Like most kids, it took me a while to figure out that my mom was one smart cookie. Inevitably I went through many years thinking I knew way more than my mother would ever possibly know. And of course as time passed I began to realize that I actually knew a fraction of what I thought I did.
My mom passed away in 1998. By that time I had realized that she had taught me a lot of valuable lessons throughout her life.
Lessons like “What goes around comes around.”
This was one of her favourite sayings and it reflected her strong belief in the interconnectedness of the world.
Or that the garden teaches you everything you need to know about life – about patience and nurturing, tenacity and growth, living and dying, and the beauty in everything.
But one of the best lessons my mom taught me was that the shortest route is not always the best.
“Don’t be in such a hurry to get where you’re going. Sit back and enjoy the ride.”
I can still hear my mother saying this to my sister and me as we headed off to visit my grandmother in a neighbouring town. As a teenager, it was incomprehensible to me at the time that anyone would turn what could be a quick jaunt into a ninety minute tour through the countryside.
Understanding the lessons
It’s taken many years for me to understand what my mom was trying to teach me.
I’d always assumed that her decision to take the back roads was prompted by her dislike for driving on a multi-lane highway. What I know now is that it had more to do with a slower pace and room for conversation. Both chit chat and those deeper conversations that somehow seem to always take place in a car.
Or time to see the rolling countryside, passing through quaint villages, past farms that likely now no longer exist.
Or having a moment to take in the splendor of the turning leaves, perhaps a chance to catch one’s breath in an otherwise hectic day.
What my mom taught me is that we are often in such a rush to be where we have to be, to get where we are going, we forget that it is the journey that makes up our lives.
In all things that we rush toward, whether they are destinations or goals or your grandmother’s house, we sacrifice the opportunity to see the wonders along the way. Or the chance for a different path that may lead perhaps somewhere entirely unexpected.
Although my mother died many years ago, I still hear her voice in my head. It got me thinking about what wisdom I might have passed along to my own children.
I asked my now grown up daughters what life lessons I have taught them. They each shared a different one with a common theme.
My oldest daughter said that she has learned that asking the question “Do you live in a friendly or hostile universe?” is a helpful way to reframe how she is looking at things when they aren’t going the way she expected. I actually borrowed that wisdom from Albert Einstein and passed it along to her.
Her sister said the thing that stands out for her is that happiness is a choice. Apparently she continually repeated that to her university roommate when life seemed a little challenging.
And on a recent extended trip to South America, my youngest daughter acknowledged that sometimes mothers actually do know a thing or two. She posted on Facebook:
“I hate when my mother is right. The universe sometimes surprises you by hiding some pretty cool stuff within frustrating and inconvenient situations. Like when delayed flights, emergency landings and missed connections turn into the opportunity to meet wonderfully kind people and to catch a ride out of the jungle on a private plane.”
It seems that the common theme is that how you think about things creates your reality.
I definitely do believe that. Thoughts are just thoughts. If the current ones are not helpful or empowering then a shift in thinking is needed.Thoughts are just thoughts so if the current ones are not helpful or empowering then a shift in thinking is needed. Click To Tweet
It’s nice to know that is one of the messages I have taught my daughters as they travel life’s journey.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said that:
We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.
When we allow our spirit to guide us, and yes our mothers sometimes, we become more mindful of our human journey and all that this amazing ride has in store for us.