Ego and the death of my mother

no desires presence lotus

presence no desires, nothing left to prove lotus

One year on, and all I care about now is Being Here and nowhere else

I’ve written in the past about the death of my mother, most recently here:

It’s now a little over a year ago and I’ve noticed that her passing from my life has had a quite unexpected impact on me.

In the weeks and months leading up to her dying I’d tried to imagine what life would look like after the event. But no matter how hard I tried to imagine that future, it was as if I was looking at a black screen of a big television that wasn’t turned on, just a big black flat nothing. My imagination simply wasn’t able to create a picture of life without my mother in it.

And then, a couple of months after she died, I suddenly realised I was now on the other side of that big black screen and that, surprise surprise, life on the other side of the television looked very much like normal, life goes on.

People asked me how I was and how I felt, and if I missed her a lot and I wondered about that myself.

And the answer I generally gave, was that I felt at peace with how she’d died and how we had been able to complete our journey in life with each other and how much time and attention I’d been able to give her and the process, and I was ok, quite good even.

Don’t speak too soon

A little voice on my shoulder kept muttering things under it’s breath like: “Don’t you speak too soon”, and “I’ll talk to you in a while, you’ll think different then”, but it all sounded fairly harmless and I didn’t pay it too much more attention.

But now, a year later, I’ve started wondering.

Most of my life I’ve been interested in doing things differently than everyone else. Break the norm, stand out from the crowd. Whatever field of endeavour I went into, I felt the urge to do things differently, whether that was in boat building, home renovating, coaching or in any of the many other things I’ve occupied myself with in my life.

It’s always been Projects (with a capital “P”). Projects have excited me and kept me interested and moving. But I’ve noticed something change inside me this past year. And it might lead one to think that the little voice on my shoulder was right to be concerned after all.

My Ego-Projects

You see, I now think of these projects as “Ego-Projects”… Projects that were designed to stroke my ego, to convince myself how special, clever, creative and different I really was.

Or …

Projects that were designed to show my mother how special, clever, creative and different I really was.

And now that’s she’s gone, it seems like I don’t feel the need to convince myself or my mother of anything anymore.

Projects hold no interest for me at the moment. All I’m interested in is Being.

Being with myself and Being in relationship with family and friends.

Tuesdays with the grandkids

I wrote about my wonderful Tuesday afternoons with my grandkids here and I get engaged when working with my clients and I love investing time in my friendships and in my relationship with Lady D, but I simply do not feel the need to go and do anything beyond that kind of Being.

For example. Some years ago I set myself a big Project, to be talking on a global TED stage by the time I was 65. (I wrote about that Project in November last year here). But now, I have zero interest in doing that anymore. Quite apart from the fact that it’s unlikely I’ll actually get to speak from a global TED stage, I’m simply not interested. I have better things to do with my life than chase after such a thing. And even if I were to get onto that stage, what then? What’s next? Election to the USA presidency? (oh wait, there’s a thought)

But it’s very strange, It’s a weird experience for me, unsettling. I’ve never felt like this in my life before.

On the one hand I think it’s actually really positive. What else could I ask for than to feel good about just Being, to want nothing else than to just Be. To be here and nowhere else with the people that matter to me? Free from striving, free from feeling pressured and free from feeling I have anything to prove.

But on the other hand, isn’t that also dreadfully close to being depressed?

Aren’t we meant to be striving, and achieving and making things happen, building stuff, creating stuff, developing stuff? Isn’t that what sets us apart from the monkeys?

Striving for Sgt Pepper’s

I suppose there is little doubt that if it wasn’t for human striving the Beatles wouldn’t have created Sgt Peppers, van Gogh wouldn’t have painted “Irises” (or cut of his ear), and Bill Gates wouldn’t have created his Foundation, but by the same token, all that striving has led to all the wars that ever were, to overpopulation and to global warming, to loss of bio diversity and to looming mass extinctions.


And then there is this little thing called: “The need to earn money” (To be honest you could easily argue, that writing blog posts such as this one, don’t fit in any kind of regular marketing strategy for my business. Maybe if my business was a meditation retreat, blogging about giving up all earthly desires might prove to be useful, but for a business coaching business?… Not so much)

So… It’s been a weird year since my mother died. I imagine the changes it’s wrought in me, will continue for a while yet.

I wonder where I’ll be a year from today?

I’ll let you know how I go.

3 comments on “Ego and the death of my mother

  1. Hi Mate,

    I know what your coming from My mum died also in 2016 it leaves a blank page somehow,
    We all get our turn its funny or maybe not having no parents and being 53 years of age suddenly.
    Surely we will have a coffee sometime again,Groetend

  2. I saved this link and just read it now – I’m on a long bus trip. This makes a lot of sense to me. I can’t imagine life without my mum. And I wonder how much of what I do – Doni do to please her or make her notice. It’s that phrase – to see ourselves in the eyes of others. You write so well. Maybe you are just a being writer?

    • Thanks Jaki, yes it’s quite amazing the impact they keep having all through or lives… I shudder to think of the impact I’ve had on my kids… What do you think your impact on M might be…. Aarrrrgggghhhhhh

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