Last summer I fell in love… Deeply.
Last January he broke my Heart (wide open), he handed me my deepest fear. The fear that if I ever really show my most vulnerable place and if I am ever 'less than'... I will be abandoned. Abandon me he did. This tossed me into The Interim Time to dance with my deepest wounds.
I made the clear choice to keep my Heart Open… And dance with my Shadows. I no longer want to make choices out of lack... I no longer want to make choices out of fear... I no longer want to make choices in reaction-to... I no longer want to make choices from an unconscious Heart. All of which occur when shadows, when wounds, are denied.
I explored ‘love traumatic stress’. The Journey of love and loss and loving again.
The Journey began with one man's face, yet I continued to seek the deeper knowing… The deeper integration. The depth of pain and difficulty I was experiencing informed me: This was about much more than a six month relationship. I forgave the perfectly imperfect man who was unable to love me and yet, who was a perfect catalyst for a Journey into my own Heart... Into my own Soul.
Although it is profoundly difficult, I continue to lean into the pain… Lean into the discomfort… I know that pain is my guide. I am seeking understanding… Seeking integration. Seeking the treasure in the cave I was afraid to enter. With the Blackwolff ever at my side… I discovered and danced with the Redwolff. As the layers of understanding merged, I moved through Shadow… And embraced my Light.
And still… I knew something more was there…
One day I spent two hours churning through confusion with my Jungian therapist. Right after I surrendered by laying on Song’s table for another two and a half hours at the Korean Women's Spa. I was deeply nurtured while she sang sweetly to my soul…
The longing, the sense of being invisible, the pain… Was still there. To be honest I got a pissed off... I had just churned through two months of muck and I still wasn't to the center?! I grabbed a big sword and walked into the cave I was most afraid to enter, I demanded to see the dragon at the center of my underworld… I demanded to know the face of what I was so profoundly yearning for… I demanded to know the ultimate source of my pain.
A light came on and there stood my mother. My thoroughly broken mother.
I could almost hear the click of connections… The remarkable recognition of patterns. This is the center! Here is my original wound...
My deepest fear is not really abandonment. My deepest pain, fear… My deepest wound, is in being invisible, of not being Seen, Cherished and Valued for exactly Who-I-Am. Of only being loved with condition. Of only being loved if I am ‘good enough’ and of course, never being ‘good enough’. The ultimate fear which is not a fear of 'not existing'... Rather a fear of existing, Be/ing, without meaning.
I spent a good part of my life attempting to ‘make up’ for my mother’s horrific childhood. Attempting to make her happy. I suppose the little girl in me also thought that if I could make ‘everything all right’ for her, she would finally really love me. It never ‘worked’.
My mother was an incest victim and literally saved the lives of her brothers and sisters from their father’s rage. When she finally went to the authorities and he was arrested, her mother blamed her (at age 14) for ‘breaking up the family’. She buried her brokenness in being perfect. To the exterior (and what most people believed) she was strong, capable, successful and was the person to take care of everyone else. It was all a finely crafted mask. A finely crafted ‘perfect life’ of order and beauty. I could never live up to her expectations. I was too wild and too emotional and I colored outside of the lines. And perhaps my biggest ‘fault’ in her eyes was that I did not need her to ‘take care’ of me.
I know that one of the behaviors I fall into as part of my ‘love traumatic stress’ is the dance of ‘push-pull’. One hand asking you to come closer while one hand pushes you away. I have finally realized my mother perfected the art of push-pull. I experienced it my entire life with her… She taught me well.
Now, being with and recognizing the patterns of my mothers influence, so very many many things are clearer and in a profound way… Simpler. The most difficult question I ask myself is this: Why did I not see some of these connections before? Some part of me, the part of me that attempted to love her… Believed the illusion. Some part of me thought I could not ‘blame’ her. How can you ‘blame’ someone who had suffered so much? How can you ‘blame’ someone who on the outside, was always willing to ‘do’ for me? In a reflection of my mother, I thought I had all my 'mother issues' tucked into a neat little package. I forgot that I color outside of the box.
I tended her through the last few years of her life as she was lost to Alzheimer’s. While there were moments of Amazing Grace, much of it was the most difficult Journey of my lifetime. The horrors of her childhood were under a perfect mask. Alzheimer’s cracked then broke that mask. I was the one standing in front of her as her facade crumbled. What was hurled my way was horrific.
She died suddenly of a massive infection two and a half years ago, I was in India, half a planet away. I was relieved that she was free from the hell of Alzheimer’s… I was relieved I was free from tending it. I moved on with my life. I have said that I am at peace with her death, at peace with her life. I was quite wrong.
I was fortunate to have a father who did love me well… Who in some ways was on the same Journey with my mother that I was. He had a huge open Heart and loved big. He loved and adored me… He taught me how to love. The next layer is that while they are the only parents I know, they did not birth me. They adopted me when I was 3 days old. Ahhhh the spiral of karma.
Integrating within myself the relationship with a ‘perfect’ yet emotionally unavailable mother, will continue for the rest of my lifetime. Yet this Shadow… My deepest Shadow, is out in the light where it will remain.
As with all Shadows they can only wear the mask of another for so long. My mother is dead, none of our relationship will ever change. What I can change, is how I integrate the influence of her into my being. How I dance with her Shadow. When I look behind her... I find a little girl. I find me. I choose to know this little girl… To honor her… To mother her. She will walk at my side… Always. She walks with the protection and guidance of Wolves.
My integrated Self includes: The Blackwolff, the shadow of how I self-defeat. The Redwolff, the shadow of love, loss and relationship. The Greywolff, how I most clearly live within my Heart and walk my purpose. And now dancing with us, a beautiful little girl.
Now, when I feel that yearning... When I feel empty... When I feel loss... When I feel invisible...
I, touch my cheek and say: Beloved… I am Here With You.
I, place both hands on my Heart and say: Darling… I Love You. I Cherish You. I See Who-You-Are.
I, place my hands in prayer position, at my Heart and bow deeply to my own Divine Self and say:
Profound Gratitude Leonie… For being Human. For Being Alive. Heart. Open. Wide.
So Be It...
Yesterday I sold the house I bought and then lived in with my mother and her caregivers for the last 2 years of her life. I slept there last weekend, next to large windows with the full moon shining in. I danced with ghosts. I witnessed the horror... I witnessed the Grace. I walked out, Releasing... Releasing... Releasing...
Tending my little girl and loving her is a lifelong Journey. Integrating, loving and forgiving my mother will also be a lifelong journey. I will not let this wound hide, ever again. Thank you to my friend Judy for teaching me the 3 step practice (touching your cheek) of loving and honoring my little girl. It is from the work of offering non-violence to yourself by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Once I began to recognize my mother in this dance... I also realized the 'perfectly imperfect man' was the karmically correct person to send me into this Journey. The Journey of living even more fully present with my Heart. Every time I wish I had walked the other way and had never met him last summer, I know this was meant to happen exactly as it did. The Divine Universe really does work in strange and mysterious ways!
Finally about the 'perfectly imperfect man', not him the catalyst, about him the flesh and blood man who I dearly loved. Ironically the only printed photo I have of him is when he was a little boy. Only profound wounding would allow someone to hurt another so deeply. Only profound pain looks into the open arms of love, and slams the door shut. I wish for him to find healing... I wish for him to know peace.
Excellent further reflection on 'The Mother Wound' by Bethany Webster