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Dealing with suffering in a supportive, healing space.

June 30, 2022


I am always about two decades behind when it comes to media / technology. I struggle to use the remote control for our (smart?) TV, I refuse to upgrade my old, smallish iPhone that I can’t type well on due to my massive thumbs, and I cannot for the life of me work out why I cannot just save an excel spreadsheet to my mac (whatever OneDrive is, I don’t want it grrrr!).

My daughter mocked me the other day for not knowing what a widget was. Widgets, gifs, reels are all way over my head but seem to be very 2022, which is why it confused, and surprised me, when the lovely chap building my new website suggested I wrote a blog.

I do know what a blog is (hoorah!), but blogs were invented in the 1990s weren’t they?

So, who is going to read my blog nowadays?

At the risk of sounding smug, I am currently sitting, alone, looking out at the sunset over the Cornish sea. Well, sunset is a stretch, but it is a magnificent view. I am three days into my annual yoga retreat, where I come to be a student, be fed delicious, heart-warming food, and meditate, a lot.

My knees are starting to feel it now from the long daily periods of sitting, but my heart (and central channel) is feeling full of love, compassion and clarity.

The last 6 months have been some of the hardest times I have experienced in my 42yr lifetime.

In February my dad was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia (I had no idea what that was, it turns out it’s probably the worst form of dementia someone can suffer from).

Just 6 weeks prior to that he was my ‘normal’ dad, could hold a telephone conversation, walk to the shops by himself, take care of his wife (my step mum) and generally go about life as he had done since the pandemic set in.

The diagnosis was an enormous shock for our family and still is.

He now lives, permanently, in a nursing home, with 17hrs of 1:1 care in a 24hr period. He is the youngest person there at 72 years of age. He usually knows who I am when I visit but has had moments (before the latest drug was introduced) when he did not.

Being here gives me time to process.

We have been grieving for my dad. We have lost the person he was and it is very painful to see his mental and physical deterioration. It saddens me as I walk down the cliffs to the ocean that my dad will never experience the fresh sea air or the feeling of sand in between his toes again.

It saddens me to think of my step mum alone and desperate to keep hold of any glimpse of her loving husband as much as she can.

Being here is healing.

It feels safe here, a supportive, held space. My wonderful teacher of 7 years + is from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and has this incredible positive energy that is truly infectious. I know this comes from his years of regular practice and that is why I come here every year, to try and tap deeper into my own practice to help build an inner resource, an inner strength.

In this evening’s meditation session he shared from one of his teachers’ books…

The parable of the second arrow is a well-known Buddhist story about dealing with suffering more skilfully.

It is said the Buddha once asked a student,

If a person is struck by an arrow, is it painful? If the person is struck by a second arrow, is it even more painful?

He then went on to explain,

In life, we can’t always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. This second arrow is optional.

Being here is necessary.

Love and peace xx