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Week 9/ Stepping into the Zendo - Page 2

post #21 of 24
“I am such a failure!”
This phrase has been my mother’s mantra for years.
“Just look at my children, I tried so hard to do everything right and all I did was fail.”
It is pointless to point out all the things her children have succeeded in doing because the one thing we have all failed to do is validate her worth and her choices. We can never be good enough.

My mother once told me that with all my musical talent I would make a great music minister’s wife. I am neither a professional musician nor married to a minister so my life is not much of a success story. Things looked up a bit when I went to join the Navy, but I enlisted rather than go officer in order to get the program that I wanted and that was a bit of a disappointment.

I’ve always been a disappointment really; refusing to “apply” myself to get straight A’s, which I did in college once but since “I wasn’t walking with the Lord” it didn’t mean a thing. I left conservatory after one year, much to her chagrin, and chose to attend an Ivy League University instead. My parents wouldn’t pay for me to attend a “pit of humanism”. So I found a way to get myself through. This again was a demonstration of her “failure to impart the importance of remaining under the protective umbrella of my father’s authority until I married and was under my husband.”

I am a failure; I am never good enough. Somewhere along the way I learned this mantra for myself. It was re-enforced every time I didn’t make an audition, every time a lover left me, every time I went above a size six. I learned to criticize every inch of my body and ounce of my mind. I learned that is was easier to be harder on myself than let anyone else find a fault I hadn’t.

Part of me strove for failure because I was never wanted my mother to be wrong. I desperately wanted her to be right, for her not to be a failure and for me to be the problem. I was afraid that if I did prove her wrong once and for all it would be the unforgivable sin and I would never be allowed home again…………

(Have to finish this later)
post #22 of 24

What do I really know?

I know that you have to fall down many, many times before you can truly learn to do anything. It hurts to fall, and the healing hurts too. I know that the thrill, the sensation of falling is tantalizing: The fear, the rush, the biological response of our bodies is exhilarating. I know that if there wasn’t a risk it wouldn’t be near as fun. And when we do fall and hurt ourselves, the glorious skills and strength that we will hopefully gain makes all the falling worth it.

I know that I love my children with a deep, wild, primal energy. This energy infuses me and makes me strong--stronger than I was before. I know that I have more fear because of them, for them. I know that this fear will help to keep us safe. I hope that it will not immobilize me. I know that I must push beyond it, but always look around the corner, scope out the situation, watch my back and theirs.

I know that it’s ok to be bitter, mad, angry. It’s alright to rage if that’s what you have to do to heal. Anger is better than complacency. After the anger diffuses and trickles down…what is left? I know that in my core there is a pool of love. I visualize it in my belly and I see little drops of water falling into the pool coming from my heart center. I know that it is there.

Sometimes there is no action to be taken. This is the difference between letting go and control. Even if I take no action, there’s a difference between acceptance and denial. I accept that I can do nothing, I do not deny the existence of a problem. I face it and I let it go…

I know that I don’t want to be sick. I am striving for mental health and clarity, physical health, and well-being. I don’t know what I would do if I became very ill. Hopefully I would have the strength to face it, fight it, and let it go. Can you fight and surrender at the same time? Is this what I really know? In the face of death what do you know? When you see a child with cancer, what do you know? When you are the mother of a dying baby, what do you know? If your child were to die, what would you know? Would everything that I know disappear? Would the pool of love remain? I know that it if it were to evaporate, it would surely regenerate, because I know that life is continuous.
post #23 of 24

2004

2004 has been about learning, forgiving, opening. Opening a door to the next part of my life. There was the part before 2004 and there will be the part after. The part after the first learning and the forgiving.

I thought I knew what forgiveness meant until I placed myself in the palm of her hand, loosening my grip on myself, blending, ready to fall any direction she may choose to throw me. I placed myself there with love and with trust, in her that she would do no irreparable harm and in myself that I can heal from anything. I needed to show her, and show myself, what exactly trust was.

It had been three years since the fallout, or was it four? Or somewhere between. Three years of troubled dreams, of getting sick, of whispers and avoidances at family gatherings. Three years of feeling as if my old family home was not my own, a place I was no longer welcome to lie belly exposed in the wintersnow sunlight of those south facing windows. It was no longer a retreat from the world.

It was a battle zone, full of ugly rotting things, danger lurking at its edges.

I was afraid of her and the way I felt when she wouldn't speak to me. I have never been a confrontational person and when I come across a lion in my path I will skirt around it, invisible, avoiding its challenge and its eyes until I am safely in my own space once again, and can convince myself it was never there. This year I revisited that old path, the one I left for the comfort of the cold dark unknown of the woods. I revisited that lion and patted him on the nose. Breath held, I stretched my fingers out, ready for them to be bitten off, somehow trusting that they wouldn't be. She warmed to me. I laughed with her.

Way back when, in the days of tension and words unspoken, of icy glances and confused silent misery, just after the breaking, some of us said maybe someday we will look back at the whole thing and laugh. For several years I looked back at that statement, a fool's wish, and laughed. Never, I sighed, it's just not happening. We are from opposite planets; we don't speak one another's languages. This family is not healing. And yet it has.

One phone call. One finger, nervously dialing, hovering over the eight button that would finish the dialing process and put the call through. One trembling voice saying hello it's me, one uttered statement issued from –was that my voice? Was that me offering to actually fly down and visit at her house, in her domain, far from the safety of my own protected space? One plane ticket.

Two nights.

Three days.

Many drinks. Countless laughs and words and I have finally exhaled that breath caught in my throat. She is actually very much like myself, and also very different. Truth is, I like her.

On the plane home as Robert Jordan watched the fascists gather up the heads of people who were his friends, people he had known and trusted and drank with, I melted into the dingy plane seat and felt at peace. I mused on life and death, on grudges, forgiveness, and what it means to forgive. Does there have to be understanding in order to forgive? Because sometimes we don't understand; we come from different planets, different cultures, different sides of the mirror. No, there simply has to be a willingness to trust.
post #24 of 24

visiting my writing

Quote:
Originally Posted by zenfulmama View Post
I know that you have to fall down many, many times before you can truly learn to do anything. It hurts to fall, and the healing hurts too. I know that the thrill, the sensation of falling is tantalizing: The fear, the rush, the biological response of our bodies is exhilarating. I know that if there wasn’t a risk it wouldn’t be near as fun. And when we do fall and hurt ourselves, the glorious skills and strength that we will hopefully gain makes all the falling worth it.

I know that I love my children with a deep, wild, primal energy. This energy infuses me and makes me strong--stronger than I was before. I know that I have more fear because of them, for them. I know that this fear will help to keep us safe. I hope that it will not immobilize me. I know that I must push beyond it, but always look around the corner, scope out the situation, watch my back and theirs.

I know that it’s ok to be bitter, mad, angry. It’s alright to rage if that’s what you have to do to heal. Anger is better than complacency. After the anger diffuses and trickles down…what is left? I know that in my core there is a pool of love. I visualize it in my belly and I see little drops of water falling into the pool coming from my heart center. I know that it is there.

Sometimes there is no action to be taken. This is the difference between letting go and control. Even if I take no action, there’s a difference between acceptance and denial. I accept that I can do nothing, I do not deny the existence of a problem. I face it and I let it go…

I know that I don’t want to be sick. I am striving for mental health and clarity, physical health, and well-being. I don’t know what I would do if I became very ill. Hopefully I would have the strength to face it, fight it, and let it go. Can you fight and surrender at the same time? Is this what I really know? In the face of death what do you know? When you see a child with cancer, what do you know? When you are the mother of a dying baby, what do you know? If your child were to die, what would you know? Would everything that I know disappear? Would the pool of love remain? I know that it if it were to evaporate, it would surely regenerate, because I know that life is continuous.
wow, i can't believe i wrote that. it's great!
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