I’ve recently returned from a two-week excursion of channeling my mother. Not what I would call a luxurious holiday, but looking back I see it was a necessary fact finding adventure.
And, like many adventures, I found myself in turbulent waters, desolate landscapes and challenging situations. Although my mother’s mind and heart are familiar territory to me, I am not comfortable there. I am in emotional pain. Like many of us looking for more joy and more freedom in our own hearts I have had to look at who taught me to love in order to change my historical patterns of how I love. And the most crucial element is how I learned, or didn’t learn, to love myself.
No praise No blame
As I explore this by writing, I am keenly aware that I do not want to slip into praising or blaming either my mother or myself. This is one of the main principles of Live Conscious—living from a place of acceptance where I neither blame nor praise anyone. My mother was a challenging woman to love, because she had little regard for herself. She judged me harshly because she judged herself harshly. When I opt to live in praise and blame I am stuck being my mother’s victim and I end up being just like her. When I move away from praise and blame into acceptance, I have room to expand my perception of my mother and I can accept who she was without needing to be angry with her.
For the past two weeks I felt like a fly against a window—I knew I was trapped in an old pattern of being unkind to myself and I knew that I would find a way out. But for two long weeks I felt myself banging up against myself—seemingly unable to stop being harsh with myself, causing myself great emotional pain. Finally last night I went to the fly-against-the-window-part-of-myself and whispered to her, “turn around,” and I remembered how to free myself.
When I am banging up against the windowpane I know what I am doing, I am completely aware that I am being harsh with myself. The puzzling thing is that when I am up against the glass I forget how to turn around—I forget about the rest of the room and all I know is I am trapped by my own perceptions. Initially, I didn’t panic—I’ve been a visitor to my mother’s heart many times and have always managed to exit in a timely fashion. But this visit was different, this visit I went deeper into the cold desolate landscape than ever before and last night I started to feel anxious.
The language I learned as a child
For the entirety of my visit I was paying close attention to the language of my mother’s world—I found myself starting most of my inner sentences with these phrases:
Why do I always…
Why don’t I just…
Why can’t I stop…
When I am ever going to…
As I lay in my bed last night, unable to sleep and unable to re-phrase or re-language myself I forced myself to distill the essence of the language I learned from my mother. I started by seeing that the language in those phrases was based on being powerless, it stems from a victim stance. When I language myself in that way, when my inner dialogue is created with sentences based on words like, “don’t, can’t, never, always, ever, when and why,” I have already lost. I saw that when I use my mother’s language I fail before I begin, I lose before I open my eyes. When I use my mother’s language I will always be a victim, I will never live in the room or in the world, I will always be trapped in the window banging my head against the glass.
As this awareness began to permeate, I distilled the message even more and I became aware that my mother’s language is based on, “No,” and I am fundamentally a, “Yes,” girl. I always have been. I believe in love and I believe in joy and in MY heart I dwell in beauty, abundance and compassion. As I lay in bed remembering my own language of “yes” I felt myself leaving the harsh landscape of my mother’s heart and walking back to the warm, sunlit landscape that is my heart.
For the next hour I felt myself intermittently struggle. I felt myself move away from my mother and into the sunlight but I didn’t feel solid yet. I experienced a small part of myself still clinging to my mother’s language and a feeling of heaviness reappeared and I felt myself sliding back into her world. I scared myself for a few moments with the strength and tenacity of my attachment to my own version of my mother’s language.
Leaping forward into myself
I learned in Live Conscious that when I go deeply into myself I have the opportunity to effect great changes. When I am deeply struggling with my identity that is the time to leap toward love with all the faith and energy I can muster. I know how to live in desolation and harsh conditions, I know how to live against the glass. So, last night as I lay in bed I leapt—I prayed loudly to my own heart to rescue me. I prayed to the older and wiser parts of myself to send a beacon of light that would lead me from desolate to abundant, from harsh to gentle, from “no” to “YES.” And then, finally, I went to sleep.
When I woke this morning I was back. I still feel shaky and tentative, but my language has changed. My inner conversation is based on kindness and love, generosity and compassion and I know I’ve made it home, home to my own heart. I also am aware that what I did over the last two weeks—culminating last night—was to make an agreement with myself to be ME. After last night I will never believe my mother’s language the way I used to. If I find myself trapped in her perception again I will always have the gift of the image of the fly against the glass.
Learning to re-language myself is what I learn in Live Conscious. Choosing my own identity and loving myself is the result. If you live, or find yourself stuck in a barren inner wasteland, chances are it’s not your wasteland; it was inherited. I encourage you to come to a Live Conscious retreat and learn how to re-locate yourself and live gently in your own heart.