As women, we all possess a nurturing quality, connected together with the great cosmic mother spirit.
Even if a woman isn’t an actual mother in the traditional sense, the spirit is still alive within- whether it’s caring for your plants, pets, family, friends or community.
We are also living in amazing times where men are awakening more and more to the divine feminine within them as well.
When I was pregnant, I would dance with these questions:
“What kind of mother do I want to be?”
“How do I want to mother and raise my child?”
I still ask myself these questions on a regular basis whenever I feel out of alignment with my ideal answers.
I also reflected upon how my own mother raised me as a point of reference. And I candidly admit, I was no picnic in the park in my adolescence. I had a raging temper, a strong will and I laughed in the face of discipline. No surprise I see some of this in my daughter now.
That said, being raised by a single, divorced mother who worked long hours and weekends in our family owned restaurant business, I now clearly see key lessons she taught me.
5 Lessons I Learned from My Mama:
1) It’s never too late to learn new things.
When I was 11 years old, my mom would sometimes take my friends and I to the roller skating rink. She had never roller skated as a kid and wanted to learn. So while we raced around the rink floor, she was the only mom skating slowly around the perimeter. She turned 65 last month and continues to try new things and explore new places. It’s inspiring!
(Thinking about it, I really loved my white vinyl skates with those hot pink wheels!)
2) Even Supermoms need help!
It really does take a village to raise a child. My mom would tell you today that she probably considered herself a kind of “Supermom” working and raising me. But thanks to neighbors, babysitters, friends’ parents, teachers and sometimes, a complete stranger out of the blue, she had help and I had a very full childhood. As human beings, we are designed to thrive in community. Embrace help and support. It’s your right as a a human.
3) Find what works for you.
My parents’ divorce was messy and traumatic for all. After my mom gained her freedom, she took up ballroom dancing and went on to perform in competitions. I still remember proudly sitting in the audience, in awe, watching her with so much excitement. (And this was way before ‘Dancing With the Stars’). She often says that after divorcing my dad, this was her “therapy.” While I don’t doubt that actual therapy would have been helpful to her, dancing was a way to nourish her starved soul and help her feel alive once more within a like-minded community.
4) Have faith.
During all the different challenging moments growing up, when I would be angry or hurt, when I would want to retaliate or act out, my mom would always tell me to have faith, believe that there was a higher power that would help and guide me. While I firmly believe in taking action and responsibility for one’s own life, I have come to appreciate the profound power of faith, of believing in greater divine forces at work that are co-creating life with us in each moment. As one of my dear yoga teachers, Gurmukh, has often said, “Put it to prayer.”
5) Love comes in many different ways.
For the last three generations of my maternal lineage, there has been a history of abuse and a lack of conscious mothering. My grandmother did not know how to display loving affection. This passed onto my mom, who is more affectionate than her mom, but has still struggled with intimacy.
That said, I know that my mother did everything in her life that she could to give to me a happy, healthy life. Even when it didn’t feel or seem like it, she sacrificed, hustled and did the best she could with the resources that she had.
So often times when we long for a loving comment, hug or recognition from our parents, perhaps they have showed us their love in their own way, even if those don’t always seem like the most positive ways. Perhaps they showed us in the only way they ever really knew.
Maybe it’s a matter of opening up to receiving that love and letting it feed our heart and soul.
I sent my mother a copy of these lessons to recognize her and tell her “Thank you. I love you.”
Perhaps this inspires you to do the same, whether it’s addressed to your mother or an important maternal figure in your life, whether she is here or has passed on.
Share your insights in the comments below!