Life can turn on a dime…

Two nights ago and yesterday, and today and forever before me…it is about being fully present with each breath. My Mother was scheduled to go in for surgery to correct a surgery that had been to correct another surgery, etc. that was supposed to take place this coming Tuesday…just before Thanksgiving. Two days ago, they were doing her bloodwork to prepare for her surgery and discovered a very bad infection was taking place within her body. One most likely not related in its entirety to the screws that were ejecting themselves from her leg and ankle. And so they decided she needed to go in yesterday, Friday, instead.

My Mom and I spoke on Thursday and she was able to share her deep fear of dying. Not that she was afraid to die, she told me, but that she wouldn’t be with all the people she cared about anymore. She was truly beautiful in her tender vulnerable state and looking to me for answers. I found myself in a place of teaching my Mom when she is in this moment of contemplating crossing over.  This is a very strange place for a child to find themselves and yet a place of deep honor and a space one must enter with ultimate humility.  We went through everything very simply in a way that I knew was comfortable and understandable. The only thing different between several hours before when she had learned of the infection was the news of the infection. Nothing had actually changed. It was the mind creating this shift that was causing the “freak out” neurochemistry to cascade through her body. We discussed the way in which this type of neurocircuitry was not conducive to a healthy state for healing and wellness and preparation for her surgery. We discussed ways to create awareness around her fears and anxieties. Opening to the possibility that truly she is always surrounded by those whom she loves and love her. That really we are all experiencing a constant state of dying throughout everything we do in our day. Ahhh says the very calm daughter. She reassured me that she would listen to her presurgery “tape” (yes, a cassette tape) that night and would take it to surgery with her. (Belleruth Naparstek’s Successful Surgery)

That same night it was a new moon in Scorpio. It was very introspective, and I had an opportunity to attend Michelle Klink’s yoga class in Mill Valley at the YogaWorks studio where a lovely new high school graduate named Andrea Goikolea played divinely inspired music on her harmonium. It was filled with the goddesses of the underworld  (Kali, Durga, and Hecate)…and when I speak of Goddesses, let me explain that they are the imparted human focused consciousness energy on whatever specific quality they embody.  In this case it was essentially the essence of the crossing over…the powerful space between death and birth. I came to understand that somewhere within this space lies a place  of wisdom and ultimate compassion. There is a space of release and letting go and transformation.

When my thoughts went to my Mom dying, a sadness came over me. I could feel her kiss and her hug and her tenderness in how she has raised and cared for me. I would not be who I am today without her. I felt the sadness in waves almost like contractions of birth, which again, is interesting to have this sense of death and birth right there holding hands with each other.

Being with sadness can be transformative. There is the “let’s stuff the sadness” with sweets or alcohol or any other mode of stuffing. And trust me the grocery store on the way home from the yoga class had the freezer section calling out to me and so did my bottle of tequila at home, but what won out was different. It was the desire to try to fully be witness to sadness. I could feel it and watch it and learn to experience its’ joy in the tears rolling down my face…knowing truly that my Mom can never leave me. Never. Nothing, not anything will ever, ever, ever take her away. She is with me always. The writhing nature of the tears became ecstatic and almost blissful, and I had a sense of release, as there was truly no way for me to control the outcome of the surgery.  Something was shifting for me at this moment internally, and this I knew.

When I went to see her last night after her surgery, we had this mind blowing timeless moment that just burst my insides into joy and love and very deep pleasure.  I was getting ready to leave just past midnight after I had made sure that the next shift of nurses was on duty and caring for her, etc.  I went to hug her .  It was tight and beyond a calibrated sense of time and there was this presence of connection so raw and real.  It brings tears to my eyes writing about it.  I was reaching over her while she was on the bed and she was reaching up to me.  She pulled my head in close and kissed my cheek and said with this rich loving kindness, “Oh, this is just like when you were little and I used to kiss your cheeks, when you were my baby, do you remember that?,”  And I hugged her tighter and started to tear up.  I very much did remember that.  For all we had been through with me growing up and rebelling and so much of the pushing away from her..I DID still remember.  I had remembered it the night before in bed when I was crying and here I got to feel her kissing me like this and hugging me once again.  It felt SOOOO good!  It felt so good to feel this essence of MOTHER coming from MY mother to me while I am an adult and also a Mother myself.  It was joy and love and compassion and courage all rolled up into this amazing deliciousness.  I am struggling to describe the moment.  My Mom is one of the most beautiful beings on the planet to me in all of her everything.  The ugly messy irritating….whatever moments and spaces she holds and we hold together…when I look into her eyes or just hold her eyes in my inner gaze, she is my Mother and there is really nothing but beauty and love there for me.

I can write more about my process later about getting to this space of deep love with my Mom.  I know it’s not an easy path to take, and we don’t all get there and frankly, we don’t all have the correct circumstances to go into this type of relationship with our Mothers.  For some of us, it simply isn’t the correct or a healthy place to go.  So please know I very much honor that others do not have this opportunity.  I will also write more about how to create this connection in a different way at another juncture.  But please know, that for these reasons, I am even more deeply honored to have this relationship with my Mother.

For now, I offer you this. Thich Nhat Hanh has this beautiful Hugging Meditation.  You can practice this with anyone.

Hugging Meditation

The Approach

He asks that whomever would like the hug approach the other person with their hands together in prayer and bow their head and that the person being asked to hug then in response put their hands together in prayer and bow their head and breathe deeply three times before they come together for the hug.

There are three levels to Hugging Meditation.

First Level

While you are hugging you bring this thought into your consciousness as you breathe in

“I am hugging her and she is alive in my arms.”

As you breathe out, you bring this thought into your consciousness:

“I feel so happy.”

Do this three times and then move on to the next levels

Second Level – Thich Nhat Hahn says this is much more difficult for people as it is really a meditation on death, yet he also says that if you haven’t ever hugged like this, then you have never truly been alive.

You are still hugging, and this time on the in breath, you bring this thought into your consciousness:

“I see myself as dead and I am loving her”

And as you breathe out,

“She is alive”

Third Level

As you breathe in, you bring this thought into your consciousness:

“I see myself as alive and I am loving her”

And as you breathe out,

“She is dead”

Last Level

For this level, you repeat the beginning once again and notice deeply the difference in the quality of the connection between the first time you did it at the beginning and now:

While you are hugging you bring this thought into your consciousness as you breathe in

“I am hugging her and she is alive in my arms.”

As you breathe out, you bring this thought into your consciousness:

“I feel so happy.”

And to leave you with a beautiful song by Bjork.  “I See Who You Are Now”…Let’s celebrate now while there’s flesh on our bones…

4 Comments

  1. Ellen Mae February 2, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    Hi Margaret…. Reading your thoughts about your closeness with your Mom and your feelings about her health touches my heart. Please let me know how she is doing … thank you. Love, Mae

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    • Margaret Jacobson February 10, 2013 at 4:55 am #

      Mae- Thank you again for these kind words. Looking forward to meeting up with you! – Much love – Margaret

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      Margaret Jacobson
  2. Robin February 23, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    My Beautiful Cousin, the wonder that you are. I Love You. x

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