My daughter wrapped herself in her furry brown blanket and plopped down beside me on the bed.
She said, “I must be bad because I’m not like them. I hear words coming out of my mouth and I want to take them back right away, but I can’t. It’s like all this bad stuff builds up inside me and I have to let it out. I don’t know what to do.”
And I just let her talk. I let her let it out. We had already passed over the arc of her big emotions. The push and pull of her need to be heard had subsided and the house was slowly regaining a vibe of peace and calm. Her face, once defiant, now wore a look of soft regret. Compassion came much easier in these moments. A short time before, it was all I could do to remain level-headed and lovingly firm.
I haven’t always been able to do that.
Holding her to me I said, “Of course you don’t know what to do! We have to teach you. I didn’t learn to manage my feelings until I was in my thirties. You come from a long line of women with tender hearts and passionate minds. We make excellent artists, friends and partners. But, for our own well-beings and for those around us, we have to channel those moments of intensity. We have to learn to read our reactions, to breathe, to remove ourselves from conversations going absolutely nowhere but down.”
She nodded. “I hate myself when I say bad things.”
With my heart breaking for her I took a breath, “Hate is a strong word. And those things you say aren’t truth, they are expressions of hurt and pain that are misdirected at the people you love. It doesn’t excuse it, simply explains it. We have to make amends and commit to doing better, but first, you must forgive yourself. Shame is a terrible motivator. Love is the only thing that will make this better for you.”
“Why am I different?” she asked through sad eyes. “Why do I have to be this way?”
Stroking her hair from her face I said, “I wouldn’t change your passionate nature for the world. You want to act, right? Maybe write? This force within you will drive you in the most beautiful way. You simply need to learn to harness it.”
She buried her head in my belly and cried softly. And though I felt the beauty of the moment, guilt crept in the way it often does. I thought of all those years I spent fighting her fieriness and how I wished she was calmer. I thought of all the times I blamed her, compared her, ignored her. I thought of all the times I felt unfit to be her mother because I just couldn’t get it right. Through all the ups and downs of my life in the past ten years, I have attempted to manage my daughter. It has only been recently that I have ventured to understand her.
Guilt will keep me stuck. Forgiveness will help me let go. She is more like me than I ever knew and perhaps, that is what Spirit has been trying to show me. In fact, I think this is what Spirit is always trying to show us…our unity.
As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. ~ A Course in Miracles (T-8.III.4:2-4)
May I forgive myself for all I believe I have done wrong as a mother. May I let go of all that weighs me down. May I judge myself and others less and less. May I see with eyes that Love. May my daughter remember the Love she comes from. May we all.
It is done already.