uealse Mother’s Day - Dr. Dina Evan's Columns

Archive for the ‘Mother’s Day’ Category

Some Mothers Die Twice

Every one has a mother. Mine died twice. She died emotionally before I was born and literally at the age of 50. She had been trying to physically die from before the moment of my birth. She did it slowly in increments and degrees throughout my whole life until she finally succeeded in our mutual last breath of trying to keep her alive.

I often talk about my parents, to students and clients. I want them to know there is life after dysfunction. I have often gotten a pit of shame in my stomach as I speak of my parents in class. It’s the same shame every child of dysfunction gets when they speak of their past – as if the shame was theirs. Since they are both dead, I also wonder if I am not a bit afraid my parents are watching me from some place on high and wincing as I speak. Fortunately, I have good boundaries and know that is their problem. They have been gone a long time, no doubt had a few classes, so by now they know it too.

Every Mothers and Fathers Day I am delighted to celebrate these two scoundrels. It is so clear to me that I could never have become who I am without them. My mother, Nell, was an alcoholic who smoked and drank herself into numbness, beginning in her teens. She lacked the courage for on-going life or sudden death. Instead, she continued drinking until she finally reached variations of apathy, stupor, rage and depression, or all of the above in the same tearful evening, over and over between Librium’s. These were the nights that could be viscerally felt making their approach by 5:30p.m. That is, unless, she was in a precious, but regrettably infrequent, window of being utterly delightful, fantastically fun, incredibly funny and real. These few and far between windows of opportunity that debuted her potential were always fleeting and left only longing for more in their wake. So you might wonder what on earth I would celebrate about Nell this mothers day. Everything!

My mother died spiritually and emotionally before I was born and physically when I was 32. With the exception of a few cameo appearances, she was not a mom in my life. She never tucked me in, made my dinner, called to ask me to lunch or shared in the joy of my children. When I was five, at a time when we had nothing, she tore up her prized squaw skirt to make my sister and I a doll dress for Christmas. And when I was 25 after my divorce a black negligee arrived with a note from her that said, “So start living again” – these were the only two gifts from my mother. No mother taught me how to deal with money, be a woman, hold a child or create safety or love for myself. No one taught me how to be on my own side and make decisions and choices in my own best interest.

Until I became an adult and could see beyond my own emptiness, I didn’t have the compassion to see that my mother was just like me. She had no tools. This precious woman taught me what it looks like when you don’t love yourself, because she didn’t. She showed me how incredibly important being present in someone’s life is because she wasn’t present in mine. She taught me what happens when you don’t fight for your own life and when you let yourself believe that your emotions, feelings and fears are bigger than you are. She taught me compassion because I was able to love her even in her emptiest moments. She taught me forgiveness because I finally understood she never got what I expected from her, and therefore never had it to give. She literally unraveled the whole issue of blame for me. I understood by loving my mother, that parents are only able to give you what has been given to them – not an ounce more.

This coming mother’s day I will celebrate my mother again. I thank her for allowing that empty space in my life in which I could connect to the Universe and the deepest parts of myself. I thank her for leaving so that I could learn about staying. I honor her for never finding me, so I could find myself. With great genuine love, I thank you mom. In some contract signed long before this lifetime, we agreed to this dance and you did your part. You gave all you had and it was everything I needed to be who I am.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Finding the Right Mom

Unconsciously at some point, I decided to give myself a mother. Now that I think of it, I have actually given myself several mothers. My biological mother was an alcoholic. She emotionally left when I was about three months old. I left her and home when I was thirteen years old. When she left, I felt abandoned. When I left she felt relieved.

When you don’t have a mother, there are many other things you also don’t have, but you may not be aware you don’t have them until you are an adult. For instance, you don’t have the necessary tools for treating yourself with love and respect. You may not even have the awareness that you deserve love and respect. I had to learn how to take care of myself after years of bad relationships, bad choices and bad decisions that reflected little or no respect for myself. The predicament I continued to find myself in, was that most of my relationships, business and otherwise, were with people who were a great deal like my parents. Big surprise!

When you have no mother, no parent, you don’t have the simplest basic information about how to navigate safely in the world with grown up issues such as money, long term goals or security. You have no way of knowing what it looks like to be on your own side, if no one ever has been. In my 30’s, I fell back into the couch as if I had been struck in the gut by a closed fist the first time I heard someone on Good Morning America say, “Don’t put anything on your charge card that will wear out before your payments end!” I was aghast, and at that time, well into credit card poverty.

I had to teach myself how to be affectionate with my own children because I had no role model. I had to learn how to tolerate the frustration of allowing my adult children to make their own mistakes without jumping in to fix it for them. All my messages came from having been my mother’s mother for much of her life and the loudest message was that it was my job to fix it! Since I hadn’t been able to fix it for my mother, who succeeded in drinking and smoking herself to death at age fifty, I felt like a failure.

The first mom I gave myself originally belonged to my boyfriend. He went off to the Marines, and I adopted his mother, My boyfriend Larry and his father would pack the truck and do their male bonding thing each deer season. Mom and I would stay at home snuggled in her bed, laughing ourselves silly about how dumb hunting was after a couple of glasses of wine. I shudder to recall that I actually locked her in the trunk of my car one night to sneak her in at the drive-in because neither of us had brought enough money. Mickey taught me about acceptance. No matter what her son did, she loved him in that unconditional way that only some mothers can love. She extended that same gift to me and though I never married her son, I was her daughter and in her own way she always let me know it.

At some point, I realized that no matter how many mothers I might try to give myself, each would someday leave. It was then that the child inside and I had a serious chat. I’ll be your Mom, I said. Yea, right, she replied, as if you have any idea about how to be a mom. I winced. She was right. Well, look at it this way, I know you best, I will never leave you and out of all the people we’ve met, I have the closest connection to you. I can practice showing up for you and you can teach me what you need. Amazing little chat that literally created a sense of wholeness I had never felt. My child and I began to get connected.

Something literally happens to the chemistry and the electromagnetic messages that effect the brain when you are able to make this connection with yourself. A sense of safety begins to return and a greater awareness of wholeness starts to fill up the empty spaces. This therapisty little tool has quite an impact. Try it. The kid inside of you may have been waiting a long time for a real mom, or dad. Why not give him or her one for Mothers Day. It may be the best gift you have ever gotten.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

The Fearful Splendid Thing of It

There is a huge number of us are looking for it. Many of those who have it often take it for granted, ignore it or complain that it isn’t coming in the way we expected. We spend billions of dollars trying to look good enough to keep it. So then, if love is this many splendored thing …why are we so afraid of it?

Don’t go too far. Don’t say too much. Don’t feel that deeply. Maybe it’s not love we don’t trust. Maybe it’s not even the other person we don’t trust. Maybe it’s US we don’t trust when it comes to love. We don’t trust ourselves to be ok if we see an ounce of disapproval in the eyes of our beloved because that might mean there is something wrong with us. We don’t trust ourselves to be ok if we get abandoned because we don’t believe that we are worthy of finding someone else. We don’t trust that the feelings won’t kill us. We don’t trust that our partners could really love us in the first place because we, ourselves, do not believe that we are lovable. It’s a big mess. Or not.

Love is like setting this gigantic table filled with exotic fruits and flowers and arranging it with incredible, delicate care and tenderness and then offering it to the person you love. If they are allergic to fruit does that really change the value of your gift in any way? And, wasn’t it simply your task in life to learn how to care that much and have the guts to offer your love without holding back on any level? The exercise, for those of us who choose to accept it, is to become the love we seek and not give a damn about how it is received. Love gives us the chance to lose ourselves so we can find ourselves. The good news is that the majority of the time, if you are loving with a whole heart, no one in their right mind would leave such a gift because that kind of genuine devotion is so rare. But instead we hold back.

Allowing yourself to fall madly, deeply in love opens your heart to the whole mystery of life. It introduces you to the connective stuff in the universe and reminds you that there is no such thing as separation. It tests your ability to tell the truth. It makes you look at your addiction to sameness. It allows you to uncover the places you feel unsure about yourself and go to work on them. It gives you the thrill of looking across the room and filling up with ecstasy and adoration for a person who is willing to show you his or her soul. It tests your ability to remain committed. It pushes your level of presence and delivers everything it promises and more. Love gives you an inside peek at who you really are because when you fall in love you are experiencing your own spirit, your own profound ability to become love.

Since I was a child, I have longed for love. I knew that it existed, even though it took a detour when scheduled to arrive at my home. As I became more aware, I knew that loved entered into the center of sacred connections where truth lived. I knew that love created mystery, magic, music and enchantment. I knew that love made anything – everything – sacred. I knew that love turned words into prayers, anger into forgiveness and fear into courage. I knew that love from, or with, anyone stopped the agony of longing and not yet finding. I knew that love was not need, control or ownership. I knew that love was openness, acceptance and compassion. I knew that love was a celebration, a reunion with the Divine. I knew that love heals, renews, inspires and empowers us to act with courage and character. I knew that falling in love was an act of the soul and staying in love was an act of Spirit. I knew that love had less to do with desire and more to do with holiness, reverence, comfort and grace.

But, until I was a woman of age, I didn’t know that love was all there is – and everything else is an illusion based on fear. I didn’t know that in order to have love – all I had to do was be it. Now you know it too and it’s your turn.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.