Navigating Emotions of a Mother

Self-Compassion Can Literally Save Your Life!

By: Dr. Manijeh Motaghy

May 17, 2018

This Mother’s Day was one of the most difficult occasions I’ve ever experienced. Most of you know that I lost my son less than a year ago. This was the first Mother’s Day without him. It was weird, somber.  I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I had no stories in my head to explain my mood. That’s what the Mindfulness practice does. No stories. Regardless, there were emotions of emptiness, feeling far away, distant, disconnected. I had to go see my own mother and yet it felt like I should remain home. I felt like crying but didn’t want to give in to it. It would be a lot of suffering I thought if I went there.

But then, as the day passed and my feelings became more and more hidden, it all broke loose. Driving home, a tsunami hit. Anger, sorrow, disbelief all crumbled on me. Here I am, a Mindfulness teacher, one who practices and teaches the Dharma and yet caught up. This is the life of a human being. Emotions are a part of our experience and existence. They appear even without a story or reason. You could be watching and guarding your mind/heart against tough emotions, but they can wash you away like a hurricane landing on a town on the shore. In those moments I think, May no parent ever experience such loss. It is out of order, confusing and biologically, neurologically and physiologically painful.

During such moments, the one thing that comes to my aid and frees me from the after effects of an emotional hurricane is the Mindful Self-Compassion.  In the face of such strong pain, grief and despair an awareness arises through the heart and witnesses the pain, grief and despair. It stands up tall and experiences, a deep desire to not suffer. The heart of awareness and compassion says, “I don’t deserve to suffer, I don’t have to suffer, I won’t take any reason no matter the circumstance and justify continued pain.” And it all stops.  I take one deep breath in, one deep breath out and stay perfectly here, still and quiet!

From my heart to all of you who have experienced loss in your life, any kind of loss, it could be the loss of a dear relationship – I say to you, be patient with your process. Let your own heart of kindness and compassion open, rise and stand for your own pain. Pay attention to and honor what you are in control of, which is your own inner experience. Feel the natural occurrence of an emotional tsunami and be willing to let it pass. Hanging on to the reasons for it only traps the pain. Talking about the experience over and over, telling the story of it, seeking sympathy, and complaining will only strengthen the pain and your feelings of being a victim of the pain.  It takes away your own power to be well.

Practice saying to yourself,

“I will not fight what I do not like. I will calmly change it. One breath in, one breath out. I will remain perfectly here, quiet and still.


With love and compassion,