This week I travelled with one son from Calgary up to Grande Prairie and back – to look at a semi-truck?! And with another son from Calgary to Abbotsford and back. (I had a cup of tea with my Mom, sitting in the sun on her deck.) Both trips were long road trips, just shy of 1000 kms. Which adds up to more than just a few ‘thinking-hours’. I also listened to hours of Justin Bieber songs on the way home – I couldn’t think much then?!
The scenery was beautiful – especially over the Rocky mountains where the foliage is a lovely deep green colour due to this year’s cool, wet summer. All said and done, driving on a road from a. to b. is still driving? Different scenery/distractions but otherwise, no difference really? Driving’s driving?
I’ve also watched a few episodes of The Forsyte Saga – a sort of precursor to today’s soap operas filmed about 20 years ago about a family and their trials and the trials and tribulations of family life just over a hundred years ago.
All these hours spent travelling surrounded by very different scenery has lead me to what I find to be a very disturbing thought…. Or I have finally gone crazy? Human behaviour hasn’t changed at all over the years? What the heck are we doing?
The Forsythe’s struggle with love and romance was really no more sophisticated or different to Justin’s prolific crooning about today’s lovebirds? It seems we are still searching for exactly the same things in exactly the same way? And making exactly the same mistakes. At least I am?! As a society we seem to be no clearer and no ‘better’ at it today than a century ago? For sure, when you’re in ‘that place’ it’s hard to think?
In between bouts of ‘in love’ when we often do and say odd things, I think we should use the time and carefully ‘debrief’… Like the most successful armies. Look at what works and what doesn’t for us and, without wasting time judging whether or not we were ‘right’, learn constructively from those lessons.
In the longer term, perhaps we need to think outside the box? Albert Einstein would think us insane, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? How many second wives and husbands are very similar to the first?
Surely we owe it to our younger generations to explore our experiences and to plot a ‘safe path’ through this romantic minefield and share it? Romantic love seems to be a little bit like heroin and we plunge in, anxious to experience the ‘highs’… Despite the qualms and the lessons. The church certainly tries to guide us through love, despite tangling its message with so many religious ‘shoulds’. There is the odd, excellent, old wives’ tale. And endless whiny love songs that sound totally illogical – if not downright pathological – that we dreamily hum as we dive headlong into trouble!
Is there ‘an answer’?
Maybe not so much for us who are already ‘grown up’? But there is certainly something we can learn and raise our kids with… That they will internalize and use daily to enrich their lives. And in the ‘doing’ of this, the satisfaction and happiness we experience in our own lives will increase.
The most effective, simple-yet-sophisticated, way through this humungous field of emotions so far is that charted by Dr Marshall Rosenberg with his NVC or Non Violent Communication aka Compassionate Communication. With my own eyes I have seen wonderful transformations take place using NVC with whole families, couples or individuals.
H0w do you do this? Other than with hours of expensive one-on-one counselling. At last there is an answer. There are some special cards available now that will walk you through and guide you to self knowledge.
ConnectionCue and RelationshipCue cards make this getting-to-know-yourself business easier. They will guide you and help you to find your unique path and show you how to experience the fulfilment you long for in your relationships. Including the very important relationship with your self.
And the beauty of this is that you can’t help but pass it on to your children. And even more than happiness for yourself, you probably long for their happiness more?
On a light note, I want to share this little piece of writing that I’ve seen several times recently. The more I see it, the more I like it and if we remember this as well as use ConnectionCue and RelationshipCue, life will be pretty darn sweet.
Notice that there are eleven points – the writer didn’t feel bound to comply with convention and make ten or a dozen. This way of thinking – simply and clearly and ‘outside the box’ – meets my own needs for adventure and clarity and freedom and confidence! I feel excited and hopeful. Notice how you’re feeling? What are your needs here? Get to know yourself… There’s no right way and wrong way to feel.
“”Everything I need to know I can learn from Noah’s Ark:
1. Don’t miss the boat
2. Remember that we are all in the same boat
3. Plan ahead: remember that it wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark
4. Stay fit. When you’re older (like Noah) you may have to do something really big
5. Don’t listen too closely to critics: get on with the job that needs to be done
6. Build your future on high ground – and get to know yourself
7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs
8. Speed isn’t always an advantage – the snails were on the same ship as the cheetahs
9. When you’re stressed, float awhile
10. Remember: the Ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic by professionals
11. No matter the storm, have faith. There’s a rainbow here somewhere. Notice what you do and see and share it with those you love.””
Whatever curves life throws at you, stay calm. Use common sense. And do your best. At worst, you will have the comfort of knowing that you tried and gave it your best shot. At best, a safe path will uncover itself for you.