I stopped talking to my mom over a year ago. She stopped talking to her mom many years prior. The cycle continues.
For a long time, I allowed myself to believe the story that I needed to be a certain way. I thought I should be a model daughter so that my mother would have an easier time loving me. You can guess how that turned out. For years, I told myself the story that I needed to be a better daughter to her than she was to her own mother. Then came another story full of shame and guilt when I couldn’t do it. I believed all of this until it was pointed out to me that I am not responsible for healing my mother’s wounds. She is. I am only responsible for healing my own.
The pain of my mother's life was woven into mine and our stories bled together until it became impossible for me to discern which was hers and which was mine. Eventually, the burden became too much for me to carry. I longed to be free of it, to feel light and to live unencumbered. I had no choice but to untangle myself from the myths of our bond and find the courage to see beyond what I wanted to what was real.
How many stories do we tell ourselves? We have big ones, for sure, like "my mother doesn’t love me enough" or "I am not a good daughter." And there are small ones that creep in daily. "If he really cared about me, he would know what I like." "If she would just listen, I wouldn’t have to lose my temper." "If only they accepted me, I could live the life I want." When do we start living in reality, dealing with what is – what really is – instead of fiction?
I think a lot about the Hindu concept of maya. Maya is sometimes translated as “illusion,” but if we dig a little deeper, maya is more than mere illusion. Maya keeps us safe from ourselves. It veils what is true until we are ready to see it. Truth can can be liberating, but it can also feel terrifying. Maya is the power that keeps the truth secret until we have put in enough work, until we have earned the truth, until we have made ourselves strong enough for it. And we will continue to live in a illusion until we are ready to not live in a illusion.
It took me a long time to be ready to see the truth about my relationship with my mother. It took me even longer to feel okay with allowing space to grow between us. Now that I have freed myself from the story of what “should” have been and accepted what is - my life is much less stressful. It’s so much easier.
I lived with that ideal mother-daughter relationship daily and it was so real ... until it wasn’t. When I was ready, I let it all go. I let it go and created room for peace, unconditional love and acceptance. I became my own mother. I let it go for my own daughters and gave my extra energy to them. I let it go and gave my mother the gift of freedom to heal herself. And so, a new cycle has begun.
Yoga teacher, life coach and recovering attorney; tireless supporter of authentic living, stubborn follower of dreams