My aging mom enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles. She sits with 550 little pieces scattered around her dining room table and methodically looks for the matching pieces.
I have spent this week with her, preparing to move her back to California for the last time. In the evening after running errands and packing, I sit with her and work the puzzle as CNN or a classic movie serves as her background entertainment.
We chat sometimes while we focus on the puzzle. It is quite calming and peaceful, and to me it feels somewhat like a meditation.
Thoughts float by about the years I have spent identifying my own unmet needs and moving towards a place of acceptance with my mother. Without going into detail, I have come to understand that I am most anchored (effective, empowered and grateful) when I take ownership of my own physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health.
In a nutshell, I have learned how to mother myself in a way that allows me to accept my mother exactly as she is. I cannot express the depth of my joy and gratitude as I comfortably relax within my inner world without sitting in judgment of her.
This week has provided another little gem for me. Given that successfully overcoming obesity has been my lifelong obsession, it has been challenging to see my mother relinquish her own fight.
On the eve of our drive home I fret about the fact that I have gained weight this week. And then the realization comes. In my love for her I have blended into her world during the week. I understand that she loves being surrounded by beautiful things. I accept that she is pleasure seeking through food and doesn’t curb that for the benefit of her physical health. I didn’t even bring it up once this week because I accept that only she can choose to change her eating habits.
Most importantly though, I recognize that I can truly understand her only when I am in the space of simply loving and accepting her. And within this space of love and acceptance, I felt our souls dancing together in a way that transcends time, space, and our roles as mother and daughter.
It feels like I have been gifted with a universal truth – that there can be true understanding and acceptance of anyone when we are in the space of love – when we feel safe enough within ourselves to the point where we don’t feel the need to control another. That detachment breeds true attachment.
Something within me (that I don’t feel the need to identify) feels like my awareness and contentment have increased a thousand-fold. I can’t help but recognize the amazingly poetic moment when, after several days of many hours at the dining room table and as the classic movie ends, together my mother and I put in the final piece of the puzzle before saying goodnight.