Memory is a funny thing. It is colored by emotion, and experience, and intensity. When you think back on your childhood what stands out are the particular moments of intensity that seemed to sear into your memory.
Injuries of all sorts seem to dwell there. And our mothers take on different characterizations based on what we are remembering and how we are remembering them or reconstituting those experiences.
Watching her dark hair as she bent over washing the kitchen floor as I was coming in from school in the afternoon – asking about my day. Listening to her singing Opera and The Sound of Music with the stereo while doing chores, and listening to her spontaneous laughter at my father’s quick rapparte. Sitting with me as we listened to Peter and the Wolf on the stereo with the characters being played out by various orchestral instruments. Singing and talking about life, and the importance of giving back to the world and staying close to family while cooking together or doing errands.
Those are my sweet memories.
There are other things that I remain confounded by in my relationship with my mother. These are not sweet and yet they are not injuries per se, they are dissonances – dissonances in my and her personalities and skill at communicating. When I put my mindful eye to evaluating these dissonances I seem to discern that much of what feels negative was just a disconnect or a mis-connect.
I think the everyday element of mothering is actually the thing that gives foundation to children. The day in and day out responses and attitudes that seem to actually help children build resilience. Especially because resilience is something built from the inside out.
So the ground (background) of what you take from mothering are these sweet memories and the figure (focal stuck points) are those dissonances that are unresolved in some way.
Both the ground and the figure affect us – they each affect our learning and the direction of what we develop. How we respond to these is affected by our personalities too and what we each put precedence on in our picture of the world – what paradigm we apply to the events, and what attitude.
Synthesizing and integrating them is important for the most forgiving and compassionate response and the highest degree of health. Utilizing a neutral eye to evaluate our experiences from the mindful perspective of paradigm shifting and seeing from the other’s point of view, not only our own – allows for integration and synthesis.
When I observe my mothering of my daughter and Max, I notice elements of my mother’s style – not the stuff so much that I thought didn’t work, although I’m sure there is an element of that too, but a lot of the stuff that did. The laughter, and singing and interactive play.
How we go about our daily routine is much more interwoven into who we are just because of the weight of time we are doing it.
In the Celestine Prophecy there is a theme that you choose your parents because they have something to teach you.
This theory identified the process through which we develop our personalities. There are components of our style of communicating that we develop in reaction to our parents style, according to this theme, which I will discuss in a future blog.
But the part of this theory which I think is really an interesting structure to help to integrate what we experienced and learned in childhood is this: Our driving internal force is directly related to the most important aspect distilled from our parents.
For me it was my mother’s intense spirituality (spirit) and my fathers brilliant analytical thinking (mind) together these two elements are the most basic elements of my personality integrated with the intense heart connection from both of my parents into my basic core.
I am certain this is why Grace is my picture of synchronicity because spirit is ever-present in everything I encounter and do – for me it can not be separated even from my mental and physical experiences.
I encourage you on this day of focus on Mother, to consider what the essential quality is that you incorporated into your being from your mother.
Consider what may be the essential quality you are passing on to your children if you have them.
It’s an interesting focus, because it allows the integration of the figure and ground of one’s life distilled to a single quality/characterization.
This is usually something positive and profoundly encouraging, so it helps to dissipate the dissonance that may be nagging in your consciousness.
And even if you only had your mother in your life for a few years – she brought something essential to you that is always there guiding your moves – what you are drawn to do and what matters. If you can identify that you can feel less left and less lonely on this day.
See you tomorrow.