Archives for August, 2010
In Australia, just like in America, we have our celebrity royalty. Bert and Patti Newton have reigned supreme for the past forty years as hosts of just about every cheesy TV variety show imaginable. But now they are in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Their son Matthew Newton, (33) rising star on Australian TV has just beaten up his second girlfriend. The conviction in the first case was quashed and his second girlfriend, Rachael Taylor, star of “The Transformers” has taken an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) out and started legal action against him. He is alleged to have beaten her up and given her head injuries in Rome two weeks ago. My heart goes out to her, I wish her well and I hope she is receiving support from loved ones as well. I also wholeheartedly respect and support her decision to go ahead and have him charged. As Bert said, “There are no winners in this situation.”
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes, not just in schools and at work, but also in the most unexpected places. Having been bullied at school, I cannot sit by and watch others bully and be bullied. My son and I, both sensitive nature lovers, took a walk in Hyde Park, North Perth, Western Australia, where to my delight I spotted two black swans and their six cygnets. I got up close for a photo and mother and father and babies came to the edge of the concrete lip of the pond.
Empathy is the ability to understand what it's like to get inside someone else’s skin and feel what they are feeling. Most people have empathy, but there is a small percentage who wear their empathy on their sleeve. These are called Empaths, people who not just display empathy, but who literally take on another persons emotional pain so that person can be relieved of what they are feeling. A couple of years ago, my Dad, my son Chris, aged thirteen, and I went to the zoo. We walked around and admired the animals. When I was a child I loved the zoo, but this time all I could feel was the collective encompassing misery of hundreds of sentient beings locked up in small, dark, dank enclosures. It made me very sad and internally I had a fierce debate over the pros and cons of animal conservation versus animal extinction. Eventually we bought lunch and sat on a platform overlooking the elephant enclosure, which, from the point of view of the zoo, is a magnificent structure. From the point of view of an elephant, it’s a miserable hell-hole.
If you want to find out how many friends you really have, deactivate your Facebook and see how many people actually miss you. Two weeks ago I had 57 friends on Facebook and after shutting it down only two people have emailed me to find out why. Facebook is rewriting the laws of technology and the rules of friendship, social networking, cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying. While it is great to get into contact with ex-friends, ex-work colleagues, overseas relatives and people you used to go to school with, just what does constitute a healthy relationship with Facebook?
Sometimes, women who did not connect, attach and receive the right sort of emotional nurturing and sustenance from their mothers as infants and children need to have a non-physical “love affair” with their therapist in order to feel experientially the unconditional love of another who represents a mother-figure. Even if you have a romantic partner you connect with, sometimes this is not enough. This is not something that is taught in “therapy school” and certainly not in Universities. It is more intuitive and based on the therapist’s personality, and it goes a long way towards healing a wounded soul.
One of the places I get most depressed in is a medical hospital. Over the years since I have had my three children I have been in hospitals many times for various reasons. Two years ago I was in and out of hospital for six months before having an operation for a small bowel total obstruction. Every time I had to go to the hospital I would get depressed exponentially to the point where each time I had a needle or my IV resited (many times because I have fat hands and tiny veins) I would have pinpricks behind my eyes and when the nurse left the room tears would slowly roll down my cheeks. While I knew it was more situational rather than clinical depression, it still felt bad and it still hurt.
Depression has had a different meaning for me roughly every five to ten years. Life experience changes the face and shadow of my depression and adds many levels and layers to who I think I am. As I approach my half-century I look back over my life and, with the wonderful wisdom of hindsight, can clearly pinpoint what went wrong and where it got worse. As I learn more and more about the concept of mindfulness I realise it brings me not so much happiness - but far less misery, and a sense of unconditional reality and normality. Although I meditate, “bliss” for me is as remote as Tibet is to the Dalai Lama. If “normal" is just a setting on the washing machine, then “bliss” is just an ice-cream I see in the freezer department of my local supermarket where I get my frozen fish and sausages.