I used to roll my eyes….Finding Love Beyond Fear
February 8, 2016
I spent many years of my life badmouthing, criticizing, judging, attacking and generally rejecting everything about my mom. I’d go as far as to say I hated my mom. I didn’t really hate her, but the hurt was so deep, “hate” feels like the closest word to describe it. Though I didn’t say it out loud, I’m sure she felt it. I walked out the door at 18 and rarely visited or spoke to her. I spent years adopting other families and trying to ignore the hurt inside.
I got married and she came to the wedding, but I kept her at arm’s length.
I had a baby and she didn’t come, which I used as more proof that I really wasn’t important to her, that she didn’t love me, as justification to hold tightly to my hurt and beliefs about her.
Over and over I found reasons and “proof” that she had abandoned me and didn’t love me, and damned if I would ever let her into my heart.
Eventually I told her I needed a break. I couldn’t continue the way we had operated my whole life. I took two years off from communicating with her. In the end, I had a huge headache and a deep sadness in my heart.
I knew it was time to get a new perspective and, as life is ever-ready to offer support in unexpected ways, the perfect thing happened: a friend contacted me out of the blue and invited me to an Awareness Institute Workshop. At the time I was a mom with two young children. I had never left them before, and going to a workshop was not the kind of thing I had ever done. I went anyway because it was one of those moments in my life where I trusted myself to follow my instinct, my gut, my knowing.
I didn’t know it then, but now – years later – I can see clearly that going to the workshop was about so much more than I initially thought. It was about me healing with my mom, yes, but also about my mom healing with her mom, and me healing with my daughter… It was about me finally questioning the conditioning and beliefs that were automatically passed down generation after generation because it was all we knew. Finally feeling the love that underlies it all.
The role of “Mother” is deeply profound. Mothers try desperately to give their children what they believe they didn’t have, typically in unconscious ways. The message I took from my mother was that I wasn’t enough, I was too much, I should be better, I should do this, I should be this… and then I watched in horror as I gave the exact same messages to my daughter. Generations of mothers loving so deeply that we tried desperately to “fix” in our daughters what we felt unable to “fix” in ourselves.
What I’ve come to see is that it actually wasn’t the hurt that was causing so much distance between my mom and me. The separation was stemming from this BIG LOVE that runs so deep and is so strong that we simply don’t know what to do with it except fear it. We didn’t know how to unconditionally feel such a powerful feeling. I believe most mothers and daughters grapple with this, and that this has been true for centuries. Have you ever seen women talk about their mothers? Have you watched as they roll their eyes, take a deep breath and hold it for a while before slowly releasing? This relationship is “no joke” as a friend likes to say!
The Truth is: this love runs deeper than we can imagine.
Over the years I had tried what felt like everything to work through the hurt, pain, anger, and frustration I felt toward my mother, instead of considering that what I really needed to face was this deep, deep love that I had rejected and refused to acknowledge all these years. This is a hair pulling, heart wrenching, throw your arms up, scream, storm out, avoid, deny, reject kind of response to the simple and undeniable truth that my mom loves me more than I will ever be able to fully comprehend. Then it comes to the important question: am I willing to love myself – and her – undeniably and without conditions?
My focus now is on creating a new paradigm: shifting from believing that my mom doesn’t love me, to trusting that my mom loves me beyond comprehension, and acknowledging that both my mom and I had been mothering from a fearful place as a result of childhood experiences and interpretations. Acknowledging that she too carries the pain and hurt of being a daughter who fears that her mother didn’t love her. What if I could give her – and myself – the love I have so long sought to receive?
Embracing this new paradigm of love and compassion has softened me. Digging through the beliefs and wreckage and getting to what’s real has taken some incredibly humbling experiences, including almost losing my daughter. The depth of vulnerability I had to face to be willing to even consider changing my perspective has been the biggest gift and the hardest experience of my life.
Learning to see “mother” in a whole new light has changed my life. Things continue to unfold and heal in my relationship with my mother and with my daughter. When I was young I was convinced my mom wanted to ruin my life. Now I know she’s here to show me the depths of love. I know that’s my role, too.
From the depths of this love, I hope the whole world has the opportunity to attend an Awareness Institute workshop and experience firsthand the profound shift that takes place when we begin healing with mother and with ourselves.