Mother Love

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First Lesson

Lie back daughter, let your head 
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread 
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe 
me, when you tire on the long thrash 
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you 
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you up.
~Phillip Booth

My mother has been gone for almost ten years now. In some ways, the loss is as fresh as if it were yesterday. In other ways, it feels like an ache that has been there even longer. The spectrum of grief is like that. It comes in waves. Some days are high tide, other days low.

One of the first jobs a mother has is to comfort her child. A baby responds to soothing from its mother like no other. As an adult, she is often the first person we call to get that sense of comfort when things aren’t going well. I had the feeling of being orphaned when my mother was gone. Who will I call? Who will love me as only she could?

Just as a child is taught to self-soothe with a security blanket or stuffed animal, motherless adults learn to do the same. If you find yourself in this orphan club, know that you are not alone in your pain. Remind yourself that however much time you had with your mother, you were absorbing her love and wisdom into every fiber of your being. She is as much a part of you as the air you breathe. On those low tide days, or when holidays like Mother’s Day come around where her absence is felt even more, remind yourself that she lives on in your heart. You embody her joy and delight. Her love for you could never die. So lie back and let the sea of maternal love hold you up.

"We are born of love, Love is our mother." Rumi

Gratitude

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Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.
~Rumi

I like Rumi’s ancient wisdom. Because for me, Thanksgiving feels much different this year. It’s harder to find things to be grateful for, and might take more of a conscious effort. It may take looking around and noticing even the most basic of things to begin to cultivate that appreciation. Or it might require wrapping yourself in a favorite blanket, holding a favorite mug, or cuddling with a beloved pet to connect to the idea of comfort. Comfort can often become the gateway to the feeling of gratitude.

So, here are some things I am able to feel grateful for once I have donned my gratitude cloak. My family, which has increased by one this year with a new son-in-law. Friends nearby, and those far away that we are connected to via Zoom. My health and the health of those mentioned above. This blog which has been a wonderful outlet for my thoughts throughout this time. My followers and students whose support nourishes me more than they can possibly know.

I hope whatever your circumstances are this Thanksgiving that you can wrap up in your gratitude cloak and be conscious of some of the treasures that surround you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."  
~Thornton Wilder

Where the Light Enters

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The wound is where the light enters 
Rumi

This quote by Rumi resonates with me right now. The COVID pandemic has changed our world as we know it. Many of us have experienced loss, pain and unwanted change. The choice for those of us that have been wounded is to either transform, or remain in that place of pain. As my future son-in-law, Jordan, counsels his clients; “Can you make the pivot?” Perhaps that means finding a new way to be, learning new ways to adapt, or just let go of what no longer serves you. I think once we emerge from this unusual place, we will not be the same as a society or as individuals. How we choose to move forward will help to define who we are, and how we live in our new world.

Perhaps we can learn from the Japanese tradition of repairing broken objects, called Kintsugi. In this technique, the damaged portion is not something to be disguised or hidden. Instead, those portions are repaired with adhesive mixed with gold, so the repaired parts are easily seen. This philosophy treats the breakage and the repair as a part of the object’s history, and the object actually becomes more revered because of its flaws and imperfections.

It is my hope that we all emerge from this time mended by gold, and become stronger, kinder and even more beautiful.