I hate myself when I yell at the kids. Wait, let’s start again: I yell at the kids. And I hate it. Because in Focusing, we would like to notice things in the following manner:  a part of me is yelling at the children, and there is another part in me that hates it.

It doesn’t happen as much as it used to anymore, it seldom happens now, but still. When I am Focusing, I can also pay attention when exactly it is happening; for example, after five times that I ask them to get in the shower. To get off the phone. To take the dog for a walk. Sometimes, it happens when I am really tired and preoccupied and there is an endless number of complaints hurled at  my direction.

And then it happens. It just happens, like in a split second something or someone has taken over my jaw and vocal cords, and my mother comes out of me.

When Mommy roars
cation here

And then I hate myself. Sometimes it doesn’t happen at once – because I am still immersed in it; sometimes it takes time for these feelings – guilt, criticism, self-hatred – to bubble within and spill all over, like a greenish, sticky and ugly thing, and sometimes it happens right away after the scream comes out of my mouth. Wait, let’s make it even more accurate. Not a scream. A roar. Yes. there is a lion inside (not a lioness, oh no… a lioness is a mother. This roar doesn’t belong to a mother. What kind of a mother roars?) And this lion is so familiar. I have met him so many times in my childhood. A roaring lion, frightening, unexpected, incomprehensible. So of course I hate him. Of course I am disgusted with myself, in despair.

And then it happens. It just happens, like in a split second something or someone has taken over my jaw and vocal cords, and my mother comes out of me. And then I hate myself.

What else is in there?

So let us see what we had there: a (familiar) lion roaring at children, and green and disgusting self loathing.

And what else? I linger a little more with these two. I am able to look at them: the lion (it is mostly felt in the upper part of my thorax, throat and jaw) as well as this green yuck (which starts in the stomach, but takes over everything). And then I notice that there is something else there. I don’t see it yet, but there is something there, very small, around the heart. Something tiny, hiding, quivering. Its location is not random – it is right behind the lion. Yes, looking carefully at this tiny  barely visible thing, I can see it is hiding behind the lion.

I can’t see it yet, but if I listen carefully, I can hear it: “Look at me”, it is asking in a feeble, weak voice. I hear you, I tell him. I can hear that you are asking to be seen.

Boom! The lion sits down. Finally, he can rest a little. He is there, alert, watching what is going on, but he is no longer taut and ready to roar. The green goo in the stomach is relaxing and dissipating, as well. I stay some more with this tiny thing. I don’t see it yet; maybe it’s its essence, not to be seen,  yet to wish to be seen. I don’t know. I am just with it, listening to its feeble voice, and my hand is placed on my chest, so he can feel my presence.

To cry a river of mothers

And suddenly, I see something else: I see my mother’s lion, and her tiny thing behind it. A river of tears washes over me. My mother, a 20 year old girl who was already a mother to a child, and her aching body, and her silent husband, and her mother gone, and no one sees her, and no one hears her, no one is listening, no one recognizes her hardship, no one to takes her in his arms and tell her tenderly: I see how hard things are for you.

And the river continues, and there is her mother behind her, and I know, even though I have never met her, that she also had a tiny place that was begging to be seen, and a lion that roared – at my mother. I know that she was also a 20 year old girl who left her mother and sisters behind and immigrated to Israel, to this hot and strange place, with the teeth-breaking language and the strange customs. And her husband was silent too, and no one sees her, and no one hears. And going back some more, her mother before her, who raised five daughters on her own, who hid in the neighbor’s attic, when the soldiers came into town, and no one sees her, and no one hears.

I am crying a river of mothers.

A line of lions is standing before me – my legacy. Devoted lions, who are doing their job, doing it well, protecting a small, palpitating place inside a mother, scaring little boys and girls.

I went over to my lion and caressed his mane. Thank you, I whispered to him. You are doing your job, I can see that. And now, you can rest a little, I am here. I can now hear the one you are vigorously protecting, in whose name you are roaring. I can listen now, I said, and I promised to try very hard, despite the legacy, the habit and the difficulty – to continue listening.

A line of lions is standing before me – my legacy. Devoted lions, who are doing their job, doing it well, protecting a small, palpitating place inside a mother, scaring little boys and girls.