Mother

Mother

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For Mother’s Day today I wrote to my mother:

“My dear, beautiful, amazing Mom!!

Happy Mother’s day!! I love you so much. What a lucky life I live with you as my mother!! 

If you knew all the moments my heart beats with sheer gratitude for who you are, and how you show up in this world, and in my life specifically, along with the lives of my children… you might be astonished. 

Thank you for my life! And for mothering me in just the ways you did while I was a baby and child, adolescent and young woman. And now as I get soooo old, how amazing it is to still get to be your child! 

Being a mother myself only accentuates my awe and appreciation for the mother you have been, and continue to be for me in my life. 

So much of what is good in me was nurtured by your wise sensibility, your intuition and kindness and authenticity, your humor and graciously creative ways, your tender reverence for beauty. 

I feel so proud of you, and this in me that comes from you. 
I hope you know this always. “

How beautiful to have arrived to this place in my life and heart where every word I wrote is true. Where it isn’t said because it should be said, but because itmust be said.

I remember the time in my life when I harbored disappointment in my mom for her shortcomings; for ways I wished and imagined (from my all-knowing young woman perspective) that she could have loved, cared and mothered me differently as I grew. Shouldn’t she have nursed me longer, not let me cry it out; shouldn’t she have been happier, modeled more strength of voice and courage of self-love? It seems so young and outrageously self-righteous now, as I remember that particular lens of critical daughter perception.

But that aching recognition of limitation; that illumination of restless yearning and need inside me~ was a sacred threshold which delivered me at once to the claiming of my own self-mothering, while opening me to receive mothering from all of life. It led me to discover the many mothers and mentors who could help raise me into myself, into the person my mother had given birth for me to become.

So that before too long I could return to her, this woman who had so graciously birthed and nurtured my life, with humble gratitude for the absolutely perfect mother she had been for me~ in every mistake, wound and limitation she embodied, alongside endless gestures of selfless commitment, astounding generosity, unwavering love.

I remember the time in my life when all I wanted was to become a mother with my own body; to be granted the chance of embodying the archetype of Mother directly with children from own flesh. And oh my God the unimaginable Grace of giving birth, of growing those babies on my golden milk, and this holy honor of stewarding them now as they grow powerfully upright into the ones they are here to be. I am humbled and humored and touched and moved every single day by Life’s gift that names me Mother.

And I remember a distinctly challenging day of single motherhood where one moment in the private aloneness of my own despair I yelled at the universe the most horrific confession: “I HATE MOTHERING!!” What a relief it was to let that small, yet very real and self-judged thread of my consciousness express itself!

And oh the moments of painful remorse that arise in the face of my own shortcomings as a mother. Mothers always know more than anyone else possibly could the places where we’ve messed up, missed an essential cue, weren’t as present as we could have been, were more reactive than we should have been. And it haunts me in moments, this truth of my imperfections, my challenges in mothering, always so achingly transparent to my own tender, earnest heart.

But something softens within us as we recognize more and more deeply how everything serves; how motherhood was never meant to be a perfect expression~ permanently open and flawless, conscious, whole and shining.

Sometimes Motherhood is broken and ugly and boring and scary.

I continuously become a better mother through stretching the messy edge of mistake and repair; through being real and vulnerable with my kids, spacious and forgiving with myself, and through recognizing the incredible people my children are somehow becoming in spite of my undeniable flaws. (Go figure!)

I remember again and again that THIS LOVE that I imperfectly am IS the very ground of my motherhood. This LOVE that I so dearly, wildly live to loveand love to live, to summon, inspire, celebrate, and surround not only my children in, but everyone I meet, has got to be the god-darned point of it all!

This love that I serve and reflect and confirm in my children; condition, mold and hone them by the light of, has just got to be more than enough in the end.
It is certainly everything to me.

Mother is who I find as I bow into my yoga practice with reverence and self-thanks, as I twirl on the dancefloor, and when I prepare myself a beautiful bowl of nourishing food, meeting myself with care and kindness. Mother is who I am when my hand rests with self-appreciation and humility solidly on my own heart.

Mother is who summons the wildness with which to tackle and wrestle my growing son; who tentatively learns the art of giving my blossoming daughter all the space she needs to spread her wings beyond my embrace.

Mother is who I discover again and again as I sit in stillness at the flame, after everyone is in bed, overcome with tender devotion and reverence.

Mother is the warmth and nest of true self-embrace, and Mother is the sharpest sword, willing to slice through all that is not of service to life and growth and health and love.

Mother is the fierce baring teeth and claws, willing to do everything and anything to protect her young. She is the one who is exhaustingly devoted as she nurses us back to health. And she is the one who is not afraid to hold up the hardest mirror, and name the hardest truths, to reflect that which must be seen.

My Mother is Moon and Ocean and Stars; this very body and soul of our precious world. My Mother is Plant Medicine, is Ceremony, is Dance, is Healing Waters, is Fire. Mother is who I taste as my tears and in her seas, rolling down the cheeks of Creation. Mother is Life and Death; she who awaits our last breath, just as she inspired our first.

Mother is this hugely humbled, spacious, deeply intimate and personal love with which I love and am loved and lived as Mother.

Mother of my body, mothers of my heart and soul, Mother Gaia, Holy Mother of All Life, exquisite Mother that I am and you are, thank you. Thank you.

Photo: My Mother, and her Mother, and my daughter, who made me Mother.

Retrograde Mama Morning

Retrograde Mama Morning

This morning was one of those mornings where it was quite clear that all the retrograde planets were colliding and exploding in my very home! Ezra’s alarm didn’t go off at 6 am as he was expecting it to, disrupting his cherished self-made morning rhythm of showering and playing early, before Arayla and I rise, so he can claim his 7-year-old space and his center.

And so I woke first thing, my softly open and tender morning self, to his enraged yelling and blaming and storming around the house… So much harshness for my sensitive early-morning heart and ears. I found myself energetically cringing, the sorrow creeping in. And then, after his hateful rage storm towards the world had moved through the house, he decided it was time to turn it towards himself, yelling out heartbreaking things, like “Maybe you should just put me up for adoption?! Who would want such a mean child like me?

Oh my dear heart~ how it aches in moments like these. These incredible young people, my challenging offspring/housemates, my amazing and terrible beloveds~ how they work my patience, my kindness and compassion like nothing else.

A few minutes later, when the storm had passed into grumbles, I heard Arayla (11) quietly counseling her little brother~ “Ezra, please stop feeling sorry for yourself. So your alarm didn’t go off and you didn’t get to take a long shower. Is it really worth all this? And please stop telling yourself that story of suffering…it doesn’t help anything or anyone.” I chuckled to myself: how convenient, at least, that I have cloned my own consciousness…

I called an urgent family meeting at the altar in the living room. It was 7:22 am. Arayla, Ezra, and our little puppy Freya all came and sat at the altar with me. I lit the candle, then lit some palo santo, letting the smoke cleanse my body and heart before handing it to Ezra, who did the same, before handing it to his sister. I spoke briefly about responsibility when it comes to the energy we meet inside ourselves and embody in our home.

I reminded about the choices we have when we don’t get our way; when something is disappointing and upsetting to us. I talked about energetic impact and contagion~ the call to become more conscious about what we are “spreading” to others~ is it anger, resentment and blame? Can we intend to “spread” our forgiveness, love and compassion?

And finally I talked about self-hatred and what we harbor against ourselves. How important it is to fully feel the pain when it arises, but then to let it go, let it move on through…to forgive ourselves and one another. I addressed Ezra’s ‘adoption’ comment directly, saying “There is nothing you could do or say; no way you could ever act, no mistake you could make, that would change how much I love you, or how fully I want you, or my commitment to being here for you, no matter what, for your whole life and beyond. Ok? ” Ezra cried then, and buried his face in my lap, releasing. I stroked his precious head for a moment… and then invited him to blow out the candle and carefully make a wish.

We moved into the kitchen and prepared for breakfast. Arayla took the puppy out to the yard, and Ezra got his clothes on. Just another single mama retrograde morning~ stretching me to new depths of tenderness, dharma and resolve.

Bless us all as we teach and learn from one another in the hardest ways… through pain and mistake, through wound and repair, through this love and grace that works us over and uses us~ again and again and again, always only in service of more love.

The Thankless Job~ & How It Invites Us To BE The Thanks

The Thankless Job~ & How It Invites Us To BE The Thanks

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I remember one time, when my kids were much smaller, maybe 5 and 2 years old, we had just gotten over a horrendous family stomach flu. You know the kind~ where just like dominos, everyone goes down? One by one, everyone is violently, grossly sick, all over the house. And then, after scrubbing the bathrooms and doing 15 loads of laundry and taking care of everyone for days, finally the Mom gets it too?

I distinctly remember speaking to my dear mother at the time over the phone, from a safe, non-contagious distance, and she said, compassionately: “Oh Love, I’m so sorry. You know~ Motherhood is an utterlythankless job.” 

And while the truth is I actually feel immensely appreciated as a mother, and profoundly grateful as my mother’s daughter, I totally understand where the saying is born from. Don’t you?

Mothers give endlessly, night and day, in infinitely seen and unseen ways. We show up to love and care for the children because we must; because it calls to us; it is our sacred duty. We fall short in undeniable ways, we absolutely hate it some days, we unconsciously wound our offspring with our own unhealed wounds and blind spots, it’s a total mess a lot of the time, but wow do we LOVE them: dearly, profoundly, vulnerably, endlessly, and often thanklessly.

And think of all the invisible, thankless jobs that people do in this world~ to support our flowing with the current of life, our receiving of nourishment, of health, of blessing, of beauty? Think of the farmers who grow and harvest the food that lands magically in our grocery carts and then our refrigerators, the trash truck drivers and street cleaners, the dishwashers in restaurants who scrub clean our plates, the sweepers and the moppers of the world, the countless hidden masses whose work never gets acknowledged?

And yet~ what does this lack of acknowledgment throw back upon the un-thanked? What value and self-worth must we discover and know for ourselves, if that thanks from the world is not always forthcoming? 

Really, as lovely and undeniably supportive it is to experience others appreciation; to be seen for what we’ve brought through our evolving hearts, to be acknowledged for that delicious, nourishing dinner we just cooked, or the thoughtful and generous gift we gave? To be celebrated for the inspiring poem or song that moved though us, that amazing meeting we just facilitated or session we just offered? To be admired for that random act of kindness, or even just the beauty we naturally embody and extend…

As good as this feels~ to be appreciated, seen, and acknowledged, doesn’t others thankfulness simply PALE in comparison to this pure flood of thankfulness that arises within our own hearts?Tell the truth.

And what if it is the very same invitation in relation to bringing our precious gifts, our tender offerings, our truest hearts into the world? 

What if it turns out that showing up and shining and sharing what we are here to share, letting out what’s within us, is actually “a thankless job?” At least a good part of the time? And what if, just like Motherhood, it is never intended to be a perfect, flawless expression? What if instead it is inherently loaded with limitations, humbling stumbles and downright mistakes?

Yet it is our sacred duty, our calling, nonetheless~ regardless of ever being thanked or appreciated for bringing through and raising up what we must?

What an invitation this is~ to find the essential shift of attention within us: from the necessity of being thanked, to the imperative of BEING The Thanks? From the necessity of being loved, to the imperative of Being Love?

In this then we are given an opportunity to GIVE for what we receive in the giving, with all the beauty, tedium, angst and evolution it inspires within us.

No~ not just to be thanked or acknowledged, celebrated or loved. But more so as to be lived, purely and truly and fully by Life; so as to BE the unique expression of Thanks and Love we came to be.  

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