Do you keep diaries? I did for many years. I filled up many of those blank page books; they were like my portable and private therapists, a written record of ruminations and attempts to sort feelings. I suppose you could say blogging is a modern day, more focussed way of diarising.
I came across one of my old books by accident today. (I burned a lot of the old diaries because I sorely needed to move on from past traumas.) This particular book is special. It chronicles the two month period that I spent with my sister Sue not long before she died of lung cancer.
I knew that after being with her and her family at such a difficult time that something in me shifted permanently, and I can see in my writing exactly when it happened.
It was when I woke up on the morning that Sue was to start her first of a series of chemotherapy treatments. She was already awake and in a state of high anxiety. Could you blame her? I realised then that the best way I could support her was not trying to cheer her up and not to be solicitous but just to be.
It looks so ordinary as I write it: ‘just to be’. Nevertheless, it enabled me to spend time with Sue and not impose my will on her. As a result, she could relax in my company and feel safe in a way we’d never before experienced in our 50-year sisterhood. And, in return I learned the value of acceptance and having no agenda. I learned to be with someone I loved, practising non-projection, accepting that this was her life, even in death.
Consciousness cannot comprehend both the Seer and itself at the same time.*
*Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translation and commentary by B.K.S. Iyengar.