I look in the mirror and a tired, gray-haired woman looks back. The lustered chestnut- haired girl with smooth skin and bright eyes is gone. A close to defeated old person looks at me from the mirror. Where did she come from?
My mother died a year and a half ago. My father left two years before, kicking and struggling. I was not present for either’s passing, though I wanted to be there for my Mom, but my sister felt she had too much to deal with to receive me, and it all happened so fast; I was in Europe. Now I have recently returned from a trip to my sister’s, hoping for closure and closeness after our mutual grief. We finished the paperwork; my sister had dealt with belongings before-hand. It was a strange trip. We spoke as if nothing had happened, despite a non-emotional reference from time to time about Mom being gone. Life goes on, or does it? Somehow it still feels ‘impossible’….My entire life I wanted to be close to the mother who was ripped away from me as a child, who was never present until the last two years of her life in her 90’s. I did what I could to be with her, but so much had changed and moved on.
Today no husband or child thinks of me. I am divorced and have no children. I wish it could have been different, not in facts such as children or not, staying together or not….but somehow I wish it could have been different. I’ve done so much, travelled, worked with diverse people in varying cultures, yet it feels like little. So many experiences, places, and people have come and go. I made choices, and as time went on many in favor of self-preservation and limited emotional pain. I grew up with a lot of family pain, silence, secrets and trauma. Despite growing awareness and intellectual acceptance, I couldn’t erase the pain and unfairness of abuse and neglect, somehow make it better, or release my longing for family care, love and interest.
Dear God, I wish it could have been different….but it obviously couldn’t. I only wanted more smiles, lightness, joy, laughs, sighs of contentment, like the genuine sigh of ‘it doesn’t get better’, by a faithful puppy companions as he/she settles (or settled) happily next to me on the couch, or bestows a look of thorough adoration and love. I wanted more warm, thick soup on cold winter days, feelings of deep inner warmth and happiness being together, instead of moving quickly through a meal in favor of what ‘needed’ to be done. I wanted more togetherness, less icy chill of family members and people silently together… stiff, abrupt and anxious, like actors forgetting their lines on stage. I wanted the happy ending promised in Hollywood films after the sad, hard times. Somehow it didn’t happen that way. There were good times, but broken relationships, disappointments, and death.
Now as I stand on the threshold of the final act in my personal life play–Act III –I want to accept and find peace with what is past. It couldn’t have been different or it would have been. I want to step fully into the writing and directing of Act III, not in terms of events, but what I choose to experience in the events. Events I cannot control, but allow and flow with what comes, I must, if I want peace. Peace and love is what I want as I live out this new adventure, so I need to develop trust and surrender, like the ‘T’ and ‘S’ in my Life T.A.N.G.O.S. workshop … the beginning and the end of my anagram of qualities to explore for a fully embodied, free life. I want to trust life is unfolding perfectly (though it may not be what I want), and surrender to what is, let go. This choice is given me.
Psychosynthesis and A Course in Miracles teach there is a ‘law of seeing’. “You will look upon that which you feel within. If hatred finds a place within your heart, you will perceive a fearful world, held cruelly in death’s sharp-pointed bony fingers. If you feel the Love of God within you, you will look out on a world of mercy and love.” (ACIM workbook lesson 189, para.5 lines 3-5).
As I stand on the threshold of this new beginning, a clean slate, my final act in a world wracked by growing isolationism and fear, the words of Stephen Levine– a guide and inspiration of embodied compassion and genuine love in the face of deep pain and despair–resonate for me with knowing and truth:
“We walk through half our life as if it were a fever dream, barely touching the ground, our eyes half open, our heart half closed, not half knowing who we are. We watch the ghost of us drift from room to room through friends and lovers, never quite as real as advertised, not saying half we mean or meaning half we say. We dream ourselves from birth to birth seeking the true Self, until the fever breaks and the heart cannot abide a moment longer as the rest of us, awakens, summoned from the dream, not half caring for anything but Love.”
In life, though I wish it could often be different, I hang on to the belief it is all about Love, as the Course explains, expressions of love or calls for love. How will we love and what will we choose to see? As the world winds along wearily, driven by beliefs of scarcity, guilt, blame, exclusion and fear, can I (can we) remember this law of seeing and seek for Love?
In Roberto Assagioli’s Act III of life, he focused on joy, suggesting we enjoy everything. This often feels like a tall order, yet it invokes this law of seeing. Interestingly I find, when I look for love in situations and events I find challenging, I am often surprised to see how supported and cared for I am, not forgotten… even when things don’t turn out the way I would have wished. My intention to seek love sets me on the path to see only love. Do I stray? Yes, and gentleness and compassion help me return. As 2017 falls into place, my wish for us all is to look and seek only for Love, whatever life brings our way.
Abigail De Soto, M.A
author under a pseudo- L’Amour Déraisonné: Reclaiming Self, Transformational Teachings from Psychosynthesis and A Course in Miracles (2010) Psychosynthesis Press