Here's a partial commemoration of your extraordinary and oh-so-ordinary gifts:
|Mom and me in 1988. Photo by Jim Forbes.|
LOVE. You may not have been the perfect Mother, god knows, but you knew how to love. You especially wanted children to love and you made it happen. You taught my sisters and I in our earliest days what love feels like. You gave us your physical tenderness and affection, as often and as much as you could. And with that love encoded in our bodies, we are able to truly love -- our own children and others. That counts for a LOT. Thank you.
SMARTS. We’ve all heard about your fabulous IQ, and how you skipped a grade in school. We’ve watched you devour books, reading for hours, days, weeks, and years, both in and out of the bathtub. Your love of learning and hunger for knowledge, particularly of the world’s spiritual traditions, has deepened you as a human. Thank god it’s all finally starting to sink in!
LISTENING. As a seeker, your passion runs deep. We’ve witnessed years of listening practice: on the meditation cushion; with ‘acolytes’ and sponsees; on the phone for hours with friends and family who needed a good ear. You’ve always been great at 1-800-CALL-MOM. Recently you listened with your whole soul as your dear friend Gene passed into the next world. But the most precious form of listening you taught me is to listen to what you call ‘Belly Brain.’ To cultivate our own instincts. To listen to the still, small voice. In your mother’s words, to “Let your conscience be your guide.”
It can be disconcerting that you follow this voice unwaveringly. We ask, “So, will you come in June or January? “When the voice tells me it’s time,” you say. Some may wonder whether this voice perhaps belongs to an alien or channeling Ramtha, but I can them: it’s all your own.
You taught me the subtle nuance of opening to this voice. It speaks simply, in “yes” “no” or “maybe,” or even a dead silence. That voice doesn’t argue or provide facts or reasons WHY we should or shouldn’t do a certain thing. It doesn’t crave with ego longing. It just IS.
Your simple gift has been my most essential guide. And I can never thank you enough. Except to listen to my own inner voice as it guides me to write this for you.
I love you so much, Mom! Happy Birthday!