Power is not defined by the amount of control a person has over other people, but the amount of control one has over his or her own life. Ken WilberIt never ceases to amaze me when I find myself face to face with myself through my projections!
Recently a worker at a centre where my mother goes for recreation and community made a mistake which caused my mother some issues. The worker called me to ask me to speak with my mother as in their conversation, my mother was extremely upset and the worker was concerned mum hadn't heard her apology and her offers to 'make it right'. I called my mother who proceeded to list off the litany of why this woman was wrong, of how she intentionally did what she did, and how it has now left my mother with having to decide if she will, or will not, go back to the centre for future recreational activities.
The woman is really sorry mom and wants to work with you to make it right, I said.
"She shouldn't have made the mistake. It's wrong."
We all make mistakes.
"I would never have made a mistake like that," answered my mother.
Possibly. But do you enjoy going to the Centre?
Then why make a choice that will deprive you of that enjoyment?
"You don't understand!" she cried before informing me she couldn't talk with me about anything and hanging up.
I've phoned her a couple of times since that conversation to see how she's doing. My eldest sister is her primary care-giver and is away at the moment so I have attempted to pick up the slack and have still felt 'less than' in my attempts to be present with my mother. Every time we've spoken on the phone since that conversation two weeks ago, she's poked and prodded the situation, continually circling around her organizing principle (it's wrong what that worker did and now she's ruined it for mom at the Centre).
Recently, I decided to invite her for lunch in the hopes we could get beyond the situation and have a nice visit. "That's not a good idea," she replied after I suggested I'd take her out for lunch. "I'm going to talk about this situation and you don't want to hear me and we'll end up fighting."
And the question is -- which one of us is most aware?
See, I accuse my mother of not listening to me -- and I'm the one unwilling to listen to her. Is it compassion or lack of compassion? Is it fear? What am I projecting?
Does speaking about this upset you? I asked her.
"Yes, of course it does," she replied.
So.... what if we have lunch together and agree to not speak about it?
"That's not going to happen because I can't promise not to bring it up. I know I will."
And so, we didn't have lunch.
What was I projecting?
I still have a desire to have a relationship with my mother that is based on what I want, not on who she is. And who she is is an 87 year old woman who has never had the chance to be heard. Who has never been given an opportunity to have a voice -- without being told her voice is wrong, misplaced, too this or that...
See where I'm going?
If I want a relationship with my mother, I have to be willing to hear her -- regardless of my judgements of what she's saying.
A real challenge for me -- as I have a tendency to want my mother to hear me, to see me, to know me on my terms -- and so project my fear of not getting what I want and thus create situations where I don't get what I want.
Oh the webs we create when first we attempt to deceive ourselves!
It is Sunday. A day for worship. For rejoicing. For rest and meditation. I may never have what I want with my mother -- and I know I never will if I am unwilling to let go of my wants and needs to become present with her without expectation.
If I step back from my ego far enough to simply be present in this relationship, I know that so much of my angst around my mother is based on my desire to hear her say, just once -- I didn't protect you. I didn't take tender loving care of you. It was my job to keep you safe and I didn't.
Because, underneath my yearning for the mother of my dreams, is the little girl seeking validation of her pain. Underneath my angst is the belief founded upon the experiences of childhood... whatever I do is not enough. Whoever I am is not good enough. -- Early conclusions made by a child who did not understand the world around her. In her attempts to make sense of nonsense, she disassociated from her pain and embraced beliefs that, no matter how nonsensical, helped her feel safe at the time.
Unfortunately, since that time, I've attempted to 'make right' other people's lives. Just as I'm doing with my mother. If I can just say the right words, she'll hear me and let go of her litany of complaints. And when I'm not powerful enough to get through to her, I prove my belief true -- I can't do enough to fix this. I'm not good enough to fix it. It's not safe for me to spend time with my mother because she doesn't think I'm good enough to spend time with...
Time to know and to embrace the truth -- I am perfectly safe today when I embrace all of me, exactly the way I am and let go of beliefs that affirm -- I am not enough.
I am enough and no one has to tell me that -- not even my mother -- because it is my truth. Today, my task is to embrace my truth, to love myself for all I'm worth. Love my many facets, my multi-hued kaleidoscope of needs and wants and knowings and truths, even when they cause me angst, even when they don't shine too bright... and say -- I am.
and that is brilliant by me!