you & me

Thank You, Pain, For Teaching Me Your Language.

{photo credit: Illume Photography}

{photo credit: Illume Photography}

In this moment, I am loving (giving love to) the aspect of me who learned the language of pain to communicate with, and ultimately seek love from, my mother.

I learned this language fluently. I memorized its every nuance, and practiced it in my body until it was written in my cells. It was the language that she communicated in and, once I learned it, it was a language where we could connect. Ah, the ever sought after love and acceptance of mother.

I learned it was painful to be loved. I learned it was painful to be loving. I learned how relating to my mother required tremendous strength, commitment, shapeshifting, loss of playfulness, youth and friends.

My ability to speak pain enabled my mother to continue in her dysfunctional relationship with her own pain for her whole life. She died in a hospital bed in a nursing home two years ago… in pain… on medication. She choked on a piece of food while lying down to eat dinner because she could not sit up… she was in too much pain.

She taught herself that. I watched it slowly unfold since I was a little girl.

As a young girl, my desperate attempts to fix things, take care of things, manage things, control things, were fleeting at best. As the years passed and I continued to seek love through doing, I became quite capable and resourceful. As a result, in this timing, I am good at many things.

Many of these talents were born of dysfunction and a desperate attempt to merely survive. Ironic how life draws creativity and our gifts from us!

As I sit in contemplation in this moment, I am loving the aspect of me who befriended pain as an ally. I am loving the aspect of me who can fluently speak and interpret pain. I am loving the aspect of me who is so creative and resourceful that I learned a very foreign language to communicate with my mother.

As much as I was seeking her love, I was seeking a way to share my love. If we could bond over pain, surgery (I’ve had 20+), medication (can’t even remember how much), doctors (seriously, fuck them!) it was worth it… in that timing.

Today… my practice of self-love, self-study and contemplation is revealing a host of twisted nuances relating to the means I developed to seek love. Powerful. Whoa. Enough.

This sharing is a drop in the bucket of self-study. Its intention is for healing and to reveal a brief glimpse into the inner practice of Yoga.

I am deeply grateful for my mother. By the time she passed, we had made peace. I truly accepted her as she was. Over time, I became completely neutral toward her. Read: I loved her for who she was, not because I needed something from her. I honored her process, and witnessed her battle with pain to the very end.

In her last years, our bond shifted from pain to Jesus. She became a Mormon, and I had fully embraced the path of self-realization with Jesus as a close companion. It was truly an amazing shift. I attribute it to acceptance of myself and my mother. I realized she did not owe me anything, nor was there a need for me to fix her.

One day, I shared the Sanskrit prayer Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya with her. She asked me to rewrite it for her every time I visited her in the nursing home. She would call me and ask me to spell it out for her again several times a month. Loosely translated, it means, “Thy will be done, Lord, not mine.”

I used this prayer (mantra) today. I use this mantra everyday. I am grateful that it was a place to meet my mother. Somehow she understood it. It spoke to her. She was learning to speak a new language… just like I learned to speak her language of pain as a child. We were remembering the language of Love together. Gestalt complete.

To the pain I literally feel being sucked (released) from every cell, tissue, organ, muscle and limb: Thank You.

Thank you for teaching me your language so I could learn how to connect with my mother. It has been a long road, friend. I am now using the essence of your language to connect to Love and heal myself.

I honor my own process as I did my mother’s. I dedicate my healing and wholing to her. She was my greatest foe and my greatest friend on this journey of life. Dysfunction brought us together. Healing myself will set us both free.

Thank you for being my witness.

Truly… Jai Ma!

(Note: There is a major parallel — real life circumstance — in my life now that reflects what I learned about pain as a young girl. It is showing me how I was conditioned to relate to myself, others, and the world around me. I am currently loving it, and myself, moment to moment.)


ErikaPallaviBrandsmaErika Pallavi Brandsma is an emerging author, artist and spiritual teacher. At age 19, her kundalini was awakened while giving birth to her first son. Unaware of what had transpired, she blindly navigated her way through raising two children, while functioning for 20 years in the corporate world, eventually ‘breaking down’ on all levels. The world as she knew it was gone. Her breakdown slowly revealed itself to be a breakthrough. For the past 16 years, she has steadily placed one foot in front of the other, feeling her way through the integration of her awakening. In 2005, she immersed herself in the study of authentic Yoga, which enabled her to feel deeply into the recesses of suppressed emotions and trauma. Feeling opened the door to deep healing and integration. Through increasing commitment, courage, devotion and trust, she is celebrating life from a space of acceptance and love — for self and others.


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