Gratitude, Joy, Oneness and Service (Day 622-628)
Yesterday we celebrated Mother’s Day in North America. I have a step mother and although she has never tried to take the place of my mother, I always send her flowers on Mother’s Day. I have been fortunate to have many nurturing relationships in my life. Sometimes these have been women; sometimes older women. And sometimes they have been men; sometimes younger men. It makes me grateful to realise that gender, age and biological relationship makes no difference to the sense of nurturing, caregiving and all that goes with the archetypal relationship with ‘Mother.’
And yet, this year, I was particularly missing my own mother. I can never predict whether Mother’s Day, my mother’s birthday or my mother’s death anniversary will be particularly difficult days for me. It depends on what else is going on in my life, I suppose.
I’ve had great nurturing relationships. And I have a community which seems to accept me as I am, and into which I can drop in and out as my needs dictate. I am developing a renewed relationship with the mother earth and nature.
I have managed to arrange a sense of ‘Mother’ in my life.
My mother was the primary force that has defined my life, but my mother wasn’t perfect. She was, for all intents and purposes, an orphan. And, having been abandoned, she did not have a model of how to mirror another human being. She did her best. And I love her for it. But she left me with unmet childhood needs that created a set of coping strategies. These strategies, for better and worse, formed the spine of the plot of my life.
She died before I could relate to her as an adult, but were she here, I would tell her how grateful I am for her courage to have a family, despite her own unhealed childhood pain. I am grateful for all that she sacrificed for her children and the compassion for others that she instilled in me. I am grateful for her open mindedness and I have chosen to adopt this in my own life as well. For awhile it was just she and I in our home. And despite the challenges that posed, we had a lot of joy in doing crazy things together. She instilled in me a spirit of adventure and a love of travel. Her story and her qualities are linked with my story and my qualities in a lineage of Oneness. My service is to honour her and to remember all those who have nurtured me: male, female, young and old.
And the meaning in all of this?
Reflecting on my relationships, I realise that there are a few that are no longer serving me. Many of these are, for want of a better word, historic. Without drama or blame, I have decided to extricate myself from those relationships, wherever the nature of the relationship will allow it.
Even in this, there is a sense of loss. The friend from high school that always cancels at the last minute or makes promises that never come to fruition or that friend who subtlely undermines my feelings and dreams is still a part of my historic story. And, for many, a mother that could not love unconditionally is also a part of their story, made painfully apparent every year, on this day.
Our early experiences shape our story. Our mothers tell us our first stories and teach us about our narrative. Eventually, we tell our own stories. And, every story is subject to revision. Recently I heard Brian Eno speak and he revealed an early anecdote from his life. He said that his lesson from this difficult period was that the way we live in the world is simply a role. And every role is a choice.
As a writer, I can tell you how painful the editing process is. Both beautiful and well worn phrases sometimes end up in the bin because they no longer support the story being told. And the same applies in life. We can choose to be a victim of our circumstances or to captain this blood-filled vessel of the soul toward our dreams and our purpose. No matter what our relationships with our parents, we can create whatever relationships we want and need, and that support our life’s purpose, by choosing to associate with people who uplift rather than tear us down. And we can define ourselves and our journey any way we wish.
When telling any story, we write what we know. But, we can take the good, drop the unhelpful, and make up the rest.
And so it only remains for me to ask:
For what are you grateful today?