One of the most powerful enduring memories I have of my daughter is when her birth mother placed her in my arms. New Jersey adoption law requires that a birth mother directly place her child in the arms of the adoptive parents under the supervision of the attending medical staff. This exchange took place just a few hours after she was born. Thirty-seven years later, the raw emotion of that moment still resonates deeply.
I am one very lucky dad. I have an extremely close relationship with my daughter. We speak 2 to 3 times a week. Sometimes, it is just a quick, I called to say hello, and I love you. Other times, she wants my advice. What more could this dad ask for?
It is well established that bonding between a mother and child starts in the womb. There is a psycho-emotional imprint connecting mother and child that becomes intertwined in the nervous system of a fetus. That neurological connection never stops growing, changing, and developing. It ultimately defines the depth and quality of a fundamental life connection—that of mother and daughter.
Like most parents, we created a family based on love. We provided opportunities to enrich our daughter’s life. She was always encouraged to explore interests that drew her attention and allowed her to find her unique expression. Yet, as she grew and was able to articulate her needs, a common theme became startlingly clear. There was a growing and profound sense of separation anxiety. We were perplexed. Where did that voice originate from? We were the only parents our daughter knew. That voice of loss overshadowed many of her experiences growing up. After extensive therapy, having her own family, and connecting to her birth mother at 37 years old, that sense of loss still lingers like a distant echo.
We all have our own origin story. The circumstances of our life as children continue to influence the outcome of our lives as adults. Circumstances of our childhood often significantly impact the story we create about our lives and what our internal dialog informs us about ourselves. How lovable and worthy we are. What we have to prove to ourselves as we move into adulthood. The partners we choose. That story can become a compelling self-narrative that consciously and unconsciously influences many of the decisions we make about our lives. And like most of us, we continue to invest in the “truth” of our story. Our minds are like an attorney seeking evidence to secure the validity of that voice.
How reliable is the voice in your head? How do we consciously take control of our self-narrative for a better, happier, more profound life? Or can you? How do we continue to grow into the best version of ourselves?
I need a community of people who will love me for where I am in my life. Friends willing to hold me hold me accountable to live the life I envision. Sometimes, I need a mentor, a spiritual teacher, and plant medicine. I need a constant reminder that all things arise from the Mystery that lives us. It is a never-ending process to deepen my sense of being and connection to the world I live in.
Amidst the chaos and uncertainty of life, I remain open to Grace and the gift of my life.
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