Monday, September 21, 2009

Separation, challenge and return


My son kept me regularly informed about his travels. He longed to reach the ancient Inca city and his dream came true. To reach the upper stony structures the visitor travels a narrow, winding paths bounded by rocky edges. Views of the surrounding landscape are breathtaking. The visitor arrives regularly at a stony platforms, that at above 4000m above sea level, affords gaspevoking views of the mountains that ring the ancient kingdom. The Inca culture suggest that paths should weave towards a final point, rather than running straight to it. The stepping stones are laid to ensure that a destination is approached slowly and thoughtfully. Gasping for a breath in the thin air ensure that a visitor takes time to reflect and take in the pace and mood, light and texture. These stepping stones were first steps my son took on his travels from his teenager's years to manhood.

My son noticed the desperation and poverty of the Native South American Indians. It reminded me when I was teenager I felt sory for the Gypsies living in my native country. I hope he too will try to see their world through their eyes, so he will connect to and understand of the world they live in. Hopefully he will mature knowing that there is no diffference between them, him and anyone else. I want him to believe that we are evolved enough to help each other preserve our uniqueness and culture and believe in oneness at the same time. Learning about cultures so different to his own was another stepping stone my son took on his travels from teenager's years to manhood.

All the little things and favours he has done to make their life easier really do matter. The most important thing is to have an open heart, free of prejudice, anger and self pity. I hoped his heavy heart opens up to a new world.

My son was alone in the vast South America he never visited before. Anything can happen to him. My advice was to follow his intuition and trust himself. And something happened.

Travelling should never be at the expense of good health, unfortunately a new food, a new environment and weather patterns as well as the harsh terrain take toll even on the experienced traveller. My son's drained vitality made him vulnerable to potential illness. On the 13th of August 2009 on his flight from Santiago de Chile to Europe he started to have a sharp abdominal pain, nausea, fever with chills and weaknesses. The IBERIA plane did an emergency landing in Asuncion in Paraguy because of his condition and he was brought to the E.R at the Sanatorio San Roque for assesment and treatment. They found out what happened, his appendix bursted and flooded the stomach cavity.

As a mother I knew that the challenge is upon my son and there is nothing I can do for him. Fortunatelly the IBERIA plane representative, Ilse embraced him as her own son. The members of the medical team of the Sanatorio San Roque especially Doctor Jorge Gomes did everything to save my son's life and they successeded. There is no better feeling for a mother than knowing that somewhere on the other side of the world, there are people of different language and cultural background, caring humang beings who looked after my son as their own.

We all suffer, we all expereince pain, loss and grief. At time, during this suffering we may become emptied to such an extent that we wonder what is left inside. The draining of our emotions and feelings, the hollow experience of emptiness can disable us, making it very difficult to recover, and yet recover we must. The life journey we are on is filled with difficulties to face, challenges to meet. My son, a patient experiencing suffering, pain and distress in unfamiliar environment surrounded by people whose language he could not speak, entered the last stepping stones on his journey from adolescent's to manhood. He learnt that troubles do descend to make our life difficult and painful but we do have the inner resources to transform them. Everything that comes to visit us is enriching in some way if we remain receptive.

SEPARATION, CHALLENGE AND RETURN - My son left and overcame his challenge but he is not ready to come back. I will wait for his return that may never happen. His life is not mine any more. He is untamed, beautiful and wild and once will mature to an unique individual, a warrior for a good cause, a warrior that can catch the sun with his bare hands, a warrior that we need.

An adolescent's journey into manhood

I want to tell you a story about my son's experiences with a passage to manhood. From birth to 7 years of age was his first passage when he started school in a new country, dealt with his first bullies and moved one small step away from me. At around 14 puberty started, his body changed and he asked me to be left alone. He moved one big step away from me. The next passage came when he was 18 years old and he started his university. Most traditional cultures around the world have ceremonies to mark these passages but in our times in the western world these passages are often ignored. Watching him to change I realized that manhood to boys does not come easily. Becoming a man takes many years and many teachers. Some men never reach the title of 'man'. Without appropriate change it is posible to remain a boy your whole life. Struggling to find his purpose and his fullfilment he packed his backpack one day and left. Loosing his sight in an overcrowded airport I realized that this is the modern version of the archetypal hero's journey. The separation for the first time. I hold back my tears not to embarass him. In front of my eyes flickered images from my teenager's years when studying in Russia I saw 18 years old boys draged from their theatrically wailing mothers to fight in Afganistan. Many of them fought for many years and came back broken men, physically and mentally injured men. My son does not need to endure the challenge of war to return as a real man. He is going to explore South America on his own and as a part of a group. I understood that I need to lose him and trust him if I want him to return. The change from mother-child to adult-adult relationship was critical for both of us. I hoped that when he finally comes back he will connect with his father's masculine spirit and mother's feminine tenderness, gain an apppreciation for family traditions, values and beliefs and begins to develop a vision of himself as a young man. I waved back a let him GO.
I can move on, focusing on my own growth. My boy is not mine any more. I release the young man to find his own path to happiness.


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