The month of January is named for Janus, the God of beginnings and endings, transitions and movement, entrances and exits. In just three weeks of the Mother-Daughter Way pilot, we have witnessed gates of the heart opening.
Last Tuesday night, on our weekly conference call to understand and melt the frozen parts of our stories, a woman whose estranged mother died decades ago said,
“I was writing as if I was having a conversation with her. I asked her what her mother was like, and I started talking directly to her. It was the most comforting thing, and very different. I am so grateful — that mother business — you pass it on until someone breaks the chain. Generations of women not getting along. My mother referred to her own mother as that woman in black, in the attic.”
Then we heard another story from a woman whose mother died more recently:
“I was cleaning out a drawer full of 30 years of cards and notes. My mother had written me various thank-you notes over the years, but I never really felt them. I think because I had the anger and it wouldn’t let her messages really hit my heart. So I’m reading them again– multiples — for different events at different times. She wrote things like ‘I don’t always tell you this, but I love you,’ and I realized it was my anger that got in the way. It was accidental – I was just going through what I was planning to toss and what I might keep . . . I looked through those things and I found great love.”
Frozen mother-daughter stories can be thawed. When I was born, my mother later said, the moment she saw me she knew I was her most perfect creation. Fast-forward eight years, she had a house full of kids, an unruly dog that I’d begged and pleaded for, and as her no-longer-perfect creation I carved the words “I HATE MOMMY” into my desk. We fought from the time I hit puberty until my early thirties. I moved 3,000 miles to get away from her. But we forged our way back to each other and became collaborators, co-creators and best friends.
When my mentor, Clint Arthur, told me to launch the Mother-Daughter Way pilot from the stage of the Harvard Faculty Club in December I felt unready. I was fighting a bad cold, and dealing with challenges of home, business and family. However, I knew I had to keep going forward in my pursuit to help women thaw their frozen mother and daughter stories, so I said yes.
There is magic in commitment. Once I agreed to announce the opening, I became determined to nail my speech. Perhaps over-zealous, I practiced so hard that I developed laryngitis days before the event. To add to my wounded pride, my left eye became bright red with a burst capillary. To say I was in less than top shape is an understatement.
The reason I committed to Clint that I’d launch the program at the Harvard Business Expert Forum was that we had been talking about The Mother-Daughter Way since my appearance on FOX San Diego, August 2014. I’d been working on the program, along with promoting LIGHT, PARTICULARLY and the exhibition based on that book. My husband, Paul has always cheered me on, and helped me prepare.
Today, one month later, the pilot is soaring and doors of the heart are opening amongst this group of women who enrolled. I’m thrilled to be moving ahead in spite of obstacles, and I’m beyond grateful for the amazing support and enthusiastic participation of so many of you. Your emails, comments, “Likes” and enrollment have confirmed that my intuition was right: the unique process and bond I developed with my mother offers hope, inspiration and guidance to countless mothers and daughters.
In December, when I stood on the stage of the Harvard Faculty Club and told the story behind The Mother-Daughter Way, I didn’t know what to expect. I loved meeting people like Lisa Sasevich (pictured with me, below) and Dawn Clark, and so many other luminous speakers. It was a wonderful day of creating a vision for a better world, and I’m excited to share the video and these stories from the first weeks of the pilot group.
If you, or a woman you know, would like to jump in and begin the thaw, there is no time like the present! A live event in March will be available to a wider group, and it’s still possible to become part of the inner circle, if you act now — just shoot me an email or go to www.motherdaughterway.com to sign up.
Blessings of the heart: may Mindfulness, Openness and Mercy be with you this month and year.