If We Stay on The Surface . . . We End Up Suffering and Creating More Suffering . . .

Part 3:  A Mother’s Love and Truth

I have been writing about the consequences of our staying on the surface in the outer world and not doing the deep work, each of us in our inner world – the place from which what occurs in the outer world springs.

It seems to be such a difficult thing for people to comprehend and believe the fullness of the effect of inner on outer . . . and to commit to exploring, discovering, working with and healing the inner in order to create a healthier outer world.  As a result, starting in March, I began teaching in relation to a few arenas in our world where the interplay between the inner and outer is more obvious than others. This month’s theme is about the inner and outer aspects of the day created to celebrate motherhood and mothering.

In the United States, we just celebrated Mother’s Day.  Actually, Mother’s Day is worldwide – just not always in May. It is a day with many meanings and intentions to different people. For some it has nothing to do with mother; it is a Hallmark event in that it’s a real money maker – for Hallmark and other card makers, florists, restaurants, and who knows what other businesses.   For many, it does have to do with mother, but it is not the picture perfect event that Hallmark cards and movies portray. To some, it’s a day to be full hearted – to thank mother for her love or to be thanked with genuine appreciation. To some it’s a time to be broken hearted – to grieve that mother never loved them – at the very least, not the way they needed to be loved. Or a day to grieve that their mothering is not seen, felt, acknowledged, appreciated and that they are perhaps forgotten.

For some people Mother’s Day is a day to just “make nice” in the family and pretend, to purposely play “as if.”  For others, it’s a time to live unawares in the illusion and denial that everything’s fine in their idealized “wonderful” family – while the poisons of unhealed wounds are rumbling within – deep in the underground of each individual and deep in the underground of the family circle. Rumbling within and certain to seep out, erupt out, explode out into the family environment, and even from the family out into the world  . . . just like gasses from our earth’s underground seep out, erupt out, and explode out into the world.

There are those for whom Mother’s Day is a day to attempt to repair the wounds that exist between mother and child – as a result of the wounds inevitably passed down from one generation to the next, and finally to their own. Sometimes the repair is successful. Sometimes barely.  Sometimes not at all. This all depends upon how conscious and committed the people involved are in the process of healing and the process of repair – within themselves and with those around them.

Did you ever think about this? About the impact Mother’s Day has on so many people? When you say “Happy Mother’s Day” to someone, do you wonder how it really affects that person? When you don’t say “Happy Mother’s Day” to someone, do you wonder the impact it has?

Nothing is as simple as we try to make it. We are very complex human beings. And if we don’t come to know ourselves – even on a day like Mother’s Day – how are we going to know what we are capable of? On our own?  In relationship with others? On a daily basis?  During important moments of decision?  In challenging times? When we come to a crossroads? When we have crucial choices to make? How are we going to know the best of what we are capable? And create it? How are we going to know the worst, the most destructive of what we are capable? And heal it, prevent it?

If we are not truly conscious of the relationship we have with our mother – not just the one today, not just the one we remember, but the one that is still alive, though perhaps buried deep, within us from so young in our lives that perhaps we didn’t even yet have words or word-thoughts . . .

If we are not deeply aware of the relationship we have and have had with our mother – and the many feelings, reactions, coping mechanisms, defenses we developed in response . . .

If we haven’t worked with our relationships with and responses within us to our mother . . .

How will we really understand how our relationships are with other people in our lives today?  How will we really understand why we have the feelings, reactions, coping mechanisms, defenses we have in our lives today . . . in response to others, in response to ourselves, in response to our calling, in response to life itself?

And how will we find a way to heal what needs to be healed within us to become all that we have the potential to be? How will we find a way to give our gifts to our world and to life?  How will we find a way to truly help in our world . . . rather than helping as a defense?

A mother who is unaware of and disconnected from the experience of and consequences of her own relationship with mother . . . might try to keep us from such an exploration. A connected, loving mother would want us to do such an exploration, would encourage us, and would teach us how. A disconnected mother might not want to know how she may have hurt us unconsciously from her own wounding. A loving mother would want to know and make repair. A disconnected mother might let her children do whatever they want . . . under the guise of love. A disconnected mother might force her children to do what she wants . . . unaware she’s trying to get them to soothe the pain and fear of her own young experience. A truly loving mother would want to join her love with truth and help her children learn how to do the same.  She would want to help her children treat her, each other, others, and themselves well. She would make sure they knew that loving them does not mean condoning or allowing abuse as a mask of love. She would make sure they knew that loving them does not mean punishing, depriving, or abusing them under the guise of love.

A truly loving mother would want to teach her children about their feelings, giving them a safe space to feel and express their feelings, teaching them as they grow how to express their feelings safely and responsibly, how to utilize them for health and healing.

A truly loving mother would want to teach her children about cause and effect, so they can learn from the inside out that their actions have an effect . . . that even their thoughts and feelings have an effect . . . on others and on themselves as well.

A truly loving mother would want to teach her children about positive mutuality, in which there is a positive intention from both people in an interaction . . . in which there is an intention for each to be in love and truth and to find a solution from that joining.

A truly loving mother would do her own inner healing work in order to heal within herself and in order to be able to help her children do the same . . . and in order to help our world do the same.*

© Judith Barr, 2013.

*Almost everything said above about mothers and Mother’s Day could also be said about fathers and Father’s Day.



As we wind down from our celebration of Mother’s Day, take some time to reflect on what true “Mother’s love” means . . . and to explore your own relationship with motherhood, your own mother, and, if you have children, your own mothering.

When you were a child, were you given the help and guidance to explore and truly feel your feelings? Were you given the space to reveal when you were hurt by your mother’s (or your father’s) unconscious wounding?  What was your own mother’s reaction to such a revelation? Did she commit to do her own inner healing and to make repair over the hurt she caused? Or did she deny the hurt, and try to defend against the pain both of hurting her own child and the ancient pain within her that led her to hurt you?

Be aware of the feelings that rise within you when you remember your own early experience of mothering and your experience with your mother . . . When in the current day do you feel the same way? And who in your present life is connected with those same feelings? Onto whom in the here-and-now might you be transferring those feelings?

If you are a parent . . . explore how those feelings may affect your feelings about, thoughts about, and actions towards your own young children. What feelings from your childhood might you be transferring onto them? Do you give them the guidance to explore, feel and heal their own feelings, and not to act out on them? And how do you feel when they are hurt by your unconscious wounding ? Do you deny their hurt and defend against your own pain? Or do you make repair and commit to do the inner work necessary to heal those wounds, so it no longer affects your relationship with your child?

The greatest gift a mother can give her child, on Mother’s Day or on any day, is to explore and heal her own inner wounding . . . in order to be able to offer mothering and guidance to her children that comes from the joining of love and truth.


Today is the day of the Winter Solstice. It’s the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Today, December 21, 2012, it is also the one week anniversary of the tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Perhaps we can help ourselves, each other, and those who live in Newtown by looking at the healing process through the lens of the Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice is the darkest day. But when the little ray of light shines through into the deep darkness on that day, it is also the beginning of the light’s growing again in the days, weeks, and months to come (and in the case of a tragedy, years to come). At the beginning, the growing light is imperceptible. But even after it becomes perceivable, there are long, dark days of cold, of hardened ground, and of snow and ice to come.

The turning from winter’s darkest day to the birth of spring is a long, deep time within and underground. Nothing external can really hurry it. It has its own timing, its own pace, its own rhythm. If we allow ourselves to go through the process – instead of trying to jump out of it, go around it, rise above it – we, too will come out in a new birth of life . . . each of us in our own rhythm and pace, not compared to anyone else’s. It will be a different life. A life that has gone through a death and a rebirth. But if we commit to the passage and get the help in the passage, it will be a time of transformation with new strengths and gifts to live and bring to life.

It is my deepest prayer that each of us will allow ourselves to go through the pathway of healing modeled by our Earth’s seasons.

Many heartfelt blessings . . .


Independence Day is fast approaching. On that day we celebrate our declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776 and our independence as a country today.

As independent as we are in relation to many countries in the world, are we really independent? We could seek answers to this question through many lenses. Today we will choose one.

In my mind and heart, we are not independent as long as we suffer needlessly and as long as we cause needless suffering to others. Now there is some suffering that is simply part of life. And others where it’s a delicate balance.

If lightning strikes someone’s home, simply as a result of natural causes and no negligence on anyone’s part, causing damage to the home and maybe someone in the home . . . that suffering might be so very painful, while at the same time it was from a completely random act of nature. On the other hand, if there is a flood, which causes untold suffering to thousands and thousands of people, and the flood isn’t simply an act of nature, but rather the result of negligence on the part of people and groups whose job it was to keep dams and levees in good, safe, working order . . . then that is needless suffering. I know even with my explanation this is still very delicate. I invite you to stay with the essence, though, and not get lost in the details.

How do we know if we suffer needlessly? If you were wounded as a child – let’s say through abuse or neglect, or even lack of awareness by the one who wounded you – and repair was never made, and you haven’t consciously, purposefully, safely worked through the wounding and its impact on you . . . you are suffering needlessly. And in addition, you are likely wounding others by not working through your own experiences, thus causing them needless suffering.

If we don’t feel our suffering and work with and through it, we will definitely cause suffering . . . needless suffering. Here’s an example that has reflections in many ages . . . how many people and groups have tried to prove that certain others don’t feel, don’t suffer? Too many!

There are many who would use or have used – or misused – science to try to prove this. Meaning to try to prove their own prejudices. Meaning trying to defend their own disconnection from feeling and reality. But how many times and ways has that been done before? What about the argument that Black skinned people have no ability to feel, which was put forth in the days of slavery and beyond . . . and proven wrong? What about the assertion that Jewish people have no ability to feel, used by the Nazis during the holocaust . . . and proven wrong? What about the argument I’ve heard from people whose parents justified their abuse of their children as babies, saying they’re just babies and don’t feel or remember anything? This argument, also, is inaccurate! And what about those who experiment on animals, saying the animals have no ability to feel or would not be able to remember the pain they feel . . . an assertion that evidence is refuting more and more.

What about the Milgram experiment at Yale, in which people (all adults) were urged by “an authority” to inflict pain and suffering on someone (even though the person on the other side was an actor and wasn’t really receiving the shock)? As the result of their own unhealed wounding, the unwitting subjects of this experiment were capable of following orders that caused what they believed wholeheartedly was blatantly needless suffering on total strangers. Perhaps they were afraid of suffering needlessly at the hands of the “authority.” Or perhaps they were afraid of feeling the suffering (from long ago) that not obeying that authority would trigger inside them.

Claiming that some don’t feel pain and suffering has gone on before and continues to go on in our world today, sometimes in blatant ways and sometimes in subtle ways. Anyone who believes others can’t feel pain and suffering is not in reality. Anyone who believes others can’t feel pain and suffering is not in truth. Anyone who tries to teach adults or children that live beings don’t feel suffering is dangerous.

In addition, and this may not need to be said, but I feel called to make sure it is said . . . People who respond to the needless suffering they experience by making sure others experience needless suffering, too . . . destroy the independence they may long for, and the independence we long for, too.

On July 4th, our country will celebrate its independence . . . but we must ask ourselves, “Are we truly Independent?”

Independent? I don’t think so. We cannot truly be independent as long as we don’t heal our own needless suffering, stop inflicting needless suffering on others, and lastly … help those who are suffering needlessly find their way to healing that needless suffering, too. We cannot be truly independent until we are as sure as we can be that none of us experiences needless suffering.

What will you do to heal the needless suffering within yourself, the needless suffering you may cause to others, and by so doing, the needless suffering all over the world?

© Judith Barr 2011



This Independence Day – before, during, and after whatever festivities you have – take time to deeply explore the meaning of Independence . . . and how to heal the wounding inside you to help bring about independence for yourself and our world . . . independence from needless suffering.

How have you suffered needlessly throughout your life, and from what wounds did this suffering inside you emerge? Explore the painful parts of your life – going back as far as you can – and allow yourself to feel, as much as possible, the suffering you carry with you from long ago.

How have you caused others to needlessly suffer? Again . . . explore those times in your life where you have caused pain to others, and feel the feelings that go along with those memories.

If you feel called to share what you find inside yourself, I would welcome and honor an email from you.

Together, we can bring about a deep independence, one that not enough of us aspire to, in our own lives and in our world . . . if we are willing and open to explore and heal the roots of needless suffering in our lives and in our world!


Today is July 4th. Independence Day.
Yes, it celebrates our independence from Great Britain in 1776.

But we have a misunderstanding about independence . . . true independence.

And we don’t seem to learn. In fact, we don’t seem to want to learn.

We think as children we have to rebel against our parents to be independent. But how independent are we if we are rebelling against someone? No more free, really than if we are complying with someone . . . because there is that someone to whom we are reacting. This is true whether our parents support us to become ourselves or control our growth, imposing themselves upon us.  Either way, at some point we need to find our selves on the inside, not as a reaction to someone or something else.

When will we ever learn?

We think as a nation that we have to war against other nations to be independent, that we have to free ourselves from other nations. Our use of oil is a prime example.  If long ago, when we realized the damage our use of oil was doing to our earth, our home . . . if then, instead of denying it, instead of fighting it, instead of taking our slow time making changes, we had found a way to live healthier – healthier for us, each other, and our Mother Earth – we wouldn’t have had to turn the truth into a fight for freedom against other countries, other peoples, and even our own land and peoples.

When will we ever learn?

We do not have to become independent from other people, other countries. We need to become independent within ourselves … free to know and live the truth, and free to be in relationship with others (as different from isolated). Free to be the truth of who we are, with integrity and compassion within ourselves and with and for others.

When will we ever learn?

We cannot do this from the outside in. Our efforts to do so will not last. The only way to do this and sustain it as a way of life, is to do it from the inside out. To go back to the place we went awry – even as long ago as our early childhood – and do the inner healing to redevelop ourselves as Selves. Then we can be truly independent and inter-dependent. Then we can be truly free.

When will we ever learn?

May we use this Independence Day to make a commitment to real freedom, and take the next step toward fulfilling that commitment. 

May we find our way to real freedom . . . from the inside out.

May you find your way to real freedom . . . from the inside out.

©Judith Barr, 2010

* The title of this blog post is based upon a line from Where Have All The Flowers Gone  words and music by Pete Seeger performed by Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger ©1961 (Renewed) Fall River Music Inc All Rights Reserved.