A Mother Seeks the Path to Transformation
After much soul-searching, a local mother learns a valuable lesson and a gift for her family.
Facebook continues to be a wonderful tool for learning about friends, meeting new friends and finding gems of wisdom and sage advice as posts flow throughout the day. Just last week I came across an intriguing post from renowned author and coach Christy Heady, borrowed from spiritual counselor, Judah Isvaran:
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Judah’s Facebook site has some pretty cool stuff, all of it reflecting his “radical approach to inner transformation.” He claims to transcend conventional psychology and therapy and invites others - through his words and holistic trainings - to master conventional life’s challenges, experience deeper self-awareness and find authentic self-expression.
Browsing through Judah’s posts, one can find predictable platitudes (e.g., “Compassion requires that we meet others where they are…”) but all in all, his blend of Eastern and Western perspectives is inspirational and thought-provoking. And he has a gazillion more Facebook friends and followers than me, so that tells me his words do resonate.
Anyway, after reading Judah’s words about living in the past, present or future, colorful cartoon light bulbs sparkled above my head. These three powerful sentences were surely written for me! Sparks of clarity danced across my pores and the air around me took on that ion-charged smell and feel like after a summer shower. Self-awareness sizzled as I repeated those 31 words.
Let’s face it; my recent moping since my son left for college has been a pity party thrown in honor of my attachment to our former family life. I have been mired these past months in images of my son in his younger years, when mom was the center of his life. Then, when I attempt to distract myself by spring cleaning and redecorating, I brood even more because every drawer, closet and room is filled to the brim with possessions from the past. Items laced with memories and tied so tightly to my heart strings that I simply cannot find my way free of them.
As for anxiety? Well, there has been no short supply of that particular toxin in our home this year. And I am the wellspring. I worry about finances now that I’m retired and the next four years of college expenses will exceed our original estimates. I worry that the phone will ring in the middle of the night with the dreaded news that our son has been in an accident. I worry that the kudzu will eventually suffocate our hardwoods in the backyard. I worry that my previously-chronicled rheumatoid arthritis will become even more debilitating than it already is.
Thus, Judah’s invitation to live in peace in the present was powerfully cathartic and it swiftly inspired me toward transformation. I spent the next few days focused on the present and actively experiencing the beauty and peace of random moments. The color of the cloudless sky. The smells of the produce section at Kroger and my gratitude at having a rare day to walk through those aisles relatively pain-free. The Tao of my new fairy garden. The warmth emanating from the unconditional love of Jack the Wonder Dog, who never leaves my side. The strength gleaned from the constant gentleness of my husband’s eyes.
My attempts at inner transformation worked really well for several days. I purposefully ignored the alligators nipping at my ankles and felt at peace, mind and body.
Reality then distracted me.
A gazillion matters clawed for my attention. Family decisions had to be made, each of which required my drawing from past experience and accurately predicting future consequences. Multiple curve balls were thrown through our front door that demanded immediate, non-trance induced attention. My present didn’t feel very peaceful.
Still, Judah’s lesson was not lost on me. The colorful cartoon light bulbs reappeared and illuminated the next lesson. Drawing from the past is vastly different than dwelling on it. Planning for the future does not require living in fear of it. And living in the present does not mean closing one’s eyes to reality. After all, drawing strength from my husband’s gaze could never be a bad thing.
Perhaps, as a mother, this lesson is my true gift to my family. To adopt, maintain and model a healthy, multi-dimensional perspective. To learn from the past, rejoice in the present and face the future with optimism and reasonable choices.
I don’t know if Christy and Judah would agree with me. But it doesn’t matter. Their Facebook posts sparked my inner dialogue. And that’s what good coaches and counselors do.