Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

Image

Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

 Today is Mother’s Day in the United States.  A day to thank Mom for all she has done to bear us, for the sacrifices, the love, the meals, the guidance and for her presence.  Mother’s Day has a long and interesting history.  Mother’s Day began as a progressive movement advocated for by a handful of activist women.

  1. In 1858, when Anna Reese Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, organized “Mother’s Work Days” to improve the sanitation and avert deaths from disease-bearing insects and seepage of polluted water.  Anna began giving carnations to mothers in her Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
  2. In 1872, when Boston poet, pacifist and women’s suffragist Julia Ward Howe established a special day for mothers –and for peace– not long after the bloody Franco-Prussian War.
  3. In 1905, when Anna Jarvis died. Her daughter, also named Anna, decided to memorialize her mother’s lifelong activism, and began a campaign that culminated in 1914 when Congress passed a Mother’s Day resolution.

As the years progressed and commercialization of the holiday began to take over Jarvis’ original intent that the day be an intimate affair between mother and child(ren), Jarvis came to be disappointed in those who sought to monetize love and loyalty.

Source:  http://www.nwhp.org/news/history_of_mothersday.php

As the parade of pastel cards, memorials, tributes to Mom, flowers, dinner and even gardening centers benefit from the day, my thoughts turn to those for whom the day has a different meaning.  Those for whom Mother was not a nurturer, but the source of abuse and neglect.  For those persons, Mother’s Day can be a source of high anxiety and sadness.

For years, Mother’s Day has been a source of sadness and anxiety for me for a number of reasons:  My mother abandoned me at 8 months old, my grandmother and grandfather raised me and my grandmother was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive.  Mom, while occasionally present, really only dealt with me when there was a new relationship in her world.  I am incapable of having children of my own due to endometriosis and the resultant hysterectomy, so the opportunity to be a better mother than my mother(s) is gone.  As I near 50 years old, raising a child is impractical.  I was raised by parents who were in their late 60s when I came along; I know the disadvantages to both parties of that arrangement.

For those of us with abusive backgrounds, the saccharine sentiments on Hallmark cards don’t apply to us:

 

“You have always been there for me.” Huh? No.

“Thank you for always listening to me.” No.

“A mother is a gift from God forever.” No, I didn’t feel that at all.

“A mother sacrifices for her child.” That doesn’t work when mom abandons you at 8 months old and  your grandmother who raised you was abusive.

“Thank you for your love.” I only felt her “love” when there was a new man to show me off to.

So. . .what to do about this Mother’s Day thing.  This year, I will celebrate in a way that affirms me.  Today, I will spend time with Mother Nature.  I will walk with her, hold her in my hands, drink of her perfume, marvel at her beauty and the way she supports me, the way she has given me life and nourishment.  I will allow her to love me and me her.  Today, I will love Mother in a way I have never before.  I will define Mother in my own way and she will bring me peace.

© 2013 Paulissa Kipp

Advertisements
You Are Seen

You Are Seen

© 2012 Paulissa Kipp Hello BraveHearts! Here at Pardon My Muse we talk often about love:  self-love and love for others.  We foster humanity through love and believe that love is always the answer.  In the spirit of love, I … Continue reading

Don’t Take That Yoke!

Image

Text and Image © 2013 Paulissa Kipp

Don’t Take That Yoke!

A heart full of love compensates for a heart and mind that is filled with hate. The hope for a peaceful future exists in the way in which we love others. Evil will always exist, as will hate. Hate arises from envy – envy of liberty, freedom, opportunity to move with a minimum of restriction and envy of a way of life. Hate also rises up from places of deep pain and misplaced blame, for is it easier to blame others and circumstances than it is to take responsibility for changing the paradigm. Yet that is the challenge. Hate is only combated through love.

There are some – including our “intelligence” agencies and President –  who feel that it is important to understand why this act of violence was perpetrated.  I do not agree.  Allow me to explain.  I believe that our burden and responsibility at all times is to love.  The act of transferring my energies to wondering why others would wish harm upon me personally, my community or my country shifts my focus from the good I can do by fostering humanity.  I don’t need to know why someone would wish harm. That is not important.

Further, there are those who wish to engage in the one-upmanship of pain and death.  Those persons or entities use the red herring of “What about the ____X______ number of people who died in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or any other country in which there is unrest and in which America either volunteers or is begged to be the world’s police force.  Please do not misunderstand me:  I believe that all life is precious, that all humanity needs to be affirmed.  Therefore, I couldn’t care less about this one-upmanship of pain.  To me, it is all tragic but I choose to focus my energies upon the corner of the world in which I am most equipped to make a difference.  That is my own back yard.   I do not need to wear a yoke of guilt and responsibility for the hatred of others.  I do not need to be personally responsible for why someone chooses to carry out harm against others.  Neither do you. There are more important things.  Love is more important.

 

Tips for Lovingly Communicating with a Depressed Person

© Paulissa Kipp, 2013

Tips for Loving Communication with a Mentally Ill Person

  • Don’t tell your loved one that how he or she feels is “selfish”.  You wouldn’t tell someone that he or she doesn’t deserve to feel ______ amount of happiness.  It’s the same concept, really.
  • If your loved one asks you to stop a behavior because it is causing anxiety, is a trigger, etc, STOP immediately.  Your failure to do so speaks volumes about your love for the sufferer.  Not immediately stopping the behavior ramps up the anxieties even more and when your partner believes you cannot be trusted, all bets are off.  The mind wanders to self-doubt, lack of self-worth, wondering why am I not important enough to respect or protect, suicidal thoughts, thought of self-harm and more.
  • Do not mock your partner when he or she asks for you to stop talking and listen, when told that your noise (radio, voice, etc) is overwhelming.  Do not be facetious.  Do not say things such as “Do I need to send up a flare every time I enter a room because you startle so easily?”  That is not helpful and merely drives a bigger wedge between you and your partner.
  • Do not feign ignorance and say “I didn’t know ______ was a trigger for you” if your partner has clearly communicated that it is.  Your partner isn’t buying it.  Forgetting is understandable from time to time, but your partner will pay attention to pattern and frequency.  Forgetting and do a behavior once in a month or less frequently – you are more likely to be forgiven or believed.  Do it more frequently and it seems like a choice and recklessness with your partner’s feelings and wishes.
  • Beginning a statement with “Why?” can be a trigger for your loved one.  We want people to treat us with kindness, even if they don’t understand our actions. Having to explain to people solves nothing and has the effect of making your loved one feel judged, thereby adding to stigma and anxiety.
  • Beginning a statement with “just” as if it the desired behavior is simple to achieve and your loved one isn’t making an effort to change or cope.
  • “Just think positive.”
    “Just get over it.”
    “Just think about something else.”
    “There are people who are worse off than you.”
    “Stop complaining.”
    “Come on. It cannot be this bad.”
    “Cheer up.”
    “You are making it up.”
    “You don’t have a reason to feel that way, so stop it.”
    “Stop being so selfish.”
  • Comparing one person’s circumstances to your loved ones’.  If your loved one needs inspiration for succeeding with a mental illness, he or she will find it on his or her own.  Your attempts, while well-intentioned, may create further overwhelm.
  • If offering self-help books, frame your offer in terms of “You may find this information helpful.”  If your loved one refuses, graciously allow that to be the end of the conversation.

MORE LOVING WAYS TO COMMUNICATE:

  • Ask what you can do to help.  At times your loved one may need silence, sleep, a massage, music, a hug, a mug of tea, etc.  Do what you can to facilitate that.
  • Offer affection.
  • Let your loved one know that you are concerned FOR him or her, not scared OF him or her.
  • Communicate to your loved one that his or her challenges do not affect your love for that person.  Many sufferers worry that their challenges will lead to abandonment by friends and family.

©Paulissa Kipp, 2013.  Please share freely with a link to this blog and proper acknowledgement of me as the author.

As a sufferer or one living with a sufferer, is there anything you would add to this list?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

 

Time Marches On

Despair

I remember how topaz blue that morning was, the crispness of the air and the smell of fall as I walked that morning. As I returned back home, my neighbor came outside, handed me a cup of coffee and told me that a plane had hit the world trade center. I thought it odd but believed it to be a small plane. We went inside and were visiting when her husband called and said the 2nd tower had been hit. That is when the realization set in that it wasn’t an accident. We called our loved ones and turned on the TV and watched in horror at the death and struggle for life wrought by hatred. Crying and numb, we watched. I don’t think we even ate the rest of that day. We were too numb to even think about anything but being with other people. It didn’t matter whether those other people were friends, family or strangers. We just didn’t want to be alone. We heard about the collapse of the towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon. The waves of nausea, shock and grief washed over us repeatedly like the coming and going of tide.

Then the news came that President Bush was coming to Offutt AFB in Bellevue. A new wave of terror overtook me. It was terrifying to know that Stratcom is a target and that we might be next. I remember walking to the stereo and putting in Anne Murray’s “A Little Good News” and playing it repeatedly, wishing there would be some good news. I rocked back and forth in a catatonic state and the tears found a wellspring I didn’t know I had.

Our church held a prayer vigil and we sleepwalked our way into the sanctuary and held hands with our friends and neighbors, prayed for the lives lost, for understanding, for love to overcome hate and reminded ourselves that vengeance is not ours.

We gave blood, helped fund first responders and rescue dogs to help and tried to find our way to a better love of one another. We pulled together as a humans, as neighbors, as a country and as part of something bigger than hate.

It seems that each generation has its version of The Day the World Changed – WW I, Pearl Harbor, the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, Vietnam, Kent State, OKC, the 1st WTC bombing, the Cole and 9/11. It seems the fabric gets torn apart so that it can be patched together in a more meaningful fashion.

We lost so much that day: 2977 souls and service and rescue dogs, our sense of security, innocence and freedoms.

Yet we also gained some valuable things: Appreciation for connection, the value of binding together in times of crisis, sorrow and confusion and pride in our country. While I was always glad to be an American, I think I took it for granted before 9/11. After 9/11, my heart swells at the national anthem and the flag waving in the breeze moves me to tears. That day will never be forgotten. For me, it was the day I learned to appreciate my country.

Now, 10 years later our lives are impacted nearly daily by the reactionary nature of the response to the attack. We have readily given up freedom after freedom as 9/11 is invoked as the end-all argument for never-ending regulation, eavesdropping and stripping at the airport. There is no denying the effect of 9/11 on our freedoms but what about upon our hearts? Are we living our lives with joy and fullness, loving our neighbors and striving to foster understanding of one another? My heart answers yes, what about yours?

 

You Have A Fan!!

Image

Magnificent One,

I’ve been watching you over the past few years and I am enchanted by your beauty, grace under fire, intelligence, kindness and creativity.

Your light shines brighter than the stars and touches everyone you meet.  The way you stand up for what you believe in gives others the permission to do the same.

You are a bright meteor flying through the universe, never to be caught but visible to all, even from behind the clouds.  You are loved and are love.  © 2013 Paulissa Kipp

So I ask you:  What would your fan letter say?