Thursday, October 15, 2009

I was listening to the podcast of my Spiritual Counseling class yesterday afternoon and as part of the meditation, we had to create a time line of our lives starting at birth. I was so resistant to this exercise. For a few days I would turn it on to do the meditation and then turn it off, or become distracted. It was so apparent that I didn’t want to do it, that I forced myself to do it yesterday after the soup was on and there was nothing of great import to do.

During the meditation, I had a few visions that were a little startling. The first one was, me as a little baby in my crib waiting for someone to come and pick me up. In my vision it seemed like a long wait, I don’t know if that was actually the case, but in my meditation it seemed like it. I didn’t see myself as crying or really disturbed by the wait, it seemed natural.

The next vision was when I was a little older, I’m not sure how old, but I had an awareness that my parents fought a lot after we moved to Cherry Hill. In my mind I had a realization that that wasn’t the case when we still lived on Pleasant Street. In this vision I was disturbed by the fighting.

Then the third vision, and this was just a little glimpse, was when I was in high school. I felt lonely, as if I were all alone with no one to turn to. In addition, I felt this as a smaller child in school. I felt that I had no one and that I was completely on my own. It wasn’t pleasant to go there again.

As a child I felt unloved. I felt that there was no one that I could go to who would nurture me. An image that I had very often as a child was being on the outside of a window and looking in. It was very sad.

I so identified with Shirley Temple in that movie she did, I think, it was called The Little Princess. Her father was off fighting in the war and was injured and had amnesia. The school that she was in made her a servant when the checks stopped coming. Shirley was cold and hungry. They overworked her and another girl. But, since Shirley Temple was Shirley Temple, she had an indomitable spirit and she made the best of it.

She made friends with the Indian servant across the roof in the next building and he provided them with heat, blankets and delicious food. When the headmistress saw their luxuries, she was convinced that Shirley Temple had stolen the items. Well, Shirley not to be kept down was convinced that her father was still alive doubled her efforts to find him. She would search the hospital wards every day, and one day, there he was. Queen Victoria just happened to be at the hospital that day and was pleased. (I’m not sure why, but she was especially happy when she saw Shirley, who wouldn’t be?) Anyway, Shirley found her father, he woke up when he heard her voice and they lived happily ever after.

That was my dream. I wanted to wake up and find that I was loved, cared for and nurtured. I would fanaticize that I was switched at birth and my real parents were searching for me tirelessly. I so wanted a different story. I so wanted to be loved.

So, this meditation brought all this up for me yesterday. I didn’t want to go there. I feel that I worked through all this long ago. I was in therapy for three years, and I thought, I had resolved all this long ago. No wonder I was resistant to doing this exercise.

But, I’m not angry. It's funny, I don’t feel the anger that I used to feel. This is now just a story… my story, but that is all it is, a story. It’s what happened and I can’t change any of it, but it doesn’t rule me any longer. I had moved past this and I am grateful. I am grateful too that this is my story, because this story has given me so much. I am independent and self-sufficient. I had to figure most things out for myself, so I am logical and intelligent. So, there was gold to be found in my story and for that I am grateful.

I am still working on forgiveness. My parents never understood. They never saw past themselves and their needs. I understand why they are the why they are, but I’m not quite up to forgiving their actions. I had a moment with my mother before she died, and in that moment, I saw comprehension. She got it… finally. But, more importantly I got it. She never felt loved either. I felt true compassion for her. So, is that forgiveness? It’s probably as close as I’ll ever come to it. My father is another story, maybe because he is still alive, but I don’t feel compassion for him. He just is so self-involved that he has no capcity to see what his actions caused. Maybe we’ll have a moment before he dies, but I doubt it.

I don’t miss my mother. That makes me sad. I really wanted to feel something when my mother died. The main thing I felt, and continue to feel. is relief, simple relief that I don’t have to face her criticism and disregard any longer. I suppose I will feel the same about my father when he goes too. Sad, isn’t it?

We are sold a bill of goods as children. We are told that he have to love our families. We have to love our parents. Well, I say that is a disservice. Where is it written that we have to love people that have no love for us? Saying that you have to love people that are cruel, neglectful or abusive creates a conflict in the child. It makes the child feel that there is something wrong with them. You don’t have to love someone that treats you like crap. You just don’t.

I wanted parents that loved and nurtured me. I didn’t get those parents. I feel compassion for both of them, because they are wounded too. I see that, I know that. But, it doesn’t change the fact that they could have been better parents. Their actions caused me a great deal of pain and they should have seen that, but they didn’t. Do I honor my parents? Yes, they gave me life, but I really can’t say that I love them. And that’s okay.

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