In a few days it will be the second anniversary of my mother’s passing away and I have of lately been thinking of motherhood, delayed individuation processes and grief processes, and then today, I came across this passage by Thích Nhất Hạnh:
‘The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, “A serious misfortune of my life has arrived.” I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.
I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet… wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as “my” feet were actually “our” feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil. From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time’
The personal photos also have to do with motherhood and godparenting. In the first photo I am obviously pregnant. In this second one, my son and I are about to go out to dinner to celebrate our christening a friend’s baby son (2000), and in the third photo my young son is mesmerized by his godfather’s fishing skills…. (1990s).
And finally, a really interesting episode of Insights at the Edge at http://soundstrue-ha.s3.amazonaws.com/subscriptions/media/PD05862W_Ron-Siegel.mp3, where Dr. Ronald Siegel, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, talks about the psychophysiological component in healing chronic pain and other health problems, about a practice he teaches called “Separating the Two Arrows” and how to make friends with fear, stress and anxiety, and also, how the medical profession is currently changing rapidly in its embrace of the practice of mindfulness. He teaches internationally about mind-body treatment and has authored many books including the book Back Sense: A Revolutionary Approach to Halting the Cycle of Chronic Back Pain, and also a co-author of the book Sitting Together: Essential Skills for Mindfulness-based Psychotherapy.
Layered lived experience and nature meditations
‘Persistent problems, however unpleasant they may seem, contain the unprocessed and unexamined thoughts and feelings that, if left alone, keep you from your greatness. That’s why the pain, emptiness, and longing you feel can be your greatest gift—it can motivate you to examine parts of yourself that have been overlooked, forgotten, or hidden. It’s the irritant of sand in the oyster, which is the impetus for the pearl. In walking the conscious life path, you reveal your deepest Reality, layer by layer. You come home’ (From Your Ultimate Life Plan by Dr. Jennifer Howard)