This is a diary of the various insights I collected during a trip back to Canada, a place called memory lane.
Some background: I lived in Canada for around 11 years since being born. So around the age of 11, I moved to Hong Kong. So in my mind, Canada, namely Toronto, is The Memory Lane.
Re-interacting with most of my family during this stay, so two sisters and my mom together in a room, posed quite a challenge. I suppressed myself whenever I observed any of my family treating me less than their equal. So I played the part of the bullied especially when I perceived myself not being treated equitably.
Long story short, I stood up for myself, and in doing so, I realized that the sorrow stricken party wins. If this sounds familiar, I’m thinking of a phrase in Tao Te Ching as I am writing this. Let me explain: there is no good or bad act when you’re dealing/managing your family members (if you know what I mean). The only point that is relevant and can stand the test of time is an outcome that is best for all. Analogy: you’re driving off a cliff, given a chance that someone can save you, would you appreciate it if your life was saved by grasping you firmly on the shoulder never letting go, or would you appreciate it if you realized only after death, that you were stupid letting your life go, and have that someone say “I told you so, but you’re an adult and you wouldn’t listen so I let you choose.” Is free choice really free when what you’re considering is but a limited perspective on the bigger picture?
Continuing: no good or bad act when managing human relationships because what’s good/polite/moral can place you above others and how much would you loathe being seen as less than another human being on this Earth? So if you sticked to what is polite/moral/good in this world, people abuse you through your acceptance and allowance and belief. Going back to the analogy, it may be perceived as bad to death-grip your shoulder then, but what is best for all is that life is valued, including your own, so really to win is to not fear playing the monster or devil’s advocate, and take out the verbal/action-oriented whip when necessary especially if you KNOW: even you would be grateful if you were held back then, to realize now that you did not consider all things and investigate all things when you were driving off a cliff.
Everyone wants to be a winner, and what I realised through my daily interactions with the most difficult people I know is that to be a winner is to be sorrow stricken and compassionate enough to act in the name of what is best for all. What does that mean: to act with an eye on the prize which is life lived fulfillingly with others lives being lived fulfillingly.
What happened with my family and I is we lived and went everywhere for a few days, and demanding to be treated as an equal, I for a moment discarded all morals and politeness (politeness to be more accurate) to push for an outcome where my two sisters and my mom realized that it is best for all to treat everyone in the group well, including me. Because what I realized is even if I do what is best for all, and open doors and say please and thank you, is I can’t control others to also do what is best for all. But I can mislead them into an eventual realization that we live in a physical reality, and their ego experience of themselves will be most comforted and their physical needs and emotional needs and practical needs fulfilled IF they also treat me with equal care. And if they decide to be sick and refuse even then, it’s their free choice and there’s like nothing you can do about it. But at the very least I’m not spitting oil into the fire and exacerbating the problem that I was being treated like shit by playing the victim essentially.
Going back to Canada for a moment also triggered memories of my childhood, a claustrophobic controlling atmosphere that plagued my childhood. The most poignant memory I have is of being bribed the good material things in exchange for basically, postponing answering the inevitable question of where is life when I know half of the world is starving, but I am living in the lap of luxury so to speak with being fully fed? Which begs the question of where is life when humanity is murdering itself through poverty out of the justification of capitalism? Which begs the question of what can I DO, what is my part that I can do in this here and now to correct this imbalance? Anyways I felt like I exchanged my existence, or to be more precise my sense of morality and longing for life, for rewards at every checkpoint I crossed that the world system said I crossed, that my mom cared about so hence the rewards.
Another memory to entertain you is of being stuck either in the car or at home or at achievement inducing activities (activities my mom approved of that she believes will equip me to face the future), with ‘no room to breathe’. Only my mom has the right to breathe in the room that is my intellect and mind, the words I live and what I do. That was the kind of emotional experience that was triggered as I was being driven everywhere. So what happened at 24 years old? I got mighty angry at my mom.
Another memory: sisters no longer giving the love and affection I came to enjoy, the rough attitude my sisters had with me. So what did I do? I got angry at them for a moment, and knowing they talk to my mom about me against me, I got angrier. But what got me through my anger, and the irritation of my sisters and mom, was keeping my eye on the prize: in the end, what is best for all prevails. So spiting my anger and the spiteful actions of my sisters and mom, I did what is best for all which was at the time, voicing my complaints about their still rough attitude and actions towards me while caring only for the very physical needs of theirs while completely ignoring their emotional needs. That meant trampling on their expectations of me to be timid and frail in a way, while demanding a re-creation of their acts towards me through my acts. Throughout there was no single confrontation I can describe, but the analogies passed back and forth between my sisters and mom (I assume it was about me) and their deep-seated rage in between their polite askings of what I wanted for dinner. They were angry I imagine because I was no longer playing the victim for them to be the bullies and the one with the control or perceived power.
So to place my history into practical words that can assist and support, your transgressions will be forgiven by both yourself and others with you if you stick to doing only what is best for all.
And going back to Canada is like going to a nature reserve compared to the environment common to Hong Kong.