Excerpt from “My Lovedance”
Driving back home on Southern California freeways crowded with tourists taking advantage of the last glorious summer weekend…an ache in my breast, a dark shadow where the sun once shone, an eclipse in my existence…I left my daughter, my sunshine, at the university in San Diego.
How long I’ve prepared for this transition, how many soulful meditations, how many intimate conversations with so many other mothers who have gone through this phase of life. Yet in spite of all my work, during that last kiss goodbye, the cords that bound our hearts pulled so tight to nearly snap.
I released my firstborn into the world four years before, but my daughter filled up the space that he left behind, so much so that now there is a void in my heart, in my home, in my life.
Having counseled my patients, hundreds of them, through life’s transitions, I should know better, I should take my own advice. Haven’t I told them how within the web of life, we float upon the river of consciousness, connected by invisible threads from heart chakra to heart chakra? Attached to everyone, and entangled with all we love, all we hate, all with whom we struggle.
So as a mother of an empty nest, some would advise that I cut the cord for her wellbeing and mine. But that is an old paradigm teaching and an illusion for we can never cut ourselves off from creation. We are all on the web, connected together. There is only one of us here. We are all part of the One Consciousness, all cells of the One Being. Every cell in my body knows it is a part of me just like I am a part of the earth and the sun, the plants and the creatures. Research by neuro-biologist, Candace Pert PhD, has shown that even when cells, tissues, or whole organs are removed, that the cells “remember” where they came from responding more like the donor than the transplant recipient. And I am connected to my daughter, imprinted since her birth, no matter how distant she is from me.
I know this to be true, because I can feel her emotion, especially her fear…it has wakened me up in the middle of the night when she has most needed me. I trust this connection even more so than my vision. It has served me as a mother and especially as a healer. I feel my patients’ dis-ease in the mirror of my being, but I have learned over the years not to embody their imbalances. Although connected to each and every one, I have learned to disentangle from the drama of being a healer and this is what I teach to my patients.
Imagine your life color as an infinitely strong gossamer thread emerging from your heart chakra to the heart of every other living thing. Each aspect of creation has its own color, born on the rainbow of light; its own vibration, its own sound. Imagine someone you are struggling with—your spouse, your child, your parent, your boss, whoever. What is their color? Imagine their cord and your cord braided together with knots scattered here and there. These knots represent your struggles, your difficulties in the relationship, your entanglements with each other.
Most of the people I counsel—my patients, my family, my friends—complain about the dramatic struggle within their relationships, know that they must make a change, come to me for help…and I tell them to disentangle from that being they are struggling with. We do the visualization together. They see their color, they see the color of the other person, they see themselves tied up in knots, they feel this entanglement literally as an ache in their breast, but when I begin to have them identify the knots in their cords of attachment, while they can name the problems that the knots represent, they have no idea how to untangle themselves. In fact, most are afraid, most claim they cannot let go.
Upon the river of consciousness, we all float, but entangled with others we struggle for breath, trussed together heart to heart, only one can breathe at a time, while the other holds her breath and prays. Everyone in our lives is a mirror to our souls, each reflecting back what we most need to learn, the judgments we hold of our humanity. What we like in another is what we appreciate in ourselves, what we dislike is what we need to change or accept in us.
How can you see in the mirror if your nose is pressed to the glass? That is why my patients struggle with disentanglement because they cannot see clearly what the lesson is in the struggle with another.
So I help them identify the most recent knot and going back in time a few more knots. Oh, they can name the knots, but not the gifts. What gifts? What could possibly be good about these struggles? Why, I tell them, every struggle is a gift that must be unwrapped. To receive the gift, first you must recognize it as a gift. Not all gifts have lovely exteriors in fact the most precious may be very ugly.
My Nana used to wrap up her garbage. Living in the city, the more compact the trash, the more likely the trash man would take it away, except Nana used to wrap it so nicely that Poppop would find it left on the step. The trash man thought it was a gift, so lovely was the wrapping. You see, you can’t always tell by the wrapping; life’s gifts are rarely wrapped so nicely.
My husband struggled with letting our daughter grow up. Once when he overstepped his parental boundaries, she told him after raising him for eighteen years she was done! He cried, “but I don’t know how to let you go.” She turned him over to me, “Mom, remember those cords of attachment? Dad needs your help.”
So I explained the concept and he amazed me by visualizing their life colors just as I do. He is forest-green, she—golden as sunshine. He could see how they were tied together in a lovely fishtail braid, and he could see the knots, especially how they struggled with her growing independence, but he couldn’t see the gift in lifting her curfew and allowing her some freedom before she took off to college. He could only see the sleeplessness until she arrived home at night, the worry about her making safe decisions. I pointed out that unlike his good friend who had not loosened the reins on his daughter, my husband after weeks of suffering adapted slowly albeit surely, finally falling asleep well before she arrived home. When she is away at college, he will rest, but his poor friend will not.
My husband agreed, but still struggled with receiving the gift of the knot, claimed, “I don’t want to let her go.” Heartbreakingly honest. Fearing to let go, fearing that we may not be able to float on our own in the river of consciousness, not trusting that we are still connected, we struggle and tighten the knots.
To Be Continued on Friday.