Monday, November 29, 2010

Life Lessons From My Mother

Happy birthday Mom. It is hard for me to imagine you as an aging lady; you are frozen in time at 58. It's almost 13 years ago that you left us, and I swear a day hasn't passed in which I haven't spoken your name, shared some snippet of wisdom you imparted or thought about something you did or said that made me smile.

Today I celebrate your special day by sharing some of the lessons you taught us ...

To those who did not know her well my mom appeared a small, timid person; easy going and pleasant; a contrast to Dad’s flamboyant, outgoing personality. To those closest to her, she was an unwavering rock; deeply philosophical, spiritual person in a very private way. She meditated regularly to help achieve an inner serenity and peace that was so critical to her maintaining her trademark optimistic disposition.

The number one most important principle she taught us was to seek the gift in every adversity. She believed that we are here on earth to evolve and mature spiritually and therefore have many lessons to learn. She felt our earthly life provided us with the opportunities to experience, make choices, feel consequences, learn from them and aspire to greater understanding. It was because she was so busy trying to find the lesson in every hurdle that she did not perceive herself as having “bad things happen to her”.

She once used the analogy of life as a hurdle race …. You start the race expecting hurdles and when each one is encountered, you make your very best attempt to clear the hurdle with the finest of style. Regardless of the outcome, it is the attempt that is important. With this attitude, no time is wasted mourning the fact that a hurdle has presented itself but rather how the hurdle will be tackled. It was with this amazing attitude she tackled her own health problems. She wasted no time complaining or bemoaning; she assumed full responsibility for her own well being and busied herself with making herself well.

She was a firm believer in the mind, body, spirit connection long before the rash of self help books came along. She believed that thoughts materialized and so it was very important to her to keep her thoughts focused on the higher good rather than dwelling on the negative. She taught us that "as we think, so shall we be" - the power of thought. I’m certain it was from her belief in this principle that sustained and empowered her through her many grueling health challenges.

Something else Mom taught us was the importance of  visualization. I can remember when I was eleven, after a particularly long day of me complaining, whining and fighting with my sisters she took me over to a mirror and said “See this little girl. She not very likeable.” She went on to point out that I hadn’t made a positive comment from the time I got home and that I was forming a habit of acting negatively. So at the age of eleven she gave me Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” to read. She convinced me that if I could create a mental picture of how I wanted my life to be and the kind of person I wanted to be, that my picture would soon become reality. I live this technique every day of my life.

Live every moment, and live it consciously. The life Mom and Dad had together was a wonderful example of a couple who took an incredible journey together, taking all the back roads to savour the scenery, hopping on the freeway once in a while just for the thrill of it, stopping to refuel occasionally but never stopping.

In the past years of her life, my Mom was on a little journey of her own. When she received the ultimate gift of a lung transplant, she was supremely grateful and immediately set about cramming as much living into very day as she possibly could. She traveled to see my Dad in the Arctic, accompanied us to Mexico, bought a new bike and used it, exercised daily, went to her first Raptors game, her first stage play, tried Indian food … you get the picture. She urged us to do the same. Every morning she would enthusiastically ask me what I was going to do that day. On one such day when I was still a little groggy I said - “I don’t think I want to do anything”. “Good", she replied, “just make sure you do it consciously so you can really enjoy it! Otherwise you may feel as though you didn’t accomplish anything at the end of the day.”

Life is unfolding as it should. Often we question or think that the events in our life are tragic or unfair … and we struggle to make sense of them. Mom believed that life was unfolding exactly as it should be .. that our failure to realize this lay in our inability to see the big picture. After witnessing the magical way the choices my parents made roll out into perfect synchronicity has reaffirmed my faith in the greater power that moves amongst us in our lives. Looking back on my own life I realize that the events and times that once seemed chaotic, were actually perfect pieces of a puzzle that fit together seamlessly; a perfect plan.

Now every famjam we have is the bittersweet portrait of a happy, wholesome family, united and enjoying and supporting one another; a wonderful testament to a mother who left our hearts full and overflowing.

But there will always be a little space, in the place  her presence used to fill.

Thanks Mom - you taught us well.

Other posts about my mother


  1. Your mother sounds like an amazing woman!

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your Mum. She's been proved right in that she has taught you well and you are a credit it to her.

  3. DIH,
    Your mother would be SO proud to see the precious daughter you have become. You listened, learned and blossomed beautifully. All those blessed to know and love you would certainly agree...


  4. I thank your mom for blessing the world with her presence, and for you! What a beautiful tribute to her.

    one love.


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