I am writing this on Mother’s Day as Angus and my eldest daughter are cooking brunch in the kitchen. It’s a cool day compared to the last days that were really warm, but there is a clear blue sky and the bougainvillea’s pink flowers are gently swaying in the breeze. I can hear clattering in the kitchen, but they seem to be working out their cooking differences amicable.
Our youngest daughter has chosen to enter a residential program for her mental health so she is not with us today. She wanted to attend a traditional program that had nothing to do with my work. I assume this is healthy individuation. We found a program that we both liked that is close by, but due to the social distancing orders, we cannot see each other.
As a mother, I find myself feeling that it must be due to my failings that she is experiencing what she is. My thoughts run to if I were a better mother, she would be happier and feel better within herself. This situation must be a reflection of my level of consciousness. It doesn’t help that I have been given a 20-page form to fill out about her childhood history. Everything is being looked at microscopically.
I don’t think I am wallowing, but I am allowing myself to be with my feelings that are so mixed up I don’t really know what I feel.
Some might say love is not enough. Some might say what good is an understanding if it can’t be shared well enough for children not to suffer? Some might say, I trusted in her wisdom too much.
And with all of my human experience, there is a knowing that the unfolding of what is, is not personal. I can’t take responsibility for all of what I perceive as good. I also can’t take responsibility for all of what I perceive as the bad.
It is like the Taoist farmer story where the farmer’s horse runs away and the neighbor says that’s terrible and the farmer responds with maybe. The next day the horse returns with three more wild horses and the neighbor says that is wonderful, and the farmer responds with maybe. The next day the farmer’s son breaks his leg trying to ride one of the wild horses, and the neighbor says that terrible. Again the farmer responds with maybe. The following day someone from the army comes to draft young men, but because the son’s leg is broken he can’t go. The neighbor is delighted by this good fortune, and the farmer says maybe.
There is nothing inherently good or bad. there is just what is, the one expression of the energy behind life expressing itself in the diversity of form, but fundamentally coming from the same source.
When I put my personal preferences aside I know this to be true.
But there is a gap between my personal experience and my impersonal knowing. The gap between what I believe as a concept and what I know experientially. I used to judge this gap and believed it was proof of my lack of worthiness. Now I am comfortable with the gap. I know it doesn’t mean anything about me. I don’t have to strive to be self-realized. I don’t have to push myself to learn more. Where I am and what I see is good enough. It is okay to be in the process of stripping away my conditioning and beliefs. Being and becoming coexist within me.
I am grateful for this human experience that allows me to feel heartache and shame, not because I want those feelings, but the energy behind these feelings wakes me up. The depth of feeling brings me present and forces me to be in the now. There is softening. There is vulnerability. There is love. There is a letting go. There is a quietening of the mind that allows me to feel the spark of my essence more fully. Allowing the feelings brings me a greater feeling of closeness to who I am. I am not trying to do anything with my feelings. I am just letting them be without resistance.
I am sure I am not the only person feeling guilt, shame, and loss on Mother’s Day as well as gratitude and love. I share my experience as an invitation for you to allow yourself to embrace all of your humanness knowing it is not separate from your spiritual nature. It is through opening to it fully and being with it unconditionally that you get present to what and who you are beyond that. Be with your experience and see the space that opens up within when you allow room for all of you beyond all of your ideas and concepts of who you should be.
I know I have not been a perfect mother and fallen short in many ways, and that means nothing about me. My ego is crushed by not living up to my idealized version of myself, and that is a good thing. I want it to be shaken loose from its position of dominance in my consciousness so I can step into what I don’t know and can’t yet see.
I am grateful that my daughter asked for help and listened to her own wisdom as to what she wanted to do. It is am grateful to be able to allow myself to be present to my experience without trying to manage and control it. I am grateful to share it with you in my vulnerability as an invitation to you to step into the vulnerability of letting go of your own concepts and to allow yourself to drop into your open heart. Let your own ego be crushed by the failure to live up to its concepts and expectations and instead be open to the pure experience of you. It is in the openness that you feel who you are beyond your experience
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.