Life seems to be this churning of people and events coming into and out of our lives continuously. Sometimes we are joyful when something comes, sometimes when it goes, and often we are frustrated or even devastated when events happen, or don’t happen.
It’s interesting to observe just how uncomfortable people become when what is perceived as a negative event has occurred and they try to comfort you – perhaps I suspect to make themselves feel better. When that situation has presented itself in my life I’ve heard a lot of “it’s for the best”, and “when one door closes another one opens”, and even “it’s their loss”.
Oddly comments like that don’t comfort me.
Even oddly-er I find myself saying those things to friends or family when THEY are experiencing something difficult.
I’ve gone through periods where life is just bubbling with possibilities, opportunities, successes, and accolades. Anymore it seems that the kettle is roiling with dead ends, loss of friends, and deaths in the family.
When my 16 year old cat Cleocatra passed away suddenly a few weeks ago the message that was supposed to comfort me in my grief was “she had a good long life”.
I feel bad that that annoyed me. Add one more negative emotion to the pot, stir continuously.
More recently I’ve been reaching for a bigger picture answer to this churning. Not really the esoteric “why” or “what for” of the mechanics of the Universe, but more trying to understand on a day to day basis how these cycles of positive and negative can somehow serve me as I move forward.
The idea that keeps gnawing away in the back of my thoughts is that perhaps things are blotted out of our experience simply because we cannot be who we’ve evolved into without some changes to our situation.
An eight-year friendship ended abruptly this summer and for weeks it felt like someone was kicking me in my stomach each day repeatedly. But as I began to heal a bit from the shock of what happened I realized that over those eight years she had grown one direction, and I had grown another. Although the weekly tradition of lunch (etc) was comfortable and easy, looking back I can see now that she was wanting a different experience from our friendship than I was. Something had to give.
When we lose a mother figure in our life, perhaps we need to realize that we can mother ourselves. When we lose a stimulating job assignment, perhaps we need to realize that we can have exciting experiences that originate in ourselves. Maybe we are supposed to be all those things to ourself that we reach for in others and in outside experiences.
I grieved hard when my mom passed away – I was only 31 and I felt like I still needed her. My life was just beginning, I hadn’t even found my spouse yet, what if I had children – who would council me? To paraphrase Laurie Anderson, “when my mom died, it was like a whole library burned to the ground”.
So I clumsily replaced her by asking other “motherly” type people around me the things that I would have asked Mom. But guess what, no one loves you like your mom. No one cares about your well-being like she does, so although I placed my heart in their hands, the surrogates understandably fell short.
Now after my friend broke up our friendship this summer i can see that I was getting a “mom” fix by hanging out with her. Now for the first time in a VERY long time I can say that I have no “mother figure” in my life.
This time it feels like freedom.
What would happen if I mothered myself? What would happen if I were to nurture myself, teach myself life skills, love myself unconditionally? What would happen if I were proud of myself, and forgave myself when I had a tantrum?
What if the mother that I desperately need is actually a facet of me?