Tribute to My Mother: Barbara Livingston

Lovingly submitted by: Lynda Smith

Several times a week, I sit with people who are suffering and offer them my empathic presence. They are suffering because their relationships are strained, or because self-doubt overwhelms them, or because old patterns and fears immobilize them. The people I sit with include inmates at San Quentin, mothers, spouses, teenagers, house-bound elders. Often I get paid to do what I do because I teach something called Nonviolent Communication, but sometimes I do not. 

It is because I was given to so consistently and so powerfully by my mother that I am able to give to others. She sang me to sleep at night, rocked me when I was sick, brushed my hair to relax me, prepared my favorite foods, smiled and hugged me whenever I returned home from school, drew for me pictures of princesses in ball gowns, attended every school performance, loaned me money in college and beyond.

I am 53 now, and she is 78, and I honor her now by continuing to share what she grew in my heart: love, and hope.