Grandma Visits (Dec 1996)

As my hair grows longer and I brush it fifty strokes every night, I am reminded of my Grandma Tessier-Myers. Her hair grew past her waistline and she loved to brush and caress it as she braided it every morning before wrapping it around her head several times. My Mom also had long brown hair when I was a child and perhaps that memory is stimulating me to grow my hair long once again. So in honour of my Grandma I choose a photograph of her for the front cover. It was taken at a time when she came for a visit to Rosswood and stayed through the long winter. Pictured with her tea kettle in hand, l guess she was going out to collect some snow so she could boil up some tea water. I remember how she and Grandad Kost loved to play crib and talk philosophy and how she always wore a skirt no matter how cold it got outside.

Much has happened in just one month that has affected me deeply. Understanding the connections inside myself is certainly an awesome job. Finding the balance is still a struggle, with some days better than others. Letting go of the tension in my right hip and left shoulder has allowed more stored memories to surface … old memories that I would have preferred to have stayed buried but can’t if I wish to have good posture. I am grateful to my body for continuing to remind me of my imbalances though I may not appreciate it in the moment, for my body is the best teacher I have. Taking time to sort through and think through my thoughts and feelings is allowing me to see the past programming that is buried so deeply in my unconscious that I forgot I created it.

Last week as I was browsing through my bookshelf, I picked up Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Yourself. It flipped open to the page that listed the different illnesses and their causes, and the word belching caught my eye, for it is something I do. Most days it is not too obvious, but once in awhile it gets chronic and I wonder why. I re-read her advice that our emotions and belief systems cause pain and dis-ease. Louise says that the underlying cause of burping is “Fear and Gulping Life too Fast.” Two years ago I would have said “Not me, I don’t have any fears.” But this time it was different: I decided to mull over the word ‘fear’ and see if just maybe I might find a connection, for I have been told by several practitioners that one of my kidneys is weak, and occasionally I can feel it pulsating. Also there is a tender spot on my back lower rib which I know to be an acupuncture point for my kidneys. Chinese medicine says that the kidneys reflect the emotion of fear. After two different spiritual healing sessions, one with Troy Lenard and one with Mary Ferguson, I noticed I drank two or three glasses of water immediately after getting off the table. I also made note that I wasn’t sipping water all day, instead my body wanted me to drink larger quantities at a time. In Chinese medicine the kidney and bladder are linked together and operate as a team. I wasn’t too sure how they were all connected together or what the change meant till my ex-husband came for a visit.

It was one of my slower days so I invited him to go for walk while we updated each other on how we were doing. Then he said, “Just for the record, your last Musing column was incorrect.” I thought to myself… Wow, he is actually reading it… I was impressed. I asked “Which part needs correcting?” He said,

“When you told me you were pregnant, we were not sitting down. We were walking home from school in front of the Sacred Heart Church.” I said, “I thought and thought, trying to remember exactly where I was, but all I could remember was needing to sit down so that I could talk to you about my fear of having to tell my Mom… for I knew she would be angry.” Rae said, “I just remember being so happy that you were pregnant.” I stared at him and said, “I know you were… but I wasn’t. I was scared and I needed someone to talk to and you couldn’t hear me.” At that point, my mouth kept speaking almost independent of me as I said, “You know what I just realized … that I married you out of fear. Fear of being alone. Getting married was not something I wanted to do and that was why I said no every time you asked me beforehand. I liked having a boyfriend for many reasons and I enjoyed the attention and affection, and I guess I didn’t want to lose that by refusing to play around. Besides, you said I wouldn’t get pregnant.” Then I added, “You know something … I am starting to understand the difference between love and sex.”

Over the next week old memories surfaced and I had a few good cries. I said out loud to myself all the things I had wanted to say at the time and didn’t because I didn’t know how, and then I blessed him, for I now know that Rae was more scared than I, he just couldn’t talk about it. I remember looking up at him on our wedding day, his hands were so swollen he couldn’t get the ring on his finger, and I was amazed to see the sweat pouring off his forehead; for it reminded me of Niagara Falls. I have come to realize that his fear of being alone is buried even more deeply than mine, for he had a new woman chosen before I even moved out of the house.

I enjoy living on my own for it has given me the time I need to reflect and to sort through my emotions and get back into my body. I am learning new ways of expressing myself more honestly and am now willing to go through the fear when I need to say something that needs to be said, even though I know the person may react. I have learned that I did Rae no favours by being so permissive. But I didn’t want to be like my Mom, fighting for everything she got. When I was a child, having feelings and emotions always seemed so senseless and such a waste of time to me for it got my Mom nowhere, so I taught myself to do the opposite. I wanted peace at all costs. Nothing was worth fighting about. I learned not to cry when Rae broke my heart, for I had three kids to raise and I didn’t want to do it alone. I learned to give him what he wanted most and bartered for the rest. I didn’t even realize how much I hated the situation I had created till one day Rae came home and told me that he had rolled his logging truck and a log had come through the little glass window and just missed killing him. My only thought at the time was “Too bad, that certainly would have made my life easier.”

At that point I decided to change my attitude for I knew it wasn’t very nice of me to wish another person dead, let alone my husband. Rae was a nice guy, he was a great Dad and he was fun to be around. He treated me with lots of respect and tenderness as long as he got his way. But by giving in to his needs and ignoring mine I left my body. I became the eternal optimist, with no feelings, no anger, no desires and no passion. After ten years of being married, the only thing we had in common was raising a family. I found hockey games boring and he wasn’t interested in the holistic health stuff. I was always busy ‘doing’ so that I didn’t have time to be intimate. My mind loved having the control and I lost touch with my body. Indigestion become chronic and I couldn’t understand why, so I changed my diet and took enzymes. It all helped for a while, but eventually I ran out of natural remedies to try. My body had shut down and I didn’t even know it till one day when I went for a walk and realized that I had very little circulation in my fingers or toes. So I started getting massages and having bodywork done and that helped for a while, loosening me up so that I could keep working, determined more than ever to heal myself naturally. Reading books helped me to understand the body-mind connection but putting it into practice meant I had to change my attitude and my belief systems from a bodily point of view.

I now know when I am intellectualizing and when I am being present and feeling my feelings in the moment, as most children do naturally. I think it is important that when a child says NO, we honour it. We need to teach them they have the power to make decisions based on love, common sense and reason. My father’s way to get me to be good and do what he wanted was to get angry and punish me, creating a deep-seated fear in me that I wouldn’t be loved if I said “no.” No wonder it was so hard for me to say “no” to Rae and his need to feel loved. We always attract into our lives what we need to heal most and when we don’t sort things out, we tend to label our ‘teachers’ as the wrong doers … rather than realizing that we have been presented with an opportunity to become whole.

During the twenty some years Rae and I were married we did manage to sort through some of the baggage that we both carried into our relationship. We were both very supportive of our differences and that allowed each of us to grow and develop as human beings. If it is true that our children reflect our values and unspoken beliefs, then I figure we did a good job of raising our boys, considering how young we were when we had them and how little we knew about ourselves. We both had a good measure of common sense and an appreciation for each other’s hard work and we took our commitment to having children seriously. We stayed together and worked things out till they left home, by then there was little left for us to talk about, so we separated.

I now feel like I have completed another phase of my life, for I have changed much in the past six years and I am excited to see what the New Year will bring.

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