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Musings of an Awakening Spirit

Stories, poetry & general musings of Rebecca Haywood, a modern-day Shaman with a penchant for bringing the divine into the human experience.

The Labor Pains of Our Mothering

This post isn’t just for you mothers. I’m talking about the superpower of our maternal instinct and how we have turned it against ourselves and our relationships…

How we under-mother ourselves as we prioritize another’s needs over our own, and then over-mother them into a disempowered stagnation. How it is interpreted by the masculine, sometimes rightfully so, as emasculating or smothering and throws them into fight or flight mode. How we all struggle with the concept of selfless over selfish.

Let’s bring the medicine back to our mothering, and that begins by bringing awareness to how we have alchemized it with our shame and weighted the scales of its natural equilibrium.

Once anything is out of balance it carries that double-edged sword of duality. When it comes to our maternal instinct, society both shames our mothering and begs us for it.

We are accused of emasculating, infantilizing, or otherwise smothering our men and children, to then find ourselves wiping their tears of abandonment when we push them out of the nest of our womb. The spiritual community discourages selfishness in the name of service and yet preaches self-care. Even we sisters judge each other for being too nurturing, too soft, too focused on family over career.

But the nurturing that comes from this superpower of our maternal instinct is a beautiful thing… as long as it doesn’t come from a wounded place. When we lack self-love, we redirect that love into others in a self-sacrificing generosity.

But selflessness isn’t meant to be an abandonment of the self, just as self-love doesn’t exclude others from its generous light. Selflessness actually begins with a strong sense of self, with a mission and gift to give. And the love for others—the true, un-needy kind—springs from a deep love for oneself. The cup over floweth only when it is full.

But it all comes from one wound, that ancient one…

When the feminine was cast out of the garden she was reformed by man into the Virgin Mother. They just couldn’t let women have the pleasure that preceded the holy birth. They couldn’t let sex itself be the holy birth that it is. So they separated the wheat from the chaff, and pretended the two never met. As a result, we compartmentalized woman into the self-sacrificing Virgin or the self-serving Slut.

This may sound like a reach, but it really speaks to a deep wound within our mothering: that we aren’t allowed, as mothers or as women, to seek out our own pleasure. And it illuminates pleasure as the medicine that empowers our mothering and returns it to balance.

As long as we continually deny our own pleasure, our own needs, then we will continue to mother from a place of lack which, yes, can lash out as emasculating or cling to her cubs in a need to be needed, all while suffering the unnecessary labor pains of a self-made martyr.

So are you ready to mother yourself back to mothering with abandoned pleasure? Then let’s bring the light to our shame and cast it out of the garden once and for all (and for all of us)!

Love for Lease
Poem: "Coyote Bird"

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