A meditation on motherhood | Philstar.com
September 12, 2021 | 00h00
Sara Black is a meditation teacher and a new mom. Previously, she had a successful career in commercial photography and modeling. She grew up in Manila and her father is British. Her daughter Feliz is 5 months old. Laura Black, his mother, is a retired businesswoman and (full disclosure) my aunt.
Laura: There are no hard and fast rules on how to raise your children. Each child is unique, what applies to one child may not apply to another, even in terms of gender. In our culture, boys are not as strong as girls. Have you noticed this? Honestly, women are stronger. I am not passing judgment, it is an observation. They are raised differently. I only had two, so it wasn’t difficult. Moreover, I did not raise them alone. Their father, Charles, was very strict, he made the rules and you couldn’t be gentle with one and be strict with the other, the rules had to apply to both. I think it would have been different if they had had a Filipino father. I have seen it in many families where men are pampered. Maybe I’m generalizing but look around.
It must have been around 1983, business broke down, nothing was happening: people couldn’t open letters of credit, there were no banking transactions. We had to go to the United States to do more business. Sara was a toddler and I left her with a yaya who had been with us for a long time. I couldn’t have predicted that she would get sick. She was traumatized because she had to be taken to the hospital, and they continued to prick her needles. She was really upset. A trusted friend inquired about her and said Sara spoke like an adult, scolding the nurses. About six months later, we were in the grocery store, when she lay down on the floor and started kicking and getting angry. To imagine! In a public place! I said, “What happened? She said “Why did you leave me? Why did you leave?” I was really sorry, but what could I do? I mean it was over anyway, it was gone.
I think she was trying to tell me that it affected her a lot. It can work in two ways, it can be positive and it can be negative, right? You can either be stronger or be bitter.
I’m very happy for her now because she sort of evolved into having a family. When she was young she could pursue her career and she worked hard. This has not been easy. I think if she had had a child while she was still pursuing her career, it would be difficult because she wouldn’t know where to spend her time.
I didn’t want to have a transplant. I felt so sure I was going to die if I had it. So Sara said to me, “Mom, please don’t be afraid because I will be with you when you have the operation and I will take care of you, and she did.” She took care of everything and even slept in the hospital on the bench, and you know how long she’s been, her feet hanging off there. She was there for me.
I like being a grandmother. I could die happy now. Maybe it sounds morbid because people don’t like to talk about death. Filipinos believe it will happen if we talk about it. I mean I’m so happy everyone is doing okay.
Sara: Being a new parent is perfect for COVID weather because I can be home all day. As a photographer I worked crazy hours, loved the working environment and so it’s a 180 degree shift. It took a while to get used to it, but being here completely goes so well that I can’t imagine doing anything else. I want to be there for Feliz and I don’t want to work outside somewhere. I want to be there to catch every giggle and stare at her lashes for two hours.
The work I do now is like helping someone discover their beauty from the inside out. There has been a shift from the external to the internal. When I worked as a photographer, I sometimes painted someone’s portrait and it was the first time he had the opportunity to see himself in a different light and experience a moment of beauty. Some people were crying or even crying.
Now when I guide people to learn to meditate, especially in a retreat setting, I get the same response. When they are able to enter an inner realm with me as a guide, it is as if they are contacting something within themselves that they have never experienced before. Something ignites. It’s the same reaction with a different interface.
When I was about six, my parents were traveling somewhere and I was hospitalized with pneumonia. I was really upset because I felt abandoned, I think it made me independent and goal oriented. It was about accepting the idea that, “OK, I’m here on my own and if I don’t, nobody will, then I have to do it.” “
It is difficult to see your parent, who has always been in a position of authority, in a position of weakness. After my mom got sick, it was an amazing time for healing. The things that needed to be said and done were all accomplished in this process. I think it shed light on fears and traumas that have been carried for generations. I found that I wanted to sit down and take care of them there, and I found more freedom in the process.
Nothing has ever been communicated in black and white or anything by her, but I feel Filipino, my orientation is to be with family. At the same time, my mother also has an international perspective having lived abroad. She is open-minded and has an open spirituality. I think it rubs off on me.
There’s no, “You’ve got to believe this, or you’ve got to follow this.” Rather, it’s about “Let’s keep it flowing and see what resonates and what doesn’t, and if it doesn’t, that’s okay too.”
Being with Feliz is so nice, everything is worth it, you might be tired and all that, but when she looks at you like you’re the only thing in the world … it’s beautiful.