Love is not measured by how many times you touch each other but by how many times you reach each other.
I am just back from nearly a week of helping my mom after her back operation. I was not able to go out right away as I was just getting a cast off of my right arm and had doctor’s appointments and needed to work on my own healing.
My mom lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and is 83 years old. She has always been a vibrant, healthy, energetic and very social person. She has had osteoporosis but that has never slowed her down. About 18 months ago she started getting severe pains in her back and right leg. Her walking went from brisk to extremely slow as every step caused immense pain. We tried healers and acupuncture and chiropractors but nothing worked. She finally had a major back operation. Luckily, the operation was a success and the pain is no longer there. Now she needs to do exercises three times a day. A physical therapist comes to her home to work with her a few times a week. The goal is to get her off the walker and cane and back to being able to walk on her own again.
My mom really wanted to see me and I wanted to be there to support her. She is a woman of immense courage and determination and commitment and does a beautiful job taking care of herself and being independent. She creates such beauty in her home and gardens and being a Virgo she is incredibly organized.
I showed up at her house with some very clear intentions I had set. First and foremost was to be an Ambassador of Love. To love my mom in fun and playful ways that she really felt seen and heard, valued and loved. Before going to see her I would think of fun things I could do with her. I decided to bring one of my favorite books to read out loud to her: Martin Prechtel’s “Daughter of the Disobedient Sun”. It is a Mayan tale with so many layers of meaning. I also brought “The Way of Mastery” which is about living in our hearts and love – to read to her each night before we would fall to sleep. My friend Michelle lent me gold and silver sparkly nail polish when I told her I wanted to give her a fun out of the box pedicure! I brought scrabble and watercolors although we never got to those two things.
Mostly I just wanted to be a vessel of love- for my mom to know that she is deeply valued and loved. This I must say was the best visit I have ever had with my mother. I think the change was with me and my intentions. I wanted nothing from my mother. I only wanted love for her. I use to feel like going home meant falling through a black hole and I could go from a full functioning adult back to feeling those horrible feelings of being an eight year old child. Suddenly I would find myself back into that old energy field.
This time it didn’t mean that nothing came up that could have triggered any of my old buttons. Oh yes, those things did occur. My mom gave me a ticket to a play she wasn’t able to see and I had on some nice jeans with boots and a pretty top. Mom didn’t want me to leave the house with jeans on. From my heart I told her this was a pattern from childhood, she wants me to dress and look a certain way that is more about her needs than mine. I told her I would change but wanted her to be aware of this pattern because it didn’t feel good. There was another time that she had made an assumption without communicating the change she had made. Or sometimes having a disapproving tone when I asked a question. I made a request that there were no stupid questions and all to be answered with respect.
What changed was that I didn’t feel triggered by any of the above situations. Each time I took responsibility for my feelings and for communicating from a place of truth and love and from my heart.The day I left we were both so sad. We had gotten closer in those six days than many many years. We have always loved and respected each other but this time we were able to move into a deeper love. A love of surrendering, opening, accepting and both of us really having our hearts open to receiving each others immense love. Before I left mom said she hated to see me go. I brought out Kahil Gibran’s poem about mothers and children and reminded her what a beautiful bow she was that allowed my arrow to soar.
This was also the poem I gave to my son as he graduated from high school….
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.