LOVE in EVERYTHING

I think it’s excruciatingly important to infuse each and every word, action, gesture to every single person with Love. Allow every deed you do to be dripping with genuine loving kindness, a compassion, a gentleness, a warmness, love that touches to the core, reaches to the soul of a person. We cannot presume to understand the thoughts, beliefs, misbeliefs, pain of someone else, even if we are in an intimately loving relationship with them. There remains room to mask and minimize pain. Even if there is no pain that a person is drowning in, infuse all actions and words with love, understanding, a helpfulness.

Your infusion, demonstration of Love, the ONLY thing that there really, truly, honestly is, could be their saving grace. I’m genuinely sorry that I didn’t learn this sooner.

“We’re not MEANT to fit in….”

I can think of about fifteen things that I OUGHT to be doing, just off the top of my head, without putting an ounce of thought into it….instead…I sit and write. I write because today capped off a whirlwind of a week…..whirlwind in a very good way. A remarkably enlightening week.

I’ve mentioned Byron Katie before (have you checked her out yet? I still highly recommend her…). She tells a story–it could be a parable I don’t know–about someone who sees this thing in the road. That person panics, thinking it’s a snake. The person works up the courage to approach this snake, only to learn that it’s nothing more than a rope. Once that person realizes that it’s just a rope, they can’t go back and have the fear again–at least over that particular ‘snake’.

I had one of those moments where I ‘learned that the snake wasn’t a snake after all; its merely a rope’ on Wednesday. I was led through a thought process pertaining to my family. Let me rewind and just share this:
I shared in my Spiritual Practices class the meditation that I do, focusing on sending love to my mother, my father, my sister, and my brother. I shared that I’ve been experiencing less of a painful void in situations that would previously have stung quite a lot.
In that sharing, I was asked what things am I ready and willing to release pertaining to my family. I stated the thought of feeling alone–because I’m certainly not alone, I just don’t associate with those specific people. I included the fact that I feel defensive of my reasons for having separated from them when people discuss families and my story makes its way to the conversation.
I was then asked a difficult question. I don’t remember the exact way it was phrased, but I was asked ‘what can you say about their spiritual truth?’ or something along those lines. And this is where the AHA moment started. I saw it forming with this question, but just enjoyed the ride to see where it was taking me. After a very long pause, some contemplation, I answered with “I am completely confident that this journey with them has played out EXACTLY the way it has needed to. They have held up their end of the soul contract between myself and them”

“What does that sound like to you?”

I furrowed my brow a couple of times as I was ‘seeing the rope for a rope’ and said simply and quietly: Love.

My instructor responded softly with “That sounds like unconditional love to me.” She let that sink in for me for a moment before continuing.

“When you rise above the situation and look at the soul-to-soul interaction, that looks like unconditional love: ‘I love you enough that I will do ANYTHING I need to in order to help you along your journey'”

IT’S NOT A SNAKE!!!

Along the way, and I think I’ve written this at least once, I always believed that my family didn’t have the CAPACITY for love, let alone unconditional love. But that’s EXACTLY what they were demonstrating to me, on a soul level, was pure, profound, unconditional love by being in the soul contract with me. I asked them to fulfill such a painful role–caregivers who didn’t much appear to be caregivers at all–so I could learn one of my life lessons (demonstrations of unconditional love) in a way that I would fully grasp and understand and embrace. The soul of my mother and father had to set aside the instinct to nurture and protect and support and love to give me what my soul needed. That’s love. That’s unconditional love. Rising above the situation, separate from our egoic selves, that’s love. True. Unconditional.
Do they know about our soul contract? I don’t know. I don’t suspect they do if they’re still in their ego selves. But they truly gave me EVERYTHING I needed. From a place of LOVE.

It’s not a snake. It never was a snake.

I feel like this would serve as a separate entry, but eh. I wanna write it as one 🙂

Today, at my spiritual community, a beautiful and sensational speaker spoke to us. She happens to be the person who introduced me to Kundalini meditation. Actually…that’s only a half truth. I knew ABOUT kundalini meditation before, but she was a conduit to me learning and embracing more about it. Her and I have one of those connections that you can’t really explain but most everyone is lucky enough to have at least once in their lives–we just connected. Energetically and on a soul level. Her energy is really beautiful and radiant. She is something else…I have no words for it. She’s real and in her human experience, but her energy is abundant.
Anyway, her talk was titled “Why you’re not meant to fit in”. She shared a bit about her story, which resonates a lot with mine. And she mentioned your LIGHT. And when you try to blend in, fit in, be a chameleon, not only do you not succeed at fitting in, you dull your light. You are not true to your soul, your soul’s purpose, your truth.
I spent 32 years of my life trying to fit in, trying to be the person my family wanted me to be…some habits I picked up from them as a result of trying to fit in and others I just couldn’t adopt as my own. But I still repeatedly tried to fit in with them. I failed EVERY time. Not only did I hate myself because I still didn’t fit in with them (and, seriously, what is WRONG with someone who doesn’t fit in and get along with their ENTIRE family?!), I had their bad habits as my own, too! And they were habits I detested.
I spent so much of my life hating life, hating myself, hating trying to fit in with them, hating never being able to fit in. I spent so much energy on wanting to die, thinking of ways that I could take my life without impacting anyone–because no one would miss me anyway since I don’t fit in with anyone.
I HATED the life I was living. I did not, with every ounce of my being, want to continue living it if it had to be that way.
Because I didn’t fit in.
And in trying to fit in, I wasn’t allowing my true self to BE, to shine. In reflection, I don’t know what was more exasperating and what contributed more to the depression and suicidality: not being able to fit in or not being able to BE ME.

I’m not meant to fit in. None of us are meant to fit in. We’re meant to shine.
This morning’s speaker finished with a point (actually a quote from Yogi Bhajan, but I don’t remember the specifics of it and I can’t find it….though I can certainly find a whole slew of amazing points from him)

We aren’t meant to fit in and blend in–or even to fix other people if we ‘know better’ than them. We’re meant to be a lighthouse. Which stands alone. Shining its light. Guiding. But simply standing alone and shining. It is useless without its light.

Shine on.

Perspectives…..it’s all in the ‘reframe’….

I found an app a number of months ago that is a daily ‘affirmation’ pertaining to healing the ‘inner child’. Sometimes, I think it’s all kind of just bogus….you know…when I’m in the mood of ‘what the hell is wrong with me? why am I so dysfunctional? why can’t I just shake it all off and just BE NORMAL!?!’

There have been a couple that *WHAM* really smacked me. Today’s was one of them…..

OCTOBER 6 Perspective

I can change the way I view my past.

Today I will reach down into the dark depths of my soul and bring the most painful scenes out into the light where I can view them through adult eyes. I see desperately miserable parents lashing out at their innocent child. I see school children mocking cruelly, their name-calling creating wounds that weren’t deserved.

As I see these hurts through new eyes, the labels of shame I had allowed to be attached to my identity drop away. I feel good about who I was and about who I am. Now I see a lovable child, who happened to be a victim of others’ unhappiness.

Today I will choose to see my past through different eyes and in so doing, will see myself anew.

I find it particularly interesting, because, during a recent meditation session, I had a realization:
Your teachers through school change. You have your elementary school teachers in elementary school. They don’t follow you to high school and college to teach you higher levels of education (well….hopefully it’s higher levels of education…..some of the evidence isn’t so supportive of ‘higher’, but that’s a different topic, mostly inappropriate for the purpose of this blog…..). You have new teachers to teach you high school math, English, history. You have even different still professors to profess to you their knowledge (we hope) on a particular topic. You don’t utilize your kindergarten teacher for these…..
This realization came up for me during meditation because my family of origin taught me the lessons they were capable of teaching me…..and only in the way they were capable of teaching it. They couldn’t teach love and compassion because these aren’t topics they are overly familiar with. It came to a point in time where the lessons from them have been taught, learned from (by example or non-example, whichever) and I’ve since moved on to higher level of life educators. I want to spread my wings and fly. I want to become enlightened, awakened, spiritual in all of my acts–it is imperative that I seek learning from skilled educators. I am grateful for the early life lessons and what they taught me. The pain from them, I am confident, helped to shape the compassionate side, the fairness in me. It is invaluable and I’m grateful and I have graduated from that level of learning.

And on to awakening 🙂
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

(that’s my ‘sighing’ :))

Smile and enjoy

Meditation

(Funny….I haven’t written in so many days and now it’s flooding out of me……In the past, I didn’t really have WORDS to describe any of my thoughts or the processes I was going through….I was just kind of absorbing, processing, exploring, adventuring….now I have some words)

I have grown to love meditation. It’s hard for me to sit still, but WOW. When I do, the peace I experience is immeasurable. My ability to re-center myself is stronger and I can more easily state my truth and just move on–not contingent on someone else accepting or approving my truth because it just is.

I started taking another class at the spiritual community I go to. The class is Spiritual Practices. It is a ten week class that teaches you a variety of meditations (ie concentration, mantra, silent, etc) and how to write/say treatments/affirmative prayers. I’m aware of energy and raising vibrations and what you set out into the universe will return to you–what you focus on is what you attract to yourself. A number of months ago, I downloaded a song that is the mantra ‘Guru Guru Wahe Guru Guru Ram Das Guru. I learned the meditation with the mudra (hand positioning) in a kundalini yoga/meditation session I attended. The mantra is a mantra for self-healing, humility, relaxation, protective grace, and emotional. The mantra and the mudra, as I initially learned it is to clear 7 generations back and 7 generations forward. It’s a powerful meditation when done for the 40 day meditation commitment. The first few days that I did it, I cried and couldn’t say the mantra for myself, so I just listened to the music with my right hand on my heart and the back of my left hand on my back, just posterior to my heart (yes….accurate anatomical terms, thanks to my human anatomy class :)).

I’m writing this blog today, because, in conjunction with the requirement of my spiritual practices class, I have found a commitment for myself:
I will listen to the song, on low volume. I will sit or lay down. I will envision my parents, my sister, and my brother. I will say the mantra “I love you unconditionally. I love you because I am love”
I was reading previous posts that I wrote about them and I want to send them love. I don’t know if I can have them back in my life–I don’t know that my spiritual arsenal is strong and reliable enough for that, but I want them to know love. I want to raise my vibration when I have thoughts of them, of our current situation. I want to have a level of gratitude, not pain, when I think of the things they’ve given to me.

I shall go to complete my first practice of that meditation now.

Triggers–always a(n) (un)pleasant surprise….?

I don’t think triggers will ever cease to amaze me.

I’ve been going along, minding my own business, applying inquiry to stressful thoughts that I want to change, just plugging along, finally enjoying life as an adventure. I feel like I’ve FINALLY been able to GET it. Just LIVE. And SMILE. And ENJOY. It’s a process through which we learn, this thing called life. And I do love to learn. It’s all a work in progress—but it’s not WORK. It’s here for us to ENJOY.

 

Anyway, so I was driving along to work, minding my own business, just taking in the sights. I was really enjoying seeing the small town come to life for the day. There was a woman sitting in her rocking chair on her front porch. I spotted a guy who clearly just rolled out of bed, didn’t even greet his hair brush yet, sleepily trudge down the street. Then I spotted a little girl—probably three years old, maybe four. She sported a backpack that was at least half her size and from the road, I could see the curly hair that fell beyond her shoulders. She was dragging a guy through the front door and into the world by the hand. He obviously wasn’t as eager to be awake as she was. All in a moment, I took in so much. I could see the radiance of her smile; I could feel her excitement for heading off to a day at preschool.

With that, my heart ached. It was an ache that caught me by surprise—in suddenness and intensity. My whole body and soul were overcome with grief and sadness. I kept myself composed for another fifteen minutes until I pulled into the parking lot of Wawa. I sat in my car and wept. Tears were in endless supply as my heart just ached. I have no idea how much that little girl actually resembled my twin nieces, but in my mind, the story I created in just a moment about that little girl reminded me so much of the twins.

I instantly recalled the joy and excitement to meet the twins for the first time, to see them every weekend, to watch them in their little advances to becoming little people, to see their personalities develop. I recalled in an instant, and felt grateful for the fact that they taught me the meaning of unconditional love, all just because they were born. I never had a concept of just what that phrase, unconditional love, meant. It was lost on me—I never felt it, never received it—prior to them. Goodness, they didn’t even have to be born yet and I loved them to the moon and back. Their absence from my life, not knowing them, not having the privilege of continuing to watch their personalities develop, not witnessing them learn more and more and more has all caused such a void and a sadness that I cannot even begin to describe. In my car, outside wawa, I just sat there, weeping, allowing that void to just be. My heart aches to know them. My heart aches for the whole situation to be different. I yearn to know who they are becoming. I used to tell myself that I wouldn’t want to know them anyway, as they grow up to become mini versions of my sister. That statement kept the hurt at bay for a little while. Because I just love them just because they are, that didn’t ease any of the pain this morning.

 

I got myself together enough to go inside wawa for my coffee fix and not make it obvious to everyone in there that I had been crying, climbed back into my car and cried the whole way to work. I thought about how the canyon between myself and my family is a daily decision—it’s not something I really want to cross….but it sucks, for some reason that I still haven’t been able to fully comprehend, to be the ‘curse word’ of the family. I have literally NO idea how parents can completely turn their backs on one of their offspring and have no desire to know how the world is treating that person—it sucks to be the person whose parents managed to pull off such an impressive feat with. As much as I know that the canyon between us is the fairest thing to me, it sucks to not have my presence missed or desired. I can’t begin to understand why it sucks—their company isn’t something that is healthy to have…….

 

All of those emotions, tears, ache all because of that curly-haired little girl who was excited to start her day. And through and despite the grieving process, I shall be excited to see what today holds for me.

Namaste/no mistake

I’ve been doing so much emotional work on many different things that I’ve encountered. Every day, I’m very diligently working on some of the things that I’ve experienced in my childhood, and I’m also mixing in current events from my life that I struggle with. My saving grace in working through all of this is Byron Katie’s ‘the work’. It really IS work—amazingly rewarding work. I’ve noticed that it does become something of a habit. I’ve been working through events, thoughts, or situations within myself only for a month, but it’s been an amazing month. It’s really saving my life and saving me from suffering. I believe that in my heart. 

So…you can go to thework.com and learn about it, but I’m going to address some of my favorite points about it here. Just because I think it’s amazing. I love talking about it.

One of my favorite quotes from Byron Katie is ‘when you argue with reality, you suffer….but only 100% of the time’ Oh my freakin gosh! Holy CRAP! I looked at every single situation that I could think of where I was hurting or resentful or angry or bitter or anything negative…..the root of each and every one of the negative feelings was ALWAYS the fact that I was arguing with reality! “It should be…” “It shouldn’t be…” “He should have said…” “WHOA! She SHOULD NOT have done…” I assigned myself with the responsibility of working through the feelings I had related to the should haves and any advice I would give to the perpetrator and I let it go. And I was ABLE to let it go. It felt peaceful to do the work and let it go.

One thing from Katie is her ‘judge your neighbor’ worksheet. You take a stressful thought, ask four questions (is it true? can you absolutely know that it’s true? How do you feel when you have that thought? Who would you be without that thought?) and then turn it around (to the negative, to the other person, to yourself).

So and so should be honest. “Is that TRUE?” Well sure. People should be honest! “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?” (and meditate on this question). How do I KNOW that that person isn’t relaying to me what they believe in their heart to BE THE TRUTH?

This one rocked my world: My mother didn’t want me. Yes I know that it’s true—she said it all the time. Wait…well…She also said a whole bunch of other things all the time that she didn’t actually mean. So….well….I guess I don’t ABSOLUTELY KNOW that it’s true. HOLY COW! OH MY GOD!

I didn’t even have to go through that whole worksheet to start to really let go of that pain I’ve had since I was a little girl. (I recognize now that I probably should do a worksheet because I think the turnaround would be an AMAZING journey)

 

Another one of my favorite parts to really focus on (I do this often with my better half) is “see that person, the person you’re judging. Look at them WITHOUT your thought, your judgment.” Oh my. I fall in love with him all over again and I don’t even have to actually be looking at him.

 

I was reading a silly little article on facebook and I thought that this was relevant to the part above about my mom. A quote that struck me (before I even got to the meat of the article…):

“There are many things in life that we DO owe our children. As parents, we owe them our unconditional love, respect, and endless forgiveness. They deserve a place to call home, food to keep them healthy, and an education that will help them later in life.”

‘An education that will help them later in life’. Well now. Hmmmm. School was easy for me, but I know that it wasn’t easy for everyone. Nowhere near easy for some people. And I didn’t really work that hard in college….but my school of life. WHEW! For whatever reason, my soul had me signed up for some pretty challenging classes. My family of origin….they were the teachers in that challenging school. It was a tough way to go…….it really was. I don’t know that I had my parents unconditional love or respect or forgiveness…..but I don’t know that 1 I needed it or 2 they had it to give.

I think that the lack of compassion that I had in my childhood home and being bullied and receiving so much anger and hatred did anything less than equip me with the amount of compassion that I feel oozing from my pores. When I’m acting in my truest nature, I feel that I’m extremely compassionate and understanding and patient (I know I know….it really doesn’t seem like I’m any of that when I’m not centered). The core of me is so sensitive and compassionate and loving and patient and generous. And I don’t think I would have even a fraction of that if I was receiving unconditional love and respect and forgiveness in my childhood home. 
I think that I received from them absolutely everything that I needed to completely fulfill my soul purpose. I do have a little bit of extra baggage that I need to dispose of, but they gave me a gift. Maybe, one day, the letter that I do write to them will be a thank you note….a genuine thank you note for giving me what my soul needed.

 

I will close with tears of peace and joy and a ‘namaste’ (no mistake….)

We are in good company–even with our flaws and weaknesses and screw ups

I was listening to a podcast by Shaun T and he was talking about hugs. He was discussing how important it is to hug, connect, essentially demonstrating loving compassion. 
After it was over, I turned on my typical instrumental music and let my thoughts go where they wanted to. They went on a tangent about connecting…and disconnecting…and depression. 

Sometimes, understanding science and neurotransmitters, I really believe that some people have a chemical imbalance that causes them to be depressed. I’m no where near even partially convinced of that for a large portion of people who experience depression. 

Speaking personally, I’ve battled depression, anxiety, and suicidality for most of my life, since I was probably 8. Why so long? Why such deep pits of pervasive depression? I think it’s probably the same reason as so many other people: a lack of a ‘soft place to fall’. For the most part, we live in a culture where we can’t be weak, where we HAVE to keep our faces plastered with fake, ‘strong’ smiles. We have to exaggerate our strengths and hide our weaknesses and things we struggle with so that even the people closest to us don’t know them; they only know our facades. 

I’ve heard so many people discuss someone they know who committed suicide or attempted suicide and the shock in their voices is overwhelming. It is saddening to me that we will share joys and hide sorrows. 

I hope that this post encourages even just one person to start creating a safe place for their friends to be real, not just happy. And in those safe places, to find and help to cultivate peace in the highs as well as the lows. 

I’m coming to learn from my job at Cooper that one of the greatest gifts that I can give to people is to sit with them as they cry through an incredibly scary and painful and sad time. And to just be with them in that space, letting them be weak, exposed, real, and not alone. 

From hatred to compassion

So originally, after learning just how detested I am by my family of origin, I had an aching to write them a letter or an email.This was what I typed up that I wanted to send to them:

Thank you thank you thank you.

Tony (and Sally),

Thank you so much for making my world better by leaving it! It’s so much happier and more full of love and compassion without you and Sally in it.

Please have it be known, that if you remain with the delusion that you and Sally did nothing wrong–ESPECIALLY Sally, you remain as crazy as your late father-in-law.

 

I am SO grateful to be dead to you. Thank you for doing me two enormous favors: bringing me into the world to find a real, true, loving family in the Rosenkaimer/Pierce’s and Shea’s, and throwing me away from the Maiale ‘family’ without even knowing me.

 

Enjoy Jack and delusional living.

Goodbye and good riddance.

 

I thought about it, though, and I realized that I may want to send them something to hurt them, but I would most definitely end up being very dissatisfied with myself for sending them something with the intent to try and hurt them (and the likely resulting disappointment that I would probably fail at hurting them).

 

And then, I thought more about it and I wrote out these thoughts:

While the aforewritten note is what I would like to say to the people who brought me into this world, I think it’s better not to. I know that it’s my vengeful ego that really really really wants to send it–or convey it to them in some way, through whatever medium.

I feel like it does nothing for good, not even me in the long run.

The following are statements of truth (and in parentheses, a yes or no to answer ‘is it REALLY true?’):

~~I hate them. (No–I don’t know what it feels like to hate someone. I don’t know that I know what that word really means)

~~I wish death on them, just like they did on me (no–there’s no need…we are all going to die at some point)

~~I wish they were in a position of need from me where I can rejoice in thumbing my nose at them and tell them ‘I am acting with as much love for you as you had for me when I was a child’. (No. That’s certainly not true. I would struggle with turning my back on someone in need)

~~They believe that they didn’t do anything wrong at all. They are wrong. They didn’t do anything right with raising me. They are delusional. (I believe that they do not have the same story as I do. I don’t believe they have the mental capacity to remember it the way that it actually happened. I don’t think that anyone has the capacity to live with themselves if they accepted the truth as it really happened. I don’t think that them not recalling my childhood as bad as it really was is malicious on their part–I think it’s the way they cope and live with themselves.)

 

And then I thought more about Leigh, than about them.

First I thought I hate her. But…then I think that I don’t really know what that word really means. I thought about that concept and then moved on to the next one. It consists of compassion for her. She was so abusive. She was so hurtful. Intentionally. She WANTED to hurt Tony and I, just like Mom did. She went out of her way to try to do anything to bring either him or I to tears—using her hands or her words. She didn’t care as long as we were crushed or hurt.

Where does that COME from? How do kids BECOME like that?? What happens to them that it gets to that point?

How much do you have to do to your SOUL to want to satisfy your mentally ill mother by bringing your siblings to tears? How much would you break down if you realized that the monsters in the mirror were part of your past? They don’t have to consume you or your future anymore….but they were definitely in your past.

How scared must she be to do everything in her power to avoid facing the demons of her past? How horrifying must it be to work so intently hard at keeping them at bay? How scary looking at them, facing them, realizing their existence, bidding them farewell must be. And all that—all that hard and scary work—is necessary to actually be able to allow yourself to love. And allow yourself to BE loved. All that is necessary to be able to move on from the past, stop living in it, and create a future that’s TRULY desired.

I used to hate my older sister because of how vicious she was, how cruel she could be, how cold and callous she is. Now I realized that the reason she is so cold is because she HAS to be. She HAS to be that cold and callous to be able to sleep with herself at night. She also has to be cold and callous so that she doesn’t get love (because she doesn’t “deserve” it you know). And if she’s cold and callous and hurtful and still people try to love her….she has to be more cold, more callous, more hurtful. Those people who still love her will be in constant battle if they openly dislike her actions.

I wish I knew a way to break the cycle. I think that part of her…the part that thinks that she really truly doesn’t deserve love ‘won’ when I walked away.

 

I don’t know what to do about all that….but it’s a lot more….loving to address her (even the thought of her) with compassion instead of hate.

A letter to Mother

As I’ve made it clear, my mom, the woman who raised me, and I are not close. I believe, in my heart of hearts, that that relationship is a toxic, completely ingenuine, inauthentic relationship. I have never been permitted to be the real, true me, without being ridiculed, belittled, criticized, and berated anyway. This mirrors the relationship with my dad. I grew up being told and thinking that everything that I did, believed in, valued, and liked was stupid, worthless, not good enough, etc. I recently remembered an incident when I was young…maybe around 5 (I was young enough to be getting ready for a nap)…where I made myself bleed. I let blood drip into the toilet after I ‘went number 2’ (haha…as someone in the medical field, I’m tempted to write ‘had a bowel movement’ but that seems far too formal…..whatever….you know what I mean). I remember calling for my mom (because, I guess, that’s what all kids do when they’re little…..call their moms to have them peer over the side of the commode). I vividly remember trying to instill some amount of concern….get some sort of reaction to demonstrate that she cared. I have no idea how I knew that blood in a toilet with poo was a bad sign for your insides, but I wanted to see her care about me. I remember her reaction so clearly. “Oh well. I really don’t care. It’s nap time. If you’re bleeding, you’re bleeding. I can’t do anything to fix it. It’s not like it matters if something happens to you.” I remember laying down for a nap and thinking that I should never have been born, that my family would actually be happy if I were no longer alive. Recalling that memory has caused the flood gates of similar memories to come back to me where I would try and instill some amount of motherly concern from my mom. It never worked. I remember always feeling so unworthy of life after she would repeatedly demonstrate that she didn’t give a rat’s ass.

 

I have been fortunate enough to know the opposite….and I want this post to reflect just that.

I’ve been quiet in my blog, but have been doing immense work to grow and overcome all of the insecurities and problems that I have relating to people as a result of my fears in growing up. I have been working on finishing the grieving process of Mother, my mother, the woman who raised me from the time I was 21 until she died when I was almost 29. It happens to be that four years ago today is the day she made her transition. I struggled with that. I wanted her to fight her cancer more than she wanted to. I wanted her to continue fighting long after she started her process of becoming ready to pass on to whatever awaits us next. It’s only been in the past couple days that I’ve been able to accept that she was ready to go, that I regrettably wasn’t ready to support her departure. And in light of that, this is my letter to the strongest woman I have ever met, a woman I strive to become more like, not in a self-loathing way…rather….she was so strong, admirable, respectable, amazing that, if I’m half the woman she was, I will be a success as a human being.

 

My dearest Mother-in-love,

It’s been four years since you were in your human body, breathing ever so slowly, preparing to go. It’s been four years and 6 days since I last heard your voice. It’s been that long since I heard you say “I love you too”. Four years and three days ago, I touched your hand and told you how much I needed you, how much I love you. I don’t know if you heard me. I hope so. I didn’t tell you thank you. I was too mad at you to thank you. I thought you gave up. I thought you quit. I never knew you to quit. I always knew you to fight until you won. I thought that’s what you would do with cancer. I thought you had it in you to be the one ‘five year statistic’. Because you’re Mother. And that’s just what you do. You keep on fighting. You keep on giving everything your everything. I was so mad at you because you were only my mother for far less time than I was ready. I was so angry when you didn’t do your treatment schedule ‘as you should’ because I didn’t have my mother for long enough. I was only your daughter(-in-love) for eight short years. You were leaving me too soon. I was so angry at you! I was so selfishly angry at you.

But now, I see that you were ready. You finished your work here. You finished giving ‘the fruits of your womb’ all the gifts that we all needed. Your legacy had been complete. Amazing and complete. And I thank you.

Thank you for teaching me love. Thank you for showing me joy and happiness and peace. Thank you for showing me what mothers do to fight for their children. And they just do it. Because they do. And they do it out of love. Everything that they do may not be right, but from the deepest place in the heart, out of the most intense love ever known makes it ‘good enough’.

Thank you for allowing me to be the daughter you never had. Thank you for being a constant demonstration of unconditional love that I wished for in my younger years.

Thank you for teaching me how to be a Mother, if I ever decide to have fruits of my own womb. Thank you for sharing so many stories of times of pure motherly bliss from when you were raising your boys. Thank you for so many gifts that you have blessed me so generously with, without even thinking twice. Thank you for loving me anyway. Thank you for loving me as if you had birthed me. Thank you for such deep and genuine and compassionate and unconditional love. Thank you for letting me be me while you be you and we learned to love each other through all the times of trials and laugh heartily through all of the good times. We learned to just be. And sometimes we butted heads, sometimes far uglier than it maybe should have been, just as mothers and daughters tend to do. But I loved you and you loved me.

Thank you for allowing me the gift of a relationship with you separate from mine with your son and yours with your son. Thank you for teaching me what an adult motherly relationship feels like. Thank you for teaching me how to ask for advice…even if sometimes I don’t know I’m asking 🙂

Thank you for welcoming me into your family to teach me what it looks like to BE a family, to be respectful, to be loved, and to be allowed to love.

Thank you for being so honest and true and genuine. Thank you for telling me when you did like something just as readily as when you didn’t like something.

Thank you for showing me and challenging me to be strong with love rather than fear. Thank you for trying to teach me balance. That’s something I am much better at…I think anyway….Thank you for being you and being there. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for being a bitch sometimes. Thank you for putting up with me being a bitch. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being someone to miss so intensely; someone to love so deeply; someone so willingly teach to live, laugh, love; someone to model my personal aspirations after. I wish I could remember what your voice sounds like. I will just have to hold so intently to what your motherly love feels like. And I thank you so deeply for giving me that to hold on to for the rest of my years.

I will always love, appreciate, and honor you.

Forever your daughter-in-love

Learning, not whining

Over the past couple days, I’ve spent a number of hours at work and in my car listening to Shaun T (the fitness guru from Insanity, etc) on his podcasts. One thing that he and his husband address in a podcast makes me want to address something in my life.

 

I realize that I write of all of these things from my childhood—the way my parents and sister treated me, the way I acted in school—and I could be perceived as whining. I don’t intend it to be whining and complaining in any way. I am finally taking a good, long, deep, hard look at myself, my attitude, my perspectives, my reactions, my feelings, my emotions and understanding exactly WHY certain things are so natural to me. Or were….all of those things that I would easily resort to are starting to unravel as ‘wow….that’s REALLY not natural. Those are REALLY dysfunctional things’. In certain ways…well…in MOST ways, I consider my past as a necessary part of forming and molding my character. I wouldn’t be really looking at certain things, like learning to BE HAPPY and JOYFUL, if I didn’t have the past that I did.

If I had a healthy relationship with my parents, I might not be as appreciative of the strongest woman I’ve ever known. If I grew up in a loving and peaceful and genuine home, I don’t know that I would really be so appreciative and work so hard to have that in my adult years.

 

I write the blogs that I do and tell the stories that I do because they’re being revealed to me as certain reasons and the backbone of the way I learned to do things. In sharing them and picking them apart, I might help someone realize that they have a bad habit now (that they may or may not realize) because of something that shaped them in their influential years. In my influential years, I learned a lot of anger and hatred and LOUD ‘love’. My better half pointed out that that’s the only language that I’ve understood, up until this point where I’m starting to learn a new language.

 

I’m grateful for the past that I have because it’s helped to make me as strong, persistent, independent, and strong-willed as I am today. I’m also grateful for the unwinding of those things that used to seem to serve such a functional purpose….and the support of my better half as I deconstruct the only foundation that I’ve ever known and build anew.