Being that it's Mother's day I'd really like to say a bit about the influence of my Mom. She obviously had a lot of influence on my personality, upbringing, etc. But she also had a lot of influence on my Practice. More than I think she'd realize.
I was a strange child. Not troubled or wild like my half sisters, but just strange. The wierd kid at the back of the class that would draw. Constantly knights and dragons and demons and angels, and all sorts of creatures that I didn't have names for, or really needed names for at the time. Contemplative, but excitable. Thoughtful, but eager. I identified more with Simon from Lord of the Flies than anyone else.
Being both thoughtful and easily excitable, my mind would latch onto things like a pit bull, and I'd obsess for a while and then youthful enthusiasm would fixate on something else shiney, like it did before puberty when my primary fixation would rear its head.
My mom would encourage gently, praise quitely, but often, and always encourage me to excel at whatever I did with one caveat: "Just be happy." She never cared what I did, so long as it didnt put me at risk of self destruction, and those times I strayed there, she'd guide me back quietly, and gently. There is a profound power in gentleness. There were very few hard "No"s in my home, but many ways to consider something.
My Father, God rest him, was just as stubborn and proud as I was, as a child. Just as idealistic, even more brave, and much more sensible, but he was Old School, as they say, and he didnt know the quiet tricks my Mom knows.
She always said she was adpoted, my mom. Her sisters for the most part were a lot louder, brasher, and never ones to back down from a fight. Mom taught me to disarm a fight rather than beat your chest. To sidestep an insult rather than kick up a ruckus. To be patient and wait rather than to rush ahead without thinking.
"Oh honey, you'll never make them more miserable than they make themselves. You just focus on living well, let them focus on being miserable. They do it themselves, and it's less work for you!"
Always open minded, and up for an adventure. She kept me from stagnating as a child. She'd rearrange my entire room while I was away at school, sometimes with new curtains, or even new paint, just so I wouldn't get too fixated on things being the same. If I cared enough I could move it back.. but I never cared enough.
Being a child of the 70's she was resistant to authority, but even her subversion was subtile, seeming to derive more pleasure from quiet rebellion, right under someone's nose, than a noisy one that demanded reprisle. She had her share of folk spells and tricks, wading easily through walls of ideology that I deemed so very solid, but to her they were no problem. She never needed something to believe in that she could define in words, or a creed to adhere to, or a map to follow.
After my dad died, she taught me, resistant as I was, how unimportant things are, and how important people and memories are. "Honey, they are only things.." She also showed me that sometimes after a loss that great, the journey has to be long and winding. That there is no quick fix for things like that, and no easy way out the other side.
She is a woman who taught me gentle restraint, to take joy in the profoundness of simple things, and how a mild touch can change things quicker, and many times better, than brute force. She, by example, taught me that we are sovereign. Each of us. Even in times of greatest suffering, no one can harm us, the real us, unless we let them. She exemplified that "one small inch" of talked about in V for Vendetta. That strength can be small and gentle, and never shake, and never falter. That I can trust myself, find out that I am wrong, and still trust myself afterward. Just like that. She taught me that even a small and thoughtful child can be anything he wants to be, but most of all he should strive to be happy. Everything else is just details.
Thankyou Mom. I Love you.