Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Where I Have Been

I want to tell you guys where I have been.

If you have been reading my blog for any time, you probably know that I am Australian. You might not know that I am also American. I immigrated here from the States 26 years ago. I haven't been back to America in seventeen years.

Last month I went back.

My parents have been dead for a long time, but I have a sister living in Seattle. She is schizophrenic, and as far as we know, lives on the street. She has always denied being 'crazy'. There doesn't seem to be any way to help her. She doesn't seem to want it.

She has two almost grown children. That is one of the big reasons I went back. I had met them both on facebook and wanted to meet them in person.

So it was a very intense and life-changing 4 week visit to Seattle Washington. Now that I am back home one of the questions on my mind is: how to take internal change (getting to know my family and all that it means) into everyday life? I suppose one could argue that if you have changed, you have changed, and nothing needs to be done. But in my experience, past habits are strong and change needs to be supported by how I live.

Habits are difficult to change. But as our daily life is largely made up of patterns that run unconsciously, changing these can be one of the most supportive ways to bring the New into our lives. I feel my heart is opening in new ways and my priorities are changing. This is so deep that I almost am unable to think about it.

So how can I live in a way that will support this change? I don't have answers to that question, but I am searching for ways to find some. I am looking for indicators. I am watching where my energy goes and how I spend my time. I am seeing what seems to nourish this opening, and what pulls me back into old ways. I am noticing what I value now.

I am writing down all ideas, all possibilities. I am making space for the New. I am delaying evaluating these ideas. I am delaying reaching conclusions. Why delaying? Because in my experience the New has seasons just like nature. And if I try and force the seeds, they won't grow to their full maturity.


Anhelo said...

"She has always denied being 'crazy'. There doesn't seem to be any way to help her. "

Schizophrenics are not crazy. Families maybe ought to begin to see certain mental illnesses as gifts. That could lead to a way to help her.

Don't take my words wrong. This isn't personal. No blaming here. I don't know you, but I know a lot of schizophrenics. There is gifted people in my family, we all struggle with how to overcome the general issue with society, which is acceptance.

I admire your courage to talk about it. You are a wise woman. You know there are seeds and that eventually will grow. Best regards.

Zom said...

Thank you Anhelo, I always welcome more information. I don't refer to her as 'crazy', I know it might have sounded as if I did. I do think my sister is gifted in many ways, but she is also delusional. I would be happy to perceive her condition as a gift, but I can't see how.

I don't know a lot about schizophrenia, I would like to learn more.

lilasvb said...

to be different is always hard, and some how, living near a person who is schizo is living with so many differences that we can not understand
it is ver hard for families and relatives
so touch by your sharing

Kel said...

welcome home Zom :)
you have been missed here in blogland

what a challenging, grand, deep adventure you have been on, or embarked upon

what a wise woman you are
wishing to internalise and live out the difference it has made in your life

paint it out, paint it in
art is a great integration tool

susan christensen said...

Zom, I am so glad to have you back in Blogland. My first thought upon reading this deeply personal post is 'follow the love in your heart'. You are sure to make some powerful new images based upon your changed life. (I love Seattle; my daughter lives there, and the University of Washington is my alma mater)!
Love, sus

Zom said...

Thanks Valerie and Kel.

Omigosh Susan. U of W is my alma mater as well!

Jeanie Thorn said...

Hi Zom, Welcome back. You were missed. All I can say is take one day at a time...the answers will come.

Magda said...

Hello Zom,
I came to Visit after seeing your Comment with Kel's "Clamouring Voices".

The Change you are experiencing I agree with Kel... Paint it!
Then I'm sure it will take shape, provide direction, define its relevance.

The two almost grown children... well the timing could not be better for you to have become part of their life actively as you are now probably doing. It is from now they will need to feel they can trust someone, even if they are not aware of it. Adjustment will happen in both directions... distance will be the challenge... but Skype, Facebook, and Emails enable almost immediate Communication... the beauty of today's technology.

Schizophrenia is complex... the challenge is being able to maintain a balance with this everyday life and the world happening in one's mind...
the world happening in the mind is as real as the one happening physically.
It is not easy when everything you do and are is continually... well... in simplicity, continually attacked.
It is physically very debilitating, and can be very painful, especially when one is determined to be one's self, well as much of one's self as one can figure out one is through it all, and therefore pulling against what is happening in one's mind.

If you imagine how you might feel if every word, for example, you wrote as you did this Post... and therefore every thought and memory and action that happens as you are doing the Post was being challenged by another or, many others, in many different ways... but you proceed regardless, achieve the Post... how might you feel when finished?

That may help you to have some insight to what a Schizophrenic is possibly experiencing every moment of every day and night.

I won't write more, and I do hope I have not over-stepped acceptance.
May the words I have given here have made sense and have maybe helped you.

Schizophrenia, when good, can give 'Sight', Healing Ability, Communication skills with what is not necessarily able to be seen, felt or heard by those not affected. But when like, what I presume, your Sister is experiencing... then her life is more likely to be a Living Hell.

Zom, I find your Blog interesting, your Art Style intriguing, and also beautiful and your words enjoyable to read.

Good luck with the changes happening for you, may they and you integrate with integrity and pleasure.

Good wishes from Magda in Queensland Australia

Zom said...

Thankyou Magda so much for your thoughtful and generous comment. I appreciate what you have shared.
It is helpful.

Connie said...

Zom, your presence here online was missed. Welcome back.

And I look forward to watching the New reveal itself in your life and your art.

BIG Hugs,

hali said...

Zom- came here from the quote Connie posted... this post resonates so deeply with me now. It is good to feel that others experience this delicate balance of making space for the new to bloom when the appropriate time for it to assimilate with what has already been sown presents itself. also - your artwork is stunning. thank you for being you. i look forward to your future insights.

Zom said...

Hali what a beautiful comment you have given me. Thank you.

nollyposh said...

So wonderful to have you back DDZ <3
Not surprisingly you have put into words my very feelings... i feel the very same way about the right timing... i too am looking for the signs & learning in the meantime the value of patience <3

Carolyn said...

I come a little late to this post, but I commend your trip to connect with family.

It sounds like a deep journey. I suggest journaling/collage from your future self. It can be transforming to imagine the feelings of confidence and knowing that your future self will have looking back on this time, and journaling from this point of view.