I knew it had been a while since I’d written an entry here, but I didn’t realise that it has been quite so long!
The last month and a half have been busy with a family wedding and work and so on. I’ve also been unwell. The pain in my side has become worse and I will be going back in for surgery in mid-June to see if that can be resolved. More of my beautiful fish died – it seems there has been a spike in pH in the pond which is now fixed. I’ve been sleeping a lot and have kind of been a bit of a hermit regarding my writing and this blog.
I’ve had a few things to sort out in my mind before I felt ready to write again.
In regards to my last entry, one of my readers asked about endometriosis and what the symptoms are. There are many symptoms, and one of the best places I’ve found to read about them is on the Jean Hailes website, and the video Understanding endometriosis is really informative and I’ve shared that with my family to help them understand what endometriosis is all about (it's the third resource from the bottom of the page).
Last weekend there was an article written by (yet another) a woman who had gone through IVF and talks about how difficult infertility is, has ended up having a child, and is telling the rest of us not to give up because “you know, miracles DO happen. I have one sleeping upstairs right now.”
I still find articles such as this frustrating. Really – who is this woman to tell us that miracles happen? How often, really, do miracles happen?
Well – at least this woman is trying to be positive and encouraging. On the flip side of the coin, some of the comments on the article were just down right cruel toward people who are struggling to have children. It’s fine to have a difference of opinion, but why be nasty about it?
One woman suggests that our wanting children is the same as wanting any “commodity” and that we have some kind of sense of entitlement to children, and from her “Buddhist” perspective desiring to have our own children is an EGO-TRIP and will only end up with our suffering. Many people pointed out to her that compassion is one of the key principles of Buddhism, but she didn’t seem to get that point. I had an interesting debate with her, but eventually gave up – there’s no point trying to talk with someone who just wants to be right.
Oh – and she also claims to have infertility envy. Yeah – you read right.
To be honest – just thinking about what she, and some others, wrote brings up the angry wild beast in me. I won’t share with you the names I want to call her that are rolling around in my head – but I’m sure you can imagine what they might be. I’ll just say that she’s a great big meanie-head.
Why am I sharing this? Because there are going to be times when people are going to say cruel things to us – we who want children so much but can’t have them. It’s like we deserve the judgement and criticism for wanting children more than people who don’t particularly care about kids, have them anyway, and then treat them like dirt.
It’s getting easier with time to let these remarks and comments go without latching onto them, but given what I’ve recently been going through the comments by this woman really stung. I felt fragile and anxious and stuck.
Ironically, it was thinking about this woman’s version of Buddhism that got me back to feeling settled again.
For some reason I wanted her to be compassionate to me, but she wasn’t being compassionate. I made it my mission to get her to understand my perspective, but she wouldn’t. There came a point where I could either go crazy trying to change the way things were or I could let it all go. So, I let the anger go and watched it float on by – and I still am letting it go and float on by whenever the anger about what she said arises in my mind.
I like to think of Buddhism in terms of a river. Your self is sitting on the bank of a beautiful clear river and all different leaves float by from all different types of trees. You try to control them by creating a dam, but that just stops the flow of the river and all the leaves come together and form an indistinct sludge. You try to capture the leaves using a scoop, but that just stirs up the river and the clear water becomes so murky that you can no longer see the bottom. You try to push all the leaves away from you with your hand, but they just stick to you instead. Eventually you learn that all you need to do is watch the leaves float by.
All of the leaves represent different emotions – anger, sadness, happiness, love, guilt, joy, satisfaction. None of them are seen as “better” or more “worthy” than others and none are meant to be latched onto or pushed away. They are what they are – you see them, you feel them, you appreciate them for what they are, you may even act on them, and then you let them go.
This is what I try to do with my emotions – but it’s not always easy because I’m human!
The anger comes around, I see it, I feel it, I act on it if I am able and it would be healthy to do so, and then I let it go.
I’m going to leave it there, except to suggest that, if you are interested in a book that I have learnt a lot from, have a look at “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” by Oliver Burkeman.
I just realised that I mentioned this book in April last year – so you can be assured it’s a favourite of mine!