Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mothering Yourself

Regardless of our gender, our age, or our ability to take care of ourselves, we all need mother. Mother is a deep, archetypal force in our collective consciousness that begins in childhood with our birth mother’s role in fulfilling our need for unconditional acceptance, love and safety. As we mature and find our own way in the world, in order to be our best selves we must grow in our ability to mother ourselves.

I pass a small farm on my way to work in the morning, and lately I’ve been enjoying watching the young calves standing near their moms, sometimes feeding but mostly just standing close-by. They seem to be trying to maintain just a bit of physical contact. We know that human infants are healthier and less anxious with regular, close physical contact, and I’m sure it’s true with many other species as well.

We accept that mother is important for the young, but what about as we grow older? It’s not common for adults to be aware of or express a need for mother, but I believe it’s always there. Our mothers may no longer be present in our lives, or we may not look to them to provide the love and acceptance that we seek, but we need it nonetheless.

I’m finding that my adult self experiences a need for mothering in many different ways. Sometimes it’s that feeling of being alone or lonely in the middle of my busy, people-filled day. Other times I’ve come to recognize it when I’m frustrated or disappointed with someone who isn’t acting in accordance with how I think the world should operate. When I’m too focused on taking care of business and not enough on myself, and I start feeling resentful or overwhelmed, it’s a sure sign that I need mothering.

The first step in mothering ourselves is asking “What do I need?” Just stopping to ask the question is an act of mothering, because that’s what “mother energy" does; it seeks to nurture and protect. In the middle of the busiest day there is always something that I can do to take care of myself, even if it is only to stop and take three deep breaths, or smile and say thank you to the divine wisdom that breathes in me.

We may be grown-ups, but the child we were lives in us and contributes her perspective to all of our experience. We may be better able to reason through things and navigate the world effectively, but the dear child within never stops seeking mother.

Ask yourself often what you need, and do your best to listen carefully and nurture that need. You may be needing more quiet time for reflection and introspection, or you may need more fun. Whatever it is, engage it fully. Get on the floor with crayons and paper. Roughhouse with the dog. Lie on your back in the grass and watch the clouds float by. Sing to yourself, and for yourself. Brush your hair. Take time to watch the geese as they fly honking overhead. Make faces at your dinner partner and giggle, or better yet, show up with some big, wax lips. Stop and let yourself do absolutely nothing for five minutes, and see how delicious it is. Set a timer if you have to. The possibilities are endless.

May you always mother the child within you, and may this tool be a blessing. . .
(Dedicated to my daughter, Mara, with love)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Letting God Do the Work

When the alarm woke me for work this morning, it interrupted an amazing dream. In the dream I faced a series of challenges, and in the middle of each challenge I noticed feeling pushed and unsure how to proceed, just as I do in real life when I’m not sure how to handle something.

What was different about this dream is that none of the trying circumstances continued to play out. Instead of engaging them, I chose to breathe into my heart, and then simply tell myself that God is at work here.

In my dream I moved through this series of obstacles quickly. They weren’t really big things, but I was aware of knowing exactly how to manage them. As I reminded myself that God was at work in the situation, the obstacle ended and a new one started. I didn’t get caught up in the stories, but just breathed into my heart, and remembered that it was all God at work.

I felt such peace when I awoke. I also felt empowered by being able to live my own truth in my dream, rather than become caught up in some story that took on a life of its own and left me feeling like I had no choice but to get dragged along.

I was reminded that by feeling buffeted by circumstances, we are provided with opportunities to choose to see a higher purpose in our experience, and with that choice the highest comes to pass.

It’s an act of faith to let go of every challenge we face and trust that in doing so we allow divine consciousness to do its best work. But that’s exactly what happens. It can be very scary to choose not to worry about things that are uncertain or seem wrong somehow, but the more often we take those leaps of faith and do manage to let go, the more able we are to get out of our own way and allow creation to work through us.

My dream reminded me beautifully of the divine purpose of this life, of its challenges and how to handle them, and of the truth of myself as an unlimited creator. I am so grateful for the infinite good that expresses in all things, even my dreams!

May you lay down your burdens large and small to God’s infinite good, and may this tool be a blessing. . .