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Shining Awareness in the Dark Corners – A Story of Forgiveness, Part 1 May 3, 2013

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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This a story of how my mindfulness meditation practice helped me to find forgiveness, and how I uncovered an entire place in my awareness that had previously been completely hidden in darkness. You might not think it is a particularly unique story. In fact, you might even be able to guess how it unfolds. But its my story, and that’s all that matters. And its my story, so I get to tell it.

My relationship with my mother has changed dramatically over my life, but perhaps the most dramatic change has occurred at the same time as—like many of my other relationships—beginning my meditation practice. To tell this story, I’ll start at the beginning.

My relationship with my mother was quite good when I was younger—or so at least I remember, and so I was told by many people around me. My mom stayed home on the farm to raise me and my sibling, so I got plenty of attention. I was looked after and taken care of. I had homemade clothes, home-cooked meals from the garden (including home-canned fruits and wild berries, and homemade bread), and a home that was kept mostly tidy and well decorated. I also had many family camping trips, and was taken to activities and to visit friends. These early years would become the standard or ideal to which I would later compare my circumstances.

By the time I was in middle childhood, many of the attention and duties provided to me were taken away. It was then that I started to notice and be told that my mom was suffering from the mental illness of depression. It followed that many of the circumstances I had enjoyed at an earlier age started to slip away, and some of them disappeared altogether. The activities mom used to do were more and more replaced by her lying in bed, sleeping.

Consequently, the lack of attention affected our relationship, and I became more distant from her. I had to start making my own school lunch, and cooking my own meals. I had to clean up after myself and my family, and the pantry wasn’t as well stocked with fresh food from the garden or groceries anymore.

As a child, I adapted to the changing circumstances. I made do with what I had. I still had my dad looking after me as best he could, and grandparents next door on the farm to which I could go for lots of attention and support, not to mention other relatives. I had other ways of coping. What’s more, I learned the valuable lesson that would become deeply instilled in me for many, many years:

If I want something done right, I have do it myself.

I seemed to be making out just fine. And then I became a teenager. Ah, yes, those oh-so-fun times of adolescence. And with adolescence comes the ability to think more abstractly beyond my immediate experience of childhood awareness into ideas of what my circumstances could be. As I said earlier, my memories of my early childhood with my mother became the ideal with which I would compare my current circumstances.

And also coming with adolescence is a great deal of idealism of thinking how things could be in a better version of my reality. So thinking idealistically was what I did—and oh, how I did it. So my relationship with my mother became idealized into how it should be, and my personal circumstances at home and my mother’s role in creating those circumstances became idealized. I wanted the good times back, or at least my memories of the good times.

But I didn’t get the good times back. I wasn’t about to any time soon, by all signs. And so we know that another characteristic of adolescence is anger. Anger, aggression, and violence when their idealized versions of reality don’t match up with their actual immediate reality. Plus, although I’m simplifying the story a bit here, there were other aspects of my overall personal circumstances that weren’t working out well for me (school, friends, etc.), so I felt that I had other reasons to be angry. But, not surprisingly, my anger and blame was directed at my parents, and my mother in particular because she was an easy target, and partly because that’s what I was learning to do from others.

(Continue to part 2)

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Comments»

1. Mitra - May 3, 2013

It seems that mothers’ unconditional love for their children makes them easy targets for things that don’t go well in life.
Looking forward to the story…
Mitra

Living Abundance - May 4, 2013

Hi Mitra, I agree, mothers and parents in general become the targets of blame for children’s failures and disappointments, in the West anyway. Thanks for your comment, I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of it, it has been very rewarding for myself as well. – Andrea

2. Jeanne Corrigal - May 4, 2013

Dear Andrea, thank you for your senstivity and sharing. It is moving and healing for me.
with great appreciation,
Jeanne

Living Abundance - May 4, 2013

Hi Jeanne, I actually started writing this post long before your teaching on forgiveness! You’re very welcome, this sharing has been healing for myself as well and I hope it will continue to be. – Andrea

3. Ella - May 4, 2013

Thank you. Looking forwards to part II
With metta
ella

Living Abundance - May 4, 2013

Hi Ella, I’m glad you find it worthwhile to read, and I hope the next posts are just as valuable for you. With metta as well, Andrea

4. Shining Awareness in the Dark Corners – A Story of Forgiveness, Part 2 | Living Abundance - May 10, 2013

[…] (This is part 2 of a series on how my mindfulness meditation practice helped me to find forgiveness, and how I uncovered an entire place in my awareness that had previously been completely hidden in darkness. Read part 1 here.) […]


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