how we should approach the above scenarios. “If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. No excuses. No negativity. No psychic pollution. Keep your inner space clear” We know that when Lena puts her mind to a situation, she gets stuff done, and fast. Lena puts her thoughts into action, she lays the foundation and get the work done. This is the way she works. Lena found it difficult to cope with the fact that when she felt down, she instantly craved a bottle of wine. Lena had to learn that these carvings wouldn’t just stop because she did not want to drink anymore. Lena had to find another way to deal with her feelings. Do you take one day at a time or do you worry about issues that may happen in a week, a month or even a year from now? Lena had to learn to live in the here and now, taking one day at a time. There is a song by Lynda Randle called ‘One Day At A Time, Sweet Jesus’ The lyrics goes...

‘One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That’s all I'm asking of You
Just give me the strength to do everyday
What I have to do
Yesterday's gone, sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord, help me today,Show me the way
One day at a time’

Lena would also have to keep the serenity prayer in her mind "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Eckhart Tolle, In ‘The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’ reminds us that we must “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”   If you live in the now, you will begin to appreciate the moment, you will begin to accept the situation as it is, here and now….If Lena is to overcome her craving when she feels down, she will need to give herself a here and now pep talk…Perhaps saying to herself…..I feel that I need a drink, then she would need to consider, whether the drink will quench her thrust for liquids, solve her problem or make her feel better? Right here, right now, what will that drink of wine do for her? Once she places her situation or need in the here and now, she can then make a conscious decision about her impending action and its consequences. Lena went on to quit her job, religiously attend her meetings, took up yoga. She began to clean up each part of her life stating that she would endeavour to become more mindful and in control of her life. We will drop in on Lena later.

In this blog we got up to speed with Lena, from her birth into a grateful happy and financially secure family. We looked at her exploits at her groups, the friends she met and followed. We saw Lena's first 'I'm gonna get my life together' as she buckled down and studied for her 'A' levels, when a sought after university was dangled in front of her. Lena appeared contented whilst in her quest to get into University and you was asked, to recall when you last felt contented? Are you able to recall it now? DrScott@loveliveholistically.com. Bare in mind that contentment looks different for each of us...What does contentment look like to you?  Lena made a list of things she intended to tick off one by one, and we will see how well she does in a later blog. She was transported back to her childhood, blaming too much freedom for her alcohol abuse. We looked at the advice Iyanla Vanzant gave her two clients, and realised that people and parents try to do the best they can, given their situation and ability. We then looked at blame. I saw blame as giving the responsibility of what we are experiencing now, or the outcome of past actions, to a thing, person or situations. Eckhart Tolle assured us that if we lived in the now by taking any one of his three options, that of, removing ourselves from the unwanted situations, making an attempt to change it, or accepting it totally, blame wouldn't play any significant part in our lives. To aid the art of living in the now...I would like tosuggest that we take one day at a time and to accept the things we cannot change.

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