Slade quit her job and began exploring yoga and the nature of mind. In 2011, she traveled to Bhutan, where she met a monk who left an indelible impression on her (been there! In 2012, she became a Buddhist nun, and Slade (now also known as Pema Deki) felt she'd finally found peace. Yet that feeling of compassion she'd felt for the man who attacked her returned, and Slade realized she needed to do something to put her compassion into action. So in 2015 she founded a UK-based charity called Opening Your Heart to Bhutan, which seeks to meet the basic needs of people in rural areas of East Bhutan. Though she found fulfillment in becoming a nun, it was never her dharma to sit in a cave and meditate for the rest of her life. She now deploys her financial acumen in a way that serves herself and others more richly. Says Slade, The skills of old have been very useful in bringing me now a very meaningful and happy life. Of all the art forms practiced by my creative sparks, none spoke to me in the way that Allison Poster's mixed media pieces did. I was already familiar with painting from high school, ukulele playing was not my forte, the practice of yoga didn't particularly appeal to me, and I had no desire to work with wood like my brother. Perhaps it was the former dumpster-diving coupon queen in me that was attracted to the tiny bits and pieces of trash incorporated into Allison's art. Maybe it was regret at losing so many pieces of my life through the deaths of mother, husband, and grandson in the space of three years or the radical move to a much smaller home. Whatever it was, something from deep within me was drawn to her work. By the time I finally met the artist, I'd already begun collecting small things that could be included in a piece of my own: Mom's holy medals and her broken rosary with a blue cross, representative of her deep Catholic faith. A vintage article of poetry about mothers, with yellowed articles of quaint illustrations and poetry of days gone by. I had newspaper clippings about her artwork. A pillowcase with her careful embroidered stitching. The last chalk pastel drawing that remained on her easel after her death. We're extremely envious of other peoples' physical characteristics or abilities that we prize personally. We put them on a pedestal and think of ways to be more like them.

We spend a lot of time worrying about what other people are thinking about us, implicitly assuming that they're making hurtful comparisons and disapproving of us in some way. There's often nothing to suggest that this is the case. We find it very hard to enjoy our successes, writing them off as meaningless achievements or feeling that we should have done even better than we did. We can't enjoy the success of others, not least those of close family and friends. We think of their success as our comparative failure; We experience the precise opposite of the first point, believing that we're far superior to everybody else. This is most likely to reflect a form of personal defence mechanism but can also reflect genuine arrogance. Behavioural signals Every defeat further reinforces what his mother told him about himself--that he is a loser, always was and will always be. When scapegoat sons begin dating, their mother takes great pleasure in sabotaging their success. Narcissistic mothers have been known to make derogatory remarks about their sons to their prospective girlfriends such as, Be very careful, he has anger issues, or If I were you I'd stay far away from him. He can be very violent. Some mothers point out their sons' defects, weaknesses or mistakes to make them appear less attractive. Narcissistic mothers may pull out photos of their son with his previous girlfriends and show them to new prospects, or make a point of asking their son, in front of the girl he likes, how his previous girlfriends are doing or if they still keep in touch. If these romantic relationships are ever to stand a chance, they must be conducted outside the narcissistic mother's range of scrutiny. The odds that these relationships will succeed are slim anyway. Scapegoat sons are not equipped with the tools required for healthy relationships. The scapegoat son is likely to choose a partner who manipulates and abuses him since that is the only kind of attention he knows. Slade compares her experience to the lotus flower, which begins in the mud then grows upward through the water as it seeks light. In Buddhism, the lotus represents the idea that the mud and muck of life's challenges can provide fertile ground for our development.

As the lotus grows, it rises through the water to eventually blossom. The Buddha says, Just like a red, blue, or white lotus--born in the water, grown in the water, rising up above the water--stands unsmeared by the water, in the same way I--born in the world, grown in the world, having overcome the world--live unsmeared by the world. Jakarta was my mud, Slade says in her TEDx Talk, but it was also the seed of my future development. Remember the whole equation of dharma. Dharma isn't just passion and skills. Dharma is passion in the service of others. Your passion is for you. Your purpose is for others. Then there was the yellow rose I'd painted at age sixteen, the same age as my youngest daughter now. I'd sat next to my mother in her workroom as I'd painted it. Pleased with the rose but never with the background, I'd given it to Mom for her birthday and she'd framed it. Was there a way to utilize the rose and cover part of it? Artist Allison assured me there was. I'd ordered hundreds of similar pencils on eBay to give away when I did presentations on creativity but remained fearful of losing the original. What if the pencil could be immortalized in some way? Allison beamed with pleasure at my inspired suggestion. I had all these pieces and an artist willing to guide me, yet I remained fearful, the very idea of trying my hand at creating a mixed media piece terrifying me, something so new and different than anything I'd attempted before. What if I ruined the pieces I'd chosen to include with adhesive? We withdraw quickly from many activities or avoid them altogether for fear of being worse than others. This includes social situations, particular tasks and/or new opportunities.

We much prefer spending time with people of very different ages or backgrounds to ourselves. This minimises the chances of hurtful comparisons. We're ultra-competitive even in the most minor of competitions, playing to win at all costs and often cheating to do so. We react extremely badly to defeat. We try too hard to make an impression, often interrupting, freezing or appearing stilted in the company of others. Our mood and behaviour is highly dependent on what others say or do. It can swing violently between elation and despair in reaction to the most minor of remarks or other perceived slights and praise that involve comparisons either directly or indirectly. We constantly seek approval and are desperate to please. If he is lucky he will be taken under the wings of a nurturing partner who shows him the love, attention, validation, and recognition his mother deprived him of. In either case, these men will always feel unworthy of their partners or their love. The impact maternal narcissism has on each son may vary based on the role they are assigned, but abuse is abuse. Scapegoat sons think that golden sons have it better than they do, but that is an illusion. They suffer just as much. The Invisible Son The invisible son is not given good attention by his mother nor is he given bad attention. He is given no attention at all. The narcissistic mother puts on no false pretenses, tosses no crumbs his way. From her selfish viewpoint, his very existence interferes with her daily agenda. Your passion becomes a purpose when you use it to serve others. Your dharma has to fill a need in the world.

As I've said, monks believe that you should be willing to do whatever is needed when there's a higher purpose (and monks live this fully), but if you're not a monk the way to see it is that the pleasure you feel in doing your passion should equal how much others appreciate it. If others don't think you're effective, then your passion is a hobby, which can add richness to your life. This doesn't mean every activity outside your dharma is a waste of time. For all of us there are activities in life that are competence-building and activities that are character-building. When I was first asked to give talks, I built competence in my dharma. But when I was asked to take out the trash, it built my character. To build your competence without regard for character is narcissistic, and to build character without working on skills is devoid of impact. We need to work on both in order to serve our souls and a higher purpose. What if the final product looked terrible, or nothing like I imagined when I even dared to imagine a mixed media piece created in honor of my mother? The fear was real. It dawned on me then just what I was asking readers of this article to do--open up their minds to creative possibilities, try new things, and allow for the possibility of failure, all in the name of discovering their true nature, their God-given potential, the creative self within them. How dare I suggest something I was not willing to do myself? I suddenly knew I must create this one piece, regardless of how it turned out or whether I ever attempted mixed media again. I needed to step outside of my comfort zone and do exactly what I was asking my readers to do. This is the result. Shortly after I completed this piece, I met with a new friend who'd lost his wife the year before. Listening closely to the answers he gave to my questions, I realized how many times he used the word can't or I'd never in our conversation. I immediately sensed there was more to my creation than I'd realized. We're always trying to `score points' in conversation, often putting others down verbally, or even physically, to strengthen our case. Arguments can stem from the most innocuous of comments.