Honoring the Mother in Everyone

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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.” 

JamesWrapped 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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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

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.

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Making Friends with Your Emotions

Anole

The following is excerpted from my upcoming book, Soul of the Seasons…

I have always felt my world intensely—some might even say, theatrically. I’ve even been called a “drama queen” a time or two. Though the reasons for emotional reactivity are varied and complex, I have worked hard to become a master of my emotional responses rather than a hyper-reactive slave to them. Mastery, of course, is always a work in progress.

As a result of my intense emotional expressiveness I have often been labeled “too sensitive,” or over-reactive, that I’m an attention-seeker. One idea I have always resisted, however, is that emotional expression, however intense, is inappropriate. From my perspective, I simply refused to have my feelings ignored, dismissed, or discounted. In the past, if anyone so much as hinted that I was being “too emotional,” that I should “calm down,” I promptly emoted all over everything and everyone. No reactivity there, right?

When we were little and cute we were more graciously allowed to freely emote in response to our world. Adults might have even found our emotional expressions amusing and perfectly normal. We giggled and frowned, we earnestly cried out our sadness and bitterness and grief. We might have pitched fits of anger when our outer world refused to respond to our inner needs.

At some point—for some of us, painfully early in life—in response to our emotional expressions we were likely told to “grow up” or “settle down” or be “good.” We may have been taught that good girls should not express anger but instead smile and look pretty. We may have been told that big boys shouldn’t cry or show vulnerability. “Shake it off!” might have been the prescribed response to pain and hurt, any anything less showed weakness—something to be avoided at all costs.

“Boys must never be weak,” is a message that is still imprinted in our psyche. When expressing strong emotion we might have even been spanked or called names like “crybaby” or “sissy” or “bitch.” My childhood was filled with messages not so different from these.

There is woefully little sacred space for the expression of authentic emotion in our culture. Instead of being initiated into the wonderful world of emotion when we are young, we learned to judge (or discount or dismiss) our feelings. We may have learned to criticize them as bad, wrong, or inappropriate instead of shining the light of truth onto the nature of our emotional responses. Instead of authentically feeling and then releasing emotion, we have trained the mind to analyze difficult situations. We move away from uncomfortable feelings and make more “rational” decisions.

In our need to detach from our discomfort we often explain away or “spiritualize” our emotions. (Love is the only answer!) We may come to believe that calm (read emotionless) rationalization is far superior to honestly expressing our emotions as they arise. However, our more challenging emotional states—especially those we label “bad” or “negative”—are really invitations to make choices that are in keeping with our Divine Destiny.

Fire spread2For instance, our anger and frustration with life’s challenges can be transformed into the emotional and physical fuel necessary to carry out our vision. Our deep longing for joy can transform the pain and loneliness of a broken heart into the deep connection that lies within authentic relationship. Indifference or a lack of nurturing can be transformed into a more grounded appreciation for our talents and accomplishments. Our hurt and anger over being disrespected can be transformed into a much-needed time of reflection and the opportunity for rebirth.  Fears over an uncertain future can transform into the birth of new visions. And so it goes with the cycles of life, the energy and wisdom of one season feeds and nourishes the next.

Our core emotions of grief, anger, and fear are not character flaws to be pounded into submission or doggedly eliminated. They are part of our holy human state. Our emotions possess sacred medicine, a medicine that helps us to move with authenticity and integrity through the seasons of life. With a willingness to become vulnerable to our humanity and our emotions, we can learn to live with more grace, kindness, and tenderness for all, and most especially, for ourselves.

Our bodies possess an innate intelligence that is infused into our very cells. Each cell is encoded with the capacity transmit information. Our cells not only have their own awareness they also possess awareness of all other bodily cells, and, of the surrounding environment. This sophisticated system of internal (and external) intelligence through cellular communication provides the capacity to function without continually engaging in active conscious thought—that, would be exhausting. Fortunately, we do not have to continually remind our heart how to beat or our lungs to take a breath.

Our cells also possess emotional memory that can activate visceral responses to certain smells, sounds, or circumstances. These stimuli have the ability to trigger powerful emotional experiences anchored in the past. It’s why, though Grandma may have died five years ago, the smell of cinnamon rolls evokes the same feelings of comfort we experienced while sitting in her kitchen, or how the sound of a train whistle can stir up the loneliness we felt when Dad left us decades ago.

Recognizing the physical resonances unique to each emotion can help us become more responsive to the circumstances at hand, instead of reacting out of impulse. And when we pay close attention to our emotional signals we can more easily identify what we are feeling in the moment—the only place we have the ability to make a choice. With this conscious awareness we can then more artfully navigate the difficult seasons, and appreciate the more inviting ones. We can more effectively meet our unmet needs instead of repressing or self-medicating our feelings away.

Your emotions have much to teach you. Introduce yourself to them. Consider them as living beings with whom you will interact with the utmost love and respect. Be willing to learn how each core emotion moves, motivates, and inspires you. Re-contextualize yourself to your anger, joy, sympathy, grief, and fear. Be willing to see them from a different light. Develop an intimacy with the places where you feel most vulnerable. Let your heart break wide open to your anger—and, to your joy. Learn to dance with both your generosity, and your loss. Make a sacred space for your emotions in your life, a place of belonging that is free of judgment.

Food for Thought:

How do you express yourself emotionally?

Which emotion are you most afraid of?

Which emotion are you most comfortable with?

How do you move with anger? With joy?

With Blessings and Grace,

Melody

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.

Shifting Seasons

DSCF2895One of the most challenging times on our journey can be when we begin to leave one season and enter the next. During these in-between passages our internal and external landscapes are changing. There are periods of adjustment. In the natural world the days are growing longer (or shorter). The plants and trees are changing. The air smells different. Internally we are changing too. It may seem as though we have a foot in two worlds or that we have no solid footing at all.

Currently in the U. S. we are in the season of fall. Here in Northwest Florida, we are just beginning to feel Fall’s effects. The cooler weather has been a welcome relief from the humid, 90 degree days we’ve been having up to now. It feels good to leave our windows open and our air conditioners off. In Northern Wisconsin, where I was born and raised and, where my children and grandchildren still live, they’ve already enjoyed their first snowfall.

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As I work to finish the revisions of my book Soul of the Seasons so I can send it off to my talented editor to do her magic, I too, feel a new season ahead for me. I’m excited with the thoughts of finally seeing my six-year labor of love delivered into the material world, an instrument that I can finally hold in my hands and share with others. I look forward to teaching again, to have book signings and conduct workshops on the valuable wisdom I have gleaned from working deeply with the seasons.

Five Element medicine, the impetus for my book, teaches us that the seasons are not static passage of time. Though the seasonal equinoxes may be marked on our calendars, the seasons themselves are fluid and over-lapping. It may have seemed that a particular season has arrived abruptly and without warning. But if we are paying attention , we can probably admit we have already sensed the coming shifts. It is no different in our inner world.

Leaving Harvest, the season of abundance and gratitude for all we have been given, we enter Fall, the season great letting go. Fall is where we find value, where we respect those things that are precious to us, and, where we let go of anything that no longer serves. It is a time to acknowledge our grief over the loss of something  or something that was dear to us. It is a time to prepare for the quiet rest of Winter.

One of the most challenging times on our journey can be when we begin to leave one season and enter the next. During these in-between passages our internal and external landscapes may seem unstable. There are periods of adjustment. In the natural world the days are grow longer (or shorter). The plants and trees are changing. The air smells different. Internally we are changing too. It may seem for a while as though we have a foot in two worlds, or that we have no solid footing at all. In the natural world, anything that does not serve toward surviving the winter months is released.

During these seasonal transitions it’s more important than ever to maintain balance, to give extra care to our emotional and physical bodies. To look ahead and prepare. This may be one of the reasons many people react to seasonal changes by becoming ill.

We often go along in life as if the next season is not approaching. We might allow ourselves to be lulled by warm weather, unwilling to turn our minds and bodies toward the coming cold and darkness of Winter. We might even become grumpy and morose knowing that the warm days of summer are behind us, that we will have to change our way of moving about in the world, that we will have to drag our our heavy clothes and slow down.

Our ancestors could not afford the luxury of ignoring the coming seasons, often their very existence relied on well-timed readiness.  Many cultures engaged in ceremonies and rituals to celebrate the coming seasons. Rituals are conscious action intended to remind us of something we value.

So, what if instead of ignoring the coming winter, we prepared for the coming passages in both our inner and outer worlds through contemplation and preparation? Hygge is one such a tradition. Pronounced “hoo-ga,” hygge is a Danish concept. It cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. Or, ask your elders what family traditions might have been kept at this time of year.

The following are a few suggestions on how one might celebrate Fall and welcome in the coming season of Winter:

Prepare your body for Winter. Start by including some of your favorite cold weather foods and beverages. Include warming herbs and spices into the mix like ginger, cayenne, and cinnamon.

Begin now to slow your pace. Go for a relaxing walk in nature. Take naps. Go to bed a little earlier. Reserve more time for contemplation. Ask your body what it needs.

Examine your inner and outer landscapes for what is truly of value and, for anything that needs to be released. Whether it is a pair of old socks or a friendship that has run its course, release it with a heartfelt gratitude for all you have received by their presence.

Create a ritual for welcoming in Winter. Share a beer or two with friends at your favorite pub or make a big pot of chili for the family. Whether you hold a ceremony and dance by the moonlight or have a cup of cocoa by the fireplace, honor, respect, and value all you have been given.

Take care of any unfinished business from Fall. We often prepare in our outer world by winterizing our homes and your cars. What need to be attended to in your inner world? Is there any unfinished grieving to be done? Are you honoring and respecting all that you are and all that you will become? Do you have someone to forgive? Make your burdens as light as possible in order that your passage through Winter might be more bearable.

Share your abundance with others. We can help to build strength and resilience in the world, whether it’s through giving our excess winter clothes to the homeless or sharing our heart of compassion with another in need. By giving to others out of our bounty we build strong communities and they, in turn, also strengthen and nourish us.

I wish you a rich and contented Fall and a cozy Winter.

With Love,

Melody

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.

Harvest Time – Reaping Our Rewards

P1030631a.jpgThe season of Harvest has arrived. The remnants of Summer Fire are embedded within the warmth of the sunny days, but there’s also cool hints of the coming Fall. The Earth is at the peak of its fullness. There’s nothing to do, no more planting, the growth of the crops is complete, our only task is to harvest the rewards of all our hard work. It’s a time to reap what we have sown.

Gardeners this time of year are up to their eyebrows in tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. They cannot possibly think of a single new palatable way to prepare this produce that was once so coveted in the cold days of winter. Unfortunately, all their neighbors are in the same position. It seems as though no matter how much they give away, there’s still more to give. In the season of abundance there’s so much more than we can possibly take in at once.Garden 003

In Five Element medicine, Harvest is the season of abundance, nourishment and the emotion of sympathy–to truly understand others at a deep level. It’s a time to enjoy all the sweetness life has to offer. It is the moment of perfect satisfaction. There’s no need, no lack. When we are balanced in the season of Harvest we can give from a place which, in our giving, we only become more enriched. We don’t give at the expense of ourselves or another. We cannot be depleted because we give from the Source that has no end.

Whatever you are receiving right now has, in some way, begun as seeds of something sown in the past. If we have sown love and generosity, we may be harvesting the rewards of feelings of contentment or a generosity bestowed upon us in time of our own need. If we have sown seeds of bitterness and hate, we may be reaping relationships that have suffered through alienation, of emotional connections that are now starved of warmth and love. The dedicated gardener knows that weeds produce just as vigorously as vegetables, sometimes even more so.

Sometimes what we are reaping may be deceptive. If we have decided that we need to sow more truth or that we must diligently tend to our own self-care, we may now be reaping the clearing out of relationships that cannot hold up to these new goals. However necessary this clearing out might be, the loss will still be keenly felt. Ultimately, however, your perceived loss is really a net gain.

“Balanced sacrifice is rooted in compassion, acceptance and respect for the dignity of others. Even though you may receive so much more than you’ve given, it’s not the motivating factor for your sacrifice. True sacrifice doesn’t ask you to carve up a serving of your own flesh in order to feed those who call out in hunger. You won’t be called to set yourself on fire in order to keep others warm. You won’t have to give up your very bones in order to build a ladder out of another’s grief and pain. You’ll give from a perfect state of abundance because that’s who you are. Because you are standing amidst the lushness of a harvest that is always available through the generosity of God, you can’t possibly give it all away.” -from Soul of the Seasons (c) 2016 by Melody A Scout

Consider the following questions concerning the Harvest time:

What are you Harvesting in your life right now?

What seeds have you sown in the past and are now coming to fruition?

What do you have in abundance that you can now share with others? Your talent? Food? Time? A hug or smile?

Are you being fed on all levels?

What do you need to receive in the way of nourishment?

By tending to ourselves first in a balanced, healthful way, we can then truly give from a place where we will not feel loss but only gratitude for all we have been given.

Blessings and Peace,

Melody

Finding Joy In Times of Profound Trouble

In Five Element medicine, Summer is the season for growth, maturing, heart-centered connection, intimacy, joy, communication and happiness. Fire is the element associated with the season of Summer.Fire.jpg
The tragic events this summer (and sadly, nearly every day since) represent the very antithesis of the balanced attributes of Summer Fire. Violence, unrest, miscommunication, greed, rampant fear, and bigotry seem to be present everywhere we turn. These tragedies seem too much to take in, too much for our hearts to process.
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Discouragement, apathy, sadness, bitterness, lack of warmth (both physical and emotional), lack of passion, and profound loneliness are all natural responses to experiencing or witnessing trauma. Prolonged exposure to trauma, cruelty, intolerance, bigotry, loss, and indifference  can lead to an imbalance in the season of Summer. Our fire has run low.
Our hearts may literally ache with the pain and suffering that surrounds us, permeating us to our very core. But, how do we reconnect with our joy in times of great distress? We may even wonder…Should we?

We were created to life a joy-filled life. Joy is the emotion essential in keeping the heart healthy and balanced.  Joy comes in many forms from a subtle smile to high-intensity ecstasy. But without regular engagement with joy, a key emotion that supports our health and happiness, the heart grows heavy.

But, what if the burdens of the world seem too much? How do we counter the pain and suffering we experience? When sadness and loneliness start to feel overwhelming  consider engaging in some of the following heart-centered activities to lift your heart:

DSCF7718 Good conversation with a good listener– Never underestimate the power of open and honest communication. Everyone needs a sacred witness. Let it all out. Don’t try to sanitize or “spiritualize” or explain your feelings away. The burdens if the world weigh heavily upon all our hearts and those burdens are not meant to be borne alone. In turn, learn to be a good listener for others. Caution: Be sure to engage with someone who is trustworthy, someone you can trust to handle your heart with gentleness, love, and respect. Someone who can really hear you without a need to offer unsolicited advice or try to “fix” you.

AnoleEncounter Beauty–  Beauty soothes, moves and heals the heart like nothing else. Whether you find beauty in art, music, a sunset, your lover’s touch, a child’s smile, or a beloved pet, take the time to  encounter something beautiful every day. I never fail to find beauty in the plant world. I’m fascinated by their limitless variety of colors, shapes, and growth patterns, and those mysterious flowers! Each bloom is unique and sometimes even to the individual plant itself. Taking a short walk in nature to commune with plants always lifts my spirits.

July 2013 069.jpgLaughter and Play– Though troubling times may seem like the last place for laughter and play these powerful (and highly underrated) expressions  of Joy can literally transform our spirits. Laughter and play (unstructured time for fun) are some of the most healing things we can do for our battered hearts. If you observe the actions of children you will notice that they can, in an instant, drop their hurt, tears, anger–what have you– with an offer to play. While you’re at it don’t forget to laugh. Hang around with people who know how to have a good time, watch a funny movie, take note of the playful antics of your pet. Remember what makes you smile and go find someone to share it with.

Loving Touch– Everyone needs touch. Gentle, soothing touch can go a long way in healing a troubled heart. It can be sexual or not, but it should always be respectful and clearly invited. Hugs, kisses, a hand on the arm, gentle tender caresses have profound healing power. Don’t be afraid to ask for touch when you need it.

Honor Your Heartache– Though sometimes painful beyond words, wounds of the heart can both soften and strengthen us. They can teach us to respect and revere the frailty and sanctity of life. The can teach us to find preciousness in the present moment. Give your heartache the honor and space it needs. Allow it to teach you to become vulnerable to love. Gently soothe and tend to your suffering and, to the suffering of others.

IMG_0245Take a Break– Watching trauma and drama can be addictive. Turn off the radio and TV. Put away the paper and all electronic devices. Give your heart and mind a much needed rest. Instead, take a nap, go dancing, enjoy your favorite hobby, go for a walk or drive or go do one of the above activities. Take a weekly media fast; go at least 24 hours without picking up your phone or computer. Let your calls go to voicemail. I promise you that you will survive. Rest is essential in restoring balance and sanity.

Having a healthy balanced heart ensures that we will have the strength to move through difficult times with grace, courage, and clarity. A balanced heart doesn’t deny our pain and suffering but finds a place of joy in the midst of it.

Sending You Much Joy and Laughter,

Melody