I was born a searcher. I felt like the little bird in the old children’s book who desperately inquired if a tractor might be her mother. With all due respect to my dear parents, I guess that I just never sufficiently bonded. I lived my childhood feeling strangely invisible and broken-hearted, while simultaneously safe and cared for. That sentence just sent a fleeting shock wave through my system, alerting me that my childhood experience has clearly followed me throughout my life. I can see that it has been the impetus for all of my endeavors, both personal and professional. Let me be clear, I am grateful for the privilege of this examined, creative life. Understanding that it is a privilege, gives me the courage to explore with more depth and share with more generosity.
Mirroring. Let the reflection begin.
My 102 year old mother has a persistent, underlying anxiety that she would deny to this day. I know this because when there is the tiniest change in her world she gasps, bristles, resists, and protests before considering her options. Another clue is this. When anyone says or does something that is even a wee bit out of her comfort zone, she quietly exclaims, “That is stark mashuga.” (English translation – totally nuts).
I could feel her distance when I was small. I was very sensitive and desperate for attention and she was obsessed with holding everything together. Not the best match. We are all mirrors for one another. When a little one gazes into the eyes of their caretaker, they can’t help but assume that whatever they see is about them. I imagined that my mother’s anxiety was about me and therefore I became anxious about myself. My unfulfilled longing to be seen, heard, and understood grew into a broken heart that I had no idea how to mend. This is story number one.
Story number two. If we are all mirrors for one another, and if we all accept responsibility for ourselves, then maybe my mother was mirroring my broken heart for me to see. We all feel invisible until we can see ourselves. Maybe it has been my life’s purpose to become visible to myself and heal my heart so that I could open it once again and inspire you to do the same.
If we are willing to consider that everyone in our life is here to hold up a mirror to our soul, then life starts to make more sense. If we look in the mirror with compassion and self-acceptance, it will always reflect back a truth that is there to help us develop into the amazing beings that we are. I know that it’s not always easy or fun. Sometimes we need support. May these words help to cheer you on.
With love, Jane