5 Amazing Things I Learned from my Mom

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What we believe is true.

Anita Moorjani introduces this very simple concept in her book, Dying to Be Me. 

She is describing her own near-death experience, when she underwent a state of clarity that allowed her to instinctively understand that she was dying (of cancer) because of all of her fears.

“I understood that the cancer wasn’t a punishment or anything like that. It was just my own energy, manifesting as cancer because my fears weren’t allowing me to express myself as the magnificent force I was meant to be.”

If you are wondering what she was afraid of, she sums that up saying, “Just about everything, including failing, being disliked, letting people down, and not being good enough.” She goes on to say, “I was afraid of living, and I was terrified of dying.”

It was my mom’s birthday earlier this week.

It’s the first since she passed of ALS, and this is my first holiday season without her physical presence.

I find it important to be upfront about how this makes me feel, so that I do not fall prey to the lurking darkness. The more I express these feelings, the less power they have over me.

I firmly believe that my mother manifested her own terminal illness. While this is not a professional opinion, it is a strong intuitive one.

As a devoted mother and wife, she was the epitome of self sacrifice.

She cared for everyone before she cared for herself. I can’t ever remember her being ill until she finally had a seizure requiring brain surgery, which led to paralysis, which ultimately led to ALS and then death.

She was a beautiful, kind, generous soul who never forgave herself for an abortion at a very young age or for my sister’s physical and psychological illnesses, over which she had no control, or even for my dad’s occasional transgressions, which she mistook as a sign of her own inadequacy, and voilà – terminal illness. ALS, no less.

When you think about ALS, how much more symbolic can you get? This disease causes your own body to mysteriously eliminates your own motor neurons, leaving you mentally acute but physically incapacitated. Doesn’t this sound like the ultimate self-sacrifice?

In her final days, she was not bitter, she was brave. She was not fearful, she was courageous. She was not angry, she was pure love. She taught me to celebrate and savor life, every step of the way.

If I could have saved her, I would have. What I can do now is my best to prevent anyone from ever repeating her mistakes. In the words of Caroline Myss in her book, Anatomy of The Spirit:

We humans, as a species, are not meant to carry tragedy for long. We’re just not built to haul around baggage.

So, do whatever it is you need to do to clear yourself—physically and mentally— (take a bath, do some yoga, drink a glass of water, etc).

Then…

1. Learn to love yourself totally and completely and without any hesitation.

2. Once your unconditional love is realized and lavished generously upon yourself, give your love to your friends and family without pause and without expectation.

3. See the beauty all around you, everyday, even if it comes with a smidge of pain, even if it is momentarily laced with sorrow.

4. Allow yourself to feel the depths of your being, for you are infinitely kind and wonderful. We all are.

5. Smile and know: what you believe is true. What is true is that you are infinitely magnificent and worthy of never ending love—simply because you exist.