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I was Re-mothered

In 1982, I was introduced to a powerful and beautiful yoga path. I had recently finished graduate school and was feeling a lack, a certain emptiness around the prospects of the employment that awaited me. The school I attended was and remains highly accredited and respected, and much was possible in that direction. But, none of that really interested me.

I actually came upon this spiritual path by way of a radio program that made its way into my room one day while attempting to meditate. (This practice, on my part, was incipient.) Someone in the house I lived in, which I shared with fellow students, was playing a radio program and the broadcast could be heard through the ductwork.

I actually remember attempting to make the murmuring of voices a part of my meditation…you know, not resisting it...But, I caught on soon that they were talking about meditation. So, I figured I might as well take an active listen by turning on the radio. I might have something to learn there!

Upon listening, I immediately recognized the power and authenticity of the path. And, just a few months later, found myself living in an ashram of that lineage; an event which served, needless to say, as a huge turning point in my life - along with, of course, the radio introduction experience.

For the next twelve years, I spent the majority of that time in an ashram, in both India and the U.S. This was extremely fortunate.

Now, as I look back and ponder the twists and turns of my life from this, my seventh decade (I am 66 years old presently) I see clearly that I was re-mothered. The head of the lineage is a female, a beautiful and powerful being, and I did come to the ashram and path deeply wounded from the experience of an emotionally very unwell mother.

(I have since forgiven my mother for I really believe if she could have done better, she would have. Her narcissism and sorrow were too deep to allow the necessary perspective and healing, it seems.)

I must add, the ashram is not meant for people who cannot function elsewhere. In other words, it is not an escape hatch. It requires being very present and capable. And, I actually was functioning fine, according to anyone’s observations. But I carried a deep wounding, and healing was needed.

One time in India, while living in the ashram there, I found myself in a line outside awaiting entry to the samadhi shrine of my teacher’s teacher. My teacher was sitting nearby on a seating structure that surrounded a tree. Suddenly, I was inspired to dart out of the line and bow at her feet. I must say, this was considered a big no-no. There was a protocol in place to keep everything organized and smoothly running. It was understood.

But, nonetheless, I found myself taking a chance. I left the line and bowed at her bare feet and momentarily and very gently touched them. And - as I looked up - I beheld her face filled with such radiance. Her face was filled with such exquisite love.

The moment was brief but powerful. For just that moment, it was simply the two of us suspended in love, a bridge of love, surrounded by love.

She saw me, accepted me, and loved me completely.

I then resumed my place in line.

Not long after, I had a dream. In it, I was - once again - at her feet in that same scene outside the samadhi shrine. I was looking up as she gazed down down upon me, radiant and with that same great love. And, while doing so, I could hear the refrain of a Christmas song. It was a song I had been practicing with the ashram choir for the upcoming Christmas celebration.

I heard the refrain repeatedly, “How beautiful is the mother. How beautiful is the child.”

I have grown up now. The mothering I needed took place, and so much more. And, for this, I am profoundly grateful.

Annie Kiyonaga

December 19, 2021

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