Like Mother, Like Daughter (May 1998)

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and to all women who are involved with raising children. With each generation, it is becoming easier and harder to ‘be true to thine own self.’ Today it is TV, magazines and peer pressure that influence people. In my Mother’s day, it was the church, men and lack of societal support systems which kept women in their place. Birthing seven children, Mom had little time for self-development or awareness but still her uniqueness shone through, and for that I give her credit and a special thanks from deep within my heart. It wasn’t easy thirty to forty years ago, but her Mom and Grandma Kost were both amazing women and Grandma provided a role model for her as Mom has been for me.

Looking at this month’s front cover photo of Mom and me standing in front of her home-on-wheels, loaded with two canoes, moose and caribou horns, you would have to guess that this lady had guts. She even had her wheel cover painted. Over the years, the motor homes have gotten more colourful and dazzling. Mom always liked it when people stopped and made comments about her travelling show, for she always said she was part gypsy. Dubbing her mobile home Freedom set the tone for that stage of her life, as she was about to guide a woman caravan up the Demester Highway to the Arctic. The turn-out was small, but they did have a great time.

Growing up with Mom taught me many things that I would never have learned in school or even in university. She seldom took no for an answer and when it did happen, she gritted her teeth, seethed a little and figured out how to make happen whatever it was she wanted. Her determination is her blessing and her curse. She needed to be strong-willed to create the life she wanted and at best it was a compromise. When she married Dad, he promised her a hunting lodge in Alaska but first it was time to visit his folks in Michigan. Soon she was pregnant and Dad liked being around his family, so she had no choice. After three kids, she had had enough of no choice, and packed it in and went to live with her Mom. Money was scarce, Grandma couldn’t help her out forever and finding work was difficult, so when Dad promised to change, back to Michigan they went. She penny-pinched and invested in some land even though Dad could see no reason for owning more land than you take care of. When the property values increased, she sold the land and bought the school bus that moved us to Canada. Sorting through the slides I noticed she had written on the slide that shows Dad and his three brothers moving her piano into the bus. She wrote … “And you said it could never be done!”

During the last several months of talking to bankers, land assessors and lawyers to arrange for financing to own the Holistic Health Centre building, I could see myself acting like her. The men responded in a similar manner as well. They liked my energy and enthusiasm for I was like a breath of fresh air, but they had their doubts that two women could make money renting rooms to holistic health practitioners.

Dealing with these men triggered many buttons for me and left me crying more than once. Tears of frustration from long ago set off my program of fear around Male Authority. The first visit was the strongest … as I tuned into my body, I could feel the tension and the tears rising while I walked to the Credit Union one block away. Instead of worrying or rehearsing what I would say, I listened to the creek bubbling and the birds chirping and I felt the freshness of the day on my skin. Once inside, I said what I needed to. Banker Peter was busy and business-like as he explained the rules and the costs involved. He would let me know after he had a look at the information whether financing was possible. As I walked back to the office, I could feel the tears welling up from inside as the tension released. I stood by the creek till the flood of tears was over and then went inside and told Marcel and Jan how I was feeling. I said, “The banker was a nice guy but it feels like I am being punished for something I didn’t do. It’s the same fear as facing a principal or my Dad when it came to report card time.”

Each time one of the men phoned, my heart and my breath rate would speed up, my stomach would sink and my bowels would move. I took the time to listen to my body and feel the fear. Each time it happened I asked myself to let go, to be present and breathe. In my heart it felt right — there was no fear there but my body kept reacting.

Jan and Gerry are excellent role models when it comes to being present, for the best time to learn is in the moment. It was wonderful to have supportive people to help me let go and trust that if the Centre is meant to be, it will happen. The Credit Union did agree to finance the building with a twenty-year mortgage and a guarantee from ISSUES if we default. The initial set-up fees are expensive, but in the long run we have security and the best commercially-zoned property downtown that has a creek running through it. Now we will have to trust that the right practitioners will show up — people who want to be part of our growing community. Starting in May we have a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine moving here from Vancouver. He will be available for consultations, massage, acupuncture and nutritional advice, so drop by or phone if you wish to meet him. Dwight’s Reflexology moved into the back space and Jeff Queen, a recent graduate of the Rolf Instituite, is now available, as are Ken Martin, Cassie Benell and the usual faces that you see on our advertising page. Urmi will be back from Costa Rica at the beginning of May, ready to resume her fine-tuned energy massages. We are looking for intuitive readers and anyone else who has skills to share on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Each session with Rolfer Ken Martin takes me deeper into my core self and at a recent session we got in touch with more sensations in my belly. This time it was sadness… a deep sadness that was never allowed to express itself. As I sobbed and gasped for breath, I could feel the pain of never being asked how I was feeling. Ken had me imagine myself holding that part as I gave permission for feelings to rise to the surface. I asked him, “How do I hold a part of myself that I can barely feel?” Together we spoke to that part that has worked so hard for so long. I softened my attitude from asking in an authoritarian voice, “Why?”… to asking “How are you helping me ?” The answers that come from my emotional body usually have tears with them, and that is how I know that truth is being thought or said. This time there were tears of release, tears of recognition that a part of me was finally being heard. These are not the same tears as those that come with pain. In the midst of crying, I got an answer to a question that I have asked myself many times: “Why don’t I listen to my body when I feel full?” This time I see myself as a five-year-old, trying not to bother my Mom who is very busy. I have decided to stuff myself with extra food at each meal so that I won’t be hungry in a short time. I learned at an early age to override the wisdom of my body so that I do not have to feel her frustration with having to feed me again. She was always cooking or feeding us. Now that I know why I made the decision, it will be easier to change the habit.

The emotional releasing and rolfing have been affecting my hips and parts deep inside my pelvis for the past year. My body is realigning itself in a way that makes it easier for me to lift myself upright, against the earth’s gravitational pull. My chin and head still need to move back and as I put my attention on it, they too will change. If I can do it, anybody can. I have learned that I can ask for help and accept it when it arrives, and then pass the knowledge along. Awareness starts with individuals taking responsibility for their feelings and speaking the truth in the moment. Feelings are the glue of the body, the link between structure and emotion: the two are intimately connected. As my body changes it allows me to connect more deeply with the messages, and as the messages become more clear my body holds less tension. When I grow old, I shall walk lightly with a sparkle in my eye.

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