(I captured this image in my garden a couple of weeks ago)

Bless the daughters who sat, carrying the trauma of mothers. Who sat asking for more love, and not getting any, carried themselves to light. Bless the daughters who raised themselves.~ Ijeoma Umebinyuo in Questions for Ada

So many women tell me about the pain they feel from not being seen, heard, or understood by their mothers.

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I felt it.

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My mother felt it.

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And her mother, too.

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That pain comes from believing, deep down inside, that our mothers’ lack of seeing, hearing, and understanding means that there’s something wrong with us.

It comes from believing that our mothers should see, hear, and understand us.

It comes from comparing ourselves to women whom we believe are seen, heard, and understood by their mothers.

It comes from seeing our mothers’ unconscious dysfunction – their inability and unwillingness to see, hear, and understand themselves – and not yet knowing how to truly see, hear, and understand ourselves.

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There’s each individual woman’s pain and there’s the collective trauma that comes from thousands of years of living in a culture that does not value women equally. Our mothers carried the trauma of their mothers who carried the trauma who carried the trauma who carried the trauma.

The trauma that we picked up and now carry because we didn’t know it was optional.

The trauma that we handed to others when we were unconscious.

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For a while, I was unconscious to my story, but I clung to it and never imagined there could be a different one.

I let it hurt me…and then I let it ignite passion and purpose.

This is the gift of embracing trauma as a change agent.

Rather than believing that beauty could only exist in perfection and symmetry, I now know, deep inside, that beauty lies in shifting impermanence and imperfection.

I am not my fractures and brokenness – they don’t represent the end of my life but rather a moment in my history.

I choose not to hide my flaws from inspection, but rather to emblazon them with golden significance.

Repair requires transformation.

What is pristine and perfect is not better or more beautiful than what is broken. The amazing shape of me was impossible to see until I was fractured.

For me, writing is like the Japanese art of Kintsugi or “golden joinery.”

As I write about, embrace, and accept my wounds and my brokenness, joining the pieces of me with words of gold, I become more beautiful than my original perfect self. ~ from my Liberty Story

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Here’s what I know, because I have experienced it: compassion transmutes the wound from being a source of suffering into a source of wisdom and creativity.

Compassion allows the pain to be the pain. It doesn’t deny it. It doesn’t tell us to get over it. It doesn’t gaslight us.

We simply stop making the pain mean something bad about us. Our mothers didn’t have access to the wisdom that shows us how to do this.

We do.

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Compassion is how we re-mother ourselves.

Compassion is how we raise ourselves.

Compassion is how we carry ourselves to light.

Compassion is how we heal…and consciously choosing to heal individually is how we will heal collectively.

I am grateful that I get to carry myself to light.

Are you?

Much, much love,

Karen

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#1 it’s a place where I share brand new writing (I’m working on my next book, tentatively titled “A Letter To The Daughter I Chose Not To Have”)

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