Monday, August 19, 2013

Like Honey Inside a Piece of Rock

Show your love. Don't hide it under a mask like honey inside a piece of rock. 

I hear this message often now. I heard this first from the mystic, Mata Amritanandamayi. Psychology authors also endorse this(James Pennebaker- in his book Opening up- the healing power of expressing emotions, talks of the value of expressing emotions by writing them). 

All my life, I had been growing inside a cocoon, not showing emotions, like the tennis legend Bjorn Borg who wore a steely mask on court, my teenage icon. I too learnt to wear a mask. Even if I felt like crying or laughing or showing anger, I wouldn’t. I might want to, but it was frightening to let go.

I understand most people do the same. There are very few who let go, and be their own selves, though we hear this advice often.

Nobody wants to be thought of as a crank.

This takes a heavy toll on our health—and our relationships. Fathers and sons never get to know each other really well, and to trust each other.

We are mortally afraid of having eye contact with our kith and kin for a longer duration, for fear of showing our inner selves, perhaps.

Marina Abramovic’s example
In this video, you can see artist Marina Abramovic. She talks of her mother who never hugged or kissed her, and never expressed any warm emotions. It was the height of the Nazi invasion of her homeland (then Yugoslavia), and the times were tough. Her mother did it because she did not want to ‘spoil’ her.

Sadly, Marina never got to experience a motherly hug or kiss even though she deeply craved for it all her life.

She grew up to become a pioneering new age artist, breaking down the concepts of traditional art.

Sometimes she ventured near the extremely dangerous. You can see the effects of her sad childhood in her performances. In an effort to transcend human barriers, she once enclosed herself in a burning Star of David, engraved on the ground. By the end of the performance, the intense heat and the noxious fumes from the gasoline rendered her unconscious. She was saved at the last moment by someone in the audience who noticed her lying still.

Now 65 years of age, she visits a relative in Belgrade in the video. In the course of the interview, the relative tells her the reason for her mother’s emotional aloofness and how her life was a sacrifice for her country and people.

Marina is shattered to learn that her mother was, in fact a very emotional person, who had been constrained by her conditioning. She had kept every single paper cutting of Marina’s performances, from the beginning to the day she died.

Unfortunately, Marina would see them only after her mother died. If only she had known, she would have related in a completely different way to her, and it could have prevented so much pain.

Nature resonates with her pain?

The part after 8:50 in the video is specially worth watching.

Marina breaks down at her Mother’s grave, and recites a few lines:

Dear Mother,
I didn’t understand you as a child;
I didn’t understand you as a student;
I didn’t understand you as an adult;
Until now, in my 66 years of life,
It (your love) starts shining in the full light,
Like the sun that suddenly appears behind grey clouds
After rain”

Let's not hold hidden our feelings for our loved ones. Just as loving thoughtful actions, a smile or a hug can also mean a lot.
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