The Mother

I woke differently today, felt connected to sounds, the wind, the birds, my breath. Didn’t need people. I’d set the alarm to wake in time for my online zoom with dance and Alexander Technique colleagues from a group in the Netherlands. A group I used to be in when I lived there… had been looking forward to reconnecting with them in April, when we’d planned to move back. I was living in Holland when I met my husband, a Dutchmen, who relocated to Norway. I already knew Norway, having gone there on a few singing tours. I knew it was exquisitely beautiful, but hopelessly lonely. I never wanted to move there. When I met my husband, the plan was that he’d be working in Africa. ‘Africa!’ I thought, ‘I can do Africa.’ But the time in Africa was much shorter and we had to return to Oslo. I’ve spent the last 22 years being away from Oslo, only coming back in between to recharge, and reset my travel-insurance – that grants me 3-4 months max. Finally, April 1, 2020, my husband was ready to at long last relocate. All was beautifully arranged. I couldn’t wait.

And then Corona called me back to Norway, where I’ve been stuck ever since. Triggering every cell in my system, unwinding and unthreading all the good and healing work I’ve done my whole life. The deep loneliness of being here in Norway – so not my country on every count – has brought me back to my original triggering point.

I always knew about this, this early trigger. It came up in all therapy sessions at some point. But last spring, after my mother died, going through the photos my sister-in-law had gathered, it cemented deeper in. Pictures I’d never seen: of my mother holding me the first days and months of my life. So many pictures of us, sometimes she even dressed us the same, so special I had been to her. And then, at a year and a few months my first brother came, then another and another boy… the little child of me never knowing what I’d done wrong to lose my mother’s love, except that I wasn’t a boy.

“Not every mother is like that,” Ana, the therapist I started working with again in this triggering time, said last night. “I was the oldest, like you, but my mother was able to keep loving me and my siblings. Your mother sadly couldn’t.”

“She was a boy mother,” I said, speaking in simple English as Ana’s English isn’t great.

“That happens,” Ana said.

I’ve been working deep to come into the room of my sadness. In a circling group a few days ago, the theme was to speak about what we hesitate showing the group. When it was my turn, I said: “I hold back an ocean.”

The group was curious and asked me to expand on what was in that ocean.

“I don’t know any more,” I said. “I hold back so much that I no longer know. Only that I am holding back.”

The group segued on, and then a few clumsy moments happened and before I knew it, I was drowning in that seething ocean.

“What’s happening?” they asked me. I felt so embarrassed by my sudden tears and the closeness of zoom that I zipped my sweater over my face.

“Don’t do that,” they sweetly said. “We want to see you. We won’t reject you for your sadness. In fact,” one of the guys said, “your sadness nourishes me.”

“Huh?” I sighed, sneaking out of the sweater. “How is that possible?”

“Because it is. When you let an authentic feeling out, it touches me, encourages me. I get to know you, and you get to know me.”

“That’s not how it is in Norway.”

“We’re not in Norway,” the others said. “We want to see you. Can you believe us?”

I was embarrassed, but I asked them to say it again. And they did.

I told Ana about this in our skype session last night. “Yeah,” she cheered. “You have to know the world isn’t all like Norway. I want to see you. Remember, you chose your mother, you chose Norway to work this theme through: this deep theme of rejection. To challenge you to STOP REJECTING YOURSELF. Once you work this through, you will get to leave Norway. I promise. Corona won’t last forever. But you must use the opportunity of this time.”

I felt very happy, after our talk. I woke early this morning to join the dance group from Holland. We were dancing this morning to various bird sounds one of the participants had collected from Australia. We danced and then we wrote. This is what I wrote:

‘The bird sounds take me traveling to an exotic location. I am with her, the mother, the full loving mother. Earth, wind, sea and an all-inclusive love.

I thought of what Ana had said: “You don’t have to know why you chose in your last reincarnation for this life, why you chose a rejecting kind of mother. Only that it serves what you need to learn and bring into this life, for your healing and for other’s healing. If you can see this connection to healing than you can stop the endless cycle of rejection.”

The sun was warming on my skin, I could feel this, the opposite of rejection without needing any confirmation from another human. Lying on the damp grass, slowly relaxing my body down to the ground, the recorded bird song so different from here in Western Norway. These were tropical birds, and they sang to me of unconditional love or so I let myself imagine.

Nothing to run away from, nothing to run towards. The slow letting go of the rope across my shoulders, that old vigilant habit that once tried to keep me safe from the sword of rejection, that still wraps me up in sleep, that I spend the first hours of my waking undoing. There was no fear, just then, of being rejected. Ah, peace, sweet undemanding peace that usually frightens me, the thought of letting go of the shield. No shield, no wanting, no stopping. Just being.

Without feeding that old source of pain, in fact removing the fear altogether, I felt such a deep sense of rest, a warm welcoming blanket of rest. No longer striving to get it right or to make sure I didn’t do a wrong thing. Though the birds in their song, they were striving, striving to secure their place. I laughed, thinking of the racket I’d heard on the hike yesterday. Here, by the fjord with the thick winter’s snow melting off the mountain tops, the rush of water so loud, the birds had to screech in the forest to claim their space. Like mother’s yelling to their children in a noisy traffic crossing.

 

Short version:

The bird sounds take me to exotic locations. I am with her, the mother, the full loving mother. Earth, wind, sea and an all-inclusive love.

Ana had said, in our last session: “You don’t have to know why you chose in your last reincarnation for this life, why you chose a rejecting kind of mother. Only that it serves what you need to learn and bring into this life, for your healing and for other’s healing. If you can see this connection to healing than you can stop the endless dance of rejection.”

Lying on the damp grass, the sun warming my skin, slowly baking through, the recorded bird song so different from here in Western Norway. Tropical birds, bathing me in the unconditional love of nature or so I let it seem.

Nothing to run away from, nothing to run towards. The slow letting go of the rope across my shoulders, that old vigilant habit that once tried to keep me safe from the sword of rejection, that still wraps me up in sleep, that I spend the first hours of my waking undoing. There was no fear, just then, of being rejected. Ah, peace, sweet undemanding peace that usually frightens me, the thought of letting go of the shield. No shield, no wanting, no stopping. Just being.

Without feeding that old source of pain, removing the fear of being rejected, gives rest; a welcoming blanket of rest. No longer striving to get it right or make sure I didn’t do a wrong thing. Though the birds in their song, they strive, strive to secure their place. Here, by the fjord with the thick winter’s snow melting off the mountain tops, the rush of water so loud, the birds had to screech in the forest to claim their space. Like mother’s yelling to their children in a noisy traffic crossing.

 

 

The Mother
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