Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mental Illness

I did a reading for a lovely woman recently who had lost her sister.  I'll call her sister Jenny and I'll call my client Grace.

ME: "Jenny says she's with your mother.  Did your mother have a mental illness?"

GRACE: "Yes.  She was in and out of mental homes most of our childhood."

ME: "Jenny is saying that mom's mental illness has been lifted. She's showing me a clear plastic casing around your mom that was lifted off of her upon arriving in heaven.  Jenny's smiling because she says it's such a joy to finally get to know your mom as she really is.  Your mom is really a lovely soul, a very bright light."

I could tell Grace didn't know what to make of what I was saying.  I tried to explain it to her the way Jenny and my guides were showing it to me.

ME: "If you think about it, didn't your mom and her behavior make you a better person?  You're incredibly strong, you can endure and face many challenges, you're independent and you definitely know how to stand on your own two feet. That is your mom's gift to you.  She chose to incarnate with this mental illness to teach you these lessons.  It's really quite a sacrifice on her part."

GRACE: "I never thought of it that way."

Neither had I.  It still amazes me as I sit here writing this.  I wonder if it's true for all mentally ill people or just some?  I don't know.  All I know is that Grace and Jenny's mom is a highly evolved soul who chose to live a life of chaos and pain just to teach these ladies some very important and difficult lessons.

I really believe that we're all here to learn one thing -- LOVE -- in all its many facets: joy, passion, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, surrender, trust and on and on.  I love my job because I learn so much from every reading.  And most of what I learn leads to more questions.  Why do we have to learn lessons the hard way? I mean I get that we have to experience something ourselves to truly understand it.  Pretend, for example, that you have to explain to an alien what Christmas is.  You could show the alien It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, even A Christmas Story and read all the books on Christmas, but the alien wouldn't really understand Christmas until he smelled the scent of fresh pine trees, felt the joy of giving and receiving gifts, experienced the solemnity of a Christmas service, put out a plate of freshly bakes sugar cookies for Santa and smelled the freshness of the first snow. I get that.  But I still wonder, couldn't Grace and Jenny have learned the lessons of strength, forgiveness, compassion and independence in gentler ways than a childhood lived walking on eggshells?

And what kind of love, strength and compassion does the soul of the mother need to have to agree, volunteer even, to live a life battling this mental illness just to teach her daughters these lessons?  Amazing.

I will forever enjoy the journey of seeking, the mystery of not knowing and the joy of experiencing it all.

Perhaps Rainer Rilke says it best:

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart.  And try to live the questions themselves.  Do not seek the answers that cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing, live along some distant day into the answers."


  1. What an amazing encounter. And how lucky for us that you're sharing it with all of us out here in blog world. I feel so uplifted and humbled to think that a person w/a mental illness chose that particular life's path as a sacrifice to teach her own children some very important lessons like independence and strength. It puts a whole new light on things.

  2. Wow. Thank you for this post. It sure does put a whole new light on things. Maybe, in addition to recognizing that the difficult things in my life have given me opportunities to grow, I can also realize that they are gifts of love from one soul to another.