5 Things I learned from my mum.

On Feb 7, 2017, my beautiful mother slipped away from this world. As I come to terms with that loss, I’d like to share some of the things I gained from her example over the course of her long and amazing life.


I’m the last of mum’s tribe. I was the 7 year “afterthought” … and grew up with the idea that mum had me because she wanted to give my sisters a “gift”.

But mum was the champion of  reframing before it was invented! She could always put a spin on something so that it became much better than it appeared.

(It is far more likely that I was the 7 year GIGANTIC mistake 🙂

So this is something mum modelled for me from the very beginning of my life – There is ALWAYS a better viewing angle – for every life situation – no matter what.

When I visited mum, in her last years with Alzheimers, I would always introduce myself, “hi mum, it’s Malini, your lastest daughter!”

There were times she simply didn’t believe I was her daughter and would reply, “well, how bout that! How CAN you be my daughter, you’re SO OLD!” 🙂

I’d like to share with you 5 other things that I learned from mum:

  1. Flowers make EVERYTHING better – mum’s obsession with flowers coloured my life from my childhood…Memories of cascading pink flowers in beautiful trees, dancing yellow daisies that lined the driveway … and even as she was clearly weak and dying, she would gather her strength to arrange flowers beautifully in a vase, or give me instructions on how to do it, from her bed. Mum harnessed the power of BEAUTY.
  2. To sacrifice is to receive a gift – she gave with no fear of lack, astonishingly generous amounts of money, time and love. And when thanked, she would always reply that she was truly the recipient, not the giver, as she lived by her favourite quote from the Baha’i Writings: “to sacrifice is to receive a gift.” In doing this, Mum taught me the power and joy of GENEROSITY.

  3. “Remembering” is overrated. Mum would give generously, but the thing is she would also immediately forget that she gave anything. And she didn’t really need to practice forgiveness, because mum didn’t bear a grudge – she forgot them! She once remarked that it’s great that she has such a bad memory, because she can enjoy the same stories over and over again, as if it were the first time! I learned from her that Remembering is over-rated, and there is true power in FORGETTING… This brought new meaning to the spiritual principle of DETACHMENT.
  4. The magic of STORYTELLING … Experiencing the magical power of her speech took me from the ridiculous to the sublime – first hand – from selling Tupperware, to proofs and evidences of the existence of God, mum captivated everyone with her big eyes, her pregnant pauses, her ability to connect with an audience, and she used her stories to sell, persuade, inspire and change lives, all over the world, or at her front doorstep.

  5. The power of PRAYER. Mum did a great many things in her life, but there were lots of things she wasn’t good at. But this never stopped her! For example, she couldn’t add up, and couldn’t recognise faces, yet she ran a large successful organisation of businesswomen, who all loved her to bits! She would often have long conversations with someone in the street with whom she seemed to have an intimate connection, and when I later would ask, “who was that mum?” she would reply “I haven’t a clue!” And Mum was often nervous or worried, who wouldn’t be, with four kids and a complex and challenging husband? … yet she survived and thrived by praying her way through every adversity, and taught ALL of us, her children and grandchildren, to do the same. And so I learned from her that PRAYER changes things.

Mum motivated and inspired people wherever she was … but she was not your classic motivational speaker who was confident and self-assured! Mum was humble and self-effacing and really rather unaware of her superpowers.

So perhaps the greatest thing I learned from mum, was that contrary to popular culture, it’s ok not to “believe in yourself” … as long as you believe in something greater than yourself.

And those were the things I learned from my lovely mummy.


If you enjoyed my post, do come over and say hi – I read and reply every comment!


Comments 21

  1. Dear Malini,
    Very sorry about The loss of your Mum. She was so much a part of my growing up that I couldn’t believe it when later on in life I realised your grandma whom we fondly called Mummy and your mum were not related to us! We go a long way back. My mum Meera used to say that Shantha knew my dad so well and she would constantly pull his leg like a sister! My mums love of flowers always had Shanthaunty appreciating her arrangements and every single thing that she did. My parents and I were so very fond of her. When Sushil aunty that’s your mums sister and mum came to stay with us in Kottayam in Kerala a long time back we had so much of fun! Then your sister Susheel had come with Mum. We had a ball! She would speak so fondly of her children and I still remember her mentioning about your artistic talents!
    I am sure you will all miss her so much as I miss my parents dearly.
    God bless and keep her alive in you.
    Daughter of John jacob and Meera Singapore

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      what lovely memories Jyothi! I deeply appreciate you taking the time to share these. Mum was a precious gift indeed 🙂

  2. I met your mom in Malaysia at James Liew home. Later she was the tutor for book 1 Ruhi which I really enjoy. I have the opportunity to have spent time with her and always I feel like a strong magnetic forces with her presence.

    Even though when I and my family had moved to New Zealand but always still remembering her and wishing able to meet her again. We came to know she was in Perth from James but happy to hear more stories about your mom from you.

    God bless you with such a wonderful mom

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      We were blessed indeed with a wonderful mum, who spread her love, friendship and wisdom all over the world. Thank you for your kind words, Peter.

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      I’m not sure how much resting she is doing 🙂 We are all calling on her to help us so we are keeping her busy! I’m so glad you had the chance to spend time with her Lua. take care x

  3. Hi Malini- what a wonderful tribute to your mum. Reading your posts over the past months it seems as if she has passed ‘her ability to put a positive spin on everything’ on to her daughter. I hope you are able to draw strength from your memories of her at this time.

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  4. My dearest friend, what a lovely tribute. And, what a blessing you must have been in her life. All my love to you and your beautiful family. Jude xx

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      Jude my dear, thank you so much for those kind words – I’ve never thought of myself as a blessing in HER life, always the other way around. So sweet of you! xxx

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    What beautiful imagery! I love gardens but not too keen on gardening 🙂 And my name means “garland of flowers” ! thank you for your kind words, and for stopping by. much love x

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  7. Hello Malini, thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful virtues and way of being of your precious lovely beautiful mum. people like this are rare and I feel that these qualities are ones to aspire to. I believe we can all learn from and take on board these ways of thinking, believing, relating and teaching our youngest family members and friends. Thank you once again for sharing.

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      You’re so welcome, Leana! And I’d like to thank YOU for taking the time to stop by, and share my world for a few moments. These connections are so precious. Much love x

  8. Hello Malini

    Its been a while I know and I have to admit that I am not good at keeping in touch. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your lovely tribute about your Mum. She sounded quite remarkable and I am very sorry that I never had the privilege of meeting her. Can’t believe the likeness between the both of you and a little bit in Mary as well.

    I love seeing what you are doing with your art and life. You are very inspiring.

    Love and Hugs

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      Hey Karen, SO lovely to see you here, thank you for that! And thank you for seeing a likeness between mum and me, that’s the best compliment ever! Hope to see you soon, old friend! xx

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  9. Wow Malini … I loved the piece . I would have loved to meet your mum . She is all inspiring and amazing with so much of simplicity .

    1. Lana you would have LOVED her! And if you’re the Lana that just attended my Melbourne workshop, I KNOW she would have loved you, in fact I think she brought us together 🙂

  10. Dear Malini,

    I just found this precious site with your beautiful remembrances of your dear mum, Shantha. I have been thinking of her for so long now and wondering if she was still with us in this world. While I am saddened to learn of her passing, I also feel a sense of joy for her soul. As you said in another reply, she must be very busy now! My memories of your dear mother are filled with wonder, love, admiration, and a special kinship. Like the book she wrote, I believe she and and I had some “mystic connections” of our own, through the way we met in Guyana to the shared histories we discovered in our later correspondences. I miss her, as I’m sure you and your family do, too, but I’m grateful to have known her and to know she is now soaring in the next realm. Sending much love to you and prayers for your very special mother. ~Sonja Brook in Illinois, USA

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