I’m afraid it’s curtains for you

This week, I’d like to share something that I think you’ll find relatable. The understanding that I write about every week has changed, maybe even saved, my life and is deeply spiritual, yet shows itself in each and every activity I do, however un-spiritual! The following scenario played out in my life this week and it is one of the many, many times, I have been forever grateful for knowing how our thoughts work.

My daughter recently moved into her first flat by herself. She left home several years ago but has always shared till now. Whilst she had become a dab hand at packing and unpacking, she was totally unprepared for choosing and setting up such things as electricity provider and broadband. It was a steep learning curve for her as she struggled to also manage her job, auditions, meetings and everyday domestic tasks.

So near and yet so far

Unfortunately, in London’s very centre, she is a long way from home. She and I are very close and talk and message every day…usually several times a day…but that doesn’t help for practical tasks. Her father who lives much closer helped by buying furniture, ferrying her belongings about and doing DIY around her flat….but she was still finding it overwhelming and needed her mother’s touch.

One thing she really needed was curtains, not only for much needed privacy but also for warmth and sound minimising. She had no experience of curtain buying so I tried to explain how to measure for them over the phone. I described how each pole had to be about twelve inches longer than the aperture, be fixed to the wall six inches above the window, that the curtain needed to come to four to six inches below the sill, and that each pair of curtains shouldn’t be much under double the width of their pole length. I hadn’t realised If you’ve ever tried describing something that feels second nature to you, to someone who hasn’t a clue, over the phone, you’ll know how tricky it was!

She was getting more and more confused and emotional as she battled to climb over boxes to measure the windows, trying to avoid wet paint and punctuating our task with trips up and down the stairs to accept deliveries. Her voice rose as she got ever more fraught and the two hundred miles between us felt far, far further than usual. I knew she had more than enough on her plate so once I’d got the measurements I required and an idea of her, very precise, preferences in colours and fabrics, I bade a cowardly farewell.

Success

I immediately set about procuring curtains; it made me feel like I was part of her life, contributing to the effort as well as satisfying my genuine wish to lighten her load and provide much needed privacy, warmth, shade, quiet and beauty to her new home.

I spent hours and hours, ignoring my own ever growing to-do list, searching for her perfect curtains. I was loathed to bother her but didn’t want to buy something she didn’t like, so sent her link after link…and several days later, I was rewarded by her finally liking some I’d found.

To cut an agonisingly long story as short as possible, I paid (a lot) for said curtains and arranged for delivery to her place in London. She was thrilled and grateful; I was relieved, happy and, I have to admit, rather proud of myself; I had managed to do something to help her and felt like a good mother!

The drawback was that the company only promised a rather vague delivery time of three to five working days and didn’t offer a tracking service or even say whether they would come in the morning or afternoon; they also required a signature.

On the fifth day…

My daughter had already stayed in, waiting for her long awaited drapes, for two days and was becoming (?!) impatient. She was desperate to leave the four walls she was climbing to buy nice housey things, paint and suchlike, let alone necessary provisions like milk and coffee. Her messages and conversations with me were anxious, angry and unhappy… each one more anxious, angry and unhappy than the last.

Nothing and no one can ever hurt us

My daughter understands this….usually. On this occasion, though, she was buying into the desperate and anxious stories she was telling herself…big time.

I, with my clear understanding, was incredibly grateful that I knew how thought works and remained a calm pool of serenity, knowing that she was coming from a stressed place and didn’t mean any of the things she was saying to me; didn’t mean to be selfish or ungrateful.

On the sixth day…

Now she had stayed in for three full days and her thin patience had snapped. If you have experienced yourself or someone else growing more and more stressed and irrational, you will be able to imagine our conversations that day.

I know perfectly well that we need not believe, let alone act upon, any of or thoughts, if we don’t want to…yet I was getting worn down, was beginning to feel cross that she was throwing all my hard work back in my face…was beginning to want to stand up for myself, explain how much work, money and love I’d spent on the damn curtains.

Fortunately, I realised very quickly what was happening and managed to step back, observe and see that she and I were taking life way too seriously. I remembered that this was my wonderful daughter’s first proper house move, that she was working full and overtime, was having to learn lines and hadn’t got anything with which to cover her windows in the busy city street. I pictured the light waking her up at silly o’clock each morning…if the noise or cold hadn’t already woken her. I felt compassion for her and love flowed from me to her.

I admit that this process took a few minutes but I managed to catch myself before I made communications infinitely worse by losing my cool and know that, at one time, this scenario would have ended very differently and taken days, if not weeks, to recover from. Those few minutes, though, were not pleasant and they reminded me of how I used to feel most of the time; stress had been a baseline I’d come to accept as normal. I am reminded how much my life has improved and how blessed I feel.

I have helped lots of clients improve their experience of life too, by showing them how we can simply connect to the peaceful and wise place within us; the place we all have available to us, if only we take the time to peer beneath all the life stuff we have piled on top of it.

I can help you too…if you’d like.

Next week I’m going to be writing about my coaching and meetup group and the wonderful people I meet. Until then, have a calm and compassionate week and please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Love Catherine x

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