Silence filled the room as I painfully watched my mother take her final breaths. During the seventy-four years that my mother lived, she always gave untiringly to me and to others. I feel blessed to have been so fortunate, for my mother was always my greatest supporter, an endless fountain of encouragement. 

     As the reality of my loss enveloped me on that cool January night, it was a Saturday, the 8th, the year 2005 was still brand new. Up until this point, 2005 seem filled with endless possibilities. That did not possible anymore as indescribable anguish filled my heart as I felt that my emotional wounds would never heal; meanwhile, deep with I knew that my mother would want me, would expect that I would continue to pursue “good works.”

     It has been nine years, and of course I still miss my mother tremendously, but I get a spiritual message, some special gift from the heavens above on her birthday: the first year after her transition, I was featured in AOL Black Voices, and I won two tickets to Brazil. The second year, I got a call from Essence Magazine and asked to provide expert feedback about career and workforce development strategies. The next year there was a call from a Black Enterprise reporter, who I have never met, who continues to contact me to this day as she writes for a variety of publications. I am showered with so much goodness, it would fill page after page. In fact, daily I find myself abundantly blessed beyond my wildest dreams, and I know my mother is still watching over me.

    While I sat there filled with despair listening to my mother gasping for air, I was also humbled by the knowledge that someone had loved me so unconditionally. My mother forever stood firmly beside me as I weathered storms wrought from poor choices, self-discovery and defining life lessons. I am fully aware that this is not always the case when it comes to mothers and their children.

    While witnessing her spirit leave that hospital room, I pondered the mysteries of mothers and their children. I considered the full implications of this connection. I could not help but wonder if most people fully understand how necessary it is to find peace when it comes to the woman who gave them life. Coming to terms with the mother love in your life is fundamental to ultimately becoming comfortable with yourself, critical to being able to give and receive love.

    Your own evolution as a person will surely be stunted until you face all aspects of your relationship with your mother. Even in the best relationships some form of turmoil can exist. Failing to address and accepting these matters is a mistake. Refusing to do the work necessary to deal with your distress is not a good choice.  You cannot thrive carrying this kind of unresolved emotional baggage around for years.  It is difficult for both men and women to focus on their possibilities when he or she feels limited by family circumstances. Unresolved anger and nagging hurt steal dreams and shatter lives. In fact, one can end up virtually immobilized for years if mother dilemmas are not resolved.  In fact, your attitude about “mother” influences you one way or another for a lifetime.

    You see it does not matter whether your mother abandoned or adored you. It does not matter whether she championed your dreams or channeled her own sorrow into your life. It does not really matter if she demonstrated her love daily or only gave you doses of affection when she was able to put her own agony aside.

    No matter how tumultuous or terrific your relationship is with your mother, no matter if you never knew your mother, little does it matter that you somehow always feel that your mother has made no effort to understand who you are, coming to grips and accepting both the good and bad truths about your relationship with your mother is a key which can unlock your capacity to form healthy relationships throughout your life.

    Until you are able to realize that even though your mother may have given you her all, or perhaps at the other end of the spectrum, she gives you little or nothing; neither of these realities guarantee nor limit who or what you can become. Until you accept that maybe your mother did the best that she could, that she is loving you the best that she can, or that your mother relates to you as she was taught, you will remain caught up in a sea of turmoil that hampers your overall ability to relate and love.

    Every person’s perception of mother love colors his or her view of the world and our self-definition. Depending upon your experiences, you may learn to be caring, giving, compassionate and empathetic; or you may learn bitterness, distrust, helplessness and manipulation.  This is why taking the time to learn about your mother’s life is so important. This information will help you to better understand the choices she made, her personality, her ability to communicate and display affection, the number of sacrifices she endured.

   Bearing all of this in mind, move quickly to resolve anger and unfinished business where your mother is concerned. Heal your emotional wounds, and if necessary, find ways to forgive your mother even if she has not given you the kind of love and support you craved, or if for some reason she has been unable to be a mother to you. When it comes to your mother, choose to open your heart to the best of your ability. Focus on being thankful for the gift of life that she gave you, even if that is all your mother has ever given to you.  If you already have an excellent relationship with your mother, treasure it and let your mother know just how much she means to you.

    No matter your personal situation, when it comes to your mother, you do not want to have any regrets. Remember, in a split second, things can change and you do not want to spend time laboring over “I should have,” when your time and talents need to be focused on your “I wills.”  Honor your mother and your life no matter the circumstances. This attitude will bring you a tremendous amount of peace, and an outpouring of blessings will come your way for choosing to focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.

    Mothers are not always right, but your mother will always be the woman that gave you the gift of life. In spite of her imperfections, her absence in your life, her human failings, or her inability to meet your emotional needs, none of those things can keep you from soaring to great heights unless you choose to embrace that attitude as your own.   Seek to come to terms with your mother love, because by doing so, you can earnestly become the person that you were destined to be. 

     I am the daughter of Lovie Pauline Neal Davis. She was a school teacher for 38 years, a compassionate servant leader, a Soror of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, a member of The Links, Inc., a giver, a doer, and a woman of faith. Every day I strive to honor her legacy. Thinking of you this Mother’s Day, and still missing your physical presence in my world each day, but without question feeling your spiritual presence in countless ways!



ImageCourage comes in all forms and in a variety of fashions; for courage is overcoming your fear of something, and forcing yourself to try to do the very thing that causes a great deal of trepidation. 
We have all come face to face with a moment in time, an activity or a task that provoked strong feelings of inner turmoil, discomfort and strife. At that precise moment, we had to make a decision; will I give into my fear or will I force myself to grow; will I seek to expand my personal experiences, will I choose to push forward. 
It can take courage to sing that solo at church, or make that presentation at work. It can take courage to share your honest feeling with a family member, a friend or even your mate. It can take courage to go to the doctor when you suspect that you are not well. It can take courage to acknowledge your own personal truths. It can take courage to hop onto an amusement park ride, or to change a habit that is stifling your personal growth. After a failed relationship, for some people, courage is needed before they are able to allow themselves to get involved with someone else again. 
Courage can be an extremely allusive thing, because often one experience, an attitude or a personal belief can stand in the way of our pursuit of the things that we want. 
We all harbor our dreams deep with our souls. Sometime we reflect on our dreams and for a few minutes we allow ourselves to think about how things can be. On other occasions, we keep them tucked away so that our dreams cannot intrude on what we are doing; after all we are simply too busy living life to be inconvenienced by our dreams. When that is the case, clearly we have not yet learned that until we follow the urging of hearts, we will be filled with discontent and longing. In the end, there is little comfort in settling, nothing gained when we succumb to what a dear friend calls the “dat-a-do syndrome” also known as “that will do.” 
Finding the courage to live your dreams, while frightening, can actually turn out to be liberating. When you discover the lifework that you want to pursue, the business you want to start or embrace whatever your dream might be, your life will become so much more fulfilling that you will ask yourself, “Why did I wait so long to pursue something that truly interested me?” Too often, we allow fear, the comments of others, or our own negative self-talk keep us from stepping out and trying to achieve what our spirits are urging us to do, from being our authentic self.
You can nurture greater personal courage by raising your conscious level and by confronting your inner most fears. Others ways to develop more courage are learning to be yourself in all situations that may confront you, by refusing to dwell on failure as a possibility, by planning and working to be prepared for situations, by developing an optimistic attitude, and be getting more in touch with your spirit.
Remember, you only get one life, so why not choose to spend it happily doing the things that you enjoy. Be courageous and persist until you achieve your life goals and your personal dreams. Follow your heart and listen to your soul. You truly owe it to yourself to use the talents divinely bestowed upon you in a positive fashion doing things that bring you immense joy. When you think about it, don’t you really want to become the person you were destined to become?

Cape Coast Slave Castle - Ghana

Standing in the Female Slave Dungeon Doorway

Woman 2.1 Summit..Ghana

Woman 2.1 Summit..Ghana

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Supporting your leadership success,
Anita Davis-DeFoe