“The essence of Mother is to nourish and to be nourished. Our Mother Earth also satisfies and supports us as she envelopes us in the sweetness of life.”
UPDATE: The above picture of myself with my mother and my daughter was taken a year ago shortly after my mother had entered the Hospice program. She was believed to have had metastasized melanoma or lymphoma, eventually becoming nearly bed ridden.
Over the summer her health gradually declined and last fall she was moved into a skilled nursing facility. Throughout the summer Mom’s friends and family came to visit her, spending what some thought might be their last visit. Mom, however, was not done with life.
Garnering her hallmark sass and determination, Mom decided she was literally not going out laying down. Ignoring the cautions of her nurses and family she got up and started to walk again, often refusing her wheelchair. Before long she went back to using a walker to get around.
I know better than to count Mom out when things get tough. Last month she took herself off Hospice, checked out of the skilled nursing facility, and got her driver’s license back. Her current diagnoses has been changed to Stage 1 leukemia for which she takes no treatment. She is now up cooking meals for my brother, playing the piano for church, and doing a bit of housework. Mom always said she wants to live to be one hundred years old. I believe she just might do it! Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
The archetype of Mother is powerful and complex. Ideally, Mother offers us the freedom to explore our own power through the responsibility of making our own choices. She knows that making decisions provides opportunities to create lessons of wisdom through trial and error. Carefully she guides us in navigating the delicate balance between independence and interconnectedness. She does this, all the while enveloping us in her love and her cooking, safe in our contented home.
Wrapped in the protective womb of her body our Mother provides all the sustenance we need in order to fully form into a human being. Then, at the moment of our birth, we lock eyes with our mother, solidifying our very first relationship. Intertwined in the process of interpreting and meeting our physical needs, Mother, with her coos, ‘oos’, and ‘ahs’ reassures us with a sense of inner security. Our Mother sees to it we were cared for, quickly learning how to interpret our various cries and to satisfy our needs whether through food, attention, or a clean bottom.
Mother is our sacred empatica (Italian, feminine singular empath). She understands us in the most intimate of ways, knowing us body, heart, and spirit. Mother, as our holy witness, hears us in a manner that allows us to speak our deepest emotional truths. To be present as a holy witness for another is mothering on a most sacred level.
Sadly, some of us may have had mothers who have fallen woefully short of these qualities. We may have suffered terribly at the hands of the person we counted on most as a child. Or, perhaps as mothers ourselves, illness or emotional and spiritual malnutrition may have prevented us from giving fully to our children, or giving to them at all.
“We are all mothers and we all need mothering. We are all created out of our mother’s body.”
Our relationships with our mother are complicated. They can be fraught with both admiration and frustration. Men and women alike learn their mothering skills through of their mother’s example. More than likely, we have subconsciously adapted our Mother’s coping skills, we may imitate or completely reject the ways our Mom got her needs met.
But in order to create more balanced Mother relationships we must first determine the terrain of our relationship by holding it up to the divine light of truth. We must be willing to see our mother relationships exactly as they are, not just how we wish them to be or filled with the bitter disappointment of their lack.
The truth is most mothers are neither perfect nor perfectly horrible. Our mothering talents may likely fall somewhere in between June Cleaver, the perfect 1960’s TV mom, and Procne, the Greek goddess who killed her child out of vengeance and served him up for dinner to her husband.
Consider your relationship with your mother. Do you idealize your mother, refusing to admit to any faults to her mothering? Or, do you hold your mother to impossibly high standards, ones that she cannot possibly live up to? Do you expect more from her than she has the capacity to give?
To acknowledge our need for mothering, and then to lovingly tend to that need, creates a grounded sense of home within our bodies. This grounding instills a sense of inner satisfaction where there is little desire to manipulate nurturing from others others.
We will generously offer our mothering skills, when and where they are needed most. Consequently, with our hearts fully nourished, we can graciously receive the nurturing, support, and understanding offered, not only by our mothers, but by our partners, families, and communities.
Take a few moments this Mother’s Day to honor someone, blood-related or not, female or male, who has generously given of their time and resources to offer you some much-needed mothering. Also take time to show your gratitude to Mother Earth for all she has given to keep us healthy, happy, and alive. And finally, extend a little mothering toward those most in need of a tender touch, a nourishing meal, or a listening, compassionate heart. This world will be better for it.
Much Love and Grace,
Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.