I have come to realise that everything in life is a full circle – all experiences are to be lived and experienced right here in this life.

A bit about me: We are a family of 4 (a daughter, a son and husband). The roller-coaster of life has taken me to the heights of happiness, contentment and also dropped me into the abyss of disenchantment with suicidal tendencies.

Coming from a background of a divorce and a daughter to rear, I consider myself to be a ‘tiger mom’.  I have always tried to protect my daughter from all the stuff I was exposed to as a child — sexual abuse, familial abuse and guilt, unbearable expectations and the crushing weight of the world on shoulders from a very young age. The abuse continued well into my teens and has left me with a deep feeling of guilt, shame and inability to connect at a deep level — maybe some trust issues, to say the least.

As time goes by, there is a feeling of disengagement and a feeling of a vacuum. I am often left wondering if this what I came here to experience? What is my North Star? In search of this, and trying to make sense of this crazy world, I have gone to many gurus for that elusive sense of peace and contentment. Finally, after what seems like many dalliances with many gurus and teachers, I seem to have found my place under the sun — with you, my Black Lotus community.

From the first time that I heard Swamiji and read his works, something just clicks into place within me and I knew that this was what I had been desperately searching for, those many long years. The tears that coursed down my face as I read Swamiji’s memoir, listened to the YouTube videos and the virtual retreats — still resonate with me today as it did the first time that I experienced them. I confess, there are days when I don’t open the app or do the meditation, but I always feel welcomed when I do come back.

I am at times a stranger in my own family. My children, who I thought as my own and extensions of my being, heart and soul, question, fight and argue with every dictate and every thought. Nothing comes easy and I am beginning to see that now, playing out amidst my beloved family. It is painful to see the change and I have to be gentle with myself and remind myself that this is also an experience that I need to undergo for my growth.

When I view my younger self, I am reminded of all the instances when I was headstrong, opinionated and angry. I blamed my mom for not protecting me from all the dark world of abuse and also the world at large for treating me as such. All of this was a sure recipe for disaster when I married young (just as a means to escape my world) without fully understanding the implications and responsibilities that goes into a marriage. Sure enough, we parted ways amicably but not without causing pain to my daughter who was very young then. 

When I see my mother, who is ailing and is bedridden hallucinate, shout and scream in agony or in fear, I have to remind myself that this is also an experience which I have to undergo to learn.

I thought I should try harder to keep it all together, but now I am ok to let it go and not feel compelled to make it `right’ for me and everyone. My prayers to the divine are only to bring about a feeling of peace, warmth and love. To touch everyone’s lives and make it even better.

I don’t know if I will ever get a chance to meditate and become a better version of myself in this life — so that I get to see and experience the divinity that surrounds this existence.  My hope and prayers are to remain part of the Black Lotus community, and continue to share my ruminations and thoughts with you all, and maybe one day, get an opportunity to be initiated by Swamiji in this life, and learn from the feet of the Master, on the best way for me to chart this life for me, and to wholly and unconditionally accept the things that I can control, and the things that I cannot.

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Uma Vinay Kumar

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