Monthly Archives: May 2015

The branch and the tree

We’ve all heard that rusty old adage about the branch not falling far from the tree, but most of us were made from two trees. When you look deep inside yourself, do you see more of your mom or your dad? When you look on the surface of yourself, the physical traits, maybe the ‘you’ that you reveal to the outside world, do you see mama tree or papa tree? For whatever reason, during my morning meditation, my mind got stuck in this fascination, so much so that I started seeing everyone in my with their own bodies and their parents’ faces. It should be say that my mind is supposed to be clear for meditation and I take no drugs whatsoever.;)

My dad was the ‘people’ person of my parents. My mom also was a people person, but on a quieter less severe scale. Dad would do just about anything to make people laugh and he always wanted to rescue people & lift them up, even if sometimes there situations were much to heavy & they weren’t helping themselves. ‘That sounds a whole lot like me’ I think (outloud). And it does! Those are wonderful traits that can also be terrible traits when you allow yourself to fall too deeply into other peoples’ pits. Take that pit as a pun, if you want. As it is, I have completely and unintentionally duplicated my dad’s ‘good samaritan’ side, so much so that it almost destroyed me on numerous occasions. It turns out that dad’s ‘coat off his back’ looked better on him than on me.

Don’t get me wrong. I am Christian. I strive to be like Jesus every day, but I am trying to be more like the man and less like his shoes. Shoes always end up falling apart.

My mom was the ‘strong’ person of my parents. She was the spirit that held our family together. She was my ‘little voice’, and the reason I made so many of the right choices I’ve made in my life. Don’t get me wrong. My mom was extremely generous too. She would let people come back and work for the company more times than I would’ve ever thought to. She had more confidence than she ever let on, but sometimes her pride would fail her. She trusted until you gave her a reason not to, and she believed that everyone should be treated fairly and equally. She was one of the least judgemental people I ever knew and she believed that everyone should have a fighting chance at success. I like to think that I follow in her foot steps. I like to think I landed close to her tree too.

I honestly feel that most of our branches that have fallen close to both of our trees. We got through life, get buried with burden, survive and bloom and grow. That’s how life goes. Some of us were blessed with two amazing parents, whether they remained together or not.

I was blessed in that sense. While my dad was just on this eart for 44 years, and mom for 64, they squeezed more love into their short lives than I can fully comprehend, which is why I am happy that this branch did not fall far from her trees, that I can still see the forest, and that growth is forever possible even after older trees die out.

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Mother’s Way

She had a way. I remember watching her from the back seat of our Cutlass Supreme, high cheeckbones, delicate jawline, the beginnings of happy lines darting from the corners of her eyes. When she spoke to my dad, her voice softened and even rose a couple octives. It was her special way that she set aside just for my dad, that let me know that he came first. I was at peace with that. That devotion comforted me. I didn’t have to be at the helm of the ship or at the top of the food chain to feel important, worthwhile, or even loved. I just needeed to know my place, and that gave me all the solace I craved as a kid.

When dad’s kidneys failed, she set aside Saturdays for she and I to escape to the local skating rink. She invested in lessons & encouraged me to throw myself into whatever made me happy & gave me a childhood. That was roller skating. I didn’t even need to think about it. Since she was the breadwinner through the week, those Saturdays served as our bonding time. She saw my need to belong to a team, and she always had a way of knowing exactly what I needed months before even I could recognize it.

Watching her run a business, manage employees, talk with potential and existing customers was a true learning experience. I remember thinking  how much I admired her, and also becoming more aware of our differences. We were like a mullet, mom and I. She was the business in the front, while I was the party in the back. It wasn’t that I was ‘bad’ really. It was more that I was the one who wore her heart on her sleeve, had the worst poker face in history, and couldn’t hide anything from anyone. Ever. I am still terrible at all of that, which explains my blogging fetish.

But my mom taught me how to be a lady. She taught me that even if I couldn’t hide my emotions, I should always allow my dignity to outshine them. She taught me that class was a far more desirable trait than pretentiousness, and that the only way we could make it through the hard times was to pray – to believe in something greater than ourselves, and to believe that everyone was created in love. She taught me how to forgive, how to trust, how to love, and how I could always, always depend on her even when everyone else turned away. Which leads me to this – the pain, the grief, the never-fully-healed part of losing a mother that hung my moon.

Sure, sometimes I’m a ship lost at sea. I’m constantly trying to find a shore that has vanished entirely. I don’t want to plant my feet on any other island. It doesn’t know me, and it didn’t grow me in its womb. It sounds silly, I know. But there’s something impossible about completely cutting a cord when that cord feels more like a limb, and maybe even more like a root.

In truth, I am pretty certain I really will never be healed, but I am also pretty certain that my mom knew I needed to cut that cord, because she always knew. When she looked at me and told me that she needed me to encourage others to let go because she knew that I could help, that was HER cutting the cord for me, empowering me to have confidence, and strengthening me for the battle ahead. But then, hadn’t she spent her whole life doing just that?/

Tracks of My Fears

I have always, and I mean always, had an unexplainable desire to go off by myself and hike the AT, or get lost in the woods for a few weeks, or get lost in a city without ever speaking to a soul. That’s not depression. That’s just me. That’s not me vying for attention, or trying to get people to worry, or trying to prove something. No! Instead, it’s quite the opposite. That’s just me wanting to become better acquainted with…well, me.

A couple of weeks ago, I almost gave up publicly posting anything to my blog, or anywhere for that matter. My boyfriend and my best friend were worried about me because of things that I had posted. They didn’t understand, and I can appreciate that. Writing has always, and I mean always, been my outlet. When I feel powerless over the direction of my day, powerless over the intensity of my emotion, or powerless over my powerlessness, I write to protect myself from becoming too sad. Since I started publicly blogging 18 months ago, I have felt an added layer of satisfaction and fullfillment with my writing therapy. Somehow, sharing what’s going on in my head with a large of community of people makes me feel less selfish, and more like a part of something much bigger than myself.

Last night, I watched the movie ‘Tracks”. If you haven’t seen it or are unfamiliar, the movie is a re-telling of a real life event where a woman takes off on a long journey with four camels and her black dog to trapse across the deserts of Australia on foot. Some movie reviewers take issue with what they consider the movie’s lack of character development or a lack of plot in general. I have to disagree, even though I am always a fan of a good character developing plot. I love getting into other peoples’ heads. It truly is my favorite thing to do. But there is something about the acting of the Mia Wasikowska and her depiction of the real life heroine Robyn Davidson that cut me to the core, and left me with a deeper understanding even though the dialogue was almost non-existant. You can learn so much from just flashbacks, expressions, and body language, and that IS the magic of fantastic acting.

I doubt that I will ever trapse across a desert, hike the AT, get lost in the woods, or get lost in a city without ever speaking to another soul. At least I doubt I will do any of these things alone. But there is something to be said for taking a pause in life to just be, and learn, and delve deeper into the whys and fears of your own mind. Getting in touch with the soul is a powerful way to denounce that pestering ego that tends to kill our happiness with all of its untrusting and demeaning ways. But, having said that, just a word of caution. TOO MUCH time alone, delving deeper into the soul, can lead to an isolated spirit, separating you from those you  love & making you feel like you’ve fallen out of the universe, and are no longer part of something bigger. As humans, we all need to feel that we are part of something bigger, whether we belong to any labeled religion or not. It’s all in how we are wired.

So take a few breaths today. Maybe even meditate your way across a mental desert, but go deeper into you, to love you, and understand you, and watch as your tracks become a guide for those who have been lost themselves.