It’s two years today since my mum’s departure.
Here we are at her favorite beach-side cafe, indulging ourselves in our mutual coffee addiction! She would have been 95.
This post celebrates and honors her wideawake wisdom.
She is so alive in me now. Gratitude. Love.
“Following the heart’s longing…” It’s a poetic turn of phrase, but there’s nothing poetic about the felt anxt of longing to be living a life that’s radically different from the one you find yourself in. I’m long-in-the-tooth enough to admit to decades – yes dears, decades – of feeling as though I was somehow in the wrong story, on the wrong planet. The times when I felt as though I was really “at home” in the “right place” were rare and usually circumstantial.
I recall my sweet mother confessing to me once – many years ago, she’d have been in her mid-fifties – that she had once found herself standing at the kitchen sink staring out the window, feeling like a caged bird and screaming “Let me out of here!”
To me she was the epitome of patience and forbearing, so I was deeply shocked. I asked her why she hadn’t walked out, left the cage. She replied that something in her knew that there was nowhere to go, that wherever she ran her mind would be there, urging her to find something better. So she chose to interpret her mind’s freak-outs and desperate longing as a call from her heart to find sanctuary within. She learned to meditate at a time and in a place where the idea was virtually unknown. She found her own way into the temple of changeless quietude – what her daughter would call Safe Mode a few decades later. (It’s interesting to note that she sacrificed her hearing to do this. She became totally deaf, and delighted in being able to turn the world on and off at will at the flick of a hearing-aid switch.)
It was a rare privilege to grow up with a mother who didn’t ‘do’ stories. Infuriating too, as I so wanted her to take sides (mine, natch) and prop up my self-righteousness and self-esteem. She didn’t. What she did, loyally and without fail, was point me towards my heart’s longing and unconditionally support whatever clarity of direction came out of that longing. She taught me to ignore the shoulds and the yes-buts and the what-ifs, and to move with the promptings of the heart. I was a very slow learner; caution had been thrown in the mix courtesy of my pragmatic father. Unlike her, I had many red herrings to meet and move on from. My path was the Neti Neti Highway.
But the ultimate wisdom she left me with was this: no matter what pathways the heart leads you down on the grand adventure of experience it is always and inexorably guiding you to find your changeless shining Self. Dissatisfaction is the most precious of friends for it tirelessly re-turns you to that task. You won’t be satisfied, ultimately, with anything else, for all else is mind, no matter how poetically put.
All else is mind. And we all know that mind is just a dream, don’t we? Little Miriam calls on me to remember, and I bow my head in gratitude.
~ miriam louisa