Love of Mother, Love of Self

by Bingran Zeng May 07, 2013

Often times, we take for granted the far reaching impact that mothers have on our individual and collective world. The relationship we develop with our mothers is the very first relationship we develop with humanity.

For Shana, a 2013 Magdalene graduate and currently a Sales Representative for Thistle Farms, Mother’s Day had no significance whatsoever in the past. She can’t even recall celebrating Mother’s Day as most of her childhood, adolescence and adulthood were spent doing crack cocaine alongside her mother. For Shana, the mother/daughter bond was established through drugs. As a means of survival, Shana used dissociation, a defense mechanism involving the breakdown of memory caused by psychological trauma. How amazing that our psychological defenses coupled with the soul’s yearning for self-love and healing can protect the heart, mind and physical body during times of sustained crisis.

The decades of despair, addiction, violence, and incarceration guided Shana to Magdalene.  The symbolic season of spring, renewal and finally, self-love was bestowed upon her. “Forgiving my Mother was essential to my healing, even though my mother is in active addiction. Although I experience fear she will die an addict, I want my mother to know that she is loved. Everybody deserves that.”

Shana is now the proud grandmother of her 5-month old “grandbaby”. She was beaming with joy when she made an announcement at the Thistle Farms meditation circle. “Three of the happiest moments in my life was being at the hospital the day my granddaughter was born, the day my daughter called to ask if I would like to spend the day with my grandbaby on my own, showing the great deal of trust that she had in me, and the day my granddaughter woke up from napping in my arms.  I thought she was going to freak out, but instead she opened her eyes and looked at me with a smile as if to say, 'That’s my Nanna.'" 
Shana and her grandbaby
This Mother’s Day, Shana is planning on giving her mother a special gift to honor her in a practical way. “I think she would love a pair of sneakers.  The last time I talked with her on the phone, she mentioned that she needed them. That would really make her day.” Shana had some advice for those with similar stories, “Trust in God, the power of prayer and LOVE no matter what.  Holding on to anger did nothing for my Mother or me.  Now, when she calls me on the phone, my heart pitter patters with joy.”

We are all reflections of our mothers. To unconditionally love our mothers is to unconditionally love ourselves.  May we as a whole heal ourselves, our mothers and our world.

By Heather Venesile, Thistle Farmer
Shana and her children 
Bingran Zeng
Bingran Zeng



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