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Detachment...the new Nirvana?

Started by Lillycache, May 13, 2012, 07:27:17 am

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The Buddha described nirv?na as the perfect peace of the state of mind that is free from craving, anger, and other afflicting states.

In thinking about this, I see a correlation to detachment from the pain and anger resulting from our present situations involving our children, their spouses and our grandchildren.  But how exactly does one detach from something and someone so ingrained in our lives and our identities?  Is there a way to get to a place of peace? At this point, I see it as unattainable.   We can turn to religion, trusted friends, message board support, but true release from the anguish remains just beyond our reach.  These things help for a time... an hour, a day.. maybe a week, but the emotion always comes creeping back.  Does detachment mean no longer caring or loving or perhaps hating? When our children are involved that seems impossible.  How do we do this?


My take is that we all probably move past it differently and some of us not at all. For me, focusing on my pain only increased it, so I eventually learned to focus elsewhere. It didn't change the loss, nothing could. Certainly there was no Nirvana in the process. It was a need to honor who I am beyond being my eldest son's mother and to retrieve myself from the hold that not having my expectations met had on me. I came to value myself and my life beyond the choices he made...and to no longer allow them to rule my perceptions and experience. Hate was never a part of it. Even though he passed on from a sleep apnea induced stroke at age 52, I still love him dearly and I still cherish my memories. Sending love to all on this special day...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Lillycache I truly understand your post and want to find out how to move past, what to do and where it will take me .The journey of this trip seems so long , painful and stressful I want to find a lightening speed jet to get me past the pain and end up where i need to be. I know we have to live through it , get to the peace but this is h--- doing so. Everyone here will get there but at very different times and emotional satisfaction. I'm praying we all land on our feet soon or in the near future.


I believe that learning to love and forgive yourself is a big part of the equation.  I have spent many hours rehashing the past and turning things over and over in my mind.  What part did I play in this senario?  Thinking back on any and all comments or actions that could have been misinterpreted. Going over my son's entire childhood looking for MY mistakes.... and believe me, I made a few.  I have to come to terms with the fact that as a young single mom, I did the best I could with what little support or guidence I had.  One thing is certain in my mind... I always loved my child and always wanted the best for him... that I know.  The other stuff?  I have to learn to let go of.


I was a young single mom also , from the time DD was 2 til 12, and prior to 2 her dad was out of town so much ( pilot having fun all over while I was at home ) so I put her first and being the only child wow I make mistakes I"m sure . I had  to do like you , the best I could and she has turned out fine except now the marriage to a different type then we are use to has us puzzled. I will like you hash it over and over , but in the  end we both were and are good mothers .


So the dilemma remains..  How do we get to a point of peace and serenity?  How do we let go of the anger and the jealousy of the unfairness of it all.  How do we let what we thought would be our destiny of being loved and respected to acceptance of how it really is?  How do we deal with the nagging feelings of self doubt and self recrimination?  Knowing that the moment of conception of a male sealed our fate?  Was that our only crime?  Conceiving a male?   All these things go through my mind this Mothers Day.   


Lillycache, for me it's been a gradual, gradient process.  I liken it to dieting sometimes - if you really want to get rid of the weight, you change your habits drastically.  The cravings can still crop up but you force yourself to not reach for the chocolate and reach for something healthy instead.  You develop habits of exercise till your body develops a need for it and misses it if you don't do it.

I still get those random thoughts that move through, but I'm training myself to shove them away or ignore them.  Doing something that gets my attention on the present helps.    Being around people who enjoy my company helps immensely.

I figure it took me a quarter of a century to develop the relationship with my son; it'll take a while to develop this new relationship with myself.

lancaster lady

I agree Lilly,

It will take time , limit your sad thought to a short time each day , then move on .
Don't hash over what has gone and cannot be changed , you have a lot of living to do .
Decide to do something extreme each day , something that needs to be planned in advance,
and DO it .
Our AC do not waste their time thinking of their estranged parents , they are too busy living
their life .I encourage you to do the same .


I also think that you reach a point where you just don't care to hold on to 'what could have been' - at least I did.  It was pretty subtle for me but one day, after an email from my son detailing what I needed to do to have access to his family, I realized that I didn't really want the access so much anymore.  Now, I feel like he would have to do some repair work in order to entice me back into his life.


Re: LL's comment...I have a friend here (Retirement Center) that lost her husband and in Grief Counseling, they were encouraged to have a time each morning to grieve heavily and then that was it for the day. She said it worked miracles for her because she was grieving 24/7 and it was taking her down. It seems to me that the grief we face when losing contact with an AC is somewhat similar for many of us. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I have said before, it's like dealing with any loss.  You have to go through all the stages until you reach acceptance.  There's no time limit or set itenerary for how that happens for each one.  You can go through them in order, or out of order, and revisit them too.   They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  It took me getting angry to finally reach acceptance.

The answer is acceptance.  I think of it as a rule.  That could be at work, school, etc.  You didn't have to like it, you didn't have to agree with it, but at some point you realize that is how it is and go along with it because you can't change it.   

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


I think if it were a 'clean' grief, it would be more do-able.  I remember when my father died, my mother had a brief period of really hard grief, then suddenly she seemed as free as a bird and has been happy for more than 20 years.  She had no regrets with daddy, he was difficult to live with but she had really done her part and his passing she accepted.  With us mothers, it isn't a clean wound.  We have our souls still knotted up in the process, and we don't have a corpse, we have a living grief that is still taking us up and down, and we have to suffer through periods of hope and despair.  We have to bear long periods that we can't share with any one else, when we question in the back of our minds are we really the cause of it all.  I just learned this w/e that my DS has received an internship at NASA, and everyone in the family knew this before I did.  He did write and tell me, however, and I responded with how proud I was of him, but I knew that it is not, and will not be, what I wanted it to be.  It opened up a fresh would of grief in me.  Every movement like this sets me back, and I have to work out of it again. 


 I was typing this while you were posting, Ruth, and I agree that this grief isn't linear. I wish I could get to acceptance. Just when I think I'm getting there, they change the status quo.

One of my DDs recently called me to apologize for cutting herself out of my life. You would think I would be overjoyed, and I am. Of course I received her with open arms. But with 6 kids just like her, I have been going through this being hated then loved for the last decade, at least. I feel like my soul has been shaken loose, getting yanked back and forth.  Maybe I just wasn't thick skinned enough to be a mother. I truly feel like I'm on the wrong planet.

I would like to find this Nirvana of peace. I have not had a moment of true peace since I became a mother. To do that I think I'd have to detach from this world.


yes, I get it Margaret.   :Moment of honesty - last week Luise did a beautiful post about the blessings she had realized in her life as the result of being a mother, in spite of the pain, or even rather ripened by the pain.  I could not share that sentiment with her, I wish I could.  Looking back, I cannot find one whole day that was not marred by upset or some kind of sadness with regards to  DS, and in fact both the children have kept my life turned upside down, and I have enjoyed very very little of this rewarding gratification that we hear about.  I'm ashamed to say this, but I cannot yet see the rewards outweighing the cost to my inner life in parenting, it has been a very very hard road.  I'd love to be able to stretch out my hand toward you, Margaret, and give you one big sweet squeeze.! 


Don't be ashamed of anything, Ruth.

Right now my pain is blocking out the sun, and it outweighs the joy or any rewarding gratification from being a mother. My hope is that at the final tally, the scales will at least be balanced. I could accept that.

But I think I'd have to live to be very old to have them tip the other way.  ;D