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When we were babies and children, we developed attachment for those who cared for us. We formed relationships with adults who were our primary care givers. If we were lucky, we received breast milk from our mother and hugs and cuddles from loving adults. When our nappy was damp or soiled, someone changed it for us. When we were dirty, we were bathed. When we were hungry, we were fed. When we got sick, we were given medicine or taken to the doctor or hospital. The reason you are reading this blog right now is because when you were helpless and dependent as a child, others cared for you until eventually you could care for yourself.


The way we treat others in our life, even as adults, is in many ways no different from the crying, dependent baby that we were all those years ago. We form close relationships with others because they give us something we need. I mean there is normally a mixture of attachment and love for those we are close to. We think that we love someone but if there was nothing in it for you (stability, sex, companionship etc), if you didn’t receive any positive feelings from the relationship, would you still ‘love’ that person? It’s an interesting question to ponder and may be the reason we see divorce on the rise. When people feel that there is nothing in it for them, when they don’t feel ‘love’ anymore, they decide the relationship has failed and leave.

I recently had the opportunity to get to know two people better and it motivated me to write this blog. Previously I had only known these people in their capacity to help ME publish the second edition of my book, Life’s a Mango. Our relationship was not unlike that of a baby and her mother expressing breast milk. All our conversations, all our emails, all our encounters were based on what they could do for ME. How refreshing it was to finally sit down with them and show some interest in their life story, their childhood memories, their special relationship with their partner and all the different jobs and roles they had experienced up to now. As I found myself listening to them intently, I was struck, once-again, about how sad it is that generally we only value relationships with people when they are of use or value to us.

When my mother turned eighty last year I decided to surprise her with a photobook. With the help of family and friends I was able to collect a mass of photos from her birth in 1938 up to her 80th year. As I collated the photos into decade albums and put the book together, I started to see my mother with new eyes. I was no longer seeing her with the label of mum but as an individual with her own life story. It was totally transforming and I feel that our relationship has improved since I gifted her the book and wrote a poem called The Love Journey. Here is an extract from the poem:

Have spent days looking

At photos of mum’s life.

As child, friend and sister,

Daughter, mother and wife.

How good for the soul

To see mum in this way.

All the moments she’s lived,

the roles she does play.

Her kindness comes through

In the face that she has

With the people she loves,

With husband, her Baz.

She’s kept friends since childhood

And made more on the way.

Giving and listening

Are what makes mum’s day. ©

I know I’m nowhere near it yet but I aspire to see all beings like a mother sees her only son. This is a Buddhist aspiration and one I find so beautiful. As I look at a stranger or the lady in the dry-cleaning shop or the person at the check-out, I try to imagine seeing them as their mother does. I imagine their ever changing life story and how they, just like me, have intimate relationships with others. I remind myself that although they are of no particular ‘use’ to me in my life, it is a beautiful thing if I can see beyond the usefulness of our relationship and connect with them through our shared humanity. As Wayne Dyer so perfectly said, Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.

Take care



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