In honor of Mother’s Day I’d like to share a memory involving a transformation in my relationship with my mom that goes way back to when I was learning to meditate. My hope is that it will trigger a fond memory for you, inspire you to create one or even transform a relationship.
I'll start with a little back story:
I would definitely have been described as Type A personality 25 or 30 years ago. I strived to be super everything until I got 'sick,' which gave me the opportunity to revisit my life choices and limiting beliefs about myself. As part of that revisiting I was introduced to yoga and meditation.
Up to this point I had been more of an aerobics kinda gal. Yoga was too slow for my Type A self. During my search for healing I ran into a friend from high school who had become a yoga instructor. As I explained my woes we simultaneously came to the realization, "I needed yoga."
At the end of each class Margaret would conclude with a meditation. At first my mind would either race or I’d fall asleep. It was frustrating but as a Type A, I was determined to learn to meditate. So I got some books on the subject and began in very small doses. I’d do things like stepping outside to breathe for a few minutes in the middle of the workday or breathe when in traffic or while in line at the grocery store. Breathing became a reset button for me.
Meditation changed my life, my relationships, brought me back to health and my friends were seeing results too. I was so excited with my findings that I wanted to do more so I decided to put together a meditation workshop with a focus on forgiveness.
Here's where the transformation with my mom begins:
I needed some extra chairs for the workshop so I reached out to my parents. Needless to say, I was excited and a bit nervous when I arrived at their house on my way to teach the class. This was a big deal for me. When I walked in my mother announced that she wanted me to go through some stuff that she had set aside for me. A bit taken back, I told her that I didn’t have time—I reminded her that I was teaching my first meditation class. Her response, “It will only take a minute.” I was irritated. There was no acknowledgment of my big day, just a push for what she wanted. Couldn’t she just be supportive for once? I pushed back with an annoyed, “No,” and left with the chairs.
By the time I got into my car I was fuming. This was our pattern so my feelings were supercharged. Frustrated was not how I wanted to feel just before teaching my first meditation class. So I took a few deep, cleansing breaths and as I did another picture appeared—a picture of a mother who missed me and didn’t know how to express it. She just wanted a few minutes with me. This picture prompted very different feelings than the first one I had painted. Her means for connection was certainly awkward—manipulative even—but I vowed to communicate with the person beneath the behavior of which I had gotten a glimmer and to invite her to share some one-on-one time when I brought the chairs back.
After those few deep, meditative breaths I was definitely ready to teach a meditation class on forgiveness. Perhaps this experience was God’s way of priming me for the class. It was definitely supportive.
When I brought the chairs back I acknowledged that it had been a while since we had gotten together, just the two of us. I invited her to meet me for breakfast and she accepted. This was the beginning of a whole new pattern.
I hold dear in my heart that first time that my mom initiated such a call. I vividly remember her saying, “I know that you’re busy but when you have a chance do you think we could meet for breakfast?” This was a far cry from the kinds of calls I used to get. Calls such as, “Toilet paper was on sale so I bought you some. When is a good time for us to drop it off?” This shift from manipulative excuses to clean and clear invitations was truly miraculous. I never would have believed it possible if I hadn't experienced it myself. Breakfasts, shopping and some other activities that we both enjoyed became our thing.
Now that I am a mother of adult children with families, I too, know how it feels to miss your child and how precious those one-on-one moments are.
“A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.” ~A Course In Miracles
My fear perception was that she was out to undermine me. My love perception was that she missed me and didn’t know how to communicate it. Behavior is information about how someone is feeling. It can even be unforgivable at times but the person is always forgivable. We can forgive someone for their ignorance or arrogance since these are some core elements that lead to hurtful behaviors. No one who feels good about themselves goes around hurting others. I didn’t need to correct my mother's behavior. I just needed to love her and low and behold, she loved me back (which was not the goal but the added bonus). Simply stated by Marianne Williamson, “…all human behavior is one of two things: either love, or a call for love.”
In this day and age we are so quick to call out people's behaviors and give our power away by believing they are the cause of our pain. But in truth, if behavior is either love or a call for love then Mahatma Gandhi's quote is true, "Nobody can hurt me without my permission." (talking about adults here)
Let’s face it, unconscious calls for love can be prickly, manipulation is in anticipation of our needs not being met, and if we have a wound it will be triggered. But a wound that is brought to our attention can be healed. I had been judging my mother and I had been way off. And on the flip side, I know I’ve been judged and even punished for not doing a good enough job of loving someone. And when my not-good-enough button gets triggered it entices my defensiveness; but at that point it becomes my choice to hurt back or heal. Believe me, it took some kicking and screaming to come to this realization so let me spare you the learning curve. Choose healing. Hurting, even with your thoughts, will never take you anywhere good.
I’d rather be loved than be judged, that’s for sure and I strive to do the same. It may be a lifelong pursuit. I'm not certain. I know in my heart of hearts and from years of personal experiences that “Only by love is love awakened.” ~Ellen White. My transformation with my mom is a perfect example. Somebody’s got to take those cleansing breaths. I hope it's you!
Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!
Friends in this Love,
If you have a challenging relationship with your mom that you are ready to heal, I've definitely got experience so email me. firstname.lastname@example.org