This is going to be a most personal post. I don’t usually feel comfortable opening up and being vulnerable about what I’m going through personally in my public career. The truth is, the last couple months have been among the most difficult in my entire life. And that’s the reason you have not felt or seen me much lately, except in the interviews I had prerecorded.
On March 5th, my mom was hospitalized. On March 15th, I flew out to be with her in Chicago. I packed for a week, thinking I was going to help her transition from the hospital to a nursing home. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it. I ended up staying in Chicago for 6 weeks, holding 2 funerals for her in different towns, and then managing all the affairs of her estate – all with the wrong clothes for the wrong weather. Needless to say, I’m pretty exhausted, depleted, haven’t had a chance to really grieve yet, and matters are not yet wrapped up yet either. I am not quite ready to be fully present back in my business right now, yet I wanted to share some poignant realizations about this intense relationship I have had with my mother – very appropriate since Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend.
My mother was a tough woman – she was no walk in the park, no piece of cake. She was abused, witnessed the most horrific bombing of World War II, lived in a Displaced Person camp in Germany, married out of practicality not love, and unconsciously passed the abuse along to her children. She was well-loved by people who did not know her too well, while her immediate family and siblings couldn’t live with her.
In the last couple of years, I came to know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and it really described my mother to a tee. This disorder is about a person who is so badly damaged in their youth, that there is no Authentic Self – only a False Self trying desperately to use any means to feel as though it is real and exists, including beating others down and draining their energy to feel powerful. Therapists agree that this is one disorder that is not curable, since this type of person will not take responsibility for anything they say or do – it’s always someone else’s fault. They have no capacity to see themselves, since it is our Authentic Self that is the Observer.
I was deeply involved with my mother my whole life long, desperately trying to please her, trying to make her satisfied, to get her to love me, to even get her to recognize me, or know that I even existed! In my mid-thirties, I finally realized it would never be. I worked on myself spiritually, and each time I would go visit her it was my barometer on how well I was doing in my spiritual practice. Needless to say, our relationship improved somewhat as I let go of any expectation of having a healthy and loving relationship with her, but it continued to be rocky and tumultuous.
In the last couple of years, as I was made aware of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and how to heal myself of what I perceived as narcissistic abuse, I was finally able to detach myself more and more from what she needed from me. It seemed that as I did so, she became more frail and weak, and ultimately passed away at the ripe old age of 87. Is this what the spiritual teachers spoke of when they said a lesson stays in your life until you learn it and then it goes away? Or was it just coincidence that my mom’s end of life coincided with my greater understanding of our relationship dynamic? I don’t believe in coincidences – only synchronicities – so here’s what I believe:
What a rich, amazing lesson my mother gave me! SO many lessons! How to feel good about myself in the face of abuse, how to stay strongly centered when faced with the demands of someone as intimately close to me as my mother, how to create a life I desire rather than one based on guilt and her desire to keep me tied to her, how to stay compassionate towards someone so clearly damaged and still not let their damage affect me – too much anyway, how to heal a broken heart over and over… how to connect with someone who cannot genuinely connect, and how to keep my heart open because it’s so sad. And SO many more lessons, so many more.
I was surprised when my mother passed away, how much grief and sadness I felt at the loss of this relationship. You would think I would feel relieved, but I felt the opposite. If it’s true that spiritually we pick the type of parent and childhood experience we want to learn from before we come to Earth and enter a body, then I sure picked a doozy! And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Not for me to be coddled by an unconditionally loving woman! Not for me to ease and breeze through a sweet and warm relationship with a nurturing figure! No. I got the E ticket – I got to know the most intense darkness of a soul and how to climb out of that abyss and feel victory over the darkness, claiming the light yet still teetering on the edge of that abyss, knowing I could go back there so easily because it is so familiar… How to die a little death and rise again regenerated, over and over… practically on command.
I feel this has built my character and my emotional makeup so strongly, that this is the reason I am able to help others out of their personal abyss – however light or dark it may be. All of this has put me on the path of being a healer as my life purpose – I understand it all so intimately. For this purpose and this deep, deep lesson, I am eternally grateful to my mother.
The following video has really been touching my heart these days – I hope it touches yours too! Please leave your comments below – I’d love to hear from you, after baring my heart so vulnerably. ;->