Following the retreat, I’ve been on an email exchange with Master Dao Yi. We got to talking about the book “Mothers Who Can’t Love” and this brought out some deep emotion in me about parenting, about love, and about healing. This is an excerpt from our email:
I find myself intrigued by the message of healing but am simultaneously hesitant to read works that shed a negative light on mothers suffering from narcissistic personality disorder (and other disorders). It doesn’t make sense to me to protect and heal the daughters and not offer a message of love and healing to the mothers suffering in their own journeys. While better parenting is one of my number one values and priorities in life, I refuse to do so at the expense of rejecting others who are trying to heal themselves. Quick story for you…
I spent the majority of my childhood conditioning my mind to rise above (and to make sense of) the darkness within me. 13 was the height of my struggle with mental illness (OCD and paranoia amongst others), where I found myself shaking beside a night light every night. Around that time, I met my mentor who was about 40 years my senior. He shared that he had experienced paranoia in his 40’s and that he understood how difficult the fight was. And for the next three years until he started his fight with cancer, he would spend a few hours every Sunday introducing me to ancient scripture and teachings, the newest scientific breakthroughs and TED talks, as well as life and career skills (he was also head of HR at a Fortune 500 company).
For those of you who don’t know her, my mother is one incredible human being. In her early 20’s, she took an important government position to save her family, helped many people through tough times All throughout my life, people would walk up to me and tell me how blessed I was, how my mother saved their whole family. She’s got this remarkable heart and inspiring wisdom, but so much success at such an early age can be dangerous. She had her own battles to fight and had her share of healing to do…and I was a struggling teenager with mine. When I told my teacher I wanted to escape from it all, he told me that instead of fighting her, to consider rising above and choosing love. He told me that the only way to heal a broken ego was through love.
And I knew then as I know even better now, with every bit of me, that my mother loves us with the entirety of her being, and that she, as any human, has battles of her own that she has to sort through. And it was only after understanding this that I began my own healing process–both so I didn’t pass the burden onto my children, and so I could introduce her to the healing and love that I believed was possible for us both. I’m still working on this journey and on forgiving myself and for forgiving my mother, but I know damn well that there’s nothing at all to forgive. She was the way she was because that’s who she believed she needed to be, and she did so much good as a result. I am who I am because that’s what I knew at the time, as a result, I put a lot of pressure on my little sister (that I’m not proud of). But we both did our best to give what we could to those around us, and we continue to learn to better love and accept each other with every day that passes.
The message isn’t to reject each other but to understand each other and to fight the darkness together. And the best way I know how to honor my teacher is through embodying and sharing his teachings and message. Anyways, thank you for listening to this story–this topic brings out a great deal of emotion in me, and it’s such a release to bring it to the forefront of my attention again and remind myself of the important things in life.
Feeling blessed to share this earth alongside so many wealthy hearts and minds of our time (like my teacher and Master Dao Yi). In this day and age, we often talk about the importance of growth, and in this very moment, I’m feeling especially grateful for the encounters that expand our whole being, like meeting Master Dao Yi who took the time to respond to me amidst this conflicted soul of mine.
Man oh man, getting back to the real world is tough. Back to real problems and desire and struggle. But it also means learning more of the kaleidoscopic things that make us all light up and light on fire. It also means falling in love, not just with humans but with life and what it means to be the entirety of who we are….and to be given the freedom to express the entirely of all that we embody.