I love my mom. We have reached a beautiful place of respect and care for one another. It was not always this easy. You see, I had a “mouth” when I was younger. I wasn’t easily told what to do. On one hand, I was a “goody two shoes” trying to please everyone, but when I felt that I was being commanded, my internal warrior rose up.
I remember once, after “mouthing off” ducking behind kitchen counters in a game of “you can’t catch me,” while my poor mom chased after me with a wet wash rag, intent on letting me know that my outburst wasn’t acceptable. Eventually we both broke out laughing.
I have come to realize over the years, the challenges that my beautiful mother faced when she was young, and the generational disadvantages that were heaped upon women of her time. She worked down the hall from the founder of McDonald’s when she was fresh out of college and had the opportunity to buy a franchise for an amount that is less than a modern house. She wanted to do it. It would have been worth millions now… but no one wanted to help a woman “buy a burger joint” back then. Instead she got engaged. Her fiancée broke it off to become a priest. My dad stepped in and the rest is family history…
My mom became a very good wife and mother, but there was always more to her. She worked two jobs when we were in high school to help save up for our college education. She taught us math tricks, carted us all over the place, and helped us learn to be creative. I didn’t appreciate most of that when I was younger and wanted my way, but looking back, I see the myriad of gifts she gave us.
Now at age 81, after nearly 20 surgeries, including two hip and two knee replacements she keeps going. I am in awe of her persistent spirit. I am i awe of her commitment to see good where she can. She is an amazing grandma to my nieces, and a good friend. I give thanks.
Nonetheless, I didn’t learn how to nurture myself from my mom. She was raised in a culture of female martyrdom, which I adopted as well. It took me years to learn to put self-care – beyond the basics of eating, sleeping, and exercising – into the equation of my life.
Now, self-nurturing is as important a part of life as every other responsibility. I wake up three hours early to do my breathing, exercises, cold showers, and self-massage. I eat a healthy breakfast. I spend a little time reading something inspiring or in silence. I take care of my body, mind, and soul. I take time in silence, in nature, and nurture myself in as many ways as possible to keep me “full” enough to care for the thousands I serve.
The Divine Feminine takes many forms. It lives in your mother, and in you. It lives in the saints I go see for blessings every year like Amma Karunamayi. It lives in the vast beauty of Mother Nature. I like to sit quietly at times and ask specifically for the energy of the Divine Feminine to rise up within and around me. She feels like a warm fuzzy blanket. She reminds me that God is love, and not the judgmental “father image” I was raised with. She reminds me that I already have the answers inside.
Best of all, she reminds me, she is me, you, and everything in creation.She is He, and He is She, and both are We…. It is mind blowing but beautifully felt when you ask to experience the feminine form of the Divine.
Here are some pointers to help you connect with the feminine presence of the God – the energy of the Divine Mother…
1. Pick an Image of Divine Mother
We are visual creatures and if you’re not accustomed to relating to the formless aspect of the Divine, choose a form that represents Divine Mother for you. It might be Mary, Quan Yin, a Hindu Saint, an image you makeup, or even your very own mother, or a powerfully loving woman you know. It might be a pink fuzzy blanket or a cloud of pastel energy. Allow your mind to wander, and ask the Divine Mother to give you an image so you may more easily relate to this energy.
Then close your eyes and ask her to embrace you and speak to you in your heart. Ask to feel her. Breathe, release expectations, and simply see what you feel. You may not hear words, but you will be embraced by pure, nurturing love.
2. Imagine her Presence in Nature and New Life
The energy of the Divine Mother gives life. Imagine her love within every offering of a seed, a bud, a new tree, the sunrise, a fawn, and the birds. Imagine nature is the cloak for her invisible presence. Now imagine your very own nature, your body, is also her cloak. She lives and breathes within you.
Breathe and imagine her love rising up within you.
3. Nurture Yourself
Close your eyes. Ask the energy of the Divine Mother, “How can I best nurture myself?” and listen to the first thought, idea, or image that pops in your mind. Resolve to do this more often. As I typed this, I asked the question, and heard, “Go eat now, before it gets too late.” Time had escaped me. It is good guidance.
Happy Blessed Mother’s Day tomorrow, to all who are actual mothers in this world and to all – male and female – on this list who are working to give birth to and nurture the light within us all.