Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the fortune of spending a lot of time with my mother.
Although, “fortunate” is not necessarily how I would always have described it.
There have been so many times where we’ve budded heads, where I’ve found myself thinking, “This is why, past a certain age, mothers and daughters live in separate homes.”
And then I’ve caught myself thinking this and been saddened, and desirous of challenging this thought.
The thing is, this isn’t the sort of mind chatter I want to have. My Higher Self knows well that family is precious, that I should cherish this time because, after all, when again will I have so much time with my own mother? Possibly never. Too, my Higher Self knows that my reactive nature around my mother has to do with inner work that I need to do, and so, truly, this is a blessing that I’m receiving, a nudge to look at my internal landscape and do some serious digging. And, when I’ve eventually cleared out and culled space, a nudge to do some planting of intentional seeds I wish to water to bring about the sort of relationship I’d like to have with the woman who gave me life.
There’s something else. Having the deep draw as I do toward Asian cultures, particularly the Chinese culture, I know that I was wrong with my thought. At least, in the way I generalized. Maybe it’s true that past a certain age in North America mothers and daughters live under separate roofs, but, in traditional Chinese households, this isn’t the case.
What I’ve always found so gorgeous about this culture is that the elders hold a special place in the hearts of society. They are not looked down on for “being out of touch,” but rather looked up to, respected for the deep wisdom they hold. And this is reflected, at least in traditional families, by the tendency that five generations have of living together under one roof.
And I mean really live together, not cohabitate like ships passing in the night. Grandparents typically play an active role in rearing their grandchildren, and are honoured with candle-lit, photo-and-trinket-speckled altars in the family home when they have passed.
I believe that we are drawn to everything we are drawn to for a reason. That our interests are a manifestation of our soul contract, little clues that, if listened to, bring us into deep communion with our Highest, Truest Self, and our purpose here on earth.
Given this, it only makes sense to me that my deep reverence for the Chinese culture, my appreciation of their customs and traditions, points toward potential light inside myself that my soul wants me to tap into.
In other words, if I, or you, see so much beauty in another, it’s because it lives inside of us, and it’s meant to be explored, unleashed.
In this context, I’ve come to the conclusion that being reactive when it comes to my mother isn’t something to be ashamed of. Mother-daughter relationships are notoriously challenging because there is so much history there, and with history often comes baggage, wounds that need to be tended to, healed.
And healing doesn’t happen when we run away from the situation. It happens when we find the courage to plant ourselves right where we are and commit to acknowledging whatsoever is coming up, so we can explore its depths, and ultimately, move through it to release its hold on us, so we can come again into the state of our birthright: ease, peace, grace, harmony, love.
This is so important for ourselves and the health of all of our relationships. It was in my current romantic relationship that I really learned to disentangle my avoidant tendencies and to embrace rooting myself where I am so I can do the work to create an honest, peaceful environment for my boyfriend and I to land in. And these lessons I learned are what I will be bringing into my familial relationships, too. Because, again, healing doesn’t mend when we flee.
If you are struggling with any of your relationships, struggling with your inner chatter, feeling like you want to run and just get away from it all, do your best to consider the below when things get tough:
1. In the heat of the moment, when you feel your body getting riled up—your stomach contracts, your heart begins to race—learn to come back to your body. You can do this through deep breaths, or, what I find most powerful, pressing the pressure point between my baby and ring finger. This works wonders to remind yourself to come into your skin, into the present.
2. From there, consider your values, your Higher Self. Is what you’re about to say representative of that? Is how you’re about to treat the person in front of you aligned with that? What would your Higher Self say? How would he/she behave?
3. Speak and move from that grounded place.
4. If you can’t, say nothing. Remove yourself from the situation and take a walk without technology. You may just need more space and time to breathe and come home to your True Self.