Sunday, 1 February 2009

Getting sharing space

Living here with this family has brought home to me how I had no family childhood. I chose when I was 11 to leave my family and go away to an Irish catholic boarding school. As a result I was away from my family for all of my adolescent life. When my parents saw how much they thought I loved it they sent my brothers away to boarding school also. As a result none of us ever had a family life in our teenage years. Being with this family and their 2 children who are 14 and 10 has brought it home just how much I think I have missed out and as a result I was sad today. I was also sad for my brothers who didn't choose to go away but is what happened as a result of the choice I made. I know that this is something they have never forgotten. My younger brother said this to me one weekend when I went home and he had been celebrating and had a lot of alchohol. He told me the extent to which my choice had impacted on him and my other brother and how it had closed the door on us ever being close. When I look back now I wonder why did I make such a decision.

And yet it is from those years in that boarding school that my spiritual life bloomed and deepened. It was here I had the insight into the difference between being spiritual and being religious and the determined choice I made to pursue the former even though I had no idea what it was going to involve. Yet the cost of me doing this has been high. The spiritual is not something that shines like a beacon it is subtle and so my family do not see the results of such a sacrifice. Being here with this family has brought home to me just how much my brothers have missed out as a result of a decision I and I alone made when I was 11.

I discovered a little more about why the man here is not so keen on me being here. His wife is very open and told me that she had been made redundant and that they needed the money and that is why after 13 years they are renting out their 4th bedroom in what is a small house. When she said this I felt my heart open with compassion and could see a little of what he might be feeling, that he can't provide for his family without this help and that I am some kind of threat which i am not. Having this as my context made it much easier when I saw him again and he appeared to be warmer and asked me if everything was OK. It is amazing when we shift our context around things then everything shifts.

I did 4 hours of shorthand practice this morning because in the past it is my shorthand skills or the lack of them that has resulted in me not getting my words per minute. But this also has shifted in that in the past I couldn't see the logic of shorthand. It didn't click and instead of understanding the principles of shorthand I was trying to learn outlines I didn't understand. This time it seems to have clicked in a way it hasn't before. After this I tried to do some meditation but my mind was all over the place so I gave up. I went downstairs to make a cup of tea. Juggling when I can go into the kitchen and make something to eat is also a challenge because with 4 of them there is always someone in the kitchen. I'm also more aware of my bodily functions now in a way I never was when I lived alone. All of this is such a new experience for me. The way I know not to suffer with any of this is to choose to accept everything exactly the way it is and the way it isn't with faith that everything that is happening is exactly what is meant to be happening.

I had a frustrating morning with the internet because it turns out that I can only access it when it is logged on downstairs and sometimes it goes off. This happened this morning and I thought I would scream with frustration. Then I had a thought 'the sea is only 5 mins away'. I immediately felt uplifted and wrapped up warm because it is absolutely freezing down here and headed off. The moment I got to the top of the road and was treated to the sea view I felt so much better. I saw some steps that led down closer to the sea and went down. To my absolute delight I saw a cafe that had the most spectacular sea veiw. I went in and ordered a coffee and some water. Looking out of the window in the warmth I was filled with an overwhelming gratitude for the force that had made it possible for me to be living in this part of Brighton. I thought about how miserable I would be if I was holed up in some room in the middle of Brighton town and once again huge waves of gratitude washed over me and I could feel tears beginning to sting at the back of my eyes.

I had ordered and received my coffee when about 20 mins later the guy arrived down with another. I explained that I had already got it and he said 'you might as well have it, I've made it now'. I couldn't believe it, this was just so amazing. I looked afresh out of the window and the sun was sending down its streaks of light onto the sea. Again I am such a clumsy writer when it comes to trying to express how the sight touches and moves me and the strength and courage it gives to me. I was looking out and I suddenly thought 'I am going to look for my own place here in Saltdean'. I looked around me and couldn't believe it when on the table next to mine was the Friday-Ad paper which has all of the rental properties. I turned the page and there was a studio flat with fabulous sea views available to rent. I made a note of the details and returned the magazine to the table. I won't do anything yet until I see how my course unfolds but to find it was strangely reassuring.

So now I am back with the family and the internet is working so I am happy. I don't know what tomorrow will bring.....but I am ready...

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