Thursday, March 31, 2011

The DNA of Apples

Today is the seven year anniversary of my mother’s death. I looked through a box of photos and letters and was struck in a new way at how much I resemble her, and how I'm not as frightened about that as I once was. This photo was taken at a place where she felt most in her element--in her home state of North Carolina on the beach at Nags Head. Thanks Mom, for the gams and girl parts.

Yes, there are many feelings that come up at this time, but no Hallmark sentiments here.

I am deeply grateful. If I had not had her as my mother I would not be the person I am today, have had the extraordinary experiences I've lived and survived, nor would I be able to assist others in their growth and transformation.

The old adage the apple does not fall far from the tree, reminds me that I am my mother's daughter, but instead of spiraling into despair, or having no other option than killing myself, I learned to make apple sauce, apple pie, apple martinis, apple butter and …vinegar. I'm in a dance with the DNA of apples.

As a medium I talk to dead folks. It's my experience that the dead know how we feel. They hear us, see us and sometimes observe what we're doing. In death they know the truth about what they did here on earth and often want to make restitution, or apologize. Their living victims are often upset about this, but when I am able to hear, see, or feel the details of some of these traumatic events and communicate on behalf of the perpetrator to the victim, the person who has been hurt has a choice to accept the apology or not.

For seven years I've told my mother that I was not interested in anything she had to say from the other side. I have felt her trying to impart information, not-so-helpful hints, and marriage advice (you can't imagine how funny that is). When she has shown up over these years it has always been in the kitchen--her domain. I've said, "No thanks. Not interested." But last night, I finally decided it was time to prayerfully invite my mother to communicate. I was ready to know if she "gets" the full impact of her actions. Does she understand the damage she caused, does she see her role in my life and what I've made of it, and can she see the healing that facing our wounds makes possible?  So last night I said, "I would be open to a sign from you, that we in fact we're making progress in each others' healing."

The first thing this morning I got a call from a business acquaintance, Kay, who called to tell me her mother died yesterday. She and I had lunch a few weeks ago to discuss my upcoming speach at a charity event. But as I told Kay before we even met for lunch, “We're getting together for something even more important.” I felt it was all about her mother, and more significantly Kay’s deep shame about how she really feels about her mother; the good the bad and the ugly.

Kay had a difficult time with her mother. She can tell me everything because I have no judgment about her hatred, upset, fear, sadness, frustration, longing, anger, love, and confusion about her mother--because I too have felt it all. These are feelings many women find hard to disclose because our shame is too overwhelming. No matter what our mothers' terrible actions were, our horrible guilt about our true feelings has reeked havoc in our lives. This denial made us whirling dervishes of caretaking, co-dependance, fixing, controlling, and cheer leading, and we became emotionally dishonest women.

I know the deep resentment and the pain so vile that I not only literally vomited it for years, but when internalized, I vomited my pain onto others. But real feelings are the truth, and that is gold--the treasure that comes from healing.

My life has been a navigation of all those feelings,  I am still doing the work to understand, feel and forgive. By facing the issues with her mother, Kay has just started an incredible journey that in time will transform her life and the lives of many others.

Our jails are filled with girls and boys who have been victimized by the wounding that their mothers and fathers inflicted on them. These children made poor choices out of being so hurt, and in turn, became perpetrators. They serve to remind us that we the wounded  need to find help to rehabilitate our bodies, minds and spirits.

The ripples of my mother’s toxicity still linger, however my mother's care givers have different stories to tell about the end of her life. She loved doctors, nurses, hospitals and being taken care of by strangers. This was something she deeply needed--to be cared for, but not by those closest to her. We who knew her the best and worked to love her were always at risk.

The carnage my mother caused because of her personality disorder and her choices pretty much ended our few family connections.

My older sister Deborah is an award-winning writer and poet. Her daughter is also an amazing writer, as well as an investigative reporter and healthcare and political advocate. I know these things not because we talk, but because I read about them in their publications. My sister and I write in separate voices to tell others what we want them to hear, see, or feel about our experiences.

The cognitive dissonance of the stories we all craft to keep our pain in place make our experience palpable for the wounded child inside us. But the child is screaming to grow up and only by going inside the pain can we get through it. Our souls crave this kind of truth even though the truth threatens "the story." The apple tree has been shaken and the fruit of the tree of knowledge is there for us to see.

My mother, now in Spirit, has the opportunity to see and feel differently. The work I have done on myself and continue to facilitate for others is unraveling the DNA of apples.

This is a photo of my mother Reinette Fries ( taken by my father Harold J. Fries) as she posed on a shipwreck in Nags Head N.C.  This was aprox 3 years before I was born.


Laurence said...

I've been cloaked in my parents toxicity and I don' t want it any more.

Darin said...

Your topic seems timely to me. The past 4 days have been thick with (treasured) memories of my departed mother and grandmother, to a depth and degree I have not before experienced. It seemed as if these feelings were themselves ‘timely’ or related to this particular little temporal expanse... and reading your essay highlights this.

Jim Boyle said...

Thanks for this Marla, you're getting there. YOU are in this story more than any other.

Natalie said...

I too, am a psychic/medium struggling with the roller coaster that was 'mum'.Your post was wonderful, and I am grateful for it. Thank you Marla.

Dennis said...

Thought provoking
Brings back memories
Heart string plucking
Take a deep breath and let it go
Let it go

Thanks for sharing

Mike Clelland! said...

My mother, now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's, has become something different.

The shell that holds her soul, her body, is still my mother when I look at her, and the voice is still hers too. But there is illogic in what she says and does.

There was much that she did in my youth that challenged me, and now all that is gone. There is a new challenge now, one with only my kindness as a response. I hope she will someday understand that I am doing the best i can.

Antonia said...

"Instead of spiraling into despair, or having no other option than killing myself, I learned to make apple sauce, apple pie, apple martinis, apple butter and …vinegar. I'm in a dance with the DNA of apples." HOW BRILLIANT AND FUNNY AND TOTALLY ORIGINAL, everything that describes wondrous Marla.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marla,
Thanks for the blog about your mother.
It takes courage to point out out mothers imperfections. Mothers love is supposed to be so pure and unconditional and often it is the opposite.
I know many people who were severely damaged by abuse from their mothers.
I have a lot of resentment about mine. She went to the Mother's School of Guilt, Narcissism, and Passive Aggression.
It took me a long time to figure out how wrong she was. I cringe at Mother's day. Mine is still around at age 91 and I got to a point where i could not send her a card at Mothers day because I felt like a hypocrite.
I wonder what it would be like if you could go to a Hallmark store and pick out a card that really described your mother, instead of the flowery stuff about how wonderful they are.
Also at the eulogy, how about telling the truth?
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we could?
Thanks for what you wrote.

Garland Landrith Phd said...

Hi there Marla...brilliant and.amazing hit it on the long as we think something is wrong and my mom is bad or I never had a good childhood because of what I went thru with my mom... then we are a victim!!!

Perhaps the ultimate answer to this whole dilemma is that if are truly quantum beings then we must have chosen to some extant the challenges we are currently going in a very real sense we are not victims! But how to do we realize our quantum destiny?

Or another way to frame this question is how do we change from being a victim to a co-creator? There is a simple answer to this problem... which is to change our brain pathways. Woops I guess that is not so simple. How can one change brain pathways if they are firmly established in our brain? And furthermore if Deepok and Bruce Lipton are correct when they state that most of our stuff is in our subconscious: how are we going to find it and heal it? And furthermore maybe a part of us feels safe where we are right now, so we secretly (in our subconscious of course) do not really want to change these brain pathways?

The conclusion is that changing these brain pathways must be easier said than done? A related question is how come positive thoughts do not work as well as they should? Perhaps Deepok and Bruce Lipton are right that it is these unconscious doubts born of old stuff in our childhood that comes between us, and the expression of these positive thoughts.

And yes I think you guess where I am going with this....if old brain pathways are the problem then we need an electrical solution....brain pathways are energetic patterns that can be changed by influencing the electrical patterns in our body. In particular I use Tapping on acupuncture points with ones finger to influence the brain wiring. And recent brain scans prove it works...

Hence we can indeed super charge our positive thoughts by using the body energies as a way to enhance our thoughts. By directly facing the feelings that we are having and tapping on the acupuncture points, this changes the energetic electrical patterns in our brain. In essence short-circuits the old brain pathway so we can then tap in new brain pathways that are healed and positive. Hence it also solves the age-old problem of why positive thoughts are not as effective as they should be. Oh by the way I have a crush on you Marla... you are glad you are on this planet at this time

Marla Frees said...

Yes Garland, I agree. Healing it takes a different frequency, one that is different to even look at it. To be neutral enough to not be victim or perpetrator. At 52 and with all the work I have done, I am crafting a memoir,the story morphing to understanding of all the healing that is, and will be. Thank you for your comment.

Laurence said...


Thank you for the reminder, Tapping, EFT, or other modalities, seems to work, I just get out of practice. I truly believe that what ever happened in my childhood was to get me back to my purpose of being here.

What I like is finding others who are showing up in my non ordinary reality right now( like Marla) and in a sense, becoming guides, confidantes, allies in the change of becoming me.

Be well


Anonymous said...

I cant tell you how much this resonates with me. I hope you are writing a book about this, so that we, who have suffered similar circumstances can learn through your very interesting process. I can to see you years ago and was dramaticly moved by your work. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting for me your"story", did you see the movie"Mothers and daughters" with Annette Benning???I am very much in the mother topic, preparing the 90th birthday of mine.

Marla Frees said...

Thank you Birgitt,

You and I have had a fascinating time working together.

Your relationship with your now 90 year old mom is a great example of what your mother chose to do in the face of your fathers challanges.

Thank you for trusting me,
love you,

Cressy said...

Strange you were my first contact with a medium, and I too have struggled so much with how I feel about the way my mother treated me as a child, and still treats me today. I go from thinking awful thoughts about her, to feeling a desire to protect and care for her. She has definitely been a forming force in my life.