By Suma Varughese May 2012 The task of caring for her paralysed mother unleashed a slew of life lessons, says Suma Varughese Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, seeker, latent crusader and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. Write to her at email@example.com The hardest challenges give you the most invaluable lessons. My own experience of caring for my paralysed mother for two and a half years until her death this February, has been a gold mine of growth. Perhaps the biggest and most important lesson is to balance give and take. In my relationship with my mother, she gave and I took. Naturally the karmic equation was overloaded in my mother’s favour and this, I believe, was one of the important reasons why my mother had to go through her long tapasya of paralysis while I ministered unto her. Of course she had her own karmas to settle too, or it would have been grossly unfair that she had to suffer so, simply so I could learn to give. I am now learning to balance the give and take in the rest of my relationships consciously. In consequence, I am becoming more self-reliant. The second lesson, and perhaps the one I most needed to learn, was to take care. Many years ago, I had shared in this very column (Martha and Mary) about my utter helplessness when my mother fell ill and how my Martha-like sister had to come to my rescue. What a huge transition to a point when I could take on the manifold challenges of taking care of a paralysed patient. I had to learn patience, devotion, vigilance, selflessness and unflinching commitment, focus and faith in myself. Today, as I find myself storing my winter clothes carefully, packing my suitcases with dedication, or supervising the cleaning of my apartment with vigilance, I marvel at the length I have travelled.The third important lesson is not to flinch from physical pain. I had always been okay with death but I feared the process of dying. My mother’s intense physical suffering gave me a graphic idea of how difficult the process could be, but by bringing it out into the open it enabled me to come to terms with it. I have now come to accept that for the growth of the soul, the body might have to undergo painful processes and that this is okay with the soul. I had seen the worst, and now I could accept it. But what helped me even more was a mail from a former colleague one month before my mother’s passage telling me that when she was sending healing for my mother’s soul, she had received a message from my mother to me. The beautiful message told me that my mother’s soul was very happy to be completing her ‘short-term course’. I learnt then that despite the suffering, the soul viewed it as an opportunity for growth. I have now come to accept that for the growth of the soul, the body might have to undergo painful processes and that this is okay with the soul. I too am learning to detach myself from the pain that affects the body and to prioritise the soul’s growth.Finally, I have also understood that when one fulfils one’s karmic duties to the extent of one’s capabilities, then one is richly rewarded. Ever since my mother’s passage, I have been getting many wonderful insights and teachings that are spurring my growth. Three relationships that had soured have come right once again, and many ties that held me back have been cut. The great karmic block that my relationship with my mother represented has dissolved and I feel as if I have been released to live my life fully. I wait with excitement to see how my life will now unfold.
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