Category Archives: Discussions on Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother-Teresa-Peace-card-by-Y

Today is Mother’s Day and I’m feeling grateful to have my babies home (one back from freshman year at College for the summer and the other spending the summer at home before venturing out to College in the fall).  I will be an empty-nester soon… soon, but not today!

Today, the house smells wonderful – of eggs from the chickens in my garden, fried in olive oil.  Cooked for us by my daughter.

I remember a Mother’s Day when the kids were much younger when my husband asked me what I wanted.  I asked for the day off.  He took the kids to a museum so that I could bake a loaf of olive bread from scratch.  That’s what I really wanted.  I wanted to be left alone.  For one day, I didn’t want small messy helping hands around – touching everything – touching me.

While the dough was rising, I didn’t want to answer the repeating chorus of “is it ready yet?” and “why?”

I didn’t want to learn or teach.  I didn’t want to talk.

I baked two loaves that day.

~

This week, has been a week of contemplation for me.  Since the beginning of this year, I have felt the urge to do something with my life.  I’ve had that feeling all my life (except when I committed to mothering)…  If I think rationally, and take inventory, I know that I’ve done a lot with my life.  But lately there’s a real, primal, unsettling urgency to do something more…  I can’t explain it.  Maybe it’s just the anticipation of the coming change.  Maybe, it’s the need for change.  I don’t know.  I just feel like time is speeding too fast and running out.

Of course it isn’t.   Time is time.  It is not linear and it does not run out.  I know this.  And yes, I also know that this lifetime is finite, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  At least I don’t believe that’s what it is.

There’s an urgency about something that is difficult for me to pinpoint.  The urgency feels real.  The sensation is stopping me from functioning and putting one foot in front of the other while tolerating the status quo.  And so of course I am pushing through – putting one foot in front of the other anyway – doing more – despite all instincts – and people are commenting about how “different” I am.  They prefer the old me; gentle, peaceful, spacious and giving.  Lately, I have been moving too fast, giving too much and demanding more as if that would somehow slow things down.

In anticipating the change, I’ve become the change, resisting, and being resisted.

This isn’t new for me.  I’ve been on this edge before.  This tension is familiar to me.  And, before, when I thought it was the end, it turned out to be just another beginning.  I remember the first time I showed up to the edge but refused to jump, I was pushed and I learned to fly.

Who would have imagined that more can be achieved by doing nothing – resisting nothing – dissolving into the moment presenting itself?

The most recent time I was at this edge, I didn’t jump off.  I did the opposite.  I collapsed inwards.  I stopped, stood still and curled in towards my center, my silence, the earth, and nature… And, the quieter I became, the more ready I was for life.

And, when I emerged, everything was right with the world and I carried on.

Is it time to be quiet again or it is time to talk?

~

On the sleeve cover of the DVD Beyond Right & Wrong – stories of justice and forgiveness by Article 19 films, there is a quote from a bereaved mother of a soldier

When the army came to tell me that my son had been killed, the first thing I said was, “YOU ARE NOT TO KILL ANYONE IN THE NAME OF MY SON.”

I shivered when I read that.  Yes.  That’s what it takes.  Our need for peace must be greater than our thoughts of revenge.  And, now I know that I’m not alone.

I watched the movie earlier this week and it gave me hope.  I know we can have peace in my lifetime.  All we have to do is choose to have peace in my lifetime.  I have personally already made this choice.

Check out www.beyondrightandwrongthemovie.org 

It seems appropriate that on Mother’s day, I find myself contemplating peace.

In the Huffington Post, there’s an article from Matthew Albracht entitled ’From the Bosom of the Devastated Earth,’ a History of Mother’s Day for Peace.

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!… We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.“ ~Julia Ward Howe, 1870
From her Mother’s Day Proclamation for Peace

You can read the whole article here.

~

This morning started with my daughter handing me a printout about the life of Julia Ward Howe and in the spirit of honoring her, she had hand made something for me – a painting that I’m not allowed to share with anyone.  She’s in the midst of studying for her finals but she took the time to paint something for me.  She too must be feeling the fast approaching milestone.  I’m a mom.  I can tell.

Perhaps, like me, she too feels the need to leave something of herself behind.

Mothers in society are the first Lamas

mothers - first lamas
From my facebook feed this morning

There is nothing more powerful than love.  And to teach our children the power and value of compassion is to give them a gift for life that grows the more they share it.

I believe this to be true because as mothers, we are driven by our highest purpose.

Motherhood is not a job.  It is a calling and being a calling it is informed by something Greater.

There’s a simple exercise that I shared with my daughter when she faced a challenging situation at school with one of her teachers.

Basically, here is what the exercise was all about:

  • Become really still, and quiet your mind.
  • Breathe.
  • Put your attention on your heart and feel compassion.
  • If it’s difficult to feel compassion for the person that is challenging you, then feel compassion for anything you love like your pet dog, for example.
  • While holding that feeling in your heart, visualize the energy of that feeling in a bubble surrounding the challenge you are facing.
  • Know, that no one is born wanting to be mean.  That maybe something, somewhere along the way, forced them in that direction and, feeling compassion towards them, gives them permission to remember who they really are.  They might just start returning the compassion.
  • Expect nothing.
  • Just practice until it becomes easy to do.

My daughter (a teenager) rolled her eyes at me when I first introduced the idea but I guess when she was faced with no other alternatives she must have tried it because a week later, in passing, she said:  “You know that exercise you told me to do?  It worked”.

Parenting in a broader sense

Parenting is a word that we understand to mean that we are dealing with offspring…but I invite you to broaden the definition of ‘parenting’ a bit and think of parenting as a quality of relationship such as nurturing. Nurturing can be done to plants

in a garden, to a sick animal, and of course to our own children. So then with the broader sense, the word ‘parenting’ can be applied to anyone you have a relationship with where you are in a position of ‘parent’, ‘mentor’, ‘boss’, ‘teacher’, ‘vendor’, ‘caretaker’… It deals with the relationship… Especially if growth is something to be a byproduct of the interaction.

I think the lesson that Dr. Wayne Dyer offers from the Tao is timely… And, when you are done reading, I invite you to have a conversation here, or email me privately if you know me. I would love to hear what your soul says to you (if anything) while reading the his blog entry: http://www.drwaynedyer.com/blog/the-simple-path-to-parenting

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Feeling Connected

Some of my favorite emails are one or two lines long. Here’s one that a friend of mine sent me recently to get the conversation going.

The subject line just said: “Hey” and the body of the email had the following <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Kunitz” target=”_blank”>Stanley Kunitz quote:

“The Universe is a continuous web. Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers.”

I saved the email.

The imagery that this brings up for me underscores our connectedness and the fragility and sensitivity of our connections.

Recently, during a women’s circle, I had a chance to visit with my friend.

She shared with us that since coming upon this quote, she is more cognizant of how connected we are and how one word uttered here may impact someone who is miles away – in her case, her son. And, she said that realizing how her words can impact her son has helped her be impeccable with her speech when dealing with difficult situations that arise.

Who do you care enough about impacting that you would be willing to choose kindness (and maybe silence) over being right?