Strength – yet another word that brings to mind a number of possibilities – but I didn’t have an ounce of inspiration about exactly what to express – my thoughts were scattered and fruitless. Then, the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri that has once again reinforced the polar opposite positions of our time became my inspiration. While not at all tragic – like the event in Ferguson and its aftermath – but certainly emotionally challenging for me – the formative years in my life were all about polar opposite points of view between my Mother and myself.
While I don’t remember the actual events that moved my Mother to say “I had been born with a stubborn streak and an independent point of view”, she clearly did and reminded me of it frequently. The first encounter was about baby dolls. She had wanted a daughter in the worst way for a lot of reasons but one in particular was about sharing dolls with me that she never had. Her father had died early in her life and her mother worked long hours cleaning houses just to put food on the table – so beautiful dolls were out of the question. When she gave me my first doll and I told her I didn’t want it, this was the beginning of many more disagreements about personal style, taste and really how the world in general operated.
While I loved my Mother dearly and still miss her after all the years that have gone by since her passing – while I admired her strength to be a working Mom long before it became fashionable – while I found her sense of humor and her laugh in particular could warm my heart – on many issues in life, we seemed to have opposite points of view that created a lot of frustration and friction for both of us which continued right into my early adulthood.
Fortunately I discovered astrology and really don’t have a clue how the rest of the world finds a way to overcome these differences without it. Astrology is a profound art form that I have studied for many years and can be an incredible road map for individual endeavors as well as relationship issues. When comparing my birth chart to my Mother’s, I discovered that we had many challenging aspects – lots of squares that bring friction and oppositions that operate just like their name implies. No wonder we had been “knocking heads” for years.
While it would be impossible to explain astrology in this short article I will try to convey a simple explanation. Basically, when examining my chart as it related to my Mother’s – the planets (our various types of experience), in signs (the flavoring element of our experience), in houses (where the experiences take place) were not at all complementary. While we all have a 360 degree or circle of experience as our background, our individual patterns are very different – a chart does not duplicate itself for over 25,000 years.
Well, the light bulb came on – there it was right before my eyes – we were both “right”. Based upon what our charts were saying, we were expressing our own personal uniqueness. Like the story about the blind men and the elephant, we each were “feeling” a different part, thinking that represented the whole. When I sat down to talk with my Mother about this, she “got it” immediately. From that point forward, we experienced our relationship with a kind of grace and ease that I will always cherish – not just tolerating, but embracing each other and all of our different and exquisite points of view.
So what does this have to do with strength? While it is fabulous to be aware and live from your own deep sense of conviction and strength, for me it is just as important to live with a sense of wonder and appreciation about other’s differences and unique strengths. It sure made me a lot more peaceful and happier with my Mother. While I don’t always live up to my own expectations applying this principle (after all I really can be stubborn), I do my best to bring it into all my relationships. Perhaps moving in the world with this in mind, might help you too – not only to be aware of your own unique strengths but also to let you have a more peaceful and happier heart while allowing diversity in others to flourish – may it be so!
– Linda Isbell / Columnist / firstname.lastname@example.org / (256) 764-1153
Linda was raised in the Midwest, graduated from Saint Louis University and hired into a corporate position with Reynolds Aluminum. She met, married and traveled with her husband for a number of years before moving back to his home place – The Shoals in Alabama. There Linda was introduced to life coaching and took to it like “duck to water”. Her empathetic nature coupled with a desire to help people help themselves; led her to and through a number of certifications, in different modalities. Linda currently practices as a Wellness Coach plying her trade in Florence, Alabama.