Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 15: Jan 31, 1997

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

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Today: Journal Start Date January 31, 1997

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

January 31, 1997

Julian’s birthday! A good day, no, an EXCELLENT day to start a new journal.

The sun is glorious and the place decorated for after school festivities!

Meat grinder feelings last night as Mom went psychotic after not hearing from us all day.

I went to Vancouver with the kids and J____ to have a fun family day and hadn’t thought of telling Mom. School was closed due to a rampant flu. When we got home later in the day there were 30 messages on the machine, my mom in tears and panic. We had only been out of touch for 12 hours! When I called mom, I was yelled at by Dad. Mom is now not speaking to me, 

 But I feel stronger today even though I beat myself up about it last night. So life continues and today is Julian’s birthday. Yipee! Took the kids to Science World yesterday – took the tour and bought the treats – lunch at Sushi Box at Library Square, then Virgin Records and Manhattan Books.

February 1, 1997

Fax from my father: [translated from Swedish]

“Nina, I have to ask you to call Mamma. She is still sad. The other day when she didn’t get any answers when she called, she cried the whole day. To calm her down, I called your neighbours and your realtor. The whole thing was a bit dumb and unnecessary. That you went to Vancouver for some time for yourselves is totally understandable. You could have called or sent a fax though. You know how Mom is. She really only has you to talk to and she is used to doing that every day. It is not an easy time for her right now. Her hands and arms hurt all the time. The carpal tunnel operation is not until March, and now – no contact with you. She cries so often I don’t dare say anything for fear of being misunderstood.”

February 2, 1997

I have decided to treat Mom as a special needs case. I feel good that I have contacted the pain clinic. If I am her daughter – be it good or bad – I’m being it my way. It’s the first time where I’m not devastated by her anger towards me.

My letter to the Pain Rehabilitation Clinic

You have been treating my mother, Karin, for the past few months for what is now diagnosed as severe carpal tunnel syndrome. I realize that you may not discuss her case without consent, but I wanted to write you a letter to fill you in on aspects of her life she is most likely unwilling to share. She is an extremely private person, I know the embarrassment  she would feel about my sharing my concerns. 

I am very impressed by the team working with my mother, but I am saddened that she is refusing to deal with the psychological aspects of her disorder. My mother has had bouts of depressions before, and needless to say, her present hardships have led to another onset. She has dealt with her depressions and pain (arthritis, migraine) with Tylenol 1 (takes daily for many years, at some count 50/day) and alcohol. This is done secretively and silently. She now gets little or no sleep, which is now appearing to incapacitate her. She cries readily and easily, feels a loss of control over her (grown) children and her life. 

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Despite the unmistakable resentment she could feel from her mother, Nina could not fathom what she had done wrong.” – Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting

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60 years ago my mother became a mother. (Karin Kristina Orwald 1936 – 2008)

Decades are significant.

60 years ago my mother became a mother.

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My older brother born Summer 1958

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50 years ago we moved to Canada from Sweden.

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Leaving Grums, Sweden, October 31, 1968

50 years ago, my mother started to write letters home to Sweden.

 

 

30 years ago, my mother’s second grandchild was born.

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My son born January 1988

10 years ago, I had my ear to my mother’s chest and listened as her heart slowed down and then stop.  My brother held her face and guided her through.  Surrounded by family. Her final exhale liberated her soul and I felt right then she flew straight down to San Francisco to be with my daughter who flew home ta few days later.

10 years.

On this day, I am lucky enough to work from home and simply be in my space in peace and joy.  I did what I learned so well from mamma- I cleaned the bathroom, did the dishes, mopped the floors (making sure to go behind the furniture).

I ate food so iconically mamma- pannkaka and cookies and egg.

Drank coffee.  And bit into an apple.

The apple is significant.

Mamma’s full name is Karin Kristina Orwald (Thorsen).

The Emigrant Saga Series by Wilhelm Moberg has so many parallels to mamma’s journey.  And the main character, Kristina, is wrapped in the metaphor her beloved apple tree at home in Sweden and on her death bed holds a ripe apple from her tree in Minnesota.

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The Apple Tree, by Roar Thorsen, 2010

I remember that final year, when I mopped mom’s floors and she lay on her bed and we laughed and shared stories and talked about Pinesol.

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Karin Summer 2008

I love you, Mamma.

This post is dedicated to my cousin, Dan Orwald, who passed away suddenly last week.

My aunt Siv with my Cousin Annika, Dan in the middle and Mamma holding my older brother, Christmas 1958.

A mother’s eulogy by Beverley Pomeroy

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by Beverley Pomeroy

(posted with permission from author)

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Sophia (photo courtesy of Beverley Pomeroy)
Well, it’s a difficult thing to have to write a eulogy for your child.  Where do you start?  How do you end?  How can you possibly sum up your beautiful child’s life in 8 minutes? Do you get up and read it yourself…or do you get someone else to because it’s a difficult thing.
 
But Sophia is my best friend and was my happy companion for 16 years, 4 months and 29 days.  And they were the most extraordinary 16 years, 4 months and 29 days.  And it is my honor to come up here today and be Sophia’s voice, to share my heart, to share our loss.
 
I knew from the moment Sophia was born, much like with her brothers, that life would never be the same again. I realized just what an under statement that may have been when I found myself sitting in the back of an ambulance less than 24 hours after she was born…Sophia was on her side, in an isolette (like an incubator) with just a little diaper on…the paramedic and I sitting next to her.  That entire ride to Neonatal ICU Sophia just looked at me…stared, with these big wide beautiful eyes.  There was a wisdom in those eyes right from the beginning.
 
Anyone who knew Sophia in her early years, may recall Sophia didn’t really talk much, she rarely cried even though we relentlessly poked her little toes and fingers, gave her shots in her legs, put tubes up her nose.  She was so good, so patient, so enduring. 
 
Sophia, despite all her medical and physical hurdles, is and was a typical child and teen…and, yet, at the same time, she was so    much    more.
 
For years, and even now that she has passed, people have come up to me and said how Sophia is a miracle, how she has surpassed everyone’s expectations, how she’s lived longer than anyone anticipated.  The thing is, while Sophia may have outlived everyone else’s expectations…she didn’t outlive her own.  She lived large, she lived boldly.  She is courageous.  She had big dreams and big goals of a life full of joy, full of laughter, full of music and full of people…
 
Sophia loved people…early on she would sit contently in your lap, curl up in the croak of your arm, be plunked on the counter at the nurses’ station.  She was so tiny that up until she was about 3 ½ I would carry her around in a little bunting bag but always facing out…never facing in because she loved people, and she longed to observe the world around her.  She just wanted to be part of the action.  It didn’t matter how she was feeling, whether she was in ICU, or a music concert, or at school, camp, home…she wanted to always be with people.
 
As her health started to change this last year and she couldn’t go to school anymore, her iPad became her life line to the world, to people and those around her.  For those of you who were Sophia’s Facebook friend…you know what I am talking about.  Sophia liked everything on your Facebook feed.  She loved Messenger and FaceTime.  And it didn’t matter if you were working, in the car, at school…she would bombard you with calls and messages until you finally succumbed.  I know her cousins that are here can certainly attest to that.  Right, Kimmy? And my brother, Bill, who set a FaceTime date every evening with Sophia.  Where she would end her night laughing and giggling at his antics.
 
As Sophia became a teenager and as her health declined, she definitely became more discerning.  She had a preference…young, pretty, female.  I’m not sure how my brother fit into that, but she did make exceptions.  And you knew when you were in, if you suddenly felt a little tickle on your leg, or under your arm.  It was Sophia’s way of saying, ‘Hey, I think you’re cool, I want to be your friend’.
 
But when you were in, you were in.  Sophia loved you no matter what.  You will notice the buttons that were handed out, and on the schedule for today…has, in Sophia’s own handwriting, Love Sophia.  Every time Sophia posted to Facebook, or sent you a text, or message, or even in her communication via iPad with her nurses, she always signed ‘love sophia’.  It started to get autocorrected to LOVED Sophia…so every time she signed off, the last words she said were LOVED SOPHIA.
 
And it fits…loved Sophia.  She loved large, she loved boldly, she loves courageously. 
 
Everyone here today has in some way, been touched by that love.  Either as a volunteer, a clinician, a nurse, through school, as a peer, through her brothers, or through us as her family and friends.  There are a lot of people here in this space, and Sophia shared her life and her love with each and every one of you.
 
And while she lived large and lived boldly…the last few years, her world became smaller.  Sophia’s body was being impacted in ways she did not like.  And this past year, when she went blind her world became even smaller.
 
But what kept her going, beyond sheer determination and stubbornness, was her ability to see and feel the joy in every day, in any moment, with whomever she was surrounded by.  And it’s why the auto correct LOVED Sophia resonates…she was loved, she was joy.  And everybody here today loved her and contributed to her joy.
 
The last three weeks of Sophia’s life were difficult.  There was not a lot of joy.  But there was a lot of love.  And even when she was screaming ‘I don’t want to be here”, “I’m done”, “I hate you” to those around her…she was loved, unconditionally, tenderly.
 
And one of the most important and hardest things I’ve ever had to do as Sophia’s mum was help her let go.  She held on because she loved, and in the end she was able let go because she was loved.
 
We have all learned something through our touch point with Sophia.  For myself, as her mum…as her caregiver, her companion, I have learned that despite the pain, despite the discomfort, despite the world changing around you or maybe your body failing…you love.  And that love will turn into joy, into laughter, into courage.  You will live large; you will love boldly…
 
Sophia is my best friend and it is my privilege to love my beautiful daughter and to be loved by her.  There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t miss her terribly, longingly.  I am forever changed.
 
Her remarkable legacy will continue…in me, in her brothers, in my brothers and sisters, her cousins…and in everyone here today, who Loved Sophia.
– Beverley Pomeroy, January 28, 2017
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Sophia Summer 2016, photo courtesy of Beverley Pomeroy
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Beverley’s shoes for Sophia’s Celebration of Life!  Photo by Beverley Pomeroy

 

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Portrait of Sophia (Katarina Thorsen, 2016):

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Slithering pancreatic serpent. #griefprocess

In November 2007, Dr. Ebrahim sat knee to knee with my mother.  I was on the other side of the little examination room.  I recall it was a sunny day.  I think it was.  Grouse Mountain shone in the background.  I think it did.  The room seemed turquoise.  Friendly.  

We found a mass in your pancreas.  

My immediate thought went to Michael Landon.  For some reason when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died shortly after in 1991, it stuck with me.  I knew pancreatic was the worst word to hear when associated with cancer.

“The pancreas represents your ability to digest the ‘sweetness of life’. It reflects your feelings and behaviour in relation to responsibility, particularly how you feel about taking responsibility for your own happiness and that of others. Therefore, the state of the pancreas reveals how well you flourish in life, how successful you feel and how joyful you are in your life experience.” source

We found a mass in your pancreas.

I took notes, we scheduled an ultrasound… but I don’t recall having a heart to heart with mom about the possibilities.  I just recall starting a binder.  Creating an action plan.

There is so much to write about mom, but for now it suffices to say that we entered what would be our final year together, renewed, wide-eyed, love in our hearts.



It was a year of appointments, insulin shots, chemo, spending precious time with family, laughing in waiting rooms, shopping, cooking even though she couldn’t eat… her final thanksgiving, just a few weeks before she passed- she put on makeup, did her hair, celebrated- a very frail little bird.  Fiercely alive.

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The Pancreas is the main organic structure that processes the emotion of fear because its function is to maintain the stability of the organism and any threat at the emotional or physical level can cause a structural imbalance entire system. Because the Pancreas is intimately connected with the physiology of the Soul through the fields of emotion and primary feelings, and indirectly to the nervous system, any violent emotion or attack received by the organism will immediately paralyze the digestion, consequently affecting the production of insulin and the liver. It is at the Pancreas level that occurs an evaluation and separation of what elements, emotions, and circumstances are proper for the being, and how the changes may have to be made for the continual survival of the organism. – source

Last night I could not sleep.  Processing so much change of late.  Positive change, sad change, epic change, all kinds of change.

The clock ticked— midnight, 1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM, 3:30 AM. 3:40 AM— I got up and peed, drank water, drank orange juice.   Wandered.  Wrestled with blankets.  In some weird stupor of processing.  My heart didn’t feel heavy or anxious- just weird, unsettled- thoughts swirling about my mother, about pancreatic cancer, about what I should have done, could have done, should have said.

I must have been in a twilight state as I kept envisioning an eel-like serpent swirling around my heart…

To see a sea serpent in your dream represents an emotional transformation. – source

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Placenta series, 1995

Sleep eluded me, so I finally turned on my reading light and pulled out a book from my current reading pile:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (a gift from Patti Henderson).

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The bookmark lay at p. 100— I began to read where I left off.  Strangely there it was again, pancreatic…


All day today that image of the serpent swirling has stayed with me.

That slithering pancreatic serpent.

Placenta series, 1995

Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing.source

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The five-year pancreatic cancer survival rate has increased to 9 percent, according to a report released today by the American Cancer Society:

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You are motherhood. You are the greatest mystery. Karin 17/09/36-08/11/08

Only do not forget, if I wake up crying it’s only because in my dream I’m a lost child hunting through the leaves of the night for your hands… – Pablo Neruda

8 years ago today, my little brother held my mother’s face and spoke sweetly, guiding my mother.  I laid my right ear on her chest and I heard her heart slow then stop. A last sigh.  Then she flew.  She became everything.

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Oh how I love you, Mamma.  I see you more and more in my face, in my body.  I welcome each sag, each wrinkle, each change in my bones.  Your fingers are my fingers (on my right hand), your laugh is mine (and the parrot’s), your worn out recipe book has butter and flour stains and smells like your kitchen.   When I hold Henrik and Vivienne, I feel you holding them as well.  You whirl around the family and your spirit and love fills the room.

I still reach for the phone to call you.  I want to talk to you about cleaners and the latest soup recipe with you.  I want to have you lie on your bed with Asterix as I sort your closet and we laugh at sweaters we have held on to.  I want to hop in the car with you and Tobey or Tina or Milton and walk for hours in the forest hunting for mushrooms.

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public domain

I want to pull out all my Molly research and discuss it with you, head to Molly’s grave and have a picnic.  I want to cook with you as the kids lounge in your bedroom watching cartoons.  I want to pull out the furniture and dust behind the couch and weed the garden as we gossip and laugh.  I want to spend full days in Fort Langley.

I no longer pursue your dreams on your behalf; I pursue mine as you truly always wanted me to do.

You feared to lose me, but you never did.

And as I become more and more myself, I become more and more your love.

Look at the legacy you created.

You are love.  You are beauty.  You are motherhood.  You are the greatest mystery.

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I need to process you.  I want to write about you.


Karin Thorsen

September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008

 

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“Always, remember, you are the best.” No, you were, Pappa. #toliveuntilwesaygoodbye

My greatest cheerleader was my Dad.

4 years ago today, his heart stopped beating, but his spirit lives on.

His pep talks were the best.

“Always, remember, you are the best.”

No, you were, Pappa.  

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Our gift to you:

Free PDF version of DRAWN TOGETHER, THE BOOK by Roar and Kat Thorsen!

LINK

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The best corner in the world- Lions Gate Hospital Cafeteria, our favorite table, with snacks and coffee and Tobey beside us.

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Mamma.

 
Karin Thorsen

September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008

Because you are
only
a seed,
chestnut tree, autumn, earth,
water, heights, silence
prepared the germ,
the floury density,
the maternal eyelids
that buried will again
open toward the heights
the simple majesty of foliage,
the dark damp plan
of new roots,
the ancient but new dimensions
of another chestnut tree in the earth.

From Pablo Neruda, Ode to a Chestnut on the Ground

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Oh how I love you, Mamma.  As I grow older, as I grow old, I see you more and more in my face, in my body.  I welcome each sag, each wrinkle, each change in my bones.  Your fingers are my fingers (on my right hand), your laugh is mine (and the parrot’s), your worn out recipe book has butter and flour stains and its heart beats loudly.  I no longer pursue your dreams on your behalf.  I pursue mine as you truly always wanted me to do.   You feared to lose me, but you never did.  And as I become more and more myself, I become more and more your love.  Look at the legacy you created.

 

The umbilical cord. Mother-daughter journal series. PART 3: Because you are only a seed

AS I MOVE FORWARD INTO NEW CHAPTERS IN MY LIFE, I HAVE DECIDED THAT IT IS TIME TO FOCUS FULLY ON ME.

(Hello, me!

IT IS FINALLY TIME TO PROCESS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MOTHER AND ALL THE DELICIOUS, SCARY, INTERESTING, HEART-WARMING, DEEEEEEEEP EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENTS, BLOCKAGES, PATTERNS ETC. THAT COME UP.

FULLY READY.  EXCITED.

THE UMBILICAL CORD

Recall PART 1: ACCEPTING THE TASK

Recall PART 2: IDENTIFY THE FIRST MILESTONE

PART 3: BECAUSE YOU ARE A ONLY SEED

Before I dig deeper into my journey as a daughter, I am pausing to draw inspiration from poetry and reflect on the potential we are all born with.

I start with the sketch.

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THEN FIND THE POEM.  I love how we can always find just the right one.

Because you are
only
a seed,
chestnut tree, autumn, earth,
water, heights, silence
prepared the germ,
the floury density,
the maternal eyelids
that buried will again
open toward the heights
the simple majesty of foliage,
the dark damp plan
of new roots,
the ancient but new dimensions
of another chestnut tree in the earth.

From Pablo Neruda, Ode to a Chestnut on the Ground

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The umbilical cord. Mother-daughter journal series. PART 2: IDENTIFY THE FIRST MILESTONE

AS I MOVE FORWARD INTO NEW CHAPTERS IN MY LIFE, I HAVE DECIDED THAT IT IS TIME TO FOCUS FULLY ON ME.

(Hello, me!

IT IS FINALLY TIME TO PROCESS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MOTHER AND ALL THE DELICIOUS, SCARY, INTERESTING, HEART-WARMING, DEEEEEEEEP EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENTS, BLOCKAGES, PATTERNS ETC. THAT COME UP.

FULLY READY.  EXCITED.

THE UMBILICAL CORD

Recall PART 1: ACCEPTING THE TASK

PART 2: IDENTIFY THE FIRST MILESTONE

Draw (or photocopy) a baby in the womb.  Write stream of consciousness in the nooks and crannies on the image focusing on the theme of the first indication in your life where attachment issues, blockages, patterns etc. may have begun.

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My journal entry January 20, 2013 (stream of consciousness):

When I was born I lay between my mother’s legs in the same position she was in.  Legs spread ready to give birth.  I mirrored her and our connection begun in “wound” deepened  [interestingly I wrote wound when I meant to write “womb”].  I was her daughter.  She was the mother and all was as it should.

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Age 1. Watercolor.

My brother was 4 years older and I’m not sure how he felt about my arrival but I am hoping he enjoyed it.

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I was extremely colicky- born with my infamous stomachaches.  For three solid weeks I cried with no response to reassurances or backpats.  I wonder if this affected my bonds or not.  I know my mom loved being a mom and that, with the support of  best friends, she did perfectly.  She was surrounded by the love of her friends.  And she had her mother (and her mother’s siblings).  It was a typical 60’s childhood in Sweden.  Blissful and traditional.

My mother experienced intense sadness though when she lost her mom suddenly in 1964.  I was two.  Mom was only 28.  I can’t imagine.  This was a huge turning point for mom’s confidence.  Her needs for healing and connections were not filled by my Dad.  Certainly all her girlfriends were there for her.  This saved her life.

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Lt. to rt.: My mom (Karin), Anneli, Ulla-Britt, Eivor

But I can’t imagine the internal pain Mom was experiencing.

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The death of Stina (my grandmother) was the turnaround for mom.  Dad pulled away from her when she needed him.  He was not capable to support those needs.  Mom agreed to move to Canada shortly after my little brother was born.

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She did not want to move.  But she did want to escape the pain.  The family became the rooted oasis she needed.

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A woman’s heroic journey always begins in partnership with her mother, the woman from whom she takes the imprint of what it means to be a woman.  Her journey picks up speed when she leaves the comfort of the womb and goes through the process of birth.  From then on, she must travel through a series of developmental stages that can be likened to a series of wombs.

– Dr. Christiane Northrup, Mother-Daughter Wisdom

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The umbilical cord. Mother-daughter journal series. PART 1: Accepting the task.

AS I MOVE FORWARD INTO NEW CHAPTERS IN MY LIFE, I HAVE DECIDED THAT IT IS TIME TO FOCUS FULLY ON ME.

(Hello, me!

IT IS FINALLY TIME TO PROCESS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MOTHER AND ALL THE DELICIOUS, SCARY, INTERESTING, HEART-WARMING, DEEEEEEEEP EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENTS, BLOCKAGES, PATTERNS ETC. THAT COME UP.

FULLY READY.  EXCITED.

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My mother was extremely private. She wore a mask of perfection and medicated away her anxieties, but she longed for disclosure and process and the joy of self-discovery.  I am not private.  So I will share the ride with you and perhaps this will encourage you to take your own journaling path through the blockages that repeatedly come up in your life.  And in this way, I take my mother along for the ride with us.

Every woman who heals herself helps heal all the women who came before her and all those who will come after her.

– Christiane Northrup, MD

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THE UMBILICAL CORD

PART 1: ACCEPTING THE TASK

Write for 20 minutes (stream of consciousness) around the theme.

Try not to censor or edit yourself or hesitate when moving the pen across the paper.

My journal entry January 18, 2013:

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As I find myself in low places again, struggling with self-esteem issues and blaming myself when circumstances become complicated and unbearable, I know it is time to address the most complicated and intertwined relationship in my life, my relationship with my mother.

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My mother was an integral part of researching Molly, and indeed the book is dedicated to her.   The book itself centres around the theme of “the mother,” so it is an appropriate (and necessary) time for me to address the theme in my own life.  Drawn Together was a father-daughter story and in it I only touch on my mother.

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But I have longed to fully work on the aspects in my life that block me, drive me, make me spectacular, make me weak, fearful, small, make me the mother that I am.  Make me judge myself, make me follow my passions.  Address our commonalities and differences,  Work through the repeated patterns.  Break them, embrace them, celebrate them, make new ones.

Figurine by mom's best friend, Johanna Vermeer.
Figurine by mom’s best friend, Johanna Vermeer.

It is appropriate that I use this journal, which is also my Molly journal.  Only by addressing and healing my issues re: my mother can I authentically tell Molly’s story.

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