I have been thinking my life has indeed been a journey of reaching for completeness, for ultimate peace. For me, this image depicts the journey of connecting to my own inner light, which to me is what I imagine death to be; to be fully integrated and whole spiritually.
This morning I have been contemplating my path of evolving feelings toward my Mom and Dad who are no longer here on earth. As and older, more self-aware individual I can recognize the pain and longing I felt for what it was; my wish to have a perfect relationship with humanly imperfect beings. It took some major soul searching to understand that I have to accept people as they are, or if unable, quietly walk away. For me, walking away is brave and more loving as it gives space to myself and others to be at peace without constant pressure to conform to others’ standards that may not be acceptable. I think of the years I spent trying to make my parents (and others in my life) into what I thought they should be instead of appreciating what they had to offer and… I mourn the time lost. I was constantly looking externally, expecting pieces to fit where I wanted them to instead of looking internally. This external thinking was a great way to distract me from my own wounds, my own faults, and my own part in the equation of a relationship. Yet, I have found that blaming and expecting others to fix your own “stuff” is much, much more painful in the long run (as there is no end) than the initial (and profoundly) painful realization that I am just as imperfect as everyone else. Thus, forgiving myself has opened my heart and mind to forgiving my Mom and Dad and has allowed me to see the many gifts they did give me, such as their own version of love and support. Oh, there are moments where I selfishly still long for what my parent’s couldn’t give me or be the answer to a problem I am facing; however, I remember them both as who they were – imperfectly loving human beings who where just trying to find a slice of peace, love, and happiness in the only way they knew how. Just like me.
I sit sipping my morning coffee feeling unmoored from the loss of my mother. I am now forced to contemplate my life without a mother, without a father. I close my eyes and imagine myself as a young child whose balloon has escaped my tenuous grasp. I begin to weep as I look down at my unfurled hand, the same hand that held my mother’s just one short week ago as we laughed as if we had all the time in the world to share. I feel a penetrating void slowly burden every inch of my body. My eyes look skyward and trail the balloon as it floats aimlessly. Now what? No one is left who intimately remembers the day of my birth, no one who loves me unconditionally and imperfectly, as only a parent is able to, and no one who remembers my fears, silliness, challenges, and triumphs quite like a mother and father. I capture my last glimpse of the balloon as it bumps between tree branches and temporarily gets stuck as it meanders on its journey. As quickly as it gets stuck, the balloon breaks free and I watch it float out of sight. I understand. My life is forever altered, and nothing will be as it was. Goodbye sweet Mother
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams
Although I am not always able to sustain a quiet mind, meditation always brings me peace.
“It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held on to the old view.
When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades.
The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before.
Its never too late to take a moment to look.”
~ Sharon Salzberg