Anything is possible, artists, confidence, mother daughter relationships, mother son relationships, Parenting, Self realisation, separating from adult children, Shaman, shamanic ritual
For SMUT and Self-Esteem, a very wise and perfectly written blog. Reflecting on everyday experience through tools such as mindfulness and Buddhist teachings.
Even at the age of forty seven I was scared about telling my mum of our plans to give up work and go off to India, particularly about selling the house. And on the way to telling her about the boat I was as nervous as if I were on my way to hospital for an operation. I played the song above, ‘You say you can’t, I hope you can, I hope you can…’
My mother is an astonishingly capable individual, potentially a lot to live up to, and who has very strong opinions. But feeling as if I’m not free to live my life as I wish to because of what she might think or say isn’t on her, it’s on me.
Again and again people say, no one can have power over you without your consent, and such like. Certainly in the run up to going away I said the same kinds of things to myself and tried to deal with it on an intellectual level. I did what needed to be done, but I made a big palaver about it, putting things off and getting stressed out, and expending a lot of time and energy on it all.
On Thursday of last week we made our first trip back to Norfolk to visit people. Firstly we went to see our dear friend K, who made us a lovely lunch*, let us go on about India, and was very supportive about my book and our ideas. She asked us each if and how we thought the year of travel had changed us. We both said we felt it had, but that we didn’t know exactly how yet.
Then we drove over to see my mum. Towards the end of the year of travel I had had dreams about this meeting, and woken feeling anxious and intimidated, as I was when I visited before I left. This time, I didn’t feel even a flicker of nerves on the way there, and sailed through the visit authentically and confidently. We showed her photographs, she made us a delicious meal**, and we chatted about general topics. We all seemed happy to see each other, and had a nice time.
In the past I had involved her too much in my life, and I had felt shadowed by her strong opinions. The year away provided the opportunity to reset boundaries. I’m sure she doesn’t approve of everything I’m doing but she appears to have accepted that I’m doing it anyway, and didn’t question or comment.
I know it’s because she cares but I have to have this bit of separation in order to fully realise my own personal potential.
I wasn’t fake friendly or fake tough, I was totally myself during that time, and that is best described as relaxed and powerful. And it just happened that way, that’s how I’ve changed. (Just got to keep it up!)
Then we went to see my son. He’s not, as far as I’m aware, working on the same things with me, but I know he’s done better the less I’ve been involved in his life, culminating in him being offered, while I was away this year, the chance to exhibit in New York in May.
(I still have to work on resetting habits and expectations re money though, now that he is almost thirty and I am not working at the moment.)
We all acknowledged that he’d done the best all by himself, and I told him what the Swiss shaman I met in Kerala had told me, that when you have a baby it is your job to ‘Give them the bliss,’ but then when they grow up you must set them free. The shaman said I must set my son free so that he can become a great artist.
*beetroot and chickpea burgers, pasta in tomato sauce and broccoli
**vegetable curry, rice, samosas, and apple crumble and (soya) custard
We were thoroughly spoiled that day!
Thank you very much for reading
Dear Rachel, John
It would be lovely to see you both sometime. If you are planning on visiting Norfolk again, you are welcome to stay at mine and please visit. At the moment I am still working and preparing students for their GCSE exam. I finish the job at the end of May, and if I don’t see you before, perhaps we can organise a meet up then.
Hi Helen, thank you, looking forward to seeing you too! I’m still on my same number for texts and calls. I don’t have any Internet so this is being done at the pub, its a hard life! Xxx
This was very interesting reading and reminded me of the difficult relationships I had with both of my parents, who have long passed away. It seems to me that you see things very clearly and are taking positive steps towards improving your relationships with both your mom and son.
Thank you Des. I hope I see things clearly and can stay awake and aware. The year away has helped definitely. I’m sorry you had a difficult relationship with your parents. Sometimes it is just that way. Maybe the parents are too different, or can’t adjust to kids growing up. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ann Coleman said:
Yes, it is so hard to balance wanting to “hang on” when you know your job is to let go. (And yet still be there in their lives). When I’m trying to decide how to respond to one of my kids, I try to think about how my Mom responds to me, what I appreciate and what I don’t. That helps!
You explain that so well! I’m going to really try and take what you said on board! I know what I don’t appreciate, e.g. unsolicited advice, criticism, advice or comment which is actually criticism, etc etc!!!!
Hi Rachel, just been catching up on your posts and only just saw this – thanks so much for the shout out! Interesting post. I’m so interested by boundaries and how sensitive we as humans can be to the opinions of others. I could relate to a lot of what you said here – finding the balance between acknowledging the insensitivities of other people and the oversensitivities of ourselves is challenging! xxx
Thanks for reading! Well you telling me that quote inspired me and presented a chance for me to have a go and see how I had turned out this year! So far so good! It’s a challenge to change and maintain that change with family. But what I’ve realised is that it’s down to me to alter things which is empowering especially when it works out! Thanks very much for reading xxx
I’m glad! I totally agree, I have similar challenges with my Dad and I’m constantly having to set, establish and reset boundaries which I find difficult. But I think it’s also conducive to so much growth and as you said empowerment! xxx