|Acrylics on canvas panel, 12x12 inches|
Once I grasped that I had become all those things I disliked about my mother, I soon realized that deep inside I've been hating myself for those very things for a very long time.
I've only recently opened my heart to myself -- to have a generous spirit, loving-kindness, and infinite compassion for my own suffering and pain. It's true that once we open ourselves to our own pain, then we naturally open to others' pain, to the pain and suffering of the world.
And thus my huge opening now, is that I have begun looking at my mother through eyes and heart of compassion and lovingkindness. Overnight, she has transformed in my mind from "my god-damned mother," to "my poor mommy." The reality is, everything that happened to me also happened to her. She couldn't have been any different in raising me than she was, because she was also raised by a crazy person, she had no good role models, and she had no skills to deal with any of it. She did the best she could.
What really made me get serious about Buddhist practice, at the tail end of my first year of committed meditation practice, is this: I could now see that since my mother had become mentally ill/emotionally unstable, and since my grandmother too had been "off" emotionally, I stood a very good chance of also becoming mentally ill if I didn't get a grip on my own unskillful personality characteristics. Personality is what each of us devises as a coping mechanism to get through life. What we put together for ourselves is based primarily on early family experience, and cultural conditioning. All that stuff I didn't like about myself could possibly lead me into narcissistic and borderline personality disorders if I didn't wake up. I could already see some of the symptoms presenting in my personality -- in my thinking, my speech, my behavior.
It occurred to me earlier this week: What If my mother had had the slightest inkling that she was sinking into mental illness, but she knew she was powerless to do anything about it? My heart just melted for her when I had that thought. I am so sad that she was in so much pain inside for most of her life. I'm healing my pain now, but I'm also healing hers. I've made a vow to do this healing for both of us, and for the benefit of all beings who suffer.
The winner of the last giveaway (the two small paintings) has been notified. Thanks to all who entered.
Here's another giveaway -- this pair of earrings made by me, hmmm...maybe 15 years ago. Chinese turquoise, glass seed beads, gold-filled earwires. The earrings are 2-1/4 inches from top of wire to bottom center bead.
To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post. I'll do a drawing on Wednesday October 7 and I'll email the winner directly.
Good luck. And as always, thanks for reading, thanks for being on this healing journey right along with me.