I’m Not My Mother, Am I?
How do you reconcile being told you are the daughter most like your mother – the chosen one to carry on her work – with being a person in your own right? Especially after you start recognizing ways she is less than perfect?
My mom passed away early in December many years ago. This is the time of year I often reflect on the question – did I or did I not end up being my mother?
My mom and I are both Pisces. For years she told me I was the daughter most like her of the five of us. I was destined to carry on her work. There was only one problem with that in my mind. In order to carry on her work I would have to replicate her life. And I didn’t approve of some of her choices.
… a student of metaphysics …
She became a student of metaphysics early in her life. She developed friendships with people all around the world. She was an early carrier of the light bearer banner bringing spiritual change into the world.
She would share what she learned with others, pulling excerpts from the letters she received and sending them out in newsletters she created in a corner of the family dining room. Initially typing up mimeograph masters to run off copies in the basement. Later getting copies made at a local copy shop.
Both of my parents continued to study New Thought and metaphysics. They knew Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, the co-founders of Unity. They entertained people like Marcus Bach and James Dillet Freeman in our living room. (I can remember sitting on the floor as a child, free to listen to their conversations as long as I was quiet and kept everyone’s coffee cup and glass filled. Unfortunately, I don’t remember any of the details of the conversations.) She was an early supporter of Eileen and Peter Caddy, founders of the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland.
… a key speaker …
In the 1970s my husband and I had the opportunity to see Mom in her larger world. A group known as “Manifesting Divine Intelligence” had Mom as one of their key speakers for a multi-day meeting at the Windows on the World Restaurant in one of the World Towers in New York City. Sessions were also held at the United Nations building and at the Statue of Liberty.
I was able to see how much she was respected and appreciated by the leaders in this field. There were psychics, shamans, people who did various types of readings of people and the earth.
… other parts of her life …
Yet I couldn’t forget about some of the other parts of her life.
I can remember talks with her as I was entering my teens about the importance of girls and women not entering into a physical relationship with a man until they were ready to share their spirits as well as their bodies.
What I didn’t realize until later was that she was involved at the time with my Dad’s best friend, and had been for many years. In fact, the relationship lasted over 30 years. So one of the choices she made was to share her life with two men for many years.
… she became an alcoholic …
After her only son died she became an alcoholic – with both men supporting her habit.
I would hear her conversations with her friends when she would be sharing parts of other peoples’ lives that I didn’t think were hers to share. Frequently the details changed as she shared the same story with a different friend. The essence of what she was sharing was probably the same but how could I, or anyone else, believe anything she said?
So, my mother, who had at least one long-term affair, was a smoker and practicing alcoholic for over 30 years, and appeared to me to be loose with the truth, was telling me I was to follow in her footsteps and continue to carry her message to the world after she was gone.
How could I do that and be true to myself?
… I made different choices …
It turns out it wasn’t that hard. I did make different choices regarding men and the role of alcohol and smoking in my life. I am very aware of when I am fudging the truth and look carefully at when and how I do that. As a caregiver of a loved one with dementia I have learned the value of what are termed therapeutic lies – statements that are neither wholly true nor wholly false.
Like my mother, I married at 19 and am still married to my first (and only) husband. My parents were still married at the time of her death.
… lifelong students …
I chose more formal education than she did yet we have both been lifelong students.
I have explored several paths in my spiritual journey, spending my later years actively involved in Unity and Science of Mind (now Centers for Spiritual Living) churches.
I have become knowledgeable in braille and parliamentary procedure (Robert’s Rules of Order and others) – both topics that have other people shaking their heads.
I have gotten to know people from all over the world while pursuing these fields and my current business. As a Book Enchantress I am helping others get their message out into the world through the creation of articles and books.
Does my life resemble parts of my mother’s life? Yes.
Do I carry the light bearer banner? Yes.
Did I replicate her life? No.
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