Stories

Val in Edinburgh CastleIn December 2011 Val posted her own story on our blog: “As most of you know, I’ve been on my own Mother Whisperers  journey for the past couple of years. I’d like to share with you what I have learned and where I am now.

It started with wanting to understand more about daughters and mothers and how to master this special relationship … and it has ended with a sense of  peace, acceptance and well being. The following are the beliefs that I have come to understand and now live by.

I hope you enjoy the insights from my experience. Val x

  • I recognize the love and the bond that connects my mother and myself. It is powerful, yet can’t diminish the power that shines within me.
  • As an adult I can’t be a child. I am independent and no longer rely on the “goodies” that my mother helps me out with. I am responsible for my own life and well being. I don’t expect her to rescue me.
  •  I see my mother as a person and human being first. She is no longer a hero or a villain in my story. I’ve let go of old conditioned reactions. I ask myself “How would I respond if a good friend offered this advice?”
  •  I tell her when she oversteps my boundaries or I feel hurt by her words or actions. I tell her how I feel. Despite the “eek!” and icky feeling I will speak with courage from my heart.
  •  I want to be honest with myself at all times, although denial and distraction may feel much more comfortable! I am open to others who help me see what is hidden.
  •  When I am triggered I recognize that its all about me! It’s my lesson. I let go of a need to defend or blame, and bring my attention to me rather than the “bad other”. I stay present with my feelings and allow myself to feel. I feel it in my body and let the energy release. I ask myself “What do I need here? What am I fearful of?”
  •  I’ve befriended my own internal judge and don’t judge her. I am tender with myself. I can have fun with Ms “Evolved Who Knows Everything”, Ms “Controlaholic” and Ms “I May Not Be Good Enough.”
  •  I choose not to be judgmental and I no longer use guilt on myself or others. I wear loving giraffe ears not the critical jackal’s.
  •  Whenever I feel uncomfortable, fearful or vulnerable I take a deep breath and come into my body. I remind myself that my mind holds the fear, my body holds the truth. I ask “Where am I out of integrity? How am I not being true to my adult Self?”
  •  As soon as I am aware that my mind is spiraling with negative thoughts or is stuck in over analyzing, I turn to my breath, body and yoga to find my way home. To clarity and the heart. And to lighten up!
  • I trust in the unknown and all that I can learn and grow when I let go and embrace the adventure.
  •  I am authentic me…. And I try to not take myself too seriously 😉

This is the story that I am creating for myself.

Of course, no one gets to where they want to be all by themselves! None of this would be possible without the following people:

Many thanks to all the people who have written about mothers and daughters and shared their stories.

Thanks to members of this community for supporting the cause!

I’d like to give special thanks to my mentors Jay Perry and Dr Susan Campbell; authors Marshall B Rosenberg, John Welwood and Brene Brown; my yoga teachers Nicole and Joe at East Eagle: and my loving friends, colleagues, yoga students and coaching clients.

Of course, none of this would ever have been possible with my mum. Thank you from my heart. “

What's your story?Having an Honest Conversation with your Mother

In my interview with Dr Susan Campbell, she talks about her own transforming honest conversation with her mother. She wants to share it with you too.

“I was in my fifties and my mother would have been 85. I had been doing radical honesty work for a number of years working with Brad Blanton, doing Honesty Workshops.

One day I was driving with my mother to her house. I pulled over and I said I’d like to clear some things about how I was raised. I made sure she was open to this. She was a little old lady and kind of frail by then.

I said “I resent you for not touching me enough when I was a baby”.

I looked at her. She shrunk down a little in her seat and I could see she went inside a little bit.

She looks at me and says “I resent my mother for not touching me when I was little.”

We both were  tearful and felt close. We held each others arms.

That was the clearing for both of us.

Very few words, but it said a lot.”

Susan’s Comment – It was easy to put off having this conversation, even doing the honesty work for all those years!! There’s always something to be said and cleared with all of us.

Val’s Comment – Thank you for letting us share this story Susan. It shows that it’s never too late for honesty, and opening up a new level of connection and peace between mother and daughter.

Find out more about Susan Campbell’s Getting Real work by checking out her signature book.

What's your story?Seeing Your Mother with Different Eyes *

* This inspiring story is taken from A Mother’s Dreams in “How to Manage Your Mother” by Alyce Faye Cleese and Brian Bates.

Carla Santos Shamberg’s mother was a second generation German Lutheran immigrant to new York . Like many of her generation, she dressed conservatively, as was proper for a wife and mother several decades ago in her home culture. All her life she wore simple clothes and plain brown, low heeled shoes. When she died Carla went to mother’s apartment to sort out and pack her belongings. “I went through her shoe closet,” Carla said. “She had saved what seemed like five hundred plain worn down brown pumps.”

But when Carla cleared them away she found, hidden at the back of the wardrobe, a shoebox. Opening it, she discovered a beautiful pair of gold colored, high heeled evening shoes. They had never been worn. Gazing at these elegant gold shoes, Carla realized that they represented her mother’s hopes, dreams and aspirations through many years of honest plain living as a mother.

“They had just sat in the box all that time. I thought that was the saddest thing I’d ever known. She had a hard life, and I think she was disappointed not to have been able to do more with it.”

Carla’s discovery of the gold shoes revealed a hidden side of her mother. She was a woman who had lived a life serving her family but who secretly yearned  for something more.

So what does Carla’s story tell us about the sacrifice of being a mother? It encapsulates one of the most important lessons in understanding a mother. The shoes symbolize feminine elegance, glamor, allure, romance … but none of those words is usually associated with being a mother. Mothering evokes qualities such as warmth, patience, caring, and mentoring … but we need to remember that these qualities can never define the whole of a woman’s psyche.

Val’s comment: As adult women we can understand all the elements we possess, but when it comes to how we see our mothers we often still see them through the eyes of a child.

Marlene’s comment: As a mother whisperer it is important for us to connect with the dreams, wishes and perhaps regrets that our mother’s have tucked away out of sight for many years in order to fulfill the needs of the family.  I wonder what the conversation  would have sounded like had Carla discovered the shoes before her mother was gone.

Don Miguels Ruiz’s Story About What is Real and Seeing Through Different Eyes

Ruiz tells us we human beings are always dreaming. He describes it   his way:

Everything you perceive is a reflection of what is real. Behind your eyes is a brain that tries to make sense of everything. Your brain is interpreting everything you perceive according to the meaning you give it. Everything you see if being filtered through your belief system. And the result of interpreting everything you perceive by using everything you believe is your personal dream.

When we aren’t aware that our mind is always dreaming, it’s easy to blame everyone and everything outside of us. To realize our mind is dreaming gives us the key to changing our dream if we’re not enjoying it. …

He then tells this story….

“You go inside a movie theater and it’s empty except for one person. Very quietly you sit beside this person who doesn’t notice you, her attention is on the movie. You look at the screen and what a surprise! You recognize all the characters – your mother, your father, your sister and brothers, your beloved, your children, your friends. The you see the main character in the move – and it’s you! It’s the story of you!  And that person sitting in front of you is also you watching yourself acting out your life. You feel a little overwhelmed by everything you have witnessed and go to the next theater.

In the next theater there is also a person who doesn’t notice you. You start watching the movie, and you recognize all the characters. But this time you are a secondary character. This is the story of your mother’s life and she is watching it with full attention.

Then you realize that your mother is not the same person who was in your movie. The way she projects herself is completely different in her movie. It’s the way your mother wants everyone to perceive her. You know that it’s not authentic. She’s just acting. But then you begin to see that it’s the way she perceived herself, and it’s  kind of a shock.

Then you notice the character who has your face is not the same person who was in your movie. You say to yourself “Ah, that’s not me.”, but now you can see how your mother perceives you, what she believes about you, and it’s far from what you believe yourself. Then you see that her perception of your father and all the other characters are distorted too.”

The story continues with going to the theater of your beloved’s story and your children’s.

“When you see all the movies you realize that all the acting you have done in your life has been for nothing, because nobody sees you in the way that you do….

In that moment everything changes for you. Nothing is the same anymore, because now you see what’s really happening. People live in their own world, in their own movie and in their own story. Their story is the truth to them, but it isn’t the truth to you.

…. At this point it is clear that the people who you really love and who love you don’t really know you, and you don’t know them either. The only thing you know about them is what you believe about them. You only know the image you created for them, and that image has nothing to do with the real people.

Now you can see why people don’t understand one another and their is so much conflict in the world…. The world is populated by billions of dreamers who aren’t aware that people are living in their own world, dreaming their own dream.

From the point of view of the main character, which is their only point of view, everything is all about them. They want the secondary characters to be the way they want them to be, and if they are not they feel hurt. They take everything personally

Now the meaning of the second agreement is profoundly clear – Don’t take anything personally.

Don’t take anything personally gives you immunity in the interactions you have with secondary characters in your story. You don’t have to concern yourself with others point of view.

Once you see that nothing others say or do is about you, it doesn’t matter who gossips about you,  blames you, rejects you, disagrees  with your point of view you or criticizes you.

This really frees you! You no longer need to rule your life according to other people’s opinions. You can do whatever you want to do, knowing that whatever you do has nothing to do with anyone but you. The only person who needs to be concerned about the story of you is you.

Awareness of the truth is the first step to self-mastery , and that is what you are doing right now. You are being reminded of the truth.”

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