Saturday, April 29, 2023

This is my mother.

Shortly after her death back in 1997, I arrived for an artists residency in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California, joining three writers, three visual artists and two choreographers. It was kind of like a Noah's Arc for artists. In fact, a torrential rain storm came in one night, flooding the hillside as lightening and thunder crashed all around us, knocking out the lights and leaving us in darkness.

We gathered together in one room, and lit candles. And then, one of the visual artists came across a Ouiji board.

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After some amusing tries with the Ouiji board, the artist asked me if I wanted to try to contact my late mother.

Up until this night, I had spent most of my residency walking the trails and crying. I had a lot of questions that remained unanswered. My mother suffered from cancer, mental illness and drug addiction. In 1961 when I was seven, she was hospitalized in the Fairfield Hills Mental Hospital, given electroconvulsive treatments, insulin shock therapy,  hydrotherapy and Thorazine. 

When she came home after two months, she no longer looked like my mother. She had gained weight and her eyes looked funny. I remember thinking someone had switched mothers on me and I wanted my real mother back.

Even after her death, I wanted to know why this had happened. I wanted to know who she was, really. I wanted to know where she had gone. I wanted to know if I would ever see her again. And if I did, would she be that beautiful and sweet woman I remember before the mental hospital?

And so, I said yes and I held the planchette on the board and closed my eyes. I thought of my mother. Suddenly, the planchette glided across the surface, waltzing effortlessly from left to right, then right again, then gliding back before dipping and pausing before flying over to the far right side of the board, and coming to a complete stop, as if to say I'm exhausted. This is all I have to say.

Ah, but what she said was this:

Be Happy.

She did not answer any of my questions, but the message was a gift.

And it has stayed with me ever since.

Creative Friends, there are mysteries in your life. There are unanswered questions. There are memories that still haunt you, that keep you up at night wondering why? And how? And where? And what if?

Your creative assignment for this week is to let go of these questions, and open your heart to the unexpected answers that are hovering right there in the darkness, on the other side of your consciousness.

All you have to do is open your heart and mind. Be creative. And yes, be happy.



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