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Lessons from Mom About How to Never Get What You Want

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Trigger Warning: Suicide, parent loss

Most of us… our parents weren’t perfect. They gave us the teachings they knew, verbally and by example, whether those teachings were proven to be useful or not. You know what?

Sometimes we receive unexpected, unwanted traumatic experiences as children, teenagers or even as adults. Those experiences may contain teachings and blessings for us down the road if and when we can heal and release the trauma stored in the body, mind, heart and energy field. That trauma can impact how we live our lives, without us even knowing it. That’s what happened to me for several years. It’s important to receive support for that kind of trauma because it can affect the choices we make.

It’s usually our choice what we want to listen to and act on… as long as we can find ways to acknowledge any trauma and get support. I thought for a long time that something was wrong with me because it seemed like everything was always 10 times harder for me than for my privileged colleagues. What I didn’t realize is I was carrying trauma, and trauma affects the brain and body. The good news is, it can be managed, improved and, in some cases, healed.

If you focus more heavily on your inner guidance and what you have experienced that really works, then you can more easily recognize and avoid allowing trauma to be the leader of your choices.

My adoptive mom died by suicide when I was 15. She was only in her early 40’s. I remember her sitting at the table crying all over the Easter card I gave her less than 2 weeks before she died. My brother and I were never told she was manic depressive. Big family secret. April 27th was day my mom died, so it’s a time of grief for me. Trauma comes up, memories of my mom surface, and thankfully, I have a sense of peace now as well. I know she finally found her way into the light after I had a ceremony done for her spirit.

On one of my mom’s death anniversaries when I was having a hard time, I thought about the lessons from Mom about how to never get what you want.

Here’s what my Mom taught me… and what I have decided to do instead:

1. NEVER ask for anything. My New Take: Ask for What You Desire!

Desire is Key #4 in my Spirit Connection teachings that come from a vision I had when I was 7. Desire is SO. IMPORTANT. So is asking for what you need and want!!

My mom’s teachings traumatized me so much that into my 20’s, I couldn’t even help myself to a snack at a good friend’s house unless it was specifically offered to me. I couldn’t borrow something from a friend or ask for a friend’s support. I also learned not to ask questions about the weird dreams or spiritual experiences I had (out of body experiences and sleep paralysis).

You know what happened? I stopped asking for what I wanted. I lost sight of most of my inner desires. I internalized the belief that I didn’t deserve to have what I wanted, so I got a whole lot of what I didn’t want instead. Thankfully my desire to sing was strong enough that I never gave up on it, even without any support whatsoever from my parents. Whew!

Desire is potent medicine. If you’ve lost yours, rekindle it NOW. It will change your life.

2. Accept what you have and say thank you whether you like it or not. My New Take: Find acceptance and gratitude and grow and expand into more of what you desire.

I got what I got and I’d better say thank you for it and even compliment people on what they’ve given me, whether I actually liked it or wanted it or not. That was what my mom told me, over and over again.

Talk about mixed signals. Hey, Universe, please send me more of these things and experiences I never wanted in the first place, because it’s really really awesome. Seriously?

Gratitude is good… when we use it correctly. I was asked to be begrudgingly grateful for stuff I didn’t need, want or like, and then lie about liking it. Once I literally threw up from eating something my stomach couldn’t tolerate because I was forced to eat it and compliment the cook afterward. Can you imagine? It feels horrible and just confuses the Universe. But if you play big with gratitude when you receive what you really do desire, then you’ll start getting more of the good stuff.

Acceptance is good too when we get it right. There’s this little sweet spot between acceptance of what is right now… and resigning to “it’s always going to be this way”.

Accept what is, and turn your petals to the sun to receive what else is coming.

3. You don’t get to choose what you want. My Take: Every moment in life is a choice. We can choose whatever and whenever we want.

If you’re carrying trauma, or if you’re less than highly privileged, it might seem like your choices are limited – because they are. You can’t choose the skin you are born in, the parents who raised you, the part of the world you grow up in, the people you grew up with, the kind of home you were raised in and many other life events. I mean, in a spiritual sense, yes, our spirits may have chosen certain experiences for us. But I’m talking human life here. I certainly did not choose for my birth mother to give me up for adoption at birth. I didn’t choose for my adoptive parents to both die before I was 18, or for my son to be murdered when he was only 29.

That said, we all still do have and make lots of little choices all day long every single day. Notice where you do have the power of choice. The more you notice those moments, the more you will feel your personal sovereignty. You can grow your ability to make powerful healthy decisions that bring you closer to what your spirit desires.

My mom picked out all my clothes until I was 14 (ugh!). She made most of my decisions for me, right down to my hair style, until I was in about Grade 8. I was known as “Elastic Pants” in elementary school because of the lame outfits I had to wear. Tha’s why I let my daughter dye her hair as a teenager, cut up her jeans, get plugs in her ears and just be who she is. I didn’t get to have choices like that and liberating myself has been one of the biggest, most amazing acts of sacred self-care I could possibly do!

But I couldn’t get there on my own. My mom certainly didn’t. She couldn’t ask for what she needed or wanted and I feel for her because of that. She didn’t get appropriate mental health support because of the stigma and just the kinds of supports that existed back then were nowhere near what we have available now. I know that’s an extreme case, but seriously, sometimes we all need a wakeup call, right?

Thanks to my mom, I decided I would NEVER GIVE UP ON ME. And I haven’t. I’ve been so very close to giving up on my business, giving up on ever being happy… but then I remember her. I know she would want me to be happy and have a good life. I finally came to a point of giving myself permission to be seen and heard and make my requests known to the Universe and to the people in my life.

With grief and loss, those death anniversaries can be hard and bring up a lot of emotion but they also be moments of transformation and remembrance.

I choose to remember my mom with kindness and love… and to give that kindness and love to myself too.

I know for sure that we are always making decisions. Even not making a decision is a decision. Taking action or procrastinating are both decisions. Being who we are or hiding the spiritual parts of ourselves that we’re afraid to show… those are both decisions.

How do you choose?

Love & Blessings,

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman



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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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