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An Opportunity for Growth
by Susan Pa'iniu Floyd

For more than half of my life I have been blessed to understand and apply the healing ideas of Hawaiian Shamanism. Looking back, I understand that there was no chance to go back to my old, limited way of viewing the world. But why would I? That view led to all kinds of repeated failures in relationships and health. Today, I can honestly say that I have many people, places and animals that I truly love with all my heart all over the world.

Great! My life is a blessing, and life changes.

After Dad died in 1999 Mom came to stay with me every winter (Hawaii weather is much better than New Jersey during winter months) and I would often visit her there as well. In time, I began inviting her to join me on many of my teaching trips around the world. We had many adventures together and she made many friends too.

As she enjoyed being with me and my cats in Hawaii (not sure which of us was the greater draw) she began staying longer and longer. Now that she is almost 90, she stays year round as she is unable to take care of her self. It has been fairly easy to help her feel like this is her new home and New Jersey is her home we visit in good weather! So we settled into sharing a peaceful life here in Volcano with our cats and human friends.

Here begins the twist in the story and my next phase of self improvement. Do I think of myself as an angry person? Absolutely not! Sad sometimes, for all that is upsetting in the world or my life, but not angry, unless something very bad is said or done to someone I love, and that hardly ever happens. So why am I finding myself angry almost every day now. Not just angry a little bit, but foot stomping, door slamming mad!

Yes, me.

Mom has, unwittingly, I'm sure, become an aid in my higher self-education. My usually kind and soft spoken Mom is now saying nasty things when she is unhappy and I am there to be the receiver of her frustrations. She blames me for all of her unhappinesses even when it's clear I did nothing to cause them. Instead of trying to help her shift out of those emotions, I find myself reacting in defense. She would threaten to leave and I would say "Go ahead , I'll book the flights." Sometimes, her behaviors could endanger herself or the cats or the house and I would try to explain the danger and try to get her to do something else. But she can be stubborn.

And I can be forgetful. First of all, she can't understand the logic of danger. She doesn't comprehend that when the lamp is knocked over it could start a fire or the wasps that she swats could sting or the cat she holds onto too tight could bite. I'm the one who has most of my faculties intact I think. So I need to be more watchful and preventative. Secondly, I have knowledge of this great philosophy and have the capabilities to use it. I focus so often on sending healing thoughts and visions to others, I sometimes forget that my life would be a lot better if I sent some to me!

Now, to be fair, I often feel bad and do change my attitude after my angry explosions and sometimes even apologize to Mom. That helps. Yet, the best outcome of these negative feelings is how I'm inspired to take a closer look at me. I am not an angry person. I am a compassionate person. I love my Mom. She is the most important person in my life. So why do I allow some of her words and actions to get to me? First of all I must be stressed and I must have a pattern of dealing with this kind of stress which is just a habit. Until a habit is replaced with a new habit, it still exists, and when triggered, the habit appears. Catching myself immediately after the feelings of anger is good, because then I can change them, sometimes even before Mom becomes aware of them. But that isn't the best scenario. I don't want to have even a short experience of these angers. I want to become transparent and let the triggering behaviors float through me.

How do I effect such a change? With words, images, feelings and actions. I need to tell myself who to be, see myself being that way all the time under the most challenging of situations, and find happy, compassionate feelings to replace the anger. No matter how silly it might feel, I need to turn the other cheek. Act happy, sing a song, breathe a deep breath, anything to shift the pattern. Practice, practice, practice the new habit. The new--or as I like to believe--the real me. Oh, and I can practice these new habits in my garden long before the next actual opportunity comes! Maybe it will never need to come! And a most wonderful thing about Mom, without fuel being added to her fire, she changes her attitude amazingly fast. Normally, in these situations, she would go off to bed angry and wake up forgetting everything, but I've discovered that if I stay happy in the moment, so does she. It doesn't have to be logical and it is so wonderful, and best of all, it works. :-}}

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