My 31st birthday recently came to pass on July 8 and in celebration, without even realizing my intent, I forgave my mother.
If you’ve been a follower of my blog since last summer, you are probably aware of the trials I have faced along the bumpy road toward making peace with my mother.
However on my birthday, there were no bumps in the attempt…. no hurdles to overcome and most importantly it was simply clear skies and perfect road conditions as I finally found the right path to truly release past resentments in relation to my mothership.
In regards to forgiving my mother, I used to think for sure the end result would be some big, dramatic scene where I’d have to tell her I forgive her and ultimately release her for everything she’s put me through and FINALLY get the acknowledgement and love I’ve always wanted. In return, I’d get gratitude for releasing her from having to make up for what she did “to” me. I’ve often felt baffled on how to do that because she has never issued an apology or explanation for the things which have put a riff between us.
WOW… Looking at the above statement makes me cringe. No wonder it took me so long to find forgiveness….
The thing is, forgiving my mother was not a big scene at all…
It was one of the easiest and most uneventful tasks of my life.
I never felt an urge to hear her say, “Sorry.” Nor did I have the urge to rub her nose in the metaphorical poo which I used to be all too happy to blame on her drinking… or just her in general.
On that note, I didn’t even have an urge to judge whether or not she was drunk while we were corresponding. I didn’t have the slightest inkling to condemn her lifestyle… or even ask about it. To my surprise, it wasn’t hard. I didn’t have to hold back any negativity from her because I simply don’t care anymore. I don’t mean that in an ego based way at all. I mean it in a, it’s really not my business to judge how she lives her life kind of way. I mean, I am an adult now. I do have a life of my own. I don’t need her approval nor does she need it from me. I mean, I want her to be healthy… but more importantly, I honestly and truly just want her to be happy. How can I judge what happiness looks like for her if I’ve never walked a day in her shoes?
Am I suddenly giving her the Perfect Mother Award?
No. I know she made questionable choices, most specifically in my teenage years that I am aware of. I know she kicked me out rather unfairly several years ago. But who am I to say that on my journey home to myself that she was wrong (in a higher sense)? Who am I to say that I didn’t become a better person because of it?
The truth is, I did become a better person because of it. This is something I’ve known in my head for a long time. Though, now that I see what true heart-felt forgiveness looks like with her, I would say in the past, my mentality was that I became a better person in spite of it. Spite being the operative word.
I know in the past when she kicked me out that she didn’t wake up that morning and say, Gee, if I kick out my daughter today and am really really mean to her and lie, I bet this will really help her become a more loving person… I bet it will scar her so deeply that it will give her no choice but to have to become stronger, wiser and more gracious as she finds the way home to herself.
Honestly, I doubt she was thinking of me at all the day our biggest issue made its debut into my own personal healing library.
Like I said, I have no urge to keep rubbing her nose in it. I have no urge to keep rubbing my own nose in it either. Like I’ve said before, I want new problems… this is a tired out old problem that has caused too much strife in my own life, since in the past, I refused to see the beautiful lessons embedded within (through soul-centered eyes). I’ve allowed this lesson to keep coming up and playing out with different relationships in my own journey. I’m kind of over it. I want new opportunities and lessons to learn.
So, I simply choose to let it go.
As one of my favorite Michael Franti songs says: Nobody right. Nobody wrong.
Anyway, I simply chose to liberate myself by way of dropping the power games. I didn’t have a need to make anyone right or wrong. I chose to see all of the things I really like about her and truly accepted her just as she is without a need to label or condemn. It was beautiful.
That Wayne Dyer quote is true, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” But the most amazing thing was that I didn’t need to work to change the way I look at things. I simply stopped resisting accepting my mom as she truly is: A Perfectly Imperfect person who happens to be having a human experience.
The layers of the human psyche never cease to amaze me. This is especially true when on my own personal journey, I find a new layer of my own healing onion and peel it back to find a deeper lesson that the previous, surface issue was trying to draw my attention to.
Seriously, a few years ago when I was led through a powerful group meditation with about 250 other people, a huge awareness came forward (which I haven’t allowed myself to work through until recently). Long story short, the objective was to think of any issue which had been bothering us within the somewhat recent years and allow ourselves to follow that lesson back as far as possible until we couldn’t go back any further, or no memories would surface…
I found myself crying as I recalled a time just two years before this large group experience when my ex-husband left me. (I am not proud of what I’m about to write and haven’t the time to write too much about it in this post… but feel you should read a quick back story to get a better understanding of my thoughts).
The time period I recalled during that meditation was a very difficult and dark time in my life. My ex and I had barely any money to eat… we successfully liquidated our belongings and savings and my ex was stressed and since I didn’t know how not to blame myself, neither did anyone else. He left me. The only food we had in the house was a half-finished container of cookies. My already frighteningly thin, over stressed body went further into trauma mode and I was about 105 pounds… during that time, I got pretty sick and went under 100 pounds for a while there. I was terrified because in order to make him happy (or really to keep him from leaving me, we moved to TX (a place I never liked or felt comfortable….) I’m just not a Texas kind of person.. though I tried so hard to make me fit there).
Anyway, I was terrified because I lost everything in an extreme people pleasing fiasco that exploded in my face … and I had no way to get back to the place I considered home: Oregon. I felt stuck. Very stuck and frightened beyond belief. I couldn’t sleep, I stopped being able to feel my legs at times and I was so wracked with nerves that showering was the last thing on my mind. I was literally dehydrated, starving, sleep deprived for days and I had a head of the greasiest hair I’d ever seen…. in the end, it left me with the biggest migraine ever. It wasn’t a proud time for me.
What made it worse was that my ex wouldn’t speak with me. He wouldn’t hear me say that I knew it was over (and was okay with that), but to please work with me in getting back to Oregon… since I had literally given up everything that I cherished in order to (quite unsuccessfully) make him happy….. my agnostic ex thought encouraging me to go to a church as a sort of refugee was the best option. My sanity crumbled as the thought of being stuck in Texas at a homeless shelter at the mercy of a church became a very real possibility for me. My biggest and most recurring thought was, It’s like day and night… I had everything I wanted… I was in school, I worked, I had a great home, lived in a great place… was happy…. and now look at me…. no way home… I have nothing left…. how did this happen?
Back to the large group meditation:
I followed my memories back to the above time period. I recalled the day that I chased after him barefoot in the mud through the rain as I begged him to talk to me and struggled to have him hear me say, “I let you go… please just help… I just want to go back to Oregon…. everything is such a mess…. I just want to go home.”
(Back to meditation) Right as I recalled the feeling of mud between my toes, the memory changed and when I finally caught up with my ex and touched his shoulder for him to turn around, he transformed.
I was no longer chasing my ex. I was chasing my Godfather crying helplessly and wildly (AKA: The ugly cry), “Please Daddy, don’t go, I need you….. PLEASE don’t go, I NEED YOU. Don’t leave me alone.”
Though when this memory surfaced, I judged it as silly since so much time had passed (back when I didn’t think I was worthy of having my own feelings and thoughts)…. so I didn’t deal with it.
Through healing the memories surrounding my ex a few years ago and having experienced another sort of radical forgiveness that was probably one of the most beautiful days of my life with him and his wife, I made space to finally start remembering my Godfather. I guess I cleared out the baggage of my ex-husband and found that he was the surface issue, which was really covering up the sense of abandonment I adopted when my Godfather died…. Or rather, my ex-husbands role in my life was to help trigger the healing that really needed to be done.
As I finally grieved my Godfather’s death this year, I found a need for my mom. Since owning that John was like my dad and he was gone, I really really really wanted my mom because she is the only person on this earth who knows how I loved him thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much… because he loved me thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat much too (and he was her best friend). Through talking to her, we did discuss him and the healing I recently found and she said, “The day you were born he wasn’t allowed in the delivery room since he wasn’t family, but he was waiting to meet you right outside in the waiting room the whole time. His life was about making you happy… and I’m glad you’ve started to grieve… his death was HUGE and you deserve to feel what you need to.”
Anyway, through healing those memories, I easily found forgiveness for my mom and was able to transform the way I see her….
It was truly the best birthday present ever…. and I gave it to myself. (Put that together with having two birthday cakes about 5 different rounds of people singing happy birthday to me in TWO languages and fun and laughter and games, it was probably the best birthday I’ve had in quite some time… maybe ever).
And now the deepest layer of healing has presented itself because it has nothing to hide under anymore… all of the (biggest) surface issues are gone and I have found my deepest darkest stores of pain and anger. It’s not comfortable. I may or may not write about it here… but I know it’s time to stop avoiding what’s really bothering me, so I may shed my baggage as I claim the life I was meant to live and embrace new problems.
I wish I could apply everything I wrote above to my new-found healing opportunity… however, I know I have to do the work to get to the heart of my truth so that I may find true peace…. otherwise it becomes an endless and fruitless personal mind game that never really gets anywhere.
*On a side note to my blog followers and the blogs I follow: Back before I took a vacation from blogging, I was still actively commenting on all of your blogs. However, most of my comments were not showing up. I found this frustrating and a few people have told me that they find my comments in their spam folders. I don’t know why this was happening (and still is)… but I did contact wordpress admin and hopefully will hear from them soon so we can fix this and resume the regular correspondence. I hope you find my comments or just know that I am still reading your blogs.
Have a great day!