I am friends with a woman who just turned 70. I was trying to help her get sober over the holidays, as I quit drinking 14 years ago through a "catastrophic" spiritual awakening. I received an email from her which made me sad:
"I am having such a hard time this past two weeks...I have had a few drinks. I need so much to get past this but I just can't let go. I am afraid I'll be all alone. I know being physically alone is not the issue, but being reduced to notning is the aloneness I dread. That is what is happening to me now and I feel my soul is dying. Why does this happen to us as we get older? We become wallpaper and no one sees that we exist any more or that we have nothing more to offer. Why is this? I am so sad and I never feel close to God. I just don't know how..."
When we spoke on the phone, she said that her grown children were constantly attacking her and blaming her for their mistakes in life. This was like a mirror: it really hit home with me because I had spent many years blaming my mother for all my mistakes and problems; for my fear of success and failure and for not achieving all my dreams. And then the fear of aging and growing old really affected me. So I called my own mother to apologize for all the times I blamed her. She is often filled with shame and regret — and had been especially blue that day — and my one phone call opening this door, saying I'm sorry really cheered my mother up. Though we've sort of had this talk before, I don't think it was as real as it was this time. This talk really has healed our relationship.
Now that I'm a mother I see how hard it is: your kids will blame you no matter what. Kids are so obnoxious!!
The trick is to see the gift: My higher power is so loving, it put this older woman in my life so I could heal the relationship with my mother. Everything comes full circle.
THOUGHTS ON HUMILITY
We are all redeemable, even the "bad guys" in government and politics, even prisoners, even our leaders. Of course there are exceptions: a certain person in the White House is trying to rewrite history and refuses to acknowledge the deaths he caused by his illegitimate and unnecessary war — or the mistakes he made with any real sense of remorse.
I heard a humble young Israeli at a recovery meeting say that 'humility, and becoming humble' changed his life. This guy made a list of his character defects and then made a list of each of their "opposites." To overcome selfishness you must become more giving. To overcome arrogance, you must become humble.
Becoming humble means seeing your part in every argument. It means stopping to listen instead of defending yourself or retaliating out of ego or fear. It means really paying attention to the other person's needs. Humility is the key that unlocks the door to inner peace, world peace, emotional peace.
Humility is the greatest virtue. When I put "self" in the background and think of how I can give instead of get — the whole day goes better. When I think of how to "understand" rather than be "understood" or force my will and my opinions on others, I attract love.
Love is circular. Let's all be thinking of how we can help others. Human kindness is really all that matters.
SOME FURTHER THOUGHTS ON MOTHERS
"The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world!"
Mothers have the most powerful jobs on earth. You can influence your children to become world leaders, talented inventors, creative musicians, great athletes, passionate writers & artists, devoted school teachers, and committed physicians.
If, per chance, you think the job of a mother isn't important, then take a look at a recent survey that asked 5.4 million stay-at-home moms to list their job titles and daily duties: On the average, a stay-at-home mom would earn $131,000 a year. Total up the costs of being an animal caretaker, financial manager, food/beverage service worker, general office clerk, childcare worker, housekeeper, psychologist, bus driver, dietitian, property manager, social worker and recreation worker – and you'll see that $131,000 is a good deal!
Let's face it - mothers do so much for us: They cook good food for us to eat, turn a house into a home, mend our wounds, console us when we're disappointed, and cheer for us when we've done something well.
Mothers not only have great value to their families, they are also in a unique position to positively influence their families. Our moms are the ones to instill in us a sense of values, beliefs, and morality. Some experts say that by the age of four or five, most children have already formed a basic set of beliefs and values that shape their world view. To me, the best values are kindness, charity, empathy, compassion, honesty and integrity.
If America would stop valuing money and competition more than love and caring for each other — we'd all be happier and more wealthy.
Arianna Huffington: Memo to Obama: Moving Forward Doesn't Mean You Can't Also Look Back
In one week, the U.S. Constitution will be front and center as Barack Obama solemnly swears to "preserve, protect, and defend" it. Given all that has happened over the last eight years, that oath is not nearly as pro-forma as it used to be. During his final press conference yesterday, President Bush said that when it came time "to protect the homeland" he would "worry about the Constitution of the United States." It wasn't clear, as it hasn't been for most of his time in office, whether his concern was directed at upholding the document or circumventing it. So one of the questions facing the new president is: Will his promise to protect and defend the Constitution include an investigation into the assaults on it perpetrated by members of the Bush administration?