After spending several days hanging out with my 89 year old mother, she was quite pooped and in a deep sleep when I arrived at the nursing home the next morning. My sister, Sharon and I checked in on her periodically. Later in the morning, Sharon announced that mom was awake, and hadn’t any idea who Sharon was. “She’s excited to get to know me better,” she smiled.

We’re getting more accustomed to our mother venturing to different parts of her consciousness, and in fact find it quite delightful at times. We have the opportunity to see her how strangers might, and it never ceases to amaze me how welcoming she is, and how down right comfortable she is in her own skin, whether or not she remembers ever seeing the people around her at a previous time.

I approached her room, wondering if, since I’d been with her all week, she’d know me. As we stood in the washroom to clean her up from the previous night’s slumber, she began to make small talk.

“Have you worked here a long time?” she asked.

I explained that I wasn’t an employee, and she commented on how nice it was of me to help her.

“I have something to tell you that I think you’ll get a kick out of!”

She looked at me expectantly.

“We’re related!”

This excited her and she responded with, “We are? Well isn’t that great!”

No other explanation was needed, no further details of how the bloodline connected us.

People are sometimes baffled by my ability to be so at peace with my mother’s current way of being. As a coach, I am very aware of the concerns and fears that accompany aging parent care. As a human being, I can relate to how sad it sometimes feels and that a well placed cry is what’s needed to get to the next level. As a daughter and a mother, I know how crucial the connection to one another is, no matter what stage of development one is in.

What tends to hold us back, in any relationship, is not wanting to feel the pain or look at ourselves in a way that might reveal the things about ourselves we least want to see. On both counts, we do ourselves a great disservice. For starters, by continuing to push the pain away, it never has the opportunity to be processed out of our bodies. It’s true. By avoiding the pain, we end up being faced with it time and again. On another note, there is nothing so awful about yourself that you cannot face. Again, by not looking at it straight on, it is likely to just grow and grow in your mind and memory until it feels impossible to face. It’s not. And the sooner you can take an honest look, the sooner you’ll be able to enrich all of your relationships, especially those most important to you.

There are several ways to sign up for the class called “You 101”. Books on the subject of personal development abound, there are web sites on growth and enlightenment, there’s Oprah’s Soul Series and Hay House Publishers. One Spirit book club has lots of book choices for whatever personal growth path you subscribe to. And one of the best, fastest and most efficient ways is to hire a coach. Perhaps I’m a little biased because I AM a coach, however the real reason I know this to be one of the best ways to self-actualization is because I HAVE a coach. In fact, I’ve had several over the years, and I would not be the most authentic “me” that I am today without them.

Whichever method most appeals to you, do yourself a favor and CHOOSE it. Go for it! Your most important relationships are worth it! Just ask my mother.