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MOTHER- A LOADED WORD

Photo by Johannah Reimer

Photo by Johannah Reimer

Let us take care of ourselves so that we don’t hand down our unfinished business to the next generation. Let us laugh together, and never lose our joy. . . . And let us take care of the children—our children, all the children. Let us mobilize our fierce and passionate mother energy on behalf of all beings on this little blue-green planet we call Mother Earth.” 
Denise Roy

In the dharma, we are taught to care and love for each being as if they were our mother, because in one of our many lifetimes, they were. This works well in the East, where our elders are treated with reverence and respect. Asian cultures do not spend half their life in therapy complaining about the imperfections of their parents, blaming them for their current woes. In the West, this teaching becomes more complicated. So many of us are tangled in the shortcomings of our parents. We relate to our mothers especially, with a mixture of love, appreciation, guilt, animosity, annoyance etc....Admit it. 

This Mother's Day week, I invite you to reframe your relationship with "mother." Those of you who are mothers, know how insanely hard this job is. How more often that not, it's survival. And, maybe like my mom, your mom didn't have the best role model. Possibly even the worst. So let's take a breath to connect with gratitude for the mom's who raised us, who did their very best, and loved us in the best way they knew how. My mom is seriously a miracle. How she loved us so hard, in her own human ways, blows my mind. Ok, ready? Deep breath in.....big sigh out. Thanks mom.

Ok, now that we've healed our mother wound, (just kidding, kinda...) Let's take a moment to feel all the times in our lives we've been mothered. Maybe some folks in your life have "adopted" you, taken you under their wing, cared for you when you needed it most. I have a few of these mamas.

Maybe you've been tired and weary to your bones, and you've laid on the earth, and let Pachamama hold you. Maybe you've spent hours under the shade of a tree, or in the presence of sweet smelling flowers, or dissolved into the space of the ocean. Ahhhh, mama. Maybe you've crawled into a friend's house and let them hold you and feed you. Maybe you've been so low, that your community had to come over and do your laundry, cook you meals, and pick up your tissues.

Maybe there's been someone in your life who needed you like that- and you've cooked soup for them and stroked their head- and your tender heart filled with the joy of mothering. Or maybe lying in bed with your child or pet or friend or partner, and mothering them, and feeling how whole and soothed you feel. How full. Yes, mothering and being mothered are the ultimate nourishment. And there are infinite forms it can take. Ahhhhh. Mama.

And when I feel lost, disconnected from myself, scared or alone...I call in The Mama. I invite the energy of Mama Earth, of Divine Mother, of Tara, of teachers I have, of women who've loved me for who I am completely...I invite them to hold me. I feel them behind me, arms around me, hands on my heart. That, in fact, is what my tattoos are about. I have tattooed the embrace of Sacred Mother on my shoulders, arms and back- so I can remember to relax into her. I gave her a landing pad on my body, to remind myself I'm not alone.

This week in Awaken the Dance we danced this. We danced all of it. We invited our bodies to be mothered. To feel gratitude for the mothering we've had and the morning we've done. To be held by gravity and Pachamama. We danced Mother.

Dance Invitation: Play with mama energy in your body. Can you let yourself be mothered by your movements? Can you feel the nourishment of mothering your body? Can you take a deep breathe in and out and acknowledge the mother you've had with a sense of appreciation? And can you appreciate how you have mothered your community, your garden, your pets, your nieces and nephews, your friends children and your own? Yes, celebrate mother.

Hannah Kinderlehrer