Distant Family: Bridging the Gulf

When we get older, three issues tend to destroy our happiness: family problems or distance, health, and money.  As we age, our options for changing these things diminish; we are pretty much stuck with the family, health, and money that we have or don’t have, and now our challenge is how to accept the fact that much of what used to be important to us in the external world is beyond our control.  Acceptance becomes increasingly important, without thereby yielding to passivity and helplessness.

This lovely lady is seventy-five.  Her children and their children live on another continent and she misses them terribly.  How can she live with that distance without the pain destroying her peace of mind and the quality of her life?

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

1 Stay with Zenya, yet see my children regularly

2 Meaning in my life. Sometimes I feel it is meaningless without my family.

Which issue brings up the strongest feelings for you?

The first.

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?


Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.

Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What?

A porous Sponge

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Sponge, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I’m big and I have a bunch of holes in between my membranes.  I am moist; I don’t think I’m in water.  I have absorbed a lot of water.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I’m pretty! My color is marbly-maroon. I look very alive! I can be used for all kinds of cleaning and mopping up!  When I’m not being used like that I can just lie here and be decorative!

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

I guess I’m not used enough.   I don’t have any weaknesses.  I am what I am.

Sponge, you are in Birgitta’s life experience, correct?  She created you, right? What aspect of Birgitta do you represent or most closely personify?

She likes to be useful.

Sponge, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?


(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Sponge, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities:  confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence: 10

Compassion: 10

Wisdom: 10

Acceptance: 10

Inner Peace: 10

Witnessing: 10

How would Birgitta’s life be different if she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

She would be more peaceful about accepting her situation.  She would be happier.

If you could live Birgitta’s life for her, how would you live it differently?

I don’t think I would….

If you could live Birgitta’s waking life for her today, would you handle Brigitta’s three life issues differently?  If so, how?

1. Maybe she would “sponge” a little more off her kids!

Life meaning: Being used where I’m needed.

Sponge, where is Birgitta needed that she can be used so that she feels like she is a ten in all six of those qualities like you, Sponge?

With her husband and many places! She is needed by her children because they are extremely busy.  There are all sorts of volunteer jobs here.

What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Birgitta’s life?

I would focus on what she’s focusing on!  She longs to be in Sweden so much with her kids!  I don’t long for anything.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Birgitta to imagine that she is you and act as you would?

When she needs to relax more about her situation.   She’s afraid of being in limbo or of nothing going forward.  I am content to just be there.

Sponge, do you do drama?  If not, why not?

I don’t feel like it’s important.

What is your secret for staying out of drama?

I’m just being!  She wouldn’t have that anxious feeling about life running away from her (Cries.)

Sponge, what do you think about her tears, what she’s feeling now?

I feel compassionate about that!  If I were Barbara I would have to accept it.

Why do you think that you are in Birgitta’s life?

To give her a reality check!    That she doesn’t have a lot of control over her life and she has to accept that!

Birgitta, what have you heard yourself say?

I need to accept where I am in life and to be useful.

If this experience were a wake-up call from the most central part of yourself, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Stop struggling and enjoy my life more!  Enjoy where I am!  Allow myself to just BE!

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