This month, I am hiding out in a small town in BC called Oosoyos, to escape severe seasonal allergies. I am still working full-time, but all over the telephone for the month of June. If you are already a client, please know that I will still be accessible via telephone and will check my messages Monday-Friday and also by email. And if you do opt for a phone session, I pay for the call and have an assistant to run payments through. Believe me, I don’t do this by choice, but out of sheer necessity. If you got my e-zines last year, you’ll remember that I spent June 2013 in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the same reason.
This year, my hubby and I chose a place closer to home with the same climate (Osoyoos is Canada’s answer to the desert found in so much more of the US but we’ll take it all the same). A radical solution to a health problem I know, but after suffering so intensely from multiple allergies for the past eleven years and being practically housebound for the month of June at home, I decided to not be a victim of circumstance and try and find relief elsewhere at this time of year.
It turns out that what I imagined would be a huge inconvenience (uprooting myself and hubby for a month and this year, two huge cats as well!), is turning out to be something we actually look forward to. Taking a month off (even while working remotely) and living in an entirely different environment can be incredibly invigorating. Being somewhere different gives you a new perspective on life. Some things are the same- who I am surrounded by, the work I do, what I eat, and my basic routine, but the environment has changed and that in itself, is refreshing.
I am a real homebody and love living in a small town and living a quiet peaceful life, but I also tend to get bored after a while and need to switch things up. That’s where travelling comes in. Sometimes I go across the Atlantic, sometimes across Canada or the US, and sometimes it’s just a 3-6 hour journey from home. Regardless of where I end up, I always have novel and fun experiences that I definitely wouldn’t have had if I had stayed at home. I just love seeing new sights and learning about how other people live. We’re all so different in many different ways (culture, language, lifestyles) and yet so similar in many other ways (the need to feel connected and to find meaning and purpose in our lives).
Fumblings for Ancient Wisdom
I have been an avid yoga student for more than half of my life and practice roughly three times a week and have done so for more than a decade. I have waxed poetic in past ezines about the benefits of yoga and why I love it so much. I continue to love yoga and honestly don’t know how I would function without it in my life. However, it recently occurred to me that I had very little knowledge of yoga’s sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita and decided I wanted to learn more about the philosophical underpinnings of yoga practice. Click here for more background about this sacred text from Wikipedia.
When I did a search for “bhagavad gita” I discovered that one of my favourite spiritual teachers of all time, Ram Dass, actually did a lecture series illuminating the central teachings of The Bhagavad Gita in the early 1970’s at Naropa University in its founding year entitled, Love, Service, Devotion, and the Ultimate Surrender: Ram Dass on the Bhagavad Gita.
I am a huge fan of audiobooks so I zipped through this long lecture series with great zeal and I am so glad I did because Ram Dass puts the sacred text and the stories contained within it into modern-day language and Western concepts I could easily relate to- even though it was about forty years ago! I highly recommend this series to any of you who are interested in learning more about the Bhagavad Gita and becoming a true ‘karmic yogi’. Let me know what you think!
Ask Esther… Personality Disorders
How do I explain to my (young adult) children that their grandmother has an extreme Narcissistic Personality Disorder? When they were younger I limited exposure and taught them to just go along, so they still had both my parents in their life. Their grandfather is a gentle, loving man but he will not be with us much longer and my mother is going to be left alone to realize that she has damaged all her relationships. I don’t want to influence them unduly or transfer my issues, but at the same time they are old enough now to understand the explanation of why she was so impossible to please. How do I have these conversations in a loving way so they understand the importance of maintaining strong boundaries if they decide to maintain a relationship with her after he’s gone?
I really feel for you. That’s quite the dilemma you’ve got on your hands. I want to start by commending you for working so hard while your children were growing up to find a balance for them between feeling connected to their grandparents, while also protecting them from the destructive effects of a severe personality disorder. Unfortunately, I have helped many of my clients with this same dilemma over the years. Personality disorders are much more common than we once thought and they cause incredible damage in families, sometimes with devastating consequences.
I’m hoping that as a daughter of a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you have gotten the help you need to overcome that legacy and heal yourself as an adult. I mentioned a good resource in a previous e-zine called Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. that might be helpful. As a multigenerational family systems therapist, I believe very strongly that the way to teach children how to have healthy boundaries and relationships is by leading by example. It sounds like you have done a good job of that already with your kids, but now that they are adults; you may need to step it up a notch.
Basically, what I tell my clients in your situation is to talk with their adult children about how they were parented and the affects it has had on them. I would also encourage open and honest conversations between yourself and your kids about their grandparents. I would ask them about their experience with each of them and how they feel about them. You might be surprised- sometimes people who were not good at parenting do well at grand-parenting and are able to be good to that generation because there is more distance there. I think the important thing here is to work through your own unfinished emotional business with your parents and let that be your guide and allow your children to feel that they can come to you with any relationship issues they may experience- both with family and peers.
I hope that helps. Feel free to write in about how this evolves for the benefit of other readers with similar situations.