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May 17, 2006

Mother Mary

"I realized the other day that I've been waiting to be happy. I've been waiting for so long. I've been thinking that once this thing or that thing is done, then I'll be happy. It's taken three years to sell this house and I've been thinking that after that's done, then I'll be happy. But then I thought: why not just be happy now; why not choose to be happy right now." I was silent on the other end of the phone line after listening to my wise mother speak with the awareness of a buddha.

She came from an unhealthy family with alcoholism, violence, and many other forms of acting out. When I was a kid I didn't feel that she was fully emotionally present. I know from experience that when my mind is in the past or in the future I'm not fully with another person; I suspect that this is what was happening with my mum when I was a kid.

When I was twenty-seven I had become extremely successful financially and also in my career. One day, after talking with my mum on the phone, I realized that my success had been largely an attempt to get her approval, to get the attention that I missed when I was a child. I remember realizing that I couldn't change her and how futile all of my effort had been; I had been struggling so hard to win something which could not be won.

Recently I experienced my boundaries being violated by another person. I didn't assert strongly enough that I didn't like what they were doing to me. My rationalization for not doing anything was that saying what I wanted would be seen as rude or unreasonable.

After the experience, I felt violated and dirtied. I went to visit my mum and on the way I was thinking that darkness had been put into me by this person. Then I realized that it's not possible for someone else to put darkness into me. A part of me falls into darkness when I turn the light of my awareness away from that part; something I learned to do when I was a child in order to survive. As I was driving I said out loud, "Jesus come into my heart and fill it with your love; Krishna come into my body and fill it with your life; Buddha come into my mind and fill it with your wisdom. I want everything to be illuminated and all the darkness to be dispelled."

Soon I became aware of some heavy black lumps in my lower abdomen. I knew that they were the pattern of passively allowing people to abuse me and to take advantage of me. Thoughts kept coming to me of ways that I had allowed people to abuse me. At the time, I hadn't even been aware they were abusing me; I thought that I was being helpful or responsible. I cried as I drove.

I took my mum out for lunch and on the way I told her that I had learned this pattern from her. She told me that she had learned it from her mother. We stopped in the park and went for a walk. I said to her, "You love me more than anyone else in the world, mum. I want you to help me. Will you pull these lumps out of my abdomen and help me stamp them into dust?"

"I do love you very much. Of course I'll help you." She said.

She pulled all the lumps out, and while keeping them carefully cupped in her hands, placed them on a rock. Then we both stamped on them and I shouted, "I don't want this anymore!"

"Can you see them?" I asked her.

"Yes." she said.

"What do they look like?" I asked.

"They're just dust now." She told me.

"I can see that too. They're just dust now." I said.

"See those bluebells over there?" She asked, pointing at a swath of lavender-blue, "That's what this dust will become."

"That's beautiful," I said, "I'm sure that it's true."

"Now you have to say 'no'. When you don't want something, say it! And when you do want something, say that too! I had to learn this myself and it took a long time. Awareness is so important; if something doesn't feel right then you need to know that it's not right for you."

Since then I've realized that I can have the love and attention that I always wanted from my mum. I can have it now because it's there for me now. Since separating from my wife eight months ago I've talked with my mum regularly on the phone, sometimes for hours at a time. I love talking with her. In the past I was seeking something that was unattainable: to be little Duncan again with the same mother except with her being totally emotionally present with me. And all the time I was longing for that, I was stuck in the past with a mother who no longer exists, and in pain that no longer serves me. I was missing life and I was missing the best mum there is.

"I will treasure this to the end of my days." — Mary

"Amen!" — Annie

"Your piece about your mother really resonated in my heart Duncan; tears came and gently welled over until they ran down my cheek. You see those words are very similar to the ones I have heard my son say to me. Just typing this out now is very emotional for me; I am crying again ..." — Carol

"How perfect this is: it is May and Mother's Day was the 14th and there is so much healing going on with us and our moms. I have just spent 6 weeks with a very couragous, loving, funny, and determined woman; and that woman is my mom! So much healing took place inside me. The feeling and the expierence of the richness and depth of how much I am loved and cared for is still in a place of 'no words'; totally accepted, no need for approval, just loved and loved and then loved somemore. I give thanks daily that this gift has been given. My mom is one remarkable woman; what a treat to see her in action!" — Trish


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