May 10, 2011

Honoring the mother within, in spite of her Self.

Empathy, compassion, forgiveness and love

Lately, I’ve been a rumbling emotional volcano, struggling to contain my lava. 

Quite unexpectedly, the eruption came yesterday in a rather undignified fashion. I am lucky to have been in the presence of a compassionate human being who instinctively held me at a moment when I was incapable of holding my Self together. 

I’ve often questioned the use and validity of hindsight given that its very nature is rooted in the past.  Why does the event or circumstance need to pass before we can realize what was happening in the moment? And once we’ve been gifted with the knowledge, how do we apply it to the future, a time that is yet to be formed? Does hindsight’s sole purpose then rest in its ability to demonstrate increases in our levels of conscious awareness?

Consciousness is an expensive commodity, certainly from an emotional perspective. On a day like yesterday I wonder, can I afford all of this feeling and sensing and knowing?

Currently, I live and work in a place where resilience is a key survival factor. Without it, simply, you’re doomed. Thankfully, the other alternatives of medication through emotionally numbing devices such as excessive alcohol consumption and irresponsible sex don’t lure me. 

Having just returned from a very special time at home in Jamaica with my family and loved ones, the last thing I want to have to do now is to muscle up resilience. As aware as I profess myself to be, I am surprised to be [un] learning the tremendous effort that is required for one to be strong, balanced and focused. I suppose that when one is emotionally unavailable and spiritually unconscious, the need for resilience dissipates as then one is merely wading through life, albeit recovering from their last hangover and/or one night stand.

Just prior to my departure from Jamaica, I recognized that I was feeling a tad off center. At the base of my root chakra, my emotions were engaged in mega summersaults. Without any forewarning, I’d find myself in buckets of tears. Normally a very calm and organized traveler, I barely caught my flight from Jamaica to New York, arriving at JetBlue’s ticket counter only 10 minutes before its closing.

On my connecting flight from New York to Paris, while watching the film Karate Kid starring the Pinkett-Smith off-spring genius Jayden, I had to wade through the river of my tears to actually see the film. The more tears I shed, the more the tension in my chest subsided. If I liken my drama to that of the film unfolding before me, toward the end when he was down and could barely stand, he made it clear to his coach that he would continue to fight until he was no longer afraid; my tears served as release of my own emotional battle taking place within.

Grim. This is the word that best encapsulates my dense mood over the past few days. Instead of giving myself a human break and acknowledging the weight of my life as I feel it now, I chose to diminish my own feelings and make an attempt to get on with things, business as [un]usual. 

It wasn’t until my eruption that I was actually able to see the extent to which I was one hot mess. Truth be told, though still a bit shaky, I feel much better having released those massive emotions that threatened to implode me, given a chance.

I wonder, when Mother Nature erupts as we’ve witnessed her do increasingly in recent times, does she too share my sentiments? Are her disasters desperate pleas for help that she is incapable of articulating otherwise? It would appear so, given that in such instances she does indeed get our undivided attention, if only for fleeting moments in time.

As the vast majority of Western societies celebrated Mother’s Day this past weekend, I was mindfully cautious about how I jumped onto the bandwagon. Being a childless mother/caregiver and a motherless child during a pivotal time in my development, I’ve often struggled with its whole notion. The line between mothering, smothering and parenting can be blurry at best, invisible at its worst.

Years of confrontation and self-inquiry led me several years ago to realize and appreciate that until and unless I was prepared to accept the women who gave birth to me biologically and otherwise, that I was in essence rejecting a core part of my being. I rebelled against being mothered. Much of this rebellion was rooted in anger – where was she when I needed her, and how dare her show up now and expect me to conform to being the dutiful daughter.

Mother and all she was supposed to represent became my ultimate litmus test in empathy, forgiveness and ultimately love. 

Yet as I lovingly recall those sacred instances where with us separated by various oceans depending on my geographical location, I remain in humble awe at how we could, for example, have virtually identical dreams and instances occur in our lives. The umbilical cord that binds a child to a mother is never severed irrespective of the circumstances, though there may come a time where for us to truly grow up a symbolic cutting gesture is necessary.

Being a parent in general and a mother in particular is unquestionably the most responsible undertaking that a female chooses, the ultimate deed demonstrating selflessness. For those who this role has been thrust upon through less than ideal circumstances such as teenage pregnancy, rape, incest or sheer ignorance due to lack of education, celebration can be a bitter pill to swallow.   

So where am I going with all of this?

Like us, our mothers are spiritual beings on the path of having a human experience. Like us, they may make a mistake or seven along the way. Our mothers are our teachers giving us those lessons that help shape the beings that we are or are aspiring to be. Our mothers are our mirrors, reflecting brightly on some days and looming darkly on others. Our mothers and all mothers are striving to be the best that they can possibly be and for most of the mothers on this planet, against events and circumstances that we cannot even begin to imagine let alone fathom.

None of us are without mothers. She lives and breathes within each and every one of us alive on this planet.  We only need to look within to discover her presence and feel her love pouring from our heart even in those moments when that love manifests as hot, salty tears streaming down our faces while we clutch at our heart centers. There she is, that internal crone, empress, goddess who is there for us always, especially in those times when we least expect her.

I love her deeply, my mother.

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