To those of us who are mother-challenged, few cultural traditions are as obnoxious as Mother’s Day. Somehow it feels like there’s something wrong with us when we find ourselves recoiling at statements like, “Mothers are angels on earth,” and “Why do mothers get only one day?” Indeed, even though it isn’t our fault, having a mom who doesn’t approve of us or seems to want nothing to do with us, for example (**points to self**), or experiencing any other sort of painful mother issue, can cause us to feel considerably bitter and left out.
That’s why I thought I’d share some hints and tips about how to traverse this day with grace, and even to use it as fuel for our ever-expanding joy, contentment, and well-being.
Spending time outside and connecting with the Earth Mother regularly have been vital aspects of my ongoing personal healing journey. Truly, in very real ways, the living planet all around us can be an even more loving and sustaining presence than any human mother could ever be. Consider how we’re made from Her and shall return to Her. Consider Her immense beauty that nourishes our spirit and all the miraculous plants and herbs that heal us and nourish our body, mind, and soul. There is not a single moment that She is not cradling us and feeding us. Before each meal, as you gaze at the sky, drink water, breathe the air, and drift off to sleep, you can express gratitude for the Mother who endlessly provides.
Recognize and Honor the Mother Within Yourself and Others
Regardless of your relationship with your human mother, and even if you never experience the joys of human parenting for yourself, the role of “mother” is present in your life, and it is a beautiful thing. When we adopt a kitten and feel the fierceness of our desire to protect her, or when we rescue a lost dog from a busy road, or when we hold a loved one as he cries, we are drawing upon our natural instinct to mother. The mother archetype also appears when a cat mother who has lost her young adopts other kittens. Or when an octopus mother follows her instinct to give her very life so that her babies may live. Or when a loved one calls to check on us as we’re healing from an illness. All beautiful, and all ways to honor the mother archetype on Mother’s Day.
Rise from the Ashes
After years of writing, teaching, and consulting, I’ve learned that the word “forgiveness” might just be a little too loaded for everyone to work with effectively. For many, it brings up guilt and the belief that we’re just supposed to put on a happy face and pretend like the challenges and heartbreak never happened. And this might be particularly true with such a fundamental and culturally exalted relationship as the one we have with our mother. That’s why it can be more effective to work with the concept of “rising from the ashes.” For you – not for your mother or for anyone else – it can be a wonderful thing to feel the feelings fully, find the blessing within the challenge, let everything else go, and emerge stronger than you otherwise could have. No need to act like everything’s fine around your mom, or to go get a pedicure with her, or to even hang out with her at all if you don’t feel like it. But if we can choose, for our own sakes, to be strong rather than defeated, and empowered rather than victimized, we’ll find peace and our lives will blossom…and Mother’s Day might not be quite as annoying to us anymore.