Dark Night of the Soul (7) – A SOPHIE sequel: Mirabai Starr’s “Yes” in parenting

(meet Sophie and her Ma in this prequel)

Yesterday, Sophie brought home her very own mule, the pretty one she had been eyeing at the livery since it appeared there 3 days ago. Her ma co-signed the moneylender’s contract. Today, Sophie steered her wagon through the estate’s gate, towed by the handsome beast. It was just a few hours before her shift at the weaver’s shop—her only sources of coin to make her debt payments…

Sophie stormed out of the shop before her shift even ended, exasperated by the intolerable state in which the morning laborers had left her loom, jeopardizing her job, and all of her debts linked to its wages.

…Sophie’s ma said her piece about the consequences if the shop’s supervisor sacked her for good. Ma doesn’t think that, as her mother, she needs to repeat herself: If she ‘feels’ her daughter right, Sophie, though stubborn and single-minded, gets it the first time, almost as if it were her own idea. So now they wait, to see where the marbles fall. To see if her daughter can rise to the maturity the occasion demands and retain her job at the shop, or take a new path. Ma will hold her own tongue and not dilute her initial words, despite how excruciating it is to resist more preaching. Sophie must find her own way, and Ma must let her.

Parenting is neither a test of wisdom, nor of patience. Parenting is a test of both, and more. Above all, parenting is a test of love.

Ma is thinking to herself:

“…This is not the first or the hundredth parenting challenge you have faced. If you actually — and not imaginarily — followed your heart to the counsel offered your daughter, it’s time to learn what being true to yourself means. Practice what you preach. You are not in control…

“The One who is in control has big plans for your mutual child. And people keep telling you how wonderful your child is so that you don’t have to rely on your self doubt. She will be OK..

“She’s in that One’s hands—-the One asking you to help, by acting first and foremost from the love that the One planted in your heart, so that you can recognize that you too are that One’s child.”

Love in the moment.

Sophie’s ma hopes that in every moment she can keep — as Mirabai puts it — saying Yes to that One’s love and example (read).

Meet Sophie and her Ma in this prequel.

Dark Night of the Soul (0) – Resources & Recommendations

Neil D. 2020-06-28


(by Kathy C.)

Soft, wet
It rises, it falls
It lingers, it vanishes
It cleanses, it nourishes
Like love

Light, translucent
It clings, it dissipates
It hovers, it crawls
It embraces, it releases
Like love

Dense, opaque
It protects, it preys
It endures, it fades
It comforts, it exposes
Like love

It is dew
It is haze
It is fog
Like love

It comes at dawn
It comes at day
It comes at night
Like love

Layered, cyclical
Ordinary, phenomenal
Predictable, mysterious
Like love

[Kathy C. 2020-06-24]

Pride is tricky. Best a mystery of love

There is a dark side to pride. Even pride in our child. Every child wants their parents to be proud, but why?

Pride is tricky. Perhaps pride in the good sense is a love or happiness for someone beloved to us.

When a child behaves badly in the presence of others, a parent feels shame. That arises from the ego because we think of the child as an extension of our self—a reflection of the values we impart to our child, and its negative judgment in this instance. Isn’t that a flipped peril of pride? When we are proud of their accomplishments, are we also proud of ourselves in that sense?

Should we take pride in our work? It is a common ideal to give all credit to God, but there is a saying attributed to St Augustine, something like:
With God, we can; without us, God won’t.

And so indeed there is a sense in which we bear responsibility for all that we do, including opening ourselves to God. Should we be proud of that? I suppose so, in a careful sense. If we believe we have the freedom to choose, and we choose righteously. But I think that too is ripe with danger.

I do believe that individuals have freedom, but I also believe it is irresolvably mysterious for each. We are products of our past back to birth, and even beyond birth by the gently shaping hands of evolution. Just as no two individuals have the same DNA, no two individuals share the same life experiences that shape their emotional responses and states.

In the same person, childhood freedoms differ from adult freedoms. And surely we would not ascribe the same freedom to a victim of mental disease as we would to one less afflicted.

Is this question of pride a question of balance? Of moderation? As long as the ego remains “properly sized” in relation to the soul, perhaps the ego cannot help but feel some pride. The ego is our sensor that we are an independent agent in creation. Is pride its form of self-love? Is self-love not good? I think that self-love is good. I think that loving another is limited to an extent that self-love is limited, so self-love cannot be bad.

I like to think of ego as a child that needs the loving embrace of its soul. It’s OK to be proud of ourselves and proud of our children when that pride is an expression in the voice of the ego submissive to its soul. As if, in embrace, the soul whispers to its ego, “Thank you ego for making that happen.”
With soul, the ego can; without ego, the soul won’t.

Yes, pride might be as far as ego can go on its own. And it seems that should be OK. It is one of the countless forms of love. And as long as love is situated in the realm of mystery, it is authentic.

I think a mysterious realm of paternal pride is spoken of in this song:


Neil D. 2020-06-24