Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fertile Ground

Acrylics on canvas panel, 12x12 inches
As I mentioned in my last post, things are moving very quickly...

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.


Gerrie said...

I just want to let you know how much I love and respect you for how you are dealing with your life right now. You are amazing!!

jacki long said...

Good for you Connie Rose!
I sense your relief and a new lightness.
I am just one of your many fans, happy for you.
It goes without saying, your artwork is wonderful!♥

Sandra Rude said...

You are definitely moving in the right direction. As soon as I realized that all the stuff I hated about my own mother wasn't really her fault, but rather based on her having been abused during childhood, I was able to just let the resentment all slip away. My older sister hasn't yet done that, and I fear she'll keep it all festering inside for the rest of her life, the result being almost as damaging as if she were the one that was abused. So keep growing, keep learning to know yourself; it may hurt sometimes but it's healthy!

Jan said...

Whew! I'm so glad all this has opened up for you. I remember during Al-anon days telling myself that my folks did the best they could, but it took many more years for me to truly integrate that truth. Finding out recently that my mom was sexually abused as a child really added dimension to that and made me so sad for her. So sad.

Love to you on this path and always!

Jan said...

Oh--forgot to say how much I like this painting!!

Meg said...

Interesting reckoning, Connie. And aren't you lucky you came to this while still young and able? (And not leaving and email address since I don't have holes in my lobes any more.)

Judy Sall Fiber Art said...

What a wonderful turn you have taken! I am very glad you are on this path... it seems to be helping you heal some lifetime soul-sickness, and the result seems to be a lightening of your burdens. Wonderful! And btw, I really love this painting, and the earrings! You have my e-mail in case you draw my name.
Looking forward to hearing more about the journey you are on.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Beautifully written...insightful and generous of you to share this part of your journey. I'm glad meditation has had such an important impact on you. Best best wishes!

tgarrett said...

You have been doing a lot of work- thank you for directing me here- I am terrible about keeping up with my blog let alone reading others- I have yet to come close to where you are with my mother and don't know that I am ready. Big Hugs to you dear Connie

The Idaho Beauty said...

I am so glad to see you reach this point, and especially to hear you come to that realization "She did the best she could." My rocky relationship was with my dad - nothing like yours, but still a lot of anger and resentment toward him. My revelation and healing came as I stood at his gravesite before moving to the midwest - wasn't sure I'd ever be back to this part of the country. I thought about all my perceived hurt and also about how parts of the relationship had gotten better in recent years. I thought about the stories he'd told about his own childhood and as a young adult and suddenly, I too was thinking, "He did the best he could with what he had to work with." From that point on, my burden was lifted. I now know that what transformed in my thinking had to do with a sudden compassion for another's circumstances over-riding my need to lay blame.

You've written a few post where you talked of coming to terms with your past, finding peace in the present, but I could tell by certain underlying comments that you in fact had not fully done that yet. Now I feel you have indeed not only faced and accepted what happened, but are seeing past to events in a selfless manner, putting yourself in someone else's shoes, saying, was much more to this than I thought. And I can be so much more through the knowing, through this newfound compassion.