I love myself because my mom loves me. I am (or strive to be) the person my mom sees. These are my Truths. I do my work—exploring my shadows and doubts, strengthening my container of self—but at the end of the day, I am affirmed by the Light in my mom’s eyes.
Now that my mom has crossed over and I can no longer experience that Light in her eyes, I wonder … Who am I without my mom’s vision of me? And how do I love myself without her daily reminders that I am loveable?
And then I remember. While I can’t call her on the phone, she is more accessible to me now than ever. I am pregnant with her spirit; she lives in my gut—my intuition—and in my heart. And often, she lives in the gold chair in my family room. I beam her in for coffee and she reminds me that I am good and loveable, while also calling me on my obsessive insanity. Enough of that old story, Honey. Now, tell me about the kids… Just like she’s right there.
Twenty years ago, Mom gave me a piece of art with the
caption, “You’ve had the power all along.” This came like
a prayer after a dark time in my life and it has sustained
me through other dark times. Even at my weakest, my
mom saw my strength.
And now, I find myself in the darkest of times, grieving her loss. More than ever, I need her to tell me I’m powerful … or at least just fine without her daily phone call of praise and motivation. I need her voice. And I need to discover what mine sounds like without her to hear it.
With a heavy heart, I set out for a retreat at my favorite healing center, Bridge Between the Worlds, in Keswick. I sit down with Maggie McIlvaine, a most gifted alchemist of transformation, and unload the weight of my grief, my fear, and my hope for the next chapter of my life. Brilliant listener that she is, Maggie crystallizes my intention for healing into two parts—discovering how to hold, nurture, and mother myself and learning how to unearth my own power or as she puts it, “dance with my yang.”
Mom is there whispering to my heart, Rest your pretty little head, baby girl. And I feel lighter and freer…
On Maggie’s table, my guides immediately tune in to my state of surrender. I am exhausted in body, mind, and spirit. Little by little, Maggie’s hands peel away the energetic layers I’ve had to wear to endure these past months of life without Mom — until she arrives at my core.
And there is sweet release. I can feel the pain exiting through my breath, my fingertips, and my crown. Mom is there whispering to my heart, Rest your pretty little head, baby girl. And I feel lighter and freer … and content in the knowing that grief is a lifelong series of sweet releases like this.
In this raw and vulnerable place, I am open to receive my guides’ message. Through Maggie, they explain that the human race is like a band of musicians. I smile, as I am familiar with this metaphor, having used it in my own quest to make meaning of the world and our ONE human family. My guides help me see that while I’ve sought out to be the drummer in this life, to create big, booming, resounding rhythm, my frequency is really that of the smallest chime. It is quiet and gentle … and oh so powerful. Maggie is guided to play this instrument over my body and I am immediately brought Home. Yes, that is my sound. That is my voice. That is my power. That is the yang with which I want to dance.
Such liberation! I don’t have to be the drum. I don’t want to be the drum. While the louder instruments may overpower my chime, it has an ethereal magic that will break through the noise and be heard by those who want to hear it. I guess that’s what my writing is … my small and mighty chime.
Not only does my gentle chime remind me how to “dance with my yang,” it is also a lens into my yin. In the past, I equated spiritual understanding and authentic self-exploration with the deep sounds of, well, the drum. Deeper meant better. The answers were surely hidden in the cave of my soul so I searched obsessively in the darkest corners of my being … for that which was not there. I used to think that doubt and the perpetual “what if ” would ultimately lead me to the Truth. Instead, it created a toxic fear that kept me attached to my ego — my little self — and lost in a spiral of confusion, far from my Truth. And now, I realize, with profound gratitude, that my gospel lives in the still reverberation of my little chime.
This is not to say that I can’t or won’t play other instruments sometimes. Just like going on vacation, I might visit the violin, the piano, and even the drum. Experiencing the tones and textures of different sounds is opening and allows for more expansive self-discovery. Who knows, perhaps, I might live as the drum one day. But for now, the chime is Home.
So what’s with all the fuss around the drum? Well, my big sister is the drum. On the outside, she is bright and bold and can shake things up. On the inside, her wise waters run deep. Who wouldn’t want to be a drum like her? I have always, consciously and unconsciously, sought to be like her. And there have been times that we have drummed together beautifully. We have danced and screamed and celebrated life with abandon. We have travelled deeply into our merged hearts to discover our shared humanity. Yet, for me, the energetic output the drum requires is not sustainable. It wears me out, in fact. And when depleted and in my sister’s brilliant presence, I can’t find my voice. And worse, I can’t find our divine connection.
What I’m realizing now is that while our frequencies are different, the message our music carries is very much the same. It’s all about Love, a love derived from our mom. And we can meet each other in the space between the sounds that we make. That’s where grace is. And that is where our mom is—in the rests.
To my heart Mom whispers, That’s it, Honey … by honoring your sound, you are learning to love yourself. You really have had the power all along.
And I am, at once, overwhelmed by her beautiful sound, the one that’s always been there, just sometimes drowned out by my dissonant drumming. She is the harp, ofcourse.
Thank you, Guides.
Thank you, Maggie.
Thank you, Mom.
I can hear you now.
An educator by trade, Nicki Peasley is
a student and storyteller of life and a
teacher of love, both inside and outside
of the classroom. She lives in Richmond
with her husband, three children, and
their chocolate lab, George Bailey.