I am a fifty-two-year-old woman who has spent most of her life being what the majority of people would consider to be a ‘good’ person. I have spent thirty years working with people with severe intellectual disabilities, a job that without fail draws gasps of admiration and praise from anyone that discovers what I do for a living.
I remember the exact moment that it happened. My partner, our 15-year-old son and I were going down a very long escalator on the underground in Prague when my son put his arms around my shoulders from behind. A simple, and for many, everyday act that would not and did not stand out to anyone else on that escalator, but an act that every cell of my body registered and one that made me feel like singing from the rooftops.
My guess is that it’s fairly common for women to have a ‘shoebox’ or something similar in which they store their ‘treasures.’ Letters, cards, photos, locks of their baby’s hair, basically things of sentimental value that seem to confirm their sense of identity, things that are pertinent to them and their lives.
Since the beginning of time there has been a steady stream of men and women who have managed to see through and live free from the illusion of life. What they have each been able to do is to systematically work their way back to the truth of all things. Once back, each of them has then communicated that truth to the rest of humanity.
Whilst thinking about writing this blog, I was pondering for how long I have had a problem with waste, and I would say that it has been for well over twenty years. I’m basing that mainly on the fact that I can remember being at work twenty odd years ago and putting up a sign by the industrial photocopier encouraging people to do double sided photocopying so that they didn’t waste paper. I remember signing my note ‘on behalf of the trees’ but if I was truly honest, it wasn’t on behalf of the trees, it was on behalf of me, because when I was given handouts at work which had only been printed on one side it really annoyed me; not because it was a waste of trees but because it was simply a waste.
When I was a young girl, God and I were one and the same. The fact that I never went to church, said His name or even gave Him a second thought was neither here nor there; like most kids, my relationship with God ‘just was’.
Is it possible that by working on the things we resist and procrastinate over in our outer world, that we can affect our inner world? A bit like energetic surgery, in reverse. And from my experience, I would most definitely say that “yes” – “yes, it is.”
When I say ‘my family,’ what I am referring to is my immediate family: my partner of 27 years and our sixteen-year-old son. The relationships that we share within our family have changed beyond recognition, and I feel impulsed to share a little about how these changes have come about, because I know that to be in true relationship with one another is what we all so desperately crave.
Recently I have been exploring the topic of judgement, as I have come to realise that I have been a very judgmental person for most of my life. Judging others is so much a part of what I do that I’m often not even aware that I am doing it. I have found that in order for me to be able to see a behaviour clearly, I need to be able to get a bit of distance between me and the behavior: but my problem with being judgmental is that it has often felt as close to me as my breath.
Riddle me this, Batman. What is the one thing that we say we do the most of, without actually doing it at all?
The idea of love is woven through pretty much every aspect of our lives: it’s mentioned in almost every song that we sing and poem that we write, it features in nearly every book that’s ever been written and has centre stage in many of our plays. We use it to advertise everything from chocolates to nappies, it’s written in our cards and on our clothes, we talk about it and we proclaim that we feel it (passionately), but is our use of the word ‘love’ true?
Alexis Stewart is the mum of a beautiful boy and the partner to an amazing man. She works as a yoga teacher and a disability support worker and is a dedicated student of the Way of The Livingness. Alexis has recently discovered a passion for writing.