Before we said goodbye from our weekly Sunday call, my mum had an afterthought. “Darling,” she said, “I must tell you about something that happened this week.”
So here’s what happened…
Mum was unsettled and sad when she first called today. She told me that she and my cousin Michael, who’s visiting her from Australia, had been having conversations about his mother, my mum’s sister. She’d died when he was quite young. One conversation had left them both quite destabilized. My cousin had taken himself off for a drive. My mum decided to write.
Mum writes a lot when she’s feeling unhappy and her unhappiness is often related to thoughts about her past. The writing helps her in the moment but having plugged into the past she often doesn’t sleep well and experiences low moods for days after.
“I got settled at my desk,” she said. “Cup of tea and tissues close by. I was ready to let it all out. But I didn’t start writing straight away. For some reason, I took a sort of pause. And in the pause I had the idea to meditate first.”
My mum is 85, beautiful and a rock star of a woman. I can see her now, in her studio, walls covered in her paintings. Her paint-stained easel in the corner, paints, brushes, her many filled writing journals on her weathered desk. Pictures of my sisters and I on her corkboard, her crystal collection on the windowsill next to vase filled with flowers from her garden.
“I lit my incense and a candle, did some chanting and dropped into meditation,” mum continued.
“So, what happened then?” I asked.
“I felt really good after meditating and I thought it would be quite silly to get myself all upset again by thinking about the past.
I smiled into the phone.
“I still felt like writing though,” mum said. “So I had the idea to write about the powerful woman I am today. Which I did and it was lovely and I was on cloud nine afterwards.”
“Mum,” I said, “From what you just told me, you lived the Three Principles.”
I heard her take a deep breath as the realization took root.
“Darling,” she replied, “I did wonder if that had been the case.”