I Am Learning to Listen to My Mother Whisper in My Ear

I am happy and in LOVE. I am in love with the Divine. In love with life and in love with ME! Of course, I am also in love with dear Clo, who has valiantly, loyally, thoroughly seen me through 3 years of struggle. We held hands and faced the storm together. And when I couldn’t pull my share, she grabbed a rope, put it around my waist and dragged me. My gratitude to her is as great as the highest of mountains, deepest of seas, the vastness and mystery of deserts, and as bold and beautiful as the Danube. It is thick and profound and rich and life giving as the Rain Forests. It has no beginning and no ending.

At last, I am learning. Man, is that a relief! Sometimes I hear my mother whispering in my ear, “Therapist, heal thyself!” My mom was like that. She had a lot of idioms she liked to share from time to time. But she is right. I talk with couples about finding the meaning in moments of distress. I ask them what they can learn about themselves when life presents a huge challenge or a brick wall. I am pretty good at facilitating others in understanding what their body is telling them or what the next step is for them to be doing. But I am not always as clear when it comes to knowing what to do myself. The big question in my mind these days is: what can I learn from the huge challenges I have had with my heart? At the moment I am too close to the forest to see the trees. Given time, I hope to have better eyesight.

I get emotionally involved in just about everything: my work, my friends, my family, the world (though I do not watch or read news). I think that can be a good thing if not taken so far that I become unable to fully function as a healthy person in a world of uncertainty, change, and often times loss of hope. I am aware that we all have bodies and souls that absorb what is happening in the world around us and I believe we all carry those feelings and that energy unconsciously in the very cells of our bodies.

We need to acknowledge there are those who suffer profoundly and need to be held in the hope for healing and understanding. It helps if we can direct our attention away from the hopelessness of pain to love, beauty, healing, hopefulness, joy and peace instead. It is a gift of profound awareness and depth of feeling when we are exquisitely aware of pain in the world around us. We need to do this to help the world, and to help ourselves. My tendency to absorb the energy around me, including nature and the anguish of souls in war torn worlds or struggling with chaotic and damaging lives, is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a matter of learning balance. I can hold the container of hope and love for others and for the world at large, while simultaneously holding myself in gentle regard. These are all things I have been learning the hard way as I find my way through the life threatening experiences I have had with my heart the last 3 years.

I am learning to rest, sleep, read, listen to music, talk with friends, write, dream, eat, play, laugh; all in peace; all with NO recriminations; no guilt; no disappointment in myself. All in celebration of the gift I have been given. It is a gift to live in this time and in this place. I came from a place of love, have been given the gift of life, and will return to love, peace, hope and joy when my days here are completed.   We all have our own unique journey. I rejoice!

I teach couples how important it is for them to help each other feel safe. I also encourage them to embrace their own and their partner’s need to feel loved, to fit and belong, to be held in grace. Everyone needs to be able to trust there is a place they are safe and wanted. No one is overly needy. There is NO such thing as being too needy or too dependent. If we don’t feel safe, we panic. In our fear, we clutch. When we are soothed and comforted, we let go, sigh, and smile.

I have never been a fan of the “you are being too dependent or needy club”. I believe that indeed we do all need each other and there are times in life when we want to hang on for dear life. There was a time in my early childhood when from my 3 year old point of few I lost my mother, my father, and my baby brother all in one fell swoop. I found that my world as I knew it was turned upside down. I was frightened, uncertain, and unable to take care of myself. When my heart began to give me great grief a few years ago I felt many of those same 3 year old feelings. It makes sense that I did. Life as I knew it was totally changed and I didn’t know if I could cope. With time and Clo’s support, I was able to get grounded in the reality that of course I couldn’t cope very well at 3, but as an adult, I would do just fine.

Connection, belonging, being wanted, feeling seen, understood and feeling safe. It all seems so very simple. But it isn’t simple at all. Life changes challenge us to be intentional about staying in safe connection with each other. It is life giving and relationship supporting to mindfully pay attention to your tone of voice, the words you use, your timing for sharing hard things. Clo and the brilliant, wise, and creative doctors and care takers and friends and family have given me another chance to live. I love it! I appreciate that change. I willingly take up the banner of life and love, joy, peace and hope and wave it proudly and loudly all around me shouting,” I am in love! I am in love with the Divine in you and in me and in all the beauty that surrounds us.” Blessings on us all,” I think it was Tiny Tim who said that.

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