Tag Archive | mother

An Atheist and full of peace

It’s so interesting being on this side of a belief system. To go from absolute Mormonism to atheism has been a complete surprise to me. I would never have thought I would feel this way at 51. That’s what I love about life. Just when I think I’ve got all this figured out, my experience shows me something I didn’t even dream about.

I’m surprised about how happy I am without having faith in an afterlife now. I’m surprised how much ownership I feel now for my feelings, behaviors and choices in my life. I’m surprised how peaceful I feel not knowing what happens to life when death occurs. I’m surprised that for ten years now, I haven’t even had an inkling urge, thought or desire to pray to some voodoo magical man in the sky for help, assistance or comfort. Not once. It’s something I don’t even think of and every once in a while I remember that I just don’t go “there” anymore. I don’t feel like a victim that needs saving in any way nor do I believe in the most foundational way, that there is any circumstance where I think something “out there” could possibly help in any circumstance.

I’ve come to swim in the certainty of science, as far as we have come.  I love the open ended answers that it brings. No absolutes, not really, and an openness that things can change with new information.

I love not believing in magical thinking anymore. The confusion and game of “what is the answer” is gone. Having to guess at a possible answer to a prayer is now, thankfully, removed from my existence and it feels so good. The mental and emotional effort that was focused on  wondering, anguishing and searching for truth for answers from above; for begging forgiveness and beating myself up metaphorically for not being spiritual enough, obedient enough, and humble enough to figure out the answers I was missing. It took precious time from me. The greatest value I have in life is time and so much of it was used up by a belief system that kept my focus mainly on how my life’s choices affected the ripples of eternity!!  No pressure there…GAADS!!  My behaviors and motives always had that question at the forefront, and now I wonder what true contributions could I have made to the planet, my community, my family and my education and career if I could have been less focused on magic and more on the reality of living on this planet, now,  with all these beautiful people around me, knowing this is all I get. Sure would have been nice to let go of all that thought baggage that religion brought to my  belief blueprint.

Now that I’m here and a belief in a god seems ridiculous to me, I am amazed at how grounded this mystical thinking still dictates this society. It’s as if, since I have found the freedom in letting those beliefs go, than why doesn’t everybody else? If I can do it, then surely so can everyone else, right?  LOL!!  Not necessarily.  In fact, it’s hard for me to find any one, especially a woman, who doesn’t believe in some kind of voodoo mojo, whether it’s Christianity, or some modern belief flavor of the month, energy voodoo or otherwise. It’s all bullshit as far as I’m concerned but to each his own. I know of what I speak as someone who went from being a Christian Mormon to a belief that there is a Universal energy that is in my favor and god is in all things, to now realizing that I’m made up of the same particles of stars and that energy changes and one day my energy will change with my death and my energy will be released back into space or the earth, depending where my body goes.

The thought that my mother is gone forever, never to be reunited again used to cause me great sadness, grief and despair. I remember consciously agreeing to believe that she lives on, so that I could live with some comfort of that knowledge. Now, however, I don’t believe I will continue after this life is over and thus, I will never see her again or be reunited. Yet, I do not feel despair or great sadness. I feel a great sense of gratitude that I was born in a time that I got to experience the beauty, love and grace that she brought to my life. The full gratitude of the gift that she was, is even greater to me now knowing that it’s more probable that consciousness ends in death. How blessed I was to have such a beautiful, loving mother in my life. How ripped off I was that she only lived to be 68! How tragic it was that she contracted some mysterious fatal disease called CJD and that it took my mother from this planet. What beautiful memories I get to have of this amazing woman and feel the love she poured on me everyday of my life. I still can live that love and I try and honor her by loving those around me in the way that she so gracefully taught me.

Here I sit, pleasantly aware that I once thought peace and atheism were mutually exclusive and now, much to my surprise, I live a life where those two worlds are constant and claimed. Who would have thought? Life is full of delights and I’m so grateful that I exist to discover them for as long as I can.

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Death, a master teacher

When my mom passed away, it was a profound loss. As I felt the pain and the abyss of not having her here, I realized something that I had not before. I not only longed to see her, hold  her, kiss her and experience her but I felt the loss of having her see me as she had always done. No longer would someone look at me with unconditional loving eyes as hers. No more would I feel the warmth of her gaze and the way she saw me.

When we witness another, we are given the gift of expression. We can bring to life the emotions, desires and actions that drive us to express ourselves to the other.  It can be a hurtful and painful mirror of ourselves or a beautiful symphony of devotion and love. That was the mirror she reflected upon me, a mixture of a loving history, pure acceptance and joy. No one was like her. We are all unique. The realization is that, without her here, there is a loss that cannot be replaced. I do not get to witness her expression of love. I do not get to witness her anymore. Her face does not grow any older in my mind. She is eternally in my past. No new memories include her today. Friends I make today and my children’s  lives continue on without new memories of her. That is the reality of a death. That is the sting of the present moment.

So, we go on. We live our lives and create new memories and as we go along, we can reflect on the beautiful time when our expression could be received and witnessed by our loved one and we could actively embrace the gift of their presence. That is the beauty of life. That is why living now, in the present moment, aware and awake, that is our greatest gift to ourselves and to those around us who are our witnesses. For there will come a time, for us all, where our ability to witness and receive will end, for good.

There is a time for sadness, grief and darkness but out of the darkness of a loss comes the beautiful gratitude of having the opportunity to have witnessed one as beautiful as she. To have felt her love, even for a moment, stays with me for always. My heart delights that I was granted life and experienced the mirror she gifted to me. My hope is that those around me can see that reflection from me as well.

It seems our society doesn’t handle death very well. We look to chemicals to numb the pain or believe in fairy tales that life doesn’t end. To me this is dishonoring to those who are gone. The reality of loss, even though painful, can be embraced and infused into the experience of our existence. Coming through the darkness, into the light of gratitude is one of courage, acceptance and honoring for the beautiful one that once  took breaths with me.

My Mother

Tears flow freely today. Ten years, they say. It seems like a moment.

Where did you go? Where are the giggles of joy when I danced for you? Where are the beautiful hands that caressed my hair from my face? Where is the warmth of your embrace? Where is the heart that cried with me when all seemed lost? Where are those eyes that saw me with unconditional eyes? Where is the woman that inspired a forgiving heart?

As you watched me dance, I watched you dance as well. You took each step of life with grace, courage and determination. You danced with a beauty that I have never seen and you shared your dance with all of us. You turned, circled and fell to the ground and gently rose to your feet, heart open.

Love was your truth, it was your path. Life was your stage and you have always been the star. In awe I watched you dance and I am honored to have viewed your dance.

The tea grows cold now, without our chats. Soft eggs and toast are left untouched. The twinkle of joy in your eyes seem faded in memory.

But, oh, the essence of you runs deep, my mother. The power of your soul flows through my veins and truth. You will always be my star. Your kiss of love flows from my lips and I feel you. I see you. I touch you. Forever bonded with this breath, called life. Thank you for the dance.

May my love, blanket you with warmth as you rest.

The Consciousness of Transition

They call it transition. I don’t think I ever realized the full meaning of that word until today. I remember recalling the experience of Ryan’s birth. His labor was my most painful and I remember especially the period that many call, transition. With my other two labors, I don’t remember such a distinction.

Marisha: Everything was a door previously unexplored and so every sensation, every moment was new to my experience. I felt as if I was in a tunnel of focus, determination and surrender to the experience of birth. It was as if my ignorance allowed my utmost surrender to the process that was larger than I. My natural attention was looking straight ahead, not being able to acknowledge anything else but the tunnel of focus. I felt compelled to zero in on the “work”. My body was doing what it was supposed to be doing. I could not define it at the moment; my consciousness was enveloped by the moment of immersion into my body. My world was a tunnel with darkness surrounding my focus. Nothing else was in my world except my forward focus. The moment demanded nothing less than my full immersion into the experience.

Direction was given outside of myself and I was vulnerable to suggestion. I followed exactly what was directed and during one direction, extreme pain was the result as a part of me tore under the power of my efforts to comply. I was obedient to the process. I felt in complete control of allowance. I felt certain that all that I was experiencing was as it was meant to be. As time would have it, she was born. My exaltation was only matched by the wonder and awe I felt when I saw her. Only after the entrance of this angel was my mind trying desperately to organize my thoughts into some order to comprehend what had just happened. I scrambled for meaning but in the moment, there was none, only the pure surrender of experience. My only support was a loving husband who stood by my side every step of the way. Our mother’s had just arrived and they were there to celebrate after she was born with love and joy.

Derick: His transition came with such welcoming, it’s difficult to remember one stage from another during his labor. Since I had already experienced labor before, this time I was prepared. I had planned before how I wanted this experience to be. I had previously made requests with a certainty of confidence that all I was asking for would be granted. I would stand for nothing less. His labor was different from Marisha’s. The contractions were centered in the front and happily I was able and free to choose positions that suited this new challenge for relief. I found myself walking around, finding focus when needed and continually being open to the next wave of progress.

When I was in transition, my body knew it was time to get in position for the birth. I felt a deep sense of peace and enthusiastic anticipation as I made the necessary adjustments along the way. This birth experience would be my easiest and most satisfying. His birth was marked with celebration and a complete offering of unconditional love of which I had never experienced before. Within this birth experience, the transition phase didn’t feel as tunnel focused as Marisha’s had been. It was if I was able to take in more of my surroundings as well as have the focus of each moment. I had a wonderful support team around me with family and loved ones cheering me on with love throughout my labor and beyond.

Ryan: His transitional period was unlike the previous two. I no longer had the benefit of ignorance to each phase of labor as in Marisha’s, nor did I feel the complete surrender to the process as in Derick’s. I knew what lay ahead of me and I could see the path that would continue long after the birth of this child. I was impatient going into the labor and hoping for more advancement as time passed.. I sensed that his birth would be the beginning of a new stage for me. I knew that this would be the end of my childbearing years and the rest of my life’s journey was just around the corner. My impatience grew with each passing hour. I yearned for the beginning of the next phase of my life to begin and my impatience was weaved throughout my birth experience.

I found outside support irritating and intrusive. I requested to be alone without distraction and for a time, I labored alone. I attempted various positions but to no avail. Transition seemed to last for an eternity and it was hours before his preparation for entrance was complete. I attempted many times to surrender to the process as before but this pain was different for me. The more I attempted to relax and open, the more pain entered my being. Even after the transition period was complete, his arrival was slow and arduous. No position seemed to ease my discomfort and my impatience was coming from a deep place of pleading.

Finally his birth was complete and all I could feel was utter relief. There was no energy left for celebration, just a wave of finality. My birthing role was now over and I felt more than ready to begin to usher in the next phase of focus. In this transition there was not that sense of the unexpected, I knew what lay before me for I had gone down this road before. There was no sense of absolute surrender to the process for I sensed the new phase that was waiting for me. It was if I couldn’t experience fully each moment for I hungered for the end result. My impatience could not hurry it towards me and yet the sense of urgency was undeniable. Expectation instead of anticipation seemed to hamper my peace and joy through the experience.

How is my transition today any different? Am I accepting each moment with new eyes as I did with Marisha? Am I surrendering to the certainty of the outcome with celebration as my experience with Derick? Or am I looking with impatience and expectation to the outcome and beyond as with Ryan?

I have choice today. As I feel the labor pains of transition each day I can choose the gifts of all three and embrace the experiences of all of their glorious births. It is a trust that reaches beyond my vision. I get to support the process that is surely larger than I with celebration, anticipation and surrender to usher in the next phase that awaits my arrival. I look forward as I taste each morsel of my moments today.

Thank you beautiful gifts of life wrapped with perfection and love. Marisha, Derick and Ryan, I am honored to be called your Mother.