Have you ever noticed how the memories we create are exactly the ones we need?
How the themes of our lives are driven by those same memories?
Maybe this seem like a strange way to put it.
But let’s just suppose that the memories we spend a lifetime trying to get past are actually somehow memories we have purposely chosen to create.
As a psychotherapist, who is also aware that our journey is a spiritual one, that’s exactly how I reckon life goes.
Let me show you what I mean:
The other day, a large envelope arrived for me in the post.
I knew what it was, because I could see the hand-written address and I could feel the contents through the envelope.
It was the photograph my uncle had promised to send me when we’d spoken at my Dad’s celebration of life service just after Christmas.
Now, here I was, holding the envelope in my hand and I could feel the dread gripping me.
I didn’t want to touch that envelope or even to go near it. Because I knew what it would bring.
I sat for many minutes holding the envelope in my hands. I told myself there was no rush.
Then suddenly I was tearing it open.
I put aside my uncle’s letter and the other one or two additional photos he’d included, and then—there it was.
There it was.
A photo. A photo of the farm. The farmhouse. The hut.
Suddenly, I’m no longer a 60-year-old woman. I’m about five or six-years-old and my world is about to be turned upside down.
I’ve had another tantrum, screaming and kicking out and refusing to have anything to do with this harsh woman with the sarcastic tongue and rough hands who has lived in our house since my mother was made to go and live in that house, there, just up the road.
I’m rarely allowed to go and visit her. But if I fetch a chair, I can peer out my bedroom window and can watch her hanging washing out on the line or working in the garden.
My whole being feels her absence. There is a pain that never goes away or even eases and my rage at her having gone away is limitless.
My father’s torn, that much I know. I watch him struggling to pacify this woman who seems to hate me.
He tries to not pay me too much affection when she’s around, because it makes her sneer and say cruel things.
It is just like she sneers at me when I ask if I can be taken up the road to visit my mother.
She makes me feel that my love for my mother is wrong and somehow hurts her. That it isn’t allowed.
That’s why I have these tantrums and why my rage is so great.
Today, after I’ve had yet another tantrum, he takes me by the hand and walks me around to the hut on the farm.
The cross woman is shouting after us as we walk, taunting him with words I don’t yet understand.
Sometimes I worry it’s all too much for him. I seem to have a sense that his heart is breaking, I have that often, but I never know why.
We go in and he closes the door.
Suddenly, the world and its angry shouting is gone, and he’s pulling out a chair, lifting me onto his knee, and telling me that he has something important to tell me.
He says he should have told me before and that he is sorry that he hasn’t. He says it might have prevented a lot.
The tone of his voice is so serious and filled with much sadness. I’m gripped with the fear that he’s going to tell me that he’s going to die.
I’m used to loss, convinced by now that nothing good ever remains, that what he says next will come as no surprise to me.
I’m cold and shivering. My entire being feels like it is made up of only loss and longing.
And it is all somehow connected to the tantrums and the rage inside me.
But then he tells me, with infinite tenderness, a story that I couldn’t have imagined in a million years.
Holding me tightly against his chest, and with tears in his eyes, he tells me who I really am. And who the woman just up the road really is.
He tells me that she’s not my mother, but his. He tells me that she brought me up but isn’t my mother.
He says that my mother died six days after I was born and that it broke his heart.
He says that he’d always been afraid that something bad would happen.
My mind is going numb.
I feel as the cold reaches deeper and deeper into me. It is hard to hear his words as he describes how proud she was of me, that my second name was also her name and that she had loved me and named me.
He describes getting a phone call from the hospital saying he needed to come and how a cold fear had gripped him upon hearing those words. That he’d known it wasn’t normal.
I find myself hearing about that cold fear and wondering if it is the same as mine. My teeth are chattering now and even the warmth of his body is bringing no relief.
He’s telling one story, his story. But, I realize mine is different now from his.
My head is reeling from the catastrophic news that the woman who had loved me through babyhood and toddlerhood isn’t my mother.
She’s not my mother.
All I’ve thought and believed and held on to, that one bit of comfort and certainty, is now gone.
She’s not my mother.
She looked after me for him.
I no longer have a mother.
Everything I believed about my world has just disintegrated!
Suddenly I need to run. Just to run. I scramble off his knee and run for the fresh air.
It’s icy out there, but that doesn’t matter. It’s icy inside me too.
I run and run, across the yard, past the cattle pens, past the hay barn, through the gate and out into the fields.
I’m both numb and exploding with feeling, but I can’t reach it to find what that feeling is.
I want to explode into thousands of pieces. I want for this fear and grief and pain and hate and rage to break.
I can’t hold it or carry it any more. And suddenly, I’m sobbing so hard and deep I’m coughing and choking as I sob, almost unable to get my breath.
I long to go to this woman who was my mother and tell her. But I no longer know what to say.
And then, just as suddenly, I’m back in my bedroom, a woman of 60 feeling still like a little girl of five.
And so I wrote my life’s work in this story which was my beginning:
Through my early loss of key figures.
The breaking of trust.
The confusion of who it was okay to love and who it wasn’t.
The longing for what I couldn’t have even though it felt vital to my existence.
The experiences of being hated, yet never understanding why.
The desire to run whenever pain threatened.
As a powerful creator I had written it prior to incarnating, so that it could create the themes I’d work out in this lifetime:
To find my way back to remembering how to trust, be close without the fear of losing getting in the way, to overcome the rage at abandonment and betrayal, and to love and give without fear.
My beginnings, just as all of our beginnings do, set the scene and the plot which I was going to live out as my story this lifetime.
But that story is just that—a story.
And that is true for every single one of us in our own unique and sacred way.
We create the perfect conditions for our story, one that will provide us with powerful memories.
These then direct the themes that will play out as the dramas of this lifetime.
And when we really understand this truth, we can let go of the person we’ve believed ourselves to be.
And the people we’ve believed others to be, too.
And finally, we can stand in our own power as a magnificent being of light and love who has created a powerful human experience in the service of the expansion of All That Is.
Oh, the applause, if you could only hear it!
What a journey! What an adventure!
How amazing are we!
@ Janny Juddly 2016
The Therapist in my Pocket