The Sun and Moon both enter Aquarius this morning, and the New Moon is at 8:14 a.m. at 0 degrees Aquarius.
Over breakfast this morning I was thinking about how my time in the Amma org may have recapitulated the period when I was between the ages of 17 and 23. When I was 17 my mother saw me writing something in my journal and became suspicious, and then read my journal and freaked out because I had a crush on a boy. When I was 23, I informed my parents that I had a partner and was told never to contact them again. With an unstable relationship to my family during this period, "family" became something of a dirty word for me.
I learned to turn my affections elsewhere, and understandably my relationships to friends and lovers had a distinctive emotional charge to them. I recall that, after I met X, I entered spontaneously into a quasi-hypnotic state over a period of several days. I recall that emotional memories of previous friendships and relationships were coming up vividly. The sequence of memories seemed to be going in exact reverse order, and stopped for a time at age 17.
Perhaps some of the feelings that I had for the high school student from a different town when I was 17--feelings that were deeply stigmatized by my parents--resurfaced and got projected onto X.
The next age-related memory I recall having in connection with the Amma org was after I started hanging out with Y. He was just turning 23 at that time. That fact brought me back to memories of my first apartment after college, and of how I had met my husband soon after I had turned 23. That was the time of the next significant rejection from my parents.
Putting these pieces together, if I were recapitulating some of my experiences at age 17 when I started going to Amma's programs, in 2003, it makes sense that my interest in her org would begin to fade somewhat after I began to recapitulate experiences from the age of 23 since that was the year in which I decided against my family of origin and in favor of my life with my husband, including being a member of his extended family. While I started to spend time with Y in 2005, it wasn't until about 2008-09 that I began to feel myself separating emotionally from the org. If 2003 seemed to recapitulate some characteristics of age 17, age 23 would come around in 2009. Of course, another crucial event during this period was the onset of my mother's second struggle with cancer in 2007 and her death at the end of that year. Her memorial Mass was on MLK weekend of 2008, 7 years ago this past weekend.
Another feature of this period that I found interesting as I reflected on it this morning was that my husband began to show an interest in the Amma organization toward the end of my time there. It is as if, just as I made a decision at the age of 23 to go on without my family's continuing involvement in my life, so did I gradually withdraw my emotional investment in the Amma org once my husband entered the scene. If I recall correctly, the last summer program that I attended was in 2010. After a disappointing time with Y at the programs in 2007 (when he begun to turn his attention toward a female friend and away from me), my enthusiasm was less than it had been. My husband attended with me for a few years, but by 2010 I was already turning my attention back to Islam. My husband began his Master's program in the fall of 2010, and from that point forward our finances were strained and I stopped going to the programs, except for part of a free program that we attended with one of my husband's friends in 2012.
For a time I had been critical of the quasi-adolescent/early-20s quality of the emotional charge that my friendships in the Amma org had taken on--in part after having been shamed by X for the emotional charge in my friendship with him--but now I can see that those experiences may have served a purpose. This was, of course, a period in which I was being forced to separate from any emotionally satisfying sense of reconciliation with my family--and with my mother in particular--because of my mother's illness and approaching death. At some level, once I had realized the failure of the Amma org to help me achieve emotional healing around my previous experiences of rejection from my family, something inside must have just given up trying, realizing instead that my task would be to move forward with the process of letting go and doing without.
This morning I received an email from the ex-Amma list. According to the Embezzling the World blog (a parody of the Amma org's slogan, "Embracing the World"), a financial report from 2013-14 showed that a mere 0.69% of foreign donations, i.e. less than 1%, went toward relief projects. The remaining 99.31% went toward operating costs and undisclosed expenses related to the ashram. This seemed to be a fitting parallel to my experience of emotional "bankruptcy" in relation to the org.