A few months ago my dog discovered a frog in the back garden (see photograph). Those of you reading this post having read my book will know that my mother used to kill frogs for her own amusement as a child. I was reminded of this fact myself after I had finished rescuing our unexpected visitor and setting it free.
As I look at this photograph today and think about my mother I am reminded of a quote by the Roman playwright, Terence.
“I am human, nothing human can be alien to me.”
When I first read this quote I had some difficulty believing it to be true. Now however, I am inclined to believe it, for although I can not comprehend what it is that has caused my mother to do some of the terrible things she has done, she is still my mother, and she is still a human being.
When I think of my mother as a human being I picture a damaged woman. A woman who has been so affected by her circumstances that she is unable to feel empathy or even love. It is ironic that I can only empathise with her because of her own mistreatment of me.
It is also perhaps ironic that my mother has unintentionally taught me everything I know about unconditional love. And let me tell you that there is freedom to be found in unconditional love.
Who knows what it is that leads us to make the decisions we make? Who can say for certain what they would or would not be capable of when faced with a particular set of circumstances? We are only human after all.
What I do know is that I love my mother unconditionally and that I do not need a relationship with her to be able to do this. I do not need her to take responsibility for her actions. I do not need an apology.
I love my mother unconditionally because I too am a human being. I am a human being that is capable of love. I have a choice in everything I do. I choose to love because it sets me free. It also sets my mother free.
This is the post excerpt.
This week I received an advance copy of my book.
For many years now I have wanted to share my story.
The thought that I may be able to help others by sharing my own experiences has been an important factor in my own recovery and healing process. It has given my suffering meaning and with this I am able to rise each morning, count my blessings and, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, ‘live deliberately’.
Unfortunately this week I have also been plagued with nightmares. It has been exhausting.
Last night I had some particularly disturbing nightmares about the abuse I suffered whilst living at Denver House. After waking for a third time I called for my dog. She knows this routine well now. She dived under the covers, turned herself around and then settled down next to me with her head resting on the opposite pillow.
Having her next to me and listening to her breathing (snoring) helped me to ground myself in the present and go back to sleep.
This time I had a wonderful dream that I would like to share with you.
I dreamt that I was cycling along a winding, cobbled road that climbed a steep hill. I was tired and it was dark. The bike I had was not suited to the road I was riding along which made the journey difficult but I would not allow myself to stop. I had a sense that I was almost where I needed to be although I had no idea where I was or where I was going.
I kept on cycling until I reached a flat surface on the hill. I stopped just as the sun began to rise. As it rose it spilled light over everything below it, revealing a beautiful town just on the other side of the hill. Beyond the town I could see the ocean glistening.
I like the way the light of the sun takes the place of the night’s darkness each morning.
I am grateful that I am enveloped by this light every day no matter how long the night before it.
The sunrise reminds me that light finds it’s way into all places in the same way that our inner light will shine through an open heart and wash over all of the darkness we have known.
Let us promise to keep rising and shining!