When we were very young, we required the comfort and nurturance from our mothers (or those who were caring for us) in order to live. As adults we may be able to survive without mom, but during challenging transitions we still need maternal qualities from somewhere to help soothe our jangled nervous systems. Ideally, we get this from a loved one, but if there is no one available, there are ways to replicate this for yourself. EVERYONE needs mothering.
The following excerpt on Mother's Day is from the first draft of my upcoming e-book*
Week 2 May 8-15, 2015
Prairie Creek Redwoods, Orick CA. May 11, 2015
On Mother’s Day, 5/10/15, I had been visiting my mother in Portland. I took this photo while visiting Mother Nature on the road trip back to California.
This Week's Holiday:
Mother’s Day is the celebration of those who give birth and/or those who serve mothering roles. It is also a good day to honor the Mother archetype. Not the apron apron wearing, cookie baking, cheerful one portrayed in the media as the ideal maternal figure. There are too many bitter comparisons with her. Here are some other possibilities.
This Week's Activity Menu:
Invoke one of the many classic mother goddesses from your favorite wisdom tradition. Perhaps the Virgin Mary, Isis or Quan Yin. Or if you’re feeling really brave, invite the fierce Kali. You can find a picture, statue or image to place on an altar or write to her in a journal or just say a prayer. When there is a lineage in place, especially with stories that have been around for centuries, this carries power that you can tap into. More about this later in the book.
Another option is find or create your own internal mother. Call this inner persona forth to assist you in times of need. Use all of your senses to help make her real. Give her a face, a name and maybe even a scent like vanilla, rose or lavender. Give her the most comforting voice you can imagine perhaps from someone you know or a celebrity. Imagine the feel of her hand caressing your cheek as you (or a younger version of you) snuggle in her soft warm lap while she sings you a lullaby and reassures you that everything is going to be alright.
And of course there is Mother Nature. She is always available. Be with her in any way you can. If you can go to a place of wild natural beauty and actually sit or walk barefoot on the earth, that is optimal. But even if you are in an urban setting, going to a park or to your yard will work. If you are house-bound, find videos of nature online or connect with a house plant. Make sure you use all of your senses, even if only in your imagination. The important part is your intention to deepen into her support and healing.
Just as we ran to our mommies when we had “owies”, trusting they would make everything all better, we can still find maternal support, comfort, nurturance and love even if our birth mothers are not currently physically or emotionally available to meet our needs. Connecting to mama energy during painful life transitions is helpful whether or not it is to your actual mother.
This Week's Quote:
When I was on the aforementioned Mother's Day trip to Portland, I was listening to a book on CD in the car. This quote from Maya Angelou is from that book - “Mom and me and Mom” :
“I really saw clearly, and for the first time, why a mother is really important. Not just because she feeds and also loves and cuddles and even mollycoddles a child, but because in an interesting and maybe an eerie and unworldly way, she stands in the gap. She stands between the unknown and the known.
This Week's Story:
This link takes you to a story of a time (last day of May, 2010) when I was on the last leg of another much longer road trip leaving my old life and driving across the country to my new one. That trip also included my first visit to my mother in her Portland home. I was definitely in a gap between the known and unknown -- literally on the border between my old life and my new one.
This ends the e-book excerpt. And here is Kali to balance the image on the top. This is actually a friendlier visual for those who might be horrified with her scarier images. But even with blood and skulls, I would far rather have Kali, the mother of change with me during times of transition than the sweet one with the pink apron! She is one tough mama, but she is also seen as sweet, and filled with endless love for her children. She knows the territory of navigating the chaos in the unknown and finding the gifts.
*For those curious about the structure of the e-book and the theory behind it. Here you go!
The book is divided into 52 very short sections. One for each week of the year. Each section contains:
The book is divided into 52 very short sections. One for each week of the year. Each section contains:
- a photo I took sometime during that week out in nature
- a featured holiday (or holidays) or other life milestone celebration and how this ties into the cycles of our lives.
- snippets from the story of my surprise divorce and what followed.
- a quote from one of the hundreds of books or interviews that I have read/listened to that relate to transitions and transformations with a link to follow for more information.
- At least one activity to help you engage with the material.
- prompts to awaken your senses and connect you to your body and nature.
- information that begins to tie all of this together - this information is cumulative so it might not be totally explained in each entry
Why photos? Because they help activate your imagination in the visual realm. I took photos ever single day that year of natural beauty and many include me experiencing joy. No matter what other trials the day may have had for me, the daily joy was totally authentic and helped attract more joy. It also helped me on a very practical level to deal with whatever challenges were waiting for me. You do not have to dance in nature every day (although I highly recommend it!) but these photos give you a way to connect to a different perspective. There have been many studies showing that even photos of nature and/or joy change your brain patterns.
Why Holidays? Check out this link.
Why my stories? Because underlying every transformation there is a story. And stories are one of the most powerful ways to convey ideas - especially ones about archetypal journeys. Mine is the one I know best. I do not dwell in a cloud of endless bliss, but I went from total devastation to living a joyful life beyond anything I could've ever imagined-- with a sprinkling of magical synchronicities, so I think it's a pretty good one. Your story will not look like mine but the same principles that work for me can work for everyone. Changing our stories is at the core of what I offer with Sparks & Leaps, so I will develop this idea more through out the book.
Why Quotes? Because "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." I could not possibly convey all of this wisdom in a short book, but this gives you some ideas of the brilliant teachers who have guided me.
Why Activities? Because when we take some kind of tangible physical action, it is enormously helpful in creating change and new beliefs.
Why the five senses? Because, it helps bring you into your body which has a wealth of information and can connect you to your intuition. Unlike your mind, other people and whatever other fallible sources of information you might follow, your body never lies. Also, the more you engage your senses the more real something feels. The power to create change largely depends on how real it feels to you.
Why this quirky collage? Because all of these different directions help pull you out of your usual, rational, logical, left brain and allow you to access a different mode that is actually more useful in the time around a major life transition. You would think that this is when you most need all of your problem solving skills and fixing abilities to take control of the chaos. But after reading countless descriptions of people who were in that gap between our old world and the new one, and had miraculous new directions unfold for them after a life crisis, I realized that the unusual path I intuitively took was one others had discovered as well. There are many variations, so my goal is not to get you to drink my Kool-aid, but to help you create an elixir that will be perfect for the unique individual you are, in your unique situation, in the middle of the unique time in which you find yourself.
Whether are are you are in the messy middle of a mid-life divorce or in some other transformational transition, this book will offer you unique assistance. It is structured so that you can take it in on any level you want. You can read one section per day or per week or read the whole thing from beginning to end (it would be a pretty quick read) or if you follow the links you can spend weeks exploring the brilliant teachers, and fun practices I have assembled.
This process of writing and creating a business that will be of the best possible service to those in circumstances similar to the ones I have been through (divorce as a child and an adult), using my rather quirky gifts has been and continues to be a bit be -wilder-ing (as Martha Beck would say). Although this be-wilder-ment is ultimately a good thing, I always love your feedback. Clarity is also a good thing!
Dear Michelle, I love the whole idea! It is soulful work and it will certainly be deeply meaningful for anyone who approaches it, I being one of them.ReplyDelete
Thank you and many blessings.
I am stumped as to who you are, LL (hmmm... LL...?), but am grateful for your kind encouragement! Many blessings to you to, oh mystery commentator. <3ReplyDelete
LL, I just realized you are not one of my regular readers who sign in as anonymous and make me guess who they are. I clicked on your link and did not see a profile of your name etc, but looked at your blogs . Did you make this powerful and heartbreaking video?Delete
At odd moments I remember my mother's capacious lap. So enamored of this space was I that, even as an adult, I occasionally sought it's comfort. Without fully realizing it when young, my mother inspired a lifelong passion for teaching, learning, and caring---for independence and sharing. And, yes, for building friendships. Thank you for yours!ReplyDelete
I love the image of grown-up you crawling in your mother's lap! Her inspiration to you as a teacher was truly fortunate for all of the hundreds of students who have benefited. And I have benefitted from her gifts to you as well. <3Delete