How many of you feel as though you are on a path of accelerated learning at the moment? I don’t mean in the traditional education sense, (though for some of you that may be the case too). I’m thinking more along the lines of Spiritual lessons. If so, do read on because there may be something in these words you are meant to read.
As I look back over readings I’ve done, messages I’ve received, combined with conversations I’ve had with friends, I can see a definite ramping up. We’re talking rapid-fire – HUGE lessons for all of us, right? Not only are we being faced with an onslaught of these lessons – we are being tested on what we have learned – almost immediately after ‘the lesson’.
The latest lessons for me feel like some of the most profound and confronting yet. They appeared in disguise too. I am assuming it’s because the Universe in its infinite wisdom understands that if we know what we are about to undertake we’d beat a hasty retreat in the opposite direction. I really don’t want to bore you all with the details but suffice to say Mr. P and I have spent some considerable time and energy traveling around looking for that perfect home. It’s a decision we took in January/February last year – and given the challenges of the last few months I may have just said, “Let’s leave things for a bit.”
I had a very clear vision of what that home would look like in the early days. However, as most of you know, the last few months were more about navigating a journey we were ill-prepared for and certainly didn’t have a map for. My priorities (understandably) shifted to providing a supportive space for my precious girl. We decided to rent after we sold our property because we needed to regroup. The last 5 months in our ‘in-between home’ were intended to be about resting, healing, taking stock and planning the way ahead for all of us. However, during that time I felt, with every fibre of my being, how disconnected T was feeling. Her life had already changed beyond recognition and our move 4 months later brought a whole host of other changes she had no control over and she was feeling stuck.
The area where we landed in November boasts some of the most stunning scenery imaginable but I began to realise T needed more than great scenery to heal. She needed the comfort and laughter of friends, the noise of going into a shopping centre with the music pumping – the pulse of life. She was craving the familiarity of places she used to go. There was no history here. Just the sound of the waves and the feeling that life was going on without her elsewhere.
I had long questioned the sanity of moving during a time that needed gentle strength and careful handling. Too many things were thrown into the unknown – but alas things were already in progress and to be fair the Universe had stalled things as much as possible from COVID to flooding for me. So, I surrendered to the process, aiming to provide what I call an ‘emotional’ home. The idea being, wherever I am, hopefully, T still feels the continuity of home.
Something inside, way beyond the usual ‘protective, nurturing’ instinct kicked in. Let’s call it mothering on steroids for want of a better phrase. For the best part of a year, my focus has been all on taking away my girl’s pain. I was driven to do whatever I could to make life easier, or better in some way. I began thinking we needed to find a location with more life, more shops, somewhere where she could find work so she could save money, and more transport links to Sydney …all my priorities shifted and changed. I genuinely believed ‘my needs don’t matter. My hopes for the future can come true another time.’ And I promise I don’t say that in a martyr sense at all. All I could think about was how to help my daughter feel connected again.
We found an amazing house. Seriously it was beautiful. We put in an offer. It was accepted. Yet, the excitement factor was lacking. Realising this was not the norm for me – I’m the animated sort – happy or sad – I knew something was off. So before making a significant commitment, I said, “Let’s go back and have a look around. Let’s just check it really is somewhere we want to live.” I could feel Mr P groan inwardly.
It was a two-hour drive but it was worth it to be sure. As we parked up to take a wander around, I felt the weight of such sadness settle over me. Sure, there were shops, sure there were parks, transport links … it was near so many things. It would be great for T but it wasn’t the life we had envisioned for us when we decided to move. I had opted for a safe compromise, and I was sacrificing not just my own happiness, but Mr. P’s hopes and dreams too. Over the course of a year, we had entertained so many exciting possibilities but this option had the hallmarks of another temporary situation. My compass had lost all sense of direction. I had no idea where I was going or what to do next.
As I ruminated on what to do – ‘should we just go ahead anyway? – Eh NO – you dafty!” I realised I was turning my back on a location that had previously excited me right at the start of this journey. A location that offered adventure and a unique lifestyle. Indeed, a place I have felt a longing, perhaps a calling, to return to since I first visited in 2015. Somehow along the way that longing changed – and the change became something I feared.
It’s amazing how you can convince yourself that something you longed for ‘doesn’t matter’ anymore, isn’t it? It’s amazing how even as an awakened ‘conscious’ human being, I was prepared just to ignore it all and pretend those dreams never existed.
Refusal of the call
As if by chance (yes, I know…), I’d been working on a writing project for a client. I was at the Scaffolding stage. I tend to take a long time to map out the scaffolding and I work through a range of Arcs to see what’s going to carry the story forward. It just makes the actual writing process so much easier. The Hero’s Journey is one such example I love to work with. There is a stage known as “Refusal of the Call”. At this stage in the journey, we question, “What does the hero want?” What has the hero ignored? What does the hero fear? What does the hero do instead?”
That’s when it hit me.
I was refusing the call of my heart to live where it wanted to live. But why? How could I be a good support to my daughter if I wasn’t truly happy? How could I be a practitioner, spiritual advisor and counsellor if I couldn’t walk the talk? I’m all about ‘energy’ and the feel of a place, the vibration of a person’s soul. I’ve always prided myself on listening to my heart, my head and my intuition. I’ve always faced the direction in which I wished to travel. What was I so afraid of this time?
As I read my own notes on “Refusal of the Call” I couldn’t help but chuckle at the message – a message I had written for my clients – but was definitely meant for me at this moment!
“If there is an easy way out, most people take it. You/your hero is no different. We avoid pain, we seek comfort and pleasure. Ultimately this stage of the story shows why we’ve ignored this weakness our whole lives and part of us think we can continue to ignore it – despite the wake-up call – or call to adventure. This stage also shows a relatable hero who the audience can identify with. It can be a fun stage (oh yes great fun) in the character development of the hero – showing their faults and flaws and how they may be holding themself back from what they really want if they were being true to themselves.”
I began working through my notes as if I were the ‘heroine of my journey’. And that’s where the magic flowed as realised why I was feeling so lost. I was ignoring my inner voice, and as I contemplated further, I asked ‘why?’ Why was I ignoring my inner voice?
The Mother as an Archetype
And then, something my own mother had said suddenly popped into my head.
“Don’t sacrifice your life for your children. First of all, they will never know what you sacrificed and secondly, they won’t thank you for it.” At the time I remember thinking ‘Wow, mum, that’s harsh. Surely motherhood is all about sacrifice?” We all think we know it all as teenagers don’t we?
We view mothers as selfless, nurturing, sacrificing, loving, and protective beings, and we measure ourselves against such standards. If you are a mother yourself, you are probably well acquainted with guilt too. It feels unnatural to put your needs first – but as a friend said to me recently, you’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others. I realised, this is what my own mother probably meant with her ‘don’t sacrifice your life for your children’ statement.
As a mother you need to know when to help without taking over. As a mother you need to realise you can’t live your children’s lives and you can’t protect them from every single pain in the world. You are doing more harm than good when you constantly step up to carry your child’s pain or fix things for them. Mothering quickly becomes smothering I’m sure, (though Ts been kind enough to refrain from such descriptions). The thing is, this wasn’t my usual style of mothering. My daughter has always been an extremely independent individual. She left home at a young age, much like I did. She’s bounced back home a couple of times as many of our grown-up kids do. So why was I feeling this way?
That’s where I found my ‘fear’. It was wrapped up within my desire to protect. To be there – no matter what. My fear was that T would need me and I wouldn’t be right there instantly to fix it! And so began an exploration of where that all came from. I realised this was a two-headed beast.
The first of those is – obviously the events of July last year and all that followed. I’ve written about this in detail already, but I had to acknowledge its impact on every decision I had made since then. Grief is not linear for any of us. If I had to state what my main Lesson had been over the last 12 months, I would say it was around the nature of grief and loss. OK. I can work with that.
The second facet of this two-headed beast was around the role of ‘Mother’. I’m sure you’ve all been there with your own ‘mother’ relationships – your own mother wound. For some of us, that’s a big box of “actually I’m feeling much better now, I don’t need to go through that stuff”, and then we head off into the distance laughing maniacally. In my defense I have unpacked that box to a point I’m happy with the contents. Though admittedly perhaps my learnings hadn’t been put through a real test.
It was around this time of ‘deep untangling’ that I realised I was simultaneously trying to heal my inner child – that child that had felt emotionally and physically abandoned by her mother. A pain that was further exacerbated when she died. Death – the ultimate abandonment right?
What if the pain I was feeling was partly my own?
See what I mean about lessons appearing in a clever disguise because you’d run in the opposite direction? I had done so much work on this stuff. I loved my mother but she wasn’t the fluffy, cuddly type, but what can you expect if you’ve never known unconditional love yourself right? Dear Lord, was I seriously going to have to go through all this – right now? Aargh…
It took a bit of time to work through. I’m frazzled around the edges, but I have ‘Returned with the “Golden Elixir”.
The Golden Elixir
I need to step aside and let my daughter shine her own light. I can’t shine it for her. I would be depriving her of her lessons, her own growth, and her blossoming. She has already achieved so much. At this point I also have to thank my dear friends Faye again (I’m lucky to have Faye and Nikki as my wise counsels) … they both put into words similar thoughts I’d been chasing around my head. Hearing them voice my thoughts externally helped me enormously.
I have also realised in my desire to provide a safe home for her – doesn’t have to be in a static, physical sense. Home is wherever I am. She knows where ‘emotional’ home is and she knows she will always have a place to return to when she needs a safe space again. Just because I am not physically next door to her – doesn’t mean I’m not there. I’m not abandoning her (and there it is!)
Fear is our greatest enemy. The what-ifs of our imagination are the thieves of dreams. If you live in joy and in heart-centered alignment. Love and Truth will always be the light to guide you home.
That’s when I made the decision to follow my heart. Follow the adventure. I had to do what was right for
Me and Mr P – whilst knowing I would remain a gentle, strong constant for my daughter if and when she needs me.
The upshot is – we still have not found our ‘physical’ dream home. But at least we haven’t ‘settled’ somewhere out of fear. I have no idea how it will all work out. This new adventure. But I know it will and I am SO excited by the possibilities again. I hadn’t realised how heavy that mantle of fear, abandonment, and grief had become. All I can say is I do have a certain amount of sympathy for Mr P. At least life is never boring. ‘Ah if only’, he sighs.
As for T – we have been connected through many lifetimes. A few miles won’t make any difference to our bond. She is more than ready to fly and find her own safe space once more, knowing I will always be ‘home’ (in my safe space) when she needs me,
My compass wasn’t broken at all. I had just chosen to completely override and ignore what it was telling me.
Did I mention – BIG lessons? Tests?
Lessons on the things we fear as mothers, lessons on the sacrifices we just don’t need to make, lessons on the importance of listening to that inner voice. Lessons around the mother wound, lessons on living alongside grief, lessons on the importance of ‘wholeness and connectedness’, lessons around recognising when abandonment issues demand to be seen. Lessons on the importance of truly living life with joy and purpose. Lessons around talking things through with trusted friends. Lessons around Sacred Storytelling to accompany others on their healing journey. Lessons on the importance of knowing where and what ‘home’ truly is.
Things I thought I had learned – but I am grateful I had the opportunity to re-sit the test. Perhaps these are the Lessons and Tests of not just the Hero’s journey but the ‘Heroine’s’ Journey too.