I imagine my mother in my mind's eye. My mother has been hard on herself for as long as I can remember. I grew up hearing her call herself idiot, stupid, and a lot worse. She'd get mad at herself for tiny things you wouldn't even notice, things to which I have said "it's no big deal mom, everyone does that". Then there is her general despair, the brain chemistry of a family that has left members suicidal, addicted, or in her case, dependent on an antidepressant.
May you be safe from danger. I pause, I could stop right here and repeat this one phrase over and over. All I want is for my mother to be safe from that mean voice inside her head.
May you be happy. My chest fills with air, I feel tears starting to sting my eyes, and I add some extra effort. I think that this needs perfectly focused Metta, if there's any chance that it will work. I imagine her laughing and that she doesn't criticize herself anymore. That she hasn't in so long she's forgotten when she did.
May you be healthy. I still see her happy in my mind's eye.
May you live with ease. I see her how she is when she's upped her dosage of Zoloft; when everything's fine, even winter.
I say these phrases over and over as tears roll down the sides of my face. I then realize sending my mother Metta isn't changing her (that I know of) it's changing me. I easily am frustrated with my mom, not understanding why she doesn't change at least the things she can change in her life that make her depressed and negative. Like getting rid of the clutter, and eating better. But now, on the table after minutes of wishing her loving kindness, I am not frustrated at all, I feel compassion for her. I feel sad, but gentle towards her. Like, okay, you are you, I am here, loving you, accepting you, wishing you well.
I thought Metta was a practice of creating change; having more happiness, but today it is a practice of surrendering to that I perhaps cannot change anything.