In a World Filled with Mothers

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Being a mother has been my greatest gift, and I’m certain that I’m not the only mommy that would make this statement.  My children have molded me from a child into a woman.  They have given me more life than I physically gave them.  It’s because of my son and daughter (wise, accepting and loving) that I have discovered myself rooted into the ground that once seemed infinitely shaky.  They are also the reason I cherish my own mother even more today than ever.  

At a very young age I played with and loved my dolls like I was their mom.  I changed their diapers, fed them, rocked them, sang to them and gave them names that I enjoyed saying aloud.  I named my son several years before he was even born.  I was dreaming of being a mother long before I was a teenager.  It was something innate within me that yearned to give life, to teach, to love and to guide.  When I was gifted with both a son and a daughter, just like my mother and her mother before her, I was elated.  But being a mother is not as easy as holding, and fake feeding a doll.  It means you have to be a mother to yourself first, and I lacked these skills for a very long time.  I grew up while my children were growing up.  I made mistakes worse than my own parents made with me, and often cursed myself for falling short as a mom.  The one thing that never changed, however, was how much my children loved me regardless of my shortcomings, which is why I made a choice to grow up and to learn to love myself so that I could spend the remainder of their lives honoring them.

Without a mother’s love a child is lost.  We are the life chord our children’s hearts.  Mothers are the spirit of the planet, drawing in and extending out love that unites and connects the world.  For the mothers out there who have a difficult time with love because of the abuse that they have endured, love must come from within.  Love must be given to yourself, from yourself first and foremost before it can be delivered outward.  This is a difficult endeavor to love yourself, when you have been taught that you are worthless. But when you look into your child’s face, they are reflecting your own worth, which is eminent.  Let your child lead the way back to yourself.  Let them teach you to love the way you were never loved.  For they are our greatest teachers. 

For the women in the world without children, I have discovered that you are mothers to many.  I have had moms delivered to me in times of need who have never held their own infant.  Mothers come in so many different forms, even in the hearts of dads who raise children on their own.  To be a mother means to be filled with infinite love for someone other than yourself, but to love yourself enough to extend that love through you.  It is a circle of being, and of giving.  It is what makes this world go ’round.

I love my mother, who has not only given me life, but who has also given me dynamic depth.  When looked upon with clarity, the challenges we have faced together were a path toward overcoming inner obstacles that were holding us back from greater dimensions of our lives.  We entered into each other’s lives to become better people, to show each other the way; to poke and prod one another into noticing what we need to face in ourselves.  It has been difficult, but now that it is clear to me that my mom was my greatest advocate for my spiritual growth, I treasure her more than ever.  I wouldn’t have chosen a different mom.  She was the one, and she’s done her job with honors.

Mothers are amazing human beings, although none of us are perfect.  Even the moms who give their children up for adoption are offering the most unselfish love to their child.  It is what a mother is.  When we do our job correctly, we are unselfishly loving.  I’m so grateful today that I’m one of the mothers out there who is deliberately making the world a much better place.  Peace to all you mothers today!

 

The Wandering “I” in the Land of Separateness

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This topic came to me today after watching ‘Mean Girls 2’ with my twelve year old last night.  I know I probably shouldn’t allow her to watch these horrible movies, but I was more hooked than she was and my kid is pretty aware of what’s going on for real, and so far seems to be clear on her path with a little guidance from me.  What am I saying?… I don’t need to justify anything to anyone here.  We were watching ‘Mean Girls 2’ – so what?

So there you have it and I was blown away (and interested) at the way the movie depicted high school as an extremely unsafe environment where there are a group of wealthy girls who control pretty much everything and everyone – yet how incredibly appropriate.  It was both comedy and satire of what the world truly is… A tragedy, really, to say the very least (because I am not elaborating anymore about this awful film).   (When I mentioned I was hooked, I should have said dumfounded). 

I recall being swooned in by people in my life who controlled the world around them by using others (including me) as pawns to create an environment that ultimately revolved around themselves.  The lack of self-esteem I asserted, created a yearning for acceptance, which is the weakness that the self-centered people prey on.  In retrospect I was too blind to see just how self-involved these people whom I desired acceptance from, truly were.  But there are other forms of self-centeredness that are a lot more elusive, and if we look at ourselves very carefully, we very well might fit the category. 

In a blog, I’m not going to get into what it looks like to be elusively self-centered.  This would turn into a book.  Let me put it this way, if you felt a little sock to the gut when you read the part where you might fit the category of being elusively self-centered, I would be concerned enough to look into it a little further.  I would do some personal inventory around the subject.  Shine some awareness on it and look at yourself honestly.  That’s how I came to acknowledge my own self-centered behaviors, which weren’t elusive at all.  If you’re an addict, you’re self-centered.  If you’ve been raised in this western society, you’re self-centered.  If you think you’re separate from the person sitting next to you because of the color of their skin, because they are gay, because they speak another language, because they smell like they haven’t showered since the twentieth century, or simply because the seats aren’t connecting, then you’re self-centered.  Take a real good look at it.  It’s a tricky topic, which is why I’m not going to get into details here.  You’re smart enough to do your own research, and I really hope you do.  Self-centeredness is the one thing that most people are completely blind to, yet when you are awake to it and aware of it in yourself, you begin seeing it everywhere like a big flashing neon sign above New York City.  I feel like I’m watching a film about self-centeredness everyday on the big screen (in 3D IMAX).  But that’s only because I finally got aware of how self-centered I was, so I’m not pointing fingers here.  I totally get it.

When it really hit home to me that the person sitting next to me on the bus was actually “me,” I literally was on a bus.  It was right after reading the book ‘Oneness’ by Rasha (recommendation to read this book inserted here).  Something shifted inside of me and suddenly I saw every person as myself. I was touched by how lovely each person was in their own way, and how I could be so many different faces with several personalities.  I was floored, but to make it even more interesting, a girl who came and sat next to me on the bus was the very barista who recommended a type of tea to me that I didn’t want to try.  Just an hour prior I had been irritated with her because they only had jasmine-green tea, rather than raw green tea.  I tried her version of the tea and ended up loving it, and there she was approaching me on the bus after her shift.  As she sat down next to me, the person I was irritated at was no longer another person.   She was me!  I sat there in utter awe of how the guy with the dreadlocks was me, and the model-looking chick was me.  I was the bus driver, the woman in the wheelchair and the child with the ice cream cone dripping chocolate on his pants.  There was no separateness because I was everyone.  I saw myself in the eyes of an elderly man and in the face of someone who looked completely lost.  I couldn’t help but smile broadly and I was lucky that this strange phenomenon lasted for about twenty-four hours.  Now it’s just a memory, but at least I understand.  When I treat others like they don’t deserve my time of day, I am ultimately rejecting myself.  When I am a complete bitch to the barista, I am being a bitch to myself.

Do I really need to write more on the subject?  I mean, you get it right?  We are ONE, my friend, and the more you think of yourself as separate, the more self-centered you truly are, so instead of looking at people’s differences, try to focus on the fact that they are just another version of you.  There are no kings and queens versus beggars and travelers.  There is no real hierarchy on this planet.  There is simply you, along with a lot of facets of yourself running around.  If you don’t believe me, do your own research on the subject.  With much diligence, I’m certain that you will discover this for yourself.

 

Acceptance Creates a Path of Laughter

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Sinking down into a place of complete acceptance, wherein all judgment ceases, feels as if my life is resting upon a down comforter.  I didn’t realize how judgmental I still am, until I intentionally observed it in myself.  I was accepting of many things, but not of others.  It all hit me as I felt judgment coming from people, which prodded me to look at my own self.  Trying to clear myself completely of judgment doesn’t exactly seem plausible, so instead of looking at the judgment, perhaps I can begin with acceptance.  We tend to unsuccessfully abandon the negative parts of ourselves, rather than opening up to our positive aspects.  The acceptance I have in my life, outweighs the judgment, so this is where I have decided to place my energy this week, and hopefully thereafter.

Acceptance is an incredible tool to use throughout the day.  To set an intention of acceptance, is to create yourself a path of laughter.  I know this from experience.  Imagine one of those Mondays where everything goes wrong, from the time you wake up and hit your toe against the dresser, to dropping the shampoo several times in the shower, and finally there is an accident on the way to work, when you were already running late.  Coffee spills, high volumes of phone calls, chronic problem solving at the office, you forget your lunch and your wallet; it’s just one of those days.  But what if on this particular day, you had made an intention of “acceptance.”  At some point, maybe between the coffee spilling and forgetting your wallet, wouldn’t you have to throw your head back and laugh? 

I imagine acceptance as an internal smile.  No matter what is occurring, you have this secret super hero power where nothing affects you negatively, because before it happens, you decide to be ok with it.  There is so much compassion in this, and it certainly feels better than being angry and cussing out the dresser for being in the way of your toe.  It also feels amazing to smile at the antics of the person at work who usually bugs you.  By accepting them today, you are able to take nothing personally. You are graciously allowing them the space to be who they are without being annoyed by them.  I would rather walk through my life with an attitude of acceptance, than feeling annoyed, angry, or frustrated.  It simply FEELS better.  

Human beings tend to think that life is better when everything is in place, exactly how they want it to be.  In actuality, how you feel, is what truly creates your experience.  If you can change the way you feel, your experience changes.  I used to drink to feel good.  This didn’t always pan out for me.  Now it’s simply a matter of me being open to my experiences and not placing expectations on anything, which creates a calm and joyful experience in everyday situations. 

I love it how gifts like acceptance are absolutely free. It’s a gift that continues giving, and it makes life so much more palatable.  I highly suggest a daily practice of absolute acceptance.

Compassion For Yourself Before Extending it to Others

Compassion for Myself Extends Out to Others

If we think we can give to others, what we do not first give to ourselves, we are delusional.  Before recovery, I remember extending myself so far out, to make myself look good, or to impress someone, that I exhausted my energy.  Afterward, I’d reward myself with a tall drink (or five) and pat myself on the back for helping out a cause, or for being “unselfish.”  If I was kind to a homeless person, in my own perception, I was somehow a saint for the day.  Even in treatment, I was caring for people in Detox with empathy, yet looking back, I see myself as being more self-righteous than I was compassionate.  I had more sobriety time then they had.  It was a great way to feel like I had something over others, and this only fueled my addict mind.  It’s easy to help a cause, or to show compassion, but are we doing it from a genuine place, or does subtle arrogance play a role in this?

Have you stopped judging yourself yet, or do you still beat yourself up for making mistakes, or for relapsing, or for not being “normal?”  If the inner judge is still ruling your mind, then you have not even begun to understand where compassion is truly needed.

How about this week, you practice giving to yourself, what you believe you give to others?  How about practicing compassion for YOU?  In this practice, laughter should fill the shoes of inner ridicule.  Mistakes should be forgiven instead of replayed and harped upon.  Looking in the mirror should be an act of saying, “I love you, ______ (fill in the blank),” as opposed to, “God you need a haircut,” or “shit, I’m getting old…”  It’s time to change our inner dialog.  We beat ourselves up more than we realize.  If you don’t believe me, take a day to listen closely to your inner dialog.  Hear the judge in there?  Yeah, Judy’s got nothing on her/him!

Having compassion for ourselves takes a lot of practice and awareness, because we’ve spent our lives doing the exact opposite.  We self-sabotage.  We are not accustomed to extending love inward.  It’s even difficult to look in the mirror and tell ourselves we love the person staring back.  If you can accomplish this, then you are re-conditioning yourself from self-hate to self-love.  Once you truly love yourself, I guarantee you won’t want to sabotage your life.  Just like a mother wants the best for her children, you’ll want the best for yourself.  You’ve got to begin with number one.  Stop beating yourself up.  None of your mistakes have caused the world to end, and everyday is a new beginning.  Put things into perspective.

Recovery is a reconditioning of the addict mind.  It’s about doing everything opposite of what we did in our addiction; slowing down rather than racing through life; believing instead of dreading; caring for ourselves rather than neglecting ourselves.  In order to genuinely offer compassion to the friend in need, we should first offer it to ourselves.  After all, we are merely human.  We are all fallible, and we should be able to laugh in the face of our defaults of character.   You see, recovery isn’t about digging up old dirt and sorting through our disaster.  It’s really about being present and experiencing life through new eyes.  It’s about loving yourself, caring for yourself and wanting the best for yourself.  Sound unfamiliar?  Yeah, well just start today by giving yourself a little extra compassion.  I promise you, it’s a huge step in the right direction.