I went shopping with my Mum yesterday. We were no longer like mother and daughter but two sisters or two little kids out for a fun day. I helped my Mum to find a lovely pink cable knit jumper, due to her decreasing size it was difficult to find anything to fit and the size that my Mum needed was on display so I helped her to get it off and she tried the jumper on and it looked beautiful.
While I was sitting in the change room I saw how twisted around my Mum’s aging body had become. I thought of the suffering she witnessed her three daughters go through over years. I thought of the ways she tried to help in the absence of a loving husband. I then thought of my Mum’s own unhappy and deeply lonely childhood in which there was no father and no emotionally available mother to help her with anything. It was such a deeply poignant moment and it did humble me, as I saw far deeper and saw my Mum no longer as person who should be occupying a role in a certain way, but just as a very frail and fallible human who did the very best she could with what she knew.
Feeling all this for my Mum does not minimise any of the hurts from the past, however what I am seeing is how I became conditioned to run or to turn away from her. In a way this was very good as I needed to look elsewhere for what I could not find at home, but none of that seeking could make any deeper sense until the deeper bedrock of my foundation or lack of nurturing foundation came to realisation and there was a lot of pain before that.
My aloneness does not seem as acute today. It does grow in spaces and places though when I am too far away from kind bodies and human beings who provide a foundation of energy and life for me to connect with. Little things mean a lot. My gentle kind gardener who only comes infrequently but today is helping to pick up leaves. The rare call from a friend asking me how I am and would I like to go for a coffee. All of these connections that in the past year have come into my life mean so much to me, a person who before could not really bear to have anyone too close in her world for fear she would be overtaken.
And having seen my Mum’s body yesterday and having sat with my own traumatised body yesterday gently in the sunshine just feeling the breath makes me so aware of how much of our soul’s life our bodies carry for us and how important it is for us to go gently with them.
This kind of soft attention is the complete opposite of the violence and trauma of difficult injuries my body has gone through in my life. I am going to list them below as each hurt and several of them came out of inattention on the part of my caretakers or just their intense focus on other things :
A burnt foot that suffered 3rd degree burns on a camping holiday due to my Mum cleaning the caravan with a bucket of scalding water on the step near where I was drawing.
A fish hook lodged between the webbing of my big and second toe that had to be pulled out by Dad… he left it in the seagrass matting after sorting his fishing tackle.
A deep gash to my wrist which got 30 stiches which happened when the window broke after I was trying to get into an empty house after school. I had to run to the neighbours to find someone to take me to hospital.
The arm pulled out of shoulder socket after being pulled around by my Mum.
The smash up of my 1979 accident in which I nearly lost my life, punctured my lung, broke and splintered my femur and ulnar bones, lost three teeth and tore my tongue in half.
Six terminations of pregnancy where my womb was sucked out, which may not seem sever but leaves its pulling, tearing echo imprints deep inside.
Various injuries including a cut foot and face smashed into with a metal frame door while in the later years of my addiction.
The final smash up in 2005 when I was on the run trying to address my tortured past.
These are the things that came out of my unmothering, these are the things that came out of my emotional neglect, these are the tortured body/shocks that I have been working to contain and come to terms with as a result of suffering with Complex Post Traumatic Stress for over 20 years.
Its been a lot to grieve. It has been so much to understand and heal, it has been so much to contain, but I have and now I need to heal the connections and find the restful place of peace which comes at the end of a long journey to understand it all. It seems to me that healing compassion can only come for me out of the deeper understanding of how our suffering human wounded body struggles to cope with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in a world that so often does not teach us how to care for and be deeply conscious of our soul in body.
Yesterday shopping with my Mum I felt quiet tired and was so conscious of all I have been asked to carry, however I was also aware of a healing trying to come about, a reconnection between two lost kids who are finally finding in each other a friend. And my mother is the body my body came out of, her body reflects mine, and my struggle to connect with hers and find mirroring and nurturing there has been so difficult. Healing for me is only felt in the deeper and acceptance of how much I longed for mirroring and recognition in her body and how much I suffered at times in not finding it, but how that mirroring and recognition was waiting there for me all along in the depths of my own body soul that I had to drag to therapy over so many years in search for the right place where I finally did find a good mirror.
Within that mirror and deep within the mirror of my soul, I have been able to look along the corridor of mirrors of our multigenerational line. Along this hall of mirrors I have finally found reverberating and reflected across years the struggling lost child with so much grief looking everywhere for a place to lay his or her burden down or have it recognised. Now I see that burden not as a burden any longer just suffering but also as a tiny new baby that is crying and asking of me mothering at the end of a long road that finally is leading me home. Along this road I am beginning to find a deeper connection with my ancestors as I work to bring conscious awareness to things as yet unhealed that affected us all so deeply in different ways. And in this consciousness lies my deepest spiritual work, that and giving it some kind of voice so that it no longer lies unrecognised in the depths of the collective unconscious and to that my mother and her body seems lately to provide my strongest link for body carries soul and life grows out of it as consciously or unconsciously as we allow.