Power and Struggle
In so many years I have had relationships where I was weak. In my marriage, I bent to his interests, because I wanted him to be happy. I didn't think of my own happiness. I think this has been true for me for a really long time. As a result of my struggles I have had (being a caregiver for 10 years, job searching for 3 years, a divorce, bad relationships, and the death of my dad), I have been doing a lot of self-discovery. Part of that self-discovery is not just me, but my dad (I am currently transcribing old letters....more on that in the next post).
"The ultimate source of happiness is within ourselves. Love. Kindness. Not machines, not technology, not money, not power."
~ The Dalai Lama
I read The Book of Joy awhile ago and now feel like it is worth another read. I had not realized the power of this quote until recently. I can't find the quote now but they also speak about how real struggle leads to happiness. So many times we ask the question why is all of this happening to me? Why is it so easy for other people? I really see both of these statements as being so powerful and true.
One of the letters I transcribed was a letter from my grandparents to my dad who had been accepted to Montclair College on "probation". I found this interesting, as I had no idea but it also tells me that he struggled. For me too, I struggled in school, and to find my path. I squeaked by, and in some cases made bad grades. This was through high school to my Bachelor degree. Things started to change when I was in China, learning the language, and realizing I had a real skill in language. I did very well in both Master degrees and Doctorate degree. However, I still struggled. I did not believe in myself. I had men in my life (other than my dad) who used power and words for their advantage.. That resulted in me feeling less of my self, thinking I would always be a failure, both professionally and personally.
I have worked jobs that I did ok but wasn't happy. I had married the wrong man and lost myself. The things that were important to me: food, culture, language, travel, animals were not central to my life. Instead, I honored his interests: Star Wars, video games, and Disney. When I went through the divorce, I fell apart. I was thrown into the life of being a caregiver that was unpaid, long hours, stressful to my body, as well as my mental health. But it was through the process of being my dad's caregiver that I learned who he was and as a result who I was, my skills and gifts.
I lost myself in my marriage an found myself through caring for my dad. I may not be 100% there yet or know the exact path, but I am getting there with every meditation, every person I speak with, and every book I read. I am my own person and becoming more powerful on my own, without anyone telling me how to be.
I have been thinking about my dad and how his childhood was like. He was a quiet person who never spoke about it. I gather that it was not pleasant because he never spoke about it. Was this because he had a strict dad and an overbearing older sister who took his power? This is something I hope to learn through the letters I transcribe. I do know that he was the best dad, the greatest counselor, the best Rolfer, friend, and community member who always but others before himself.
Look for my next post(s) regarding these letters.