Hold Me Now

Some mornings my daughter feels wobbly, and separating from me and the comforts of home is suddenly daunting. On those days, I promise to send her mind mail. The thought of an invisible envelope arriving in her head in the hours to come, full of Mummy love and swirly hugs and kisses, calms her considerably. In that moment I am reassuring her that I will keep her in my thoughts. Warmly. Securely. I might not be able to place my hand on her shoulder, or stroke her hair, but I can ‘hold’ her in a different way.

Being held in mind is a vital psychological component to all attachment relationships.

Genuinely holding someone in your mind spins delicate, transparent threads of intimacy across even the widest gaps, deepening confidence and trust.

Psychotherapists and others working in the healing professions have learnt to understand the potency of holding clients in mind between sessions. During the days that bridge our meetings, I make a point of remembering words written by my group, creating a special ‘holding’ space for them in my thoughts.

Energetically, we feel the difference. When I was a lovesick teenager waiting a whole summer for the boy I was besotted by to send a letter across an ocean, the disappointment ran achingly deep. Not only because I felt rejected, but more accurately because I felt completely forgotten. I knew he was not cradling me anywhere in his heart. It was as if I had evaporated.

Maintaining relationships can at times feel overwhelming… despite technology providing so many more opportunities to do so.  Ironically, finding ways to feel truly ‘connected’ to others can remain elusive.

Begin by hosting a quiet gathering in your mind. Be choiceful about who you invite in. Offer them something sweet (the best part is you can do all of this lying down on the sofa with your feet up and your eyes closed!) Put the Beach Boys on your i-pod dock, look around the room, make eye contact with all your guests and open your arms for hugs. Once you begin to send out the Good Vibrations, I believe you are more susceptible to accepting them back in return.

This exercise might lead to a phone call. A spontaneous text. An overdue email. Even a quick ‘like’ on Facebook of a post you appreciated but passed by. Who knows, it might even lead to writing a real letter with a real pen and real paper. But ultimately, what it will achieve is not so precise, not so easily pinned down.  It is an unspoken gesture. A feathery kiss blown to an unaware recipient. A silent murmur of friendship and love.

A powerful affirmation of emotional bonds.

Write for Ten Minutes using the title of this post as a prompt – Hold Me Now. Don’t edit, just let the words and feelings rise to the surface.
I am always here… holding this space… waiting to listen… willing to hear whatever you need to write.
Share in the comments…

11 Responses to “Hold Me Now”

  1. breakfastandotherstories
    May 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    I wrote a letter to my mother yesterday (using pen and paper) inspired by this post. So, thank you. x

  2. Rory Green
    May 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    You are most welcome! Thank you for sharing that here… it is so lovely for me to know that my words land & encourage other words to grow wings…x

  3. Anonymous
    May 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Mother's Dayby Karen H. "I'll eat you up, I love you so." I must have heard those words spoken from my mom's mouth at some point during my childhood. I had a hardcover copy of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are, but I have no memory of my mom ever reading it to me. She must have. But then again, maybe she didn't. I don't remember her reading any books to me. I have early memories of sitting on the floor of my bedroom, alone and before I could read, staring at the same illustrations of my picture books that I had stared at countless times before. Richard Scarry books with the booted worm and orange tabby cats dressed in clothes kept me entertained for hours. And I still have my copy of Goodnight Moon that I had written my name on the inside cover of probably around the time I was in Kindergarten. There were children's books on our shelves in my sister's and my bedroom, but not many. I remember that my mom read thick books with tiny print and lots of pages quietly and only to herself, and only by a pool. I can picture her still reading either by the pool in our back yard, or the one in Palm Springs or the pool at the ranch. She'd lie back in a bikini with the book propped up in one hand to block out the sun. Her long fingers fanned out to hold the book in place. Her peach colored nail polish glowed in the sunlight on her long and perfectly manicured fingernails. I would swim for what seemed like hours with one sibling or another waiting for her to join us. When I'd get waterlogged and tired of waiting for her to get in, I'd rush to the chaise next to her, and lie there on my side cocooned in a big towel facing her with only my eyes showing. I would watch her read and turn the pages slowly. I'd notice how her chest would go up and down with her breath. Occasionally, suntan oil mixed with her sweat would drip from her neck and I'd follow with my eyes as it travelled below her bikini top on to her thin stomach and off to the side past the gold S-chain around her waist. Then it would vanish onto the towel beneath her. Her long legs changed position often, from down on the chaise, to both legs bent at the knees, to one foot on a knee while the other leg was bent to hold it there, and then switched to the other knee bent with the opposite foot resting on it. Mom's face would glow with sweat underneath her large tortious shell sunglasses that covered her blue eyes and dark lashes. Her thick blonde hair was always pulled back in a colorful scarf on hot days. I'd watch her there next to me until I dosed off wondering how she could sit by a pool for so long and not want to get in it. I'd be woken from my sleep by the sound of a splash. I would get up quickly and stand at the edge of the pool waiting until Mom was up for air. I liked to see her glide the length of the pool just under the surface. She rarely got her hair wet, so this sight was a real treat for me. Once mom would be in the shallow end, I'd jump in near her and we'd reach for each other. She'd hold me in her thin graceful arms and sing songs to me that her mother probably sang to her, and that I now sing to my children. We played like that in the pool no matter how big I got. Weightless in her arms, I was her baby all over again. Happy Mother's Day, Mommy. I love you so.

  4. Anonymous
    May 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Held in my Heartby Karen H.I have a long history of keeping people I love close to my heart and held there safely for me to access whenever I need them. After my mom died when I was nine, I'd turn to my dad often for hugs and reassuring love. But when I'd cry alone I'd get the sense that Mom was there with me somehow. And that realization always turned my sadness into strength. I would draw on that to help me through those sad times, and still do.In my early twenties I went to a hypnotherapist just once. While in a relaxed state my mind transported me back to the home I grew up in with no direction from the therapist. I described the scene to her that I found myself in. I was back in the morning of March 30, 1979. That was the morning Dad had told us that Mom was killed by a drunk driver. My heart started to pump faster and I began to sob as I had that morning. I was looking for Tom, my older brother that was in the car accident with our mom. I panicked and told the therapist that I needed to know where he was. That I couldn't remember. She said to look for him in the house. So I did. In my mind I went down the hall and saw him lying on his bed. I was relieved, but at the same time the pain of the loss of Mom was so sharp that I found it hard to breathe. I reached for my chest where the therapist had told me to place my hand over my heart if I got scared during our session. As soon as I did, I remembered the dress I had worn to Mom's funeral. She and I had picked it out together while shopping, not knowing that I'd be wearing it a few weeks later at her funeral. Instantly my breathing changed and relaxed as the tears flowed out of my eyes and on to the sofa beneath me. I kept my hand firmly over my heart. The therapist asked me what had happened and I told her that there was a red heart on the front of the black and white gingham dress I had worn to my mother's funeral. I could almost feel the stitching under my hand all those years later. I realized I'd had that safe place to turn to all along, and I still do.

  5. Kristin
    May 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    tears in my eyes… so beautifully remembered… thank you for sharing. xx

  6. Kay
    May 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    This is so beautiful Karen, and poignant for me because it was the anniversary of my Mum's death yesterday (17 years). I have a sense that Mum is with me too (my 'inside' Mum) and I spent some time with her yesterday. I still long for the 'outside' Mum – but I have a comforting relationship with the inside one. Kay xx

  7. Kristin
    May 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Other than my children (who are never far from my thoughts) the person I most hold in my mind and heart is Eva's birth mother… or more correctly, her birth family.I know nothing of her, of them – all I know is that someone cared enough to bring my daughter to the gates of an orphanage in rural China where they knew she would be quickly found and cared for.Eva knows these things but, at 8, they don't really matter that much to her… someday they will and someday it will break her heart and I hope the small knowledge that she was looked after as best her birth family could manage will bring her some peace… but Eva has me. And her dad and her brothers and grandparents and friends galore and so many people who love her and who will support her through the processing of her loss… I don't know about her birth family.I cry every year on Eva's birthday because on what is a great day of celebration in our house must also be a great day of sorrow in someone else's and I would give anything to let them know that she is okay. That she is spectacular and loved and cherished… and I am so sad that they don't get to know this wonderful person they brought into the world and into my life…I carry them in my heart all the time… just because I want them to know.

  8. Rory Green
    May 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Kristin – thank you for sharing the tussles of your heart… and how so often we have to hold onto conflicting feelings. I am certain that you have articulated the thoughts and feelings of so many families who have chosen adoption. It's interesting how gratitude and grief can live so closely connected. You are all lucky to have crossed each other's paths. Happy Mother's Day for Sunday!

  9. Rory Green
    May 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    It goes without saying that I whole heartedly agree! Karen is one of the most compassionate women I know and I am so grateful that she is sharing her words here…

  10. Anonymous
    May 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Kay, Thank you. I love that you spent time with your inside Mum. They are there for us to access whenever we need to. Sometimes we forget that. I felt like I was by the pool again as a young child in the warm sun, while I was writing the mother's day piece. Thank you for writing! -Karen

  11. Anonymous
    May 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Kristin, Thank you for writing exactly how I feel about my daughter's birth family. I love that you and I have found each other again through fb and this blog. Maybe someday in person. And thank you for your comments on my piece. xo Karen

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