I am an experiential learner. I love to try new things. To combine different processes. To learn and challenge what I think I know by expanding upon the things I learn along the way.
I don’t follow instructions well. I don’t walk trodden paths with comfort.
Creating the altered book journal, “My Mother’s Prayers” has been a gift and a learning experience.
When I began, I thought I’d just be using my mother’s prayer cards as emphemera on each page. I wanted to honour her and to somehow enshrine her cards in a way that would preserve them, and perhaps enlighten me as to her true nature.
I have been blessed.
The cards and the process has become so much more than just a ‘task’ or an art project.
It’s become enlightening, nourishing and healing.
I always balked when my mother said she’d pray for me. I thought her prayers were a judgement of me. I thought she was praying for me constantly because she thought I was a horrible human being, an awful daughter, sister, mother, person.
In working with her prayer cards, in allowing myself to be present to the images, their messages and to the process of creating each page with a loving heart, I am discovering a new perspective.
Her prayers weren’t a condemnation of me. They were the only way she knew how to express her love.
It’s one of the many things I love about the creative process. An idea sparks something and from that ‘something’, new awareness, insights, understanding blossom as I deepen into being present within and with whatever is unfolding.
In this case, I feel a deep, soulful shift within. No longer do I experience her prayers as a condemnation of my human condition, I am being gifted the experience of hearing them as her way of saying “I love you and want always the best for you.”
There was a deep gulf of misunderstanding between my mother and me. One of the things she often said to me was, “Why can’t you be more like the others? [my brother and sisters] Why do you have to do it your way?”
She struggled with my experiential learning essence. She feared for me constantly because I love to push limits. To test boundaries. To challenge what is in search of what is possible.
For me, it is just my way. To my mother, I was always in danger. And mothers are hardwired to keep their children safe. I realize now how often she must have felt helpless – she couldn’t keep me safe if I was constantly putting myself in danger.
My mother’s way was scary to me. I didn’t want to walk her path. And in being so vocal and I admit, obnoxious about not wanting ‘her way’, I wasn’t able to give her what she wanted most — peace to walk the path she was on, trying to keep her family safe by engaging God with every step. She wanted to live deeply embedded in her faith. I didn’t want any of that!
And I smile.
In retrospect, (though I thought I was being pretty random) I realize that it is no accident that the book I chose to use for this altered art book journal is called, “Contentment: A guide to finding the path to peace of heart..” The closing quote is from Henry David Thoreau, “Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
Most of my life I kept fishing for my mother to tell me she loved me — My way.
In creating this journal with her prayer cards, by being present to their beauty and their gifts, I am discovering my mother always loved me the best way she knew how — Through her prayers.
What a beautiful gift.