Friday, May 6, 2011

A Mother's Day Reflection: What My Mother Taught Me Is More Valuable Than Recycling

One of the mantras my mother routinely used any time I asked her for suggestions to solve certain problems in my young life was: “Assess the resources you have and create a plan.” Of course, at the time I was stuck with an issue, I didn’t think I had any resources, so I distinctly remember spending a lot of time wondering what she truly meant; as I got older I realized those words were a gift I would use many times over, and I was proud to use many of my mother’s teachings in my book Housekeeping for the Soul.

It’s amazing how much wisdom comes from our mothers – it is like a seed that is patiently and lovingly planted, only waiting to be watered by circumstances to grow to its potential. Over the years, I have come to see Mother’s Day as the perfect time to reflect upon the things my mother taught me, and to honor her presence in my life by taking steps to improve my reality.
When I stumbled into an article which discussed the innovative solution of converting methane gas produced by garbage in landfills into clean energy which is used to fuel hundreds of garbage trucks in Oakland, CA, my mother’s words instantly flashed through my mind

As I discussed in Housekeeping for the Soul, we readily assume that all bad experiences we survived in our past are enemies that forced us to become unwilling warriors in a war we didn’t choose; more than anything, we blame our past, our errors, the people who created obstacles, and circumstances, and use them to make excuses for our lack of progress in the present. Those moments, recorded in our inner filing cabinet, continue to work from the shadowy chambers of our subconscious and influence our choices. But, can you imagine how wonderful it would be if we could shift our perception of those experiences and use them as fuel for our renewal?

Imagine your subconscious as being the landfill. The garbage which has been deposited into it over the years has rotted out, and the fumes it produces are toxic and constantly rising up to ruin every new thing we attempt. As the fumes reach our consciousness, they produce more garbage which is, in turn, sent to the inner landfill, and without a plan in place, we gradually become overwhelmed and unable to deal with the load.

Now imagine that we are able to capture the fumes of the garbage we have collected, and use them to fuel a process during which we will reinvent our lives. It is important to understand that nothing happens by chance, and most people and events are brought into our lives to raise awareness over certain issues we are struggling with. In other words, we need to understand the value of the energy produced. Analyzing the patterns of past experiences allows us to do that. The following tips can be used to channel the energy produced by past hurts and recycle it to benefit our present life.

- Sift through the garbage. Some experiences are the result of poor internalization, and they serve little purpose. We sometimes hold long-lasting grudges over misunderstanding and miscommunications, and we allow relationships and project be ruined because of it.
- Own up your share. Is it really always someone else’s fault? It takes two to tango, and sometimes we are responsible for the unfolding of certain events. On the other hand, some circumstances are out of our sphere of control, and we need to understand that beating ourselves is not going to change things.
- Separate your garbage from other people’s garbage and decide which is recyclable and what, instead, needs to be released for good.
- Understand that the energy produced by the garbage has an opposite which you have the freedom to tap into if you so choose. Love is the opposite of hatred, forgiveness is the opposite of resentment.
- Try different methods of recycling energy (prayer, meditation, reaching out to others in similar situations.) If one method doesn’t work, try others. The important thing is to not give up.

The secret of success is to be able to use available resources to increase your chances to overcome and conquer. Everyone can bring garbage into your life, but only you have the key to put what was dumped to good use. Thank you Mom, for teaching me that I can use my own garbage to change and improve my life. Happy Mother’s Day.

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