As I sat basking in the serenity of true paradise in Thailand, and gazing at these fabulous feet that have carried me through nearly 63 years (Oh My God! 63 years!) I found myself reflecting on my journey.
My mind floated back to 2005 and my decision to leave my life in New York after 25 years and return to my childhood roots in Southern California to care for my Mom as she made her transition. It really wasn’t much of a decision. When I heard the fear in her voice as she shared about a recent emergency visit to the hospital I found myself asking,“Would you feel better if one of us was out there with you?”
Mom had downplayed the seriousness of her illness since her diagnosis a couple of years earlier and it had never been easy for her to ask for help. Something I have inherited. Yet, after a long pause she said, “Yes.” I told her I would talk with my brother and sister and we’d figure something out, knowing already that
I would be the one to go.
This was a turning point. I could feel it. Though I had no idea where it would lead, I knew that this was my karma… and hers.
Our relationship had been challenging even before she threw me out of the house when I was ten years old to live with my father. Difficulties continued through much of my adult years ,but in 2000 she attended my yoga retreat in Mexico where we were able to step out of our karmic mother/son patterns and connect as student and teacher.
My primary intention as a yoga teacher — as in all my spiritual work — is to create a space of acceptance and compassion, and that retreat laid the foundation for the time I spent as Mom’s caregiver, confessor and confidant, helping to create the space she needed to make her transition. It was a healing, even magical time for us both.
After Mom passed, my partner and I decided to go our separate ways and he returned to NYC. After 8 years of being part of a couple and 25 years calling NYC my home, I found myself wandering alone through the fields of my youth, wondering what was next for me.
When a parent dies a karmic bond is broken and potent life force energy is released. Some of it flows into the atmosphere as pure, life force energy, but most of it is magnetized to the survivors, the family, those who share DNA – particularly the children.
At first it’s felt as grief, that heavy, empty feeling, yes, but it is also liberating. I felt it when my Dad passed and after Mom made her transition it became an abiding presence, a sense of freedom that was also somehow grounding. It had roots connecting me to life and Mother Earth. Maybe it was simply a deepening awareness of power and responsibility.
But I digress. Where was I?
That first year was challenging; grief and sadness flowed like the waves at Sacred Cove, a favorite hideaway and sanctuary during my teenage years, it became my salvation while Mom was dying. After she passed, Sacred Cove was the antidote to my fear and anxiety that surfaced as the grief subsided and I started wondering what was next for me? Funds were dwindling. How would I survive?