The Dark Side of Mothering

Happy Mothers Day
Yesterday I had my second invisible, spiritual surgery with John of God as a result of my going in front of him and asking the question “what is my next step.” I got my usual short reply “operation this afternoon.” When one gets a spiritual operation here in Abadiania, the home of the Casa where John of God does his work, it comes with twenty four hours of bed rest with no reading, listening to music, writing or anything else. Just lie there for twenty four hours and do nothing. I’ve been getting pretty good at “doing nothing” since I’ve been here.

Being that I asked for “my next step” I had no idea what the operation was for. Was it to address a physical issue and continue my healing there? Was it emotional? After the surgery I went home and went to bed only to have an extremely powerful dream about myself as a Mother. In my dream I was recovering from surgery (imagine that) and my Mother was there to help me. She told me she was going to go and find my son, who presently is nineteen but when I heard her talking to him he was a happy little three year old. I was so excited hearing his sweet innocent voice that I hopped out of bed to go find him. He came up to me saying “mama, mama” and jumped into my arms and I just held him, cherishing this gift of going back in time. I just held him and smelled his hair and kissed his sweet face and cried at how happy I was to have this moment. To hold my baby once again.

When I woke from my dream I was deeply emotional with tears flowing as I started recalling all the mistakes I had made as a Mother. All that I did personally to destroy this sweet, precious little boy’s trust in me, his mama. At the time I was overwhelmed with life and ignorant to the passing time. I thought he would be young forever. I selfishly grabbed the moments I could get to myself, pushing away this tiny little being who just wanted to be with me.

Now a young man going on twenty, the last thing on my sons mind is being with his mama. I don’t even know that he will remember me on Mother’s day. I think about the song “Cats in the Cradle” where a Father is too busy for his son and then his son grows up and is too busy for his Dad. Such is life! We often don’t cherish those precious few moments when we have them.

I had to reflect on what “my next step” was really about. Was it to heal this part of myself that was guilty of not being enough? Was it to heal that part of me that made so many mistakes in life? Was it to truly get in touch with my own shadow, my own dark side where I had to bravely face my own imperfections?

Recently someone asked me what was happening in my life around the time the pain in my arms (the beginning of my Lyme symptoms) began. The first thing I said was “my son moved out without really telling me he was moving out. He just told me he was going to stay at his girlfriends home overnight and never came back.” I had to face that he had grown up and my chance at being a Mother was past. And I had to look at all the things I could have done better or differently. I was holding my grief inside, knowing intellectually that all Mothers have to face this day and all Mothers eventually reflect on their parenting flaws. But rather than expressing my grief and coming to terms with it, I intellectualized it and I metaphysicalized it. I didn’t let myself really feel my pain.

As I lie in bed, with nothing else to do but feel, I felt not only the pain of my sons graduation into adulthood, but also the pain of my broken heart. I had experienced so much of life as heartbreaking in my search to find love and acceptance from outside of myself. I was unstable emotionally as a Mother because my search led me through so many unstable relationships. I was fortunate now that I had healed so much and had a good man in my life who loved me, but it didn’t take away the pain of my past. It was time for me to go “the next step.” It was time for me to open my heart to a greater and greater love. To love myself more! To love my husband more! And to love my son more! It was time for me to allow that broken heart to expand my capacity to love.

When our heart is broken we either spend our life trying to protect it or we finally see the opportunity to really allow the expansion of our heart. Perhaps the broken heart is an opportunity to move beyond our rigid constrictions and see all the ways we have failed to love and take care of ourselves. When we can’t truly love the self, we fail to extend that love fully to our partners and our children. We are too busy conserving our love and protecting our hearts, or giving ourselves away to the wrong people in hopes they will love us in a way we have failed to love ourselves.

I imagine my experience of being given a blessed moment in time to hold my baby boy once again and love that innocence in him I was also loving that innocence in myself. For I too was once an innocent child, high spirited and full of love. I also experienced the imperfections in my parents and the wounds of life. The wounded heart spreads from one generation to the next until one day we are able to say “enough!” I take full responsibility right now for healing the dynamics of my entire ancestry. I am willing to love myself in all my imperfections and also love my parents and my children for their imperfections. Perfection is no longer a requirement. Life is imperfect.

Ironically my son does not view me as an imperfect Mother. He tells me I’m the best Mother he has ever had (chuckle.) When I tell him how guilty I feel for all the things I did wrong he tells me that it is me who is stuck in remembering all those things. He doesn’t remember. He doesn’t hold it against me. I am his Mother and he doesn’t have a comparison. He loves me as I am. Right now he is simply more into his girl than his Mother. Of course he would be. I would be concerned if he wasn’t. But sometimes we have to face our own shadow in order to heal it, not only with our children, but with our mates. We can get on our high horse and spend so much energy pointing the finger at the flaws of our mates that we forget to look at our own. We forget to see the parts of ourselves that poke at the insecurities in others, or that are always blaming others for the situations we find ourselves in. When we have a string of broken hearts and bad relationships there is only one common denominator. Ourselves. We can blame our childhoods, our parents, our boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives, but until we are ready to take full responsibility for our own shadow, we will never really heal.

The next step for me was to go a little deeper into my emotional body, to take a deeper look at myself and my judgements, and to practice loving kindness and forgiveness for myself. I am only human!

Happy Mothers Day to all you Mothers and even to you Fathers who are also Mothers. Be kind to yourself today and forgive yourself for your imperfections. We all have them!