I have mother issues. I have had more than my share of mothers. All left their imprint on me. I am going to use this week to reveal those prints. I will be moving backward in time.
Mary is my mentor. I love her with a fierce and abiding love. I love only a handful of people in this fashion.
I have known Mary for over twenty years now. This surprises me. Seems like just a jot in time. Mary is now eighty. I think she was 58 or 59 when I met her. She is now frailer in body but otherwise pretty much unchanged.
I guess I will talk about Mary's physical self first. She is beautiful. At eighty she still turns heads. At 58 she was a stunner. I have seen a few photos and a drawing of her when she was young. Think Maureen O'Hara and Ava Gardner. She is tall although not as tall as she once was. She still has killer legs although the remnants of polio now tell more than ever in one of her feet. Big blue eyes, made all the more outstanding by snow white long hair, gaze wryly at the world under the most expressive eyebrows known to woman. She refuses to have an "old lady bob and perm" and wears her hair up in a bun held together with a chopstick. Lovely smile with gorgeous white teeth. Her skin is the bane of her existence. Years of swimming in Florida and Hawaii have given her more wrinkles and sun spots than she is comfortable with. Her posture is erect and her movement fluid in spite of her "polio foot." All the years of yoga are paying off. Mary was a vegetarian for many years and was the first person I ever met who truly believed that what you ate, mattered. She is my example of the benefits of healthy eating. She does love ice cream and Dove chocolate and "permits" herself small "indulgences" from time to time without guilt.
Mary's mental self. Mary writes and paints and decorates and plays instruments and teaches and counsels and organizes. She has had several professional careers beginning as an educational t.v. personality in Florida in the 60's, rehab unit manager in Hawaii in the 70's on to a hospital staff counselor in Wyoming the 80's. This is where I met her. She was doing guided imagery groups. I thought the groups and she were full of...hokum. She was the personification of New Age crap as far as I was concerned. Tells you what I knew about "New Age crap." I avoided her. My boss/friend was nuts about her and insisted I go to one of the groups "because she can help you." She did. Mary was the first person to whom I ever told the whole unvarnished tale of my weird childhood. She cried. In fact sobbed. Shocked the shit out of me. I did not cry at that time. When I asked her why all the tears she said, "Because you don't have any yet. And someone needs to cry for that poor child." Hanky anyone? Over the years Mary has taught me how to be a fairly healthy person. She has great insight and pulls no punches. Her favorite line to my perennial "I don't know" is, "Well what if you did know?" Has worked wonders. Her fifth career is that of writer. (Fourth career during the 90's was Assistant Activity Director in a nursing home.) She is working on three books. Not just one, three. Says she is an old lady and time is short and she has a lot to say. I can attest to that.
Mary is a devout Christian. This was not always the case. She investigated all of the major religions in her search for truth. The search took her to far flung places and through many adventures. Some of this will be in her books. She says "Jesus chose her for his pupil" in a vision she experienced while on the Isle of Iona in Scotland. Oh I forgot to mention the Mysticism. She sees visions and dreams dreams. And she helps those of us who do the same and are freaked out by them. Mary has taught me how to interpret my dreams and how to allow a mandala to unravel my emotions. My creative self was unacknowledged and perishing before I met her. As was my Spiritual self. At that very first guided imagery group she helped me find the missing element in my life, God. We sat in a circle, and she began the meditation with breathing exercises. I was dubious, and irritated about being dragooned in to attending. But I decided it was at least a chance to relax. Boy did I relax. I eventually remember her saying, "Look out at the ocean and see a gift floating toward you." I did and I saw. She gently brought us back to solid ground, and then asked us to share what we had been given. I was still three fourths gone when I said, "This big white fish came up out of the ocean and laid itself at my feet." She gently asked,"What kind of fish?" "Sole," I said. "Are you a Christian" she asked? I assented. She then sent everyone on their way but me. "Are you searching for your soul" she asked? It is available and waiting at your feet." My true life in Christ began at this moment. With out Mary my search for my soul would have been my harder and longer. She has preceded me on many spiritual adventures. And I am grateful.
She has been and is the mother of my soul. I introduce her as my God Mother. Happy Mother's Day Mary. I love you.
Take care of yourselves. Love Bea
P.S. Also see first post of the day "White Christmas."