- MOTHER ... -
About a month ago, I am staying at my parents' apartment in Paris, appreciating their hospitality for a short while before moving on with a three month trip to Portugal to practice Astanga Yoga. I have rented my own place till September, to reduce the blow of the Portuguese trip on my personal finances. It is one of those in between periods where there isn't much to do. A few weeks before I was in the french Alps teaching Yoga for a beautiful hotel on the rooftop of Europe, and now I am stationed in Paris waiting for the next adventure on the westernmost coast of Europe. Not much to do really, save a reflection on why I have to be over the top or at the edge all the time :-)
So here I am on my parents' balcony, yielding on the inside square of the building, on a sunny peaceful Sunday, daydreaming as I balance myself back and forth on a chair in the sun. The shape passes before my eyes so quickly I can't even tell if it was there or not, and certainly can't make out what it is. Except that the sound it makes as it hits the ground is both petrifying and terrifying, in addition to the reverberation of the shock wave in the building. It shakes me to my core, as I feel I won't have the courage to stand up and peer over the balcony railing.
The man is in his thirties. Apart from this sound from hell, he is lying inert as if sleeping. No blood, no awkward or weird body positioning. Almost a peaceful face. I am reminded as I stare in disbelief about Arthur Rimbaud's "dormeur du val", a poem about a dead young soldier in a valley. If it were an obese person, he would have exploded like a balloon splashing his inside everywhere in a gruesome sight. Strangely, this unexpected peacefulness in accord with the feel of the day and contrasting with the sound from beyond caused by the impact makes for a poignant and overwhelming scene. For some reason I feel personally shaken, can't take anymore of it and retreat inside as people are appearing everywhere at doors and surrounding balconies, calling for help and checking on the corpse.
The man was offered hospitality by a friend of his, in a neighboring building. No idea about the circumstances in his life. For him they were enough that he decided to climb to the top of the building, and in a last gesture of empathy, probably not wanting to weigh even more on the helping hand that he received from his friend, walked from building top to building top until he reached the nice vertical wall making a side of my parents' building and jumped from the seventh floor.
I can't help thinking about this guy's mother. I can't help thinking about this guy's mother. I can't help thinking about this guy's mother.
Fast forward a few weeks. I find myself in Portugal again, for the third time, in an environment where I feel good and safe on a natural and human level. The guy's death is a distant memory, enough so that it hasn't made an excursion in my consciousness for a while.
You can distinctly feel here that there is a connection to something ... different, rawer, truer. Words never pay homage to those kinds of feelings so in the following, I'll kindly ask the reader to excuse the clumsiness of my prose and the childish way some of the ideas will be delivered. Also, I am about to share something both very personal in the way I accessed it and archetypal in its content.
You know nothing, Jon Snow...
I didn't know this feeling existed. To the point of numbness, because it becomes so much it is almost like your nervous system goes into overdrive and decides to give you a break. It is a kind of fear with such a level of low vibration that you feel you are going to crumble into pieces. You literally feel your body crumbling into pieces. It is not a metaphor. Be dismembered by the sheer intensity of the force of your own fear. It is so scary and stronger than you that a part of you supplicates. It literally supplicates for it to stop, with no dignity whatsoever, with no restraint, with no pride nor self-esteem. It is a mantra. Please, please, please, stop this, I haven't done anything, please I beg you, why, please. On and on. On and on. You don't swear, you don't curse, because you know you just can't challenge this force or be personally arm wrestling it. Maybe later you will curse as you recall, but now... You beg. I can't write "I", because to be able to write this, I need to keep a certain distance.
Floods of tears.
Tears that run so deep your face is immobilized in a rictus and the muscles are so stretched that they can't even twitch. The only thing that moves are the tears, and they come out and out and out. Your eyes are two open taps that can't be controlled, and the water is coming out and out, and out. And out. And out. It is never ending. It is exhausting.
I cry because the terror has stopped and I am under shock, like a little child who escaped something really dangerous, and his parents shouted at him. He got a good scare and now he is in shock and cries as a release reflex.
I cry for my mother. I call her out, like the little boy I still am at 45 years old. I love her so much. Her face is everywhere in my inner world right now. Her body, her smell, her little OCDs, her gestures, her expressions that I use against her to bully her. She is getting older and time is going by, she has a few more wrinkles , and she is set in certain ways that won't change anymore.
I love my mother.
I have forgotten how much I love my mother.
I am ashamed.
Life is mysterious. Sometimes physical objects, both inert matter and lively stuff will come together in such a configuration, such a recipe, that one will realize something and hopefully grow. As I write, I hope this applies.
For me, the message is extremely clear.
We are all in conflicts with our parents, and develop various behaviors and rationalizations for our many weaknesses and ills. Often charging the parents with much. The mother in particular is a good target, and however adjusted or dis-adjusted to the world we seem to be, it is easy to narrate a story of her many lacks. Similar stuff applies to the father, but it is markedly different.
No matter how rational or even pragmatically true our grievances are, keeping a conflictual relationship with one's mother is OK for adolescence. Only. Same goes for a father. Often, an easy cop out is to delude oneself into thinking one is spiritual and above those things, preoccupied by higher matters and values. A good cop-out strategy is to become a yoga teacher :-)
Ultimately, even the best mother in the world will have to deal with the resentment of her offspring. Even without making any mistake in their education. After all, chances are they were those happy spirits before being incarnated in this manifest world, and guess who is responsible for that. This is why no matter what rationalization one makes for the lack displayed by one's mom is not the issue. Boys and girls, grown men and women have plenty of reasons to still keep a conflictual relationship with their mom, with dynamics of use and abuse, of competition, of transfers and so on... This is missing the point entirely.
We don't call her Mother Nature or Mother Earth randomly. The closest thing we have in relation to Life as a whole, to this world in which we evolve and hopefully grow, is our Mother. She is our direct smaller version of Life and all its attributes. The relationship we have with our mother simply spills over and translates as the relationship we have with life as a whole. It is not an image. It is not a metaphor.
It is as simple as that. Look at the relationship you have with your mom, the relationship you steer as time goes by because you are the new and she is the old, because you become the future as she recedes in the past. If she already passed, the way you think of her and reconnect with the feeling of her in the mind is that relationship. The quality of your life IS the quality of your relationship with your mother. It is non negotiable. It is a Universal truth.
I still used "you" instead of "I" because I am not there yet. But this time, I know I am more than halfway through.
Especially dedicated to Ramon Peregrino