What Should I Do?

Here is the complete question from a reader:

My Mother died today. But before she died she asked for me to come to visit. This is a woman who abandoned me when I was six and I did not hear another word from her until last week. Not only did I not go to her deathbed I am not planning to attend her funeral. What should I do?

Dear Beloved

In spite of your “abandonment” you were loved and are loved. First things first, I share your grief in the loss of your mother. It is apparent that you care about her and possibly question your decision to stay away even after she asked you to visit. The pain you feel from being excluded from her life is natural and well understood. You should grieve through all the stages.  Some writers, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her seminal work Death and Dying being one, list five stages of  grief while others (recover-from-grief.com) define bereavement in seven stages.  I suggest that you take time NOW to familiarize yourself with these stages for deeper understanding of your response to your Mother’s death.

Before you decide whether or not to attend the funeral, I want you to go to a quiet still place where you are alone and can stay there for at least thirty (30) minutes.  Once you are in this place, I want to you to repeat this:

I am love and can express and give agape love. I know love and have been given love. I forgive all those who did not or could not love me as I expected. I accept love.

Repeat this often until you satisfy your yearning for acceptance and love. Repeat this healing mantra through your tears. Repeat each word over and over again until you see a light of change and feel free from your past angry reaction to hurt.  Repeat these words again and again believing in an omnipresent love that has shadowed you from the second of your conception until now.

We tell ourselves many stories about love or its absence and accept “pouting” behavior as a punitive response to our mind-talk of despair and pain. Stop the litany of hurt, banish the mental anguish of punishment (which you impose upon yourself instead of the other person) and find love.  Go to your birth state of mind, where there is no pain, resentment, anger or bitterness. Go back to where you only knew the pure realms of love. Go to your inner knowing of grace. Drink deep of the elixir of the certainty of boundless love.

Repeat I accept love, I am love, I forgive, I give love …..even as you hyperventilate through your resistance.  Forgive your Mother, the one you carried you to birth to live this life of peaceful inner happiness, right NOW. You have allowed the destructive spirit of un-forgiveness to wipe out your truer love for her. Clear out the bitterness NOW.   In spite of the pain, in spite of the loss of relationship with your Mother, in spite of your disappointment for not getting the love you expected from her, forgive and release right now.

We have all all been torn by pain, but the bounty is that you are still alive and have this time to forgive and forgo.

Love yourself NOW, love your Mother NOW. Open your heart to acceptance of her choice, which was not what you wanted. Maybe you will never know why or the myriad of reasons that seemed rational to her at the time. Whatever the case, your learning lesson for NOW is to openly forgive. You cannot recover one lost second of time, so dwelling on the past will never alter the choice you can make right now.

When you have gone through clearing your pain, then ask your heart what should you do. You are free from the agony of pestering doubt, you are released from the daggers of being left alone, you no longer carry anger and fear; you can only love your Mother from the presence of now.  Right now, you know exactly what the loving thing you must do. Whichever choice you make at this point-when your heart is covered with love-is the precious right thing for you to do.

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.” ~Sophocles

As you go into bereavement  and are considering whether to attend the ritual of her funeral, be thankful.  Have a heightened sense of thanks; take time to “be there” in radiant love. Give thanks for the eruption of your repressed emotions.  Take time to honor those who did or tried to love you as you expected them to. Reflect on what is good for you in your life and magnify that goodness to the ten thousandth degree. Illuminate the world with your goodness, brighten the corner where your are…right now.

I know that what I am saying is hard to accept at times especially when you feel the right thing is to hold on to the past. But detach, go out and render service, give a caring hand to someone without expectation of reciprocal returns.  Get away from your self; give love whether large or small and cherish the moment.  Exhibit your love. Have a love that surpasses all understanding. Lay all your affairs in the restful loving spirit of peace.  Do this for your Mother and for yourself.  Offer kindness and empathy to someone who may be downtrodden.

Then truly speak loving prayers for the progress of her soul.  Nothing is permanent, even death for that umbilical cord of shared oneness will never end.

Accept your emotional dichotomy and move on to acting out love in all ways and always. Be noble, know your love and be love.  Love is the only permanent answer.

Conscious Creation Key #1: Forgiveness

I FORGIVE

 

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizelan says, “Forgiveness does not overlook the deed. It rises above it. This is what it means to be human, [because] it says I cannot and will not return to the evil you inflicted on me. And that is the victim’s triumph.”

I watched with amazed horror when I recently witnessed someone mal-treat another person for harm done nearly thirty years ago. She played the “victim” pompously by refusing to acknowledge the other person with pride. It appeared to me, a voyeur at best, who was privy to the incident three decades ago that she is destined for emotional destruction. She wanted to return the evil inflicted upon her and did it publicly and sadly she thought she was right. It did not matter what I said about giving up the past, she’d release  her supposedly righteous venom and spit it out as a viper snake whenever that person came around. It was sad to see others supporting her. Knowing the futility to trying to intervene, I made my mind up to shield myself and stay away.

Forgiveness – the elixir for happiness – means never having to say I am a perpetual victim.  It means in a healthy way that you recognize that what was done was wrong but you refuse to be manipulated or emotionally tethered to someone’s past wrongs.  It means you have a happy life to live. It means you are healed and have moved on to brighter experiences.

The vise grip of “payback” issues a scar that only love and grace can soften.  Holding malice in one’s heart hurts the holder – YOU! You suffer the consequences of un-forgiveness. Health wise, researchers have connected disease, including hypertension and cancer to a malice-minded state of mind.  Emotional “payback” can lead to depression, despair, suicide, eating disorders, diabetes or auto-immune body conditions which can indicate an inability to forgive.

Serendipity guided me to The Wisdom of No Escape: The Path of Loving Kindness by Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun.  In the first chapter (titled Loving Kindness) of the book, she introduces me to the state of maitri-loving kindnessChodron makes the point to weave loving self-care and meditation. She says,

“To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life that that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is….The ground is ourselves; we’re here to study ourselves and to get to know ourselves now, not later.”       

How do I get there? How can I consciously create forgiveness and loving kindness? How can I forgive?

  1. Start with yourself. Seriously, start as Chodron says, within you.  Say out loud to yourself – I forgive me. Let that one statement, “I forgive me” settle into your soul and witness the inner peace and calm that comes from allowing this first step to begin within you. Then, forgive others, forgive past hurts.

Be willing to let go and be open to the inflow of peaceful happiness.  Letting go does not mean that you deny the incident. It may not mean that you forget the incident, often you cannot forget. That’s all right; but be open to not allowing yourself to be wrapped in the foil of destructive emotion.

Release pain, gain what is sane. Keep your mental self whole and happy.  This may mean that you also talk with the person and share what you are feeling about the event. You may write a letter of explanation to get the situation off your heart. Do what keeps you whole, release the pain. Consciously create your peace and happiness right now in spite of what happened.

  1. Acknowledge the anger, pain, disappointment, fear, rejection, hurt, dishonor (and anything else) you felt. It’s okay and even appropriate to feel these emotions. You are not to deny any feeling. There is no way for you to release a faceted entangled emotion unless you accept that it is there. Feel the emotion and consciously make the choice to release the stories of the past and create unlimited happiness.

Dee Wallace, actress and healer, has written Conscious Creation. In it she advocates forgiveness for unlimited happiness.  Love yourself enough to allow others to be whoever they are without judgment so that your life, founded on the energy of forgiveness, wholeness, happiness and love, will create a choice consciousness of present joy.

  1. Make the change. It may be hard at first to forgive the “offender” so practice with others. Show loving kindness to the waiter, with a complainer, when you are stuck in traffic.  Smile, whistle and go on about your happy, healthy day. Remind yourself daily that you are a joyful and happy being (Baha’i prayer).  Make a conscious change!

Start paying attention to the good you do and to the “healing” vibrations you project. We’ve all been wronged, so set up a new behavior response that disallows negative-charged emotions.  Forgive, pluck the ego of sanctimoniousness from your inner character and outer display of emotions.

  1. Forgive and move on! I don’t mean surface ok-I forgive. NO, make your forgiveness deep, eternal. Live NOW, be present now where there is no history or past.  Then you won’t be haunted by the past pain or offenders nor reminded of damaging emotions when inevitable future incidents may trigger a hurtful response.

Give unto yourself, this day, forgiveness.

Life is But a Dream

“Row row row your boat
gently down the stream…”

and then downsizing happens, pain, divorce, trauma, death, recession, weight gain, defeat illusions crop up everywhere.

Forget merrily, forget joy, forget prosperity. Forget living.

You are bigger than pain. You are stronger than defeat be it downsizing, divorce, death, weight…whatever your obstacle—you are stronger. You are stronger.

Here is what I want you to do: GO BACK TO YOUR PAIN

  • First, embrace your pain. Really lovingly let your pain in.
  • Second, feel the pain in its most raw, eviscerating state.
  • Third, look at the pain.
  • Fourth, speak to the pain. But, this time don’t run away nor deny your pain. Instead have an honest talk with your pain point and clearly state your feelings. Clearly see yourself in the light of total control and peace.
  • Fifth, feel yourself who you are in front of the pain. Use “I” statements such as “I” am an achiever. “I” am a dancer. “I” am powerful. “I” am love.

Speak out loud exactly who you are and what you thought your self-inflicted, self-loathing pain was blocking you from. Now, erase the pain. Bask in the freedom of being a dancer. Excel as an achiever. Empower yourself with your power.

Zen master Shunrya Suzuki Roshi says enlightenment comes when you follow one thing all the way to the end. Follow your pain, grief, defeat or whatever has imprisoned you until now and then follow your dreams to the end.

Life is but a dream when you wake up from the illusory control of pain. Recognize that you have the power and strength to embrace, see and talk to any of your pain points and follow them to the end so that you find enlightenment.

Pain can never destroy an enlightened person. You are strong. You are no longer a prisoner to pain. No more lies, excuses, denial, shibboleths. No more excuses; excuses be gone!

You don’t need pain. You don’t have to be broken.

You are strong. You are powerful. You are in control.

You can row your boat in a stream, in a torrent, in a storm without fear of losing your way to enlightenment.

Row your boat, be merry, and live the life of your dreams.