By Michael J. Kline
Here in the US and some other countries, today is Mother’s Day. As we realize it is a regional holiday, not a universal law of nature, you get to choose to participate or not, and to the degree you want. You also get to feel how you want to feel about it. In my own experience and working with clients, I know Mother’s Day can be challenging. This article is for those challenged today. That may be due to the loss of a mother, the quality of relationship with your mother or your role, or lack of a role as a mother. It may be for a hundred other reasons. The point is, you might feel something other than like a Hallmark Card. That’s ok. Feel what you feel.
As a child, I took pride in making cards and gifts in school. In my teen-years, I made the effort to celebrate brunch and dinner with the family. Over the years those days felt more and more hollow until I knew it was downright fake. In my twenties and thirties, I would alternate a couple years not on speaking terms with mom, (when life was easy and fun) and a couple years when we would make up (when life was stressful and burdensome). Eventually, I realized I had the power to say enough is enough. It was difficult and painful, but less difficult and painful than subjecting myself to the constant devaluing antics of a bitter, sad, angry woman I couldn’t help or change.
At age fifty, during a RIM session (Regenerating Images in Memory), I changed my perception of my mother to Aunt. I had accepted her as my mother in every way for the 40-some years since she and my uncle adopted me, following my birth-mother’s death when I was seven. I had no memory of my birth mother. After decades of forgiveness work and trying to understand this relationship and my low self-worth, the breakthrough moment came when I fired her as my mother. I instantly realized that while she never could be what I needed as a mother, she had gone far above and beyond any expectation of an aunt. She took us in, fed us, housed us, educated us and did the best she could with her limited awareness, knowledge, skills and tools. When I lowered the bar for her, I could finally forgive her. Following forgiveness, finding gratitude for the gifts received was easy. My loss of a mother was not on her.
During another RIM session, I was able to sense the feeling of being held by my birthmother. The sense was an overwhelming feeling of unconditional love, safety and protection. I cried a lot, I smiled a lot and I discovered that at some level, at some point, I was wanted, valued and loved.
What I find again and again working with clients is, that it is never too late to create a happy childhood. Thanks to RIM, we actually have the power to not only create a perspective shift, or a re-frame, but we also have the power to create an entirely new experience in our imagination. Our bodies, our unconscious mind and our nervous system, treat a well-imagined event similar to a real event. So, while we intellectually know it was an imagined event, we feel completely different. We can neutralize the negative emotional charged stories we tell ourselves. The story shifts from draining to empowering; from suffering to freedom. Our brains never stop growing and changing. Thanks to neuroplasticity in our brain, we now know that anything is possible.
I hope you have something beautiful to celebrate today. I invite you to consider celebrating you. You have already survived everything that has ever happened to you. You have within you, everything you need to be who you want to be; who you were meant to be.