For my maternal ancestors
And all of you out there who (like me) have felt abandoned and longed for connection.
In 2019 when I turned sixty, I gave myself a weird and wonderful gift.
I asked to finally let go of the past .
I committed to the process and looked foward to having it done and dusted.
As if it works that way…
My expectation was that I would be dealing with my relationship with my father and brothers. You know all the patriarchal stuff.
I was not disappointed.
It was a wild ride especially the very severe depression I developed when I realized my own part in the dance.
What really blew me away though, was what followed this year.
After a beautiful family gathering which should have filled me with joy and bliss, I woke up during the night sobbing.
The feeling was so familiar.
An inky abyss of abandonment and rejection, that I had experienced many times before in my life.
I remember literally buying myself a stuffed toy gorilla during a particularly bad bout when my marriage had ended and I was reeling from the loss of my dreams and my whole worldview.
Rather irreverently I named him Jesus, because Jesus and I were really tight at that stage…
I sometimes even referred to Him as my boyfriend!
Cheeky , I know, but it was kinda real for me , but that’s a whole other story…
When my mom died very suddenly a couple of years later and my father asked that I move down to Stellenbosch to take care of him, I sheepishly gave Black Jesus to the little girl next door.
I think she was five – a much more appropriate age for a stuffed toy, my Inner Critic jeered.
So imagine my horror, when now , some twenty years later, I found myself longing for that stuffed toy again.
At a time when I should have been at my happiest.
In my bed with my fiancee.
The next minute, I remembered my mother’s face on two photographs of her holding me as a baby. The two photographs I am posting with this blog.
What also came up clear as day , was an experiment my scientist father had told me about when I was young. I could see the pictures in the book about the experiment clearly in my mind’s eye.
Please forgive the detail here – it was a different time ( 1950’s, I should think).
There were three images of baby monkeys.
One had a “mother” made of a bare, wire frame , the second “mother” figure had a towelling cover and the third was a real flesh and fur monkey mommy.
The experiment proved that the monkeys needed touch and nurturing and not just milk to survive.
That monkeys could die, if they did not receive love as infants.
The puzzle pieces fell into place for me.
During my depression I had been so aware of how excrutiating it must have been for my mother to be so depressed and have a newborn to take care of.
I kept remembering her face on the pictures and feeling such compassion for what it must have been like for her to feel nothing.
To be dead inside and not able to function or take care of herself let alone a new born.
Thing is …
Right up until that moment I had not allowed myself to feel my own pain in this situation.
Just tiny snippets here and there.
Tugging at my gut.
As I surrendered , bits and pieces from my therapy and other experiences and insights seemed to flow into one realization.
This experience formed the original wound for me that made me fiercely, externally referenced – ever searching for connection and love outside myself.
Being such a tiny infant (nine month’s old) most of my communication was non-verbal so it makes perfect sense that I would scan faces and sense people’s emotions to try and connect.
An empath was born : a hypervigilant being , desperate to survive, to connect, to find love, feeling everyone’s feelings.
Here’s the miracle though.
The woman I am today, knows with every fibre of my Being : Love is not outside.
It is in me.
It is me.
I am Love.
I am Compassion.
I am connected to everyone and everything.
To all of Life.
I can relax and be.
I can put the mirror down and experience Life in every now moment.
The whole human race is my family.
As I show up for myself (and others), I experience myself as the One.