Amma

I went to see Amma this weekend. The Indian guru, the hugging saint. Look her up if you don’t know. My wife had taken us to see her a few times, but this time I went of my own volition. I needed to be there. After this last month…this year..this life…I needed that hug.

I sat in the crowd for hours waiting for my turn as the music and mantras played on a loop, chatting with an Indian American woman and her teenage daughter about how they’d come to Amma for years, asking them questions about growing up in America and how they practice their spirituality. An older Indian man sat next to me and told me all about Krishna and the cosmic mysteries and a bunch of stuff I couldn’t begin to follow but that delighted me to no end. Everywhere I was greeted warmly. I picked up a book called the 1000 Names of the Divine Mother. Seems like it’s time to get serious about some goddess energy, you know?

At various points I felt very emotional. It’s an emotional time for me, (and I am, frankly, very hormonal…). I watched and I wept. Just because. Who I am and what I’m doing. What I’m gaining and…what I’m losing. How hard and it is to change so much in body and soul. How big it is. How good it feels. How strange it is that it feels so good. How the amazing things I love about myself horrify some people and breaks their hearts.

I cried about my Mom. She can’t deal with this, with me.

I understand. I forgive. But it hurts and it makes me angry.

You shouldn’t go through something like this without your mother, if it can be helped.

How can you become a woman without your Mom’s help?

I hadn’t ever thought about wanting her to call me daughter, I couldn’t imagine making such a request. But now the idea that she might never give me that name, the gift of that name, seemed unimaginably unjust.

I didn’t get up to Amma until the end of the night. After midnight. I knelt down and she embraced me. That scent of roses fills your senses.

She always mumbles something when she gives her hug. I can’t always understand it, but this time I did.

She said, “My daughter, my daughter, my daughter, my daughter.”

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