I do not have children. The truth is, I don't know if I ever will. The call to motherhood, in the traditional sense, is something relatively foreign to me. Since I was very young, I noticed other girls and boys talk about having a family, being the mom and dad to their own little girls and boys. I did not share this fantasy. I did, however, dream of having animals, traveling to unknown places, interacting with people from across the globe and helping in places where love was needed most. Where kids and a "normal" family were concerned, I didn't hear the call. I still don't, at least not now. Being a woman is so tied to being a mother. With my inner compass guiding in directions other than family life, having and raising children, putting on the Mom role, I have felt a sometimes subtle, other times glaring alienation. Is there something wrong with me? If I don't have kids, how can I be a complete woman? The questions and answers have come over time, continuously changing and evolving as I myself grow and change. What I have found is that I, as much as any other woman, am a mother. If to no one else, to me.
I have held space for and nurtured many ideas, periods of experience and transition. I am compelled to care for and provide comfort in way only a mother can. Being a mom is about more than having biological children. Motherhood is an archetype all women channel in their own unique ways. Mothers are the nests where precious life grows, the watchers and protectors, the teachers and guides. Mothers are generous and caring, masters of compromise and creativity. The decisions and circumstances that lead to the external role of mom are just one aspect of this archetype. Parenthood and motherhood are not one in the same. This being said, I honor all parents. My mother and the women I have been raised by and with are incredibly compassionate, resourceful, dynamic, generous, intelligent, insightful, supportive, brave human beings. I have learned how to be a woman in the world by their examples and through their encouragement. They have shown me to how channel the archetype of motherhood and lent me the courage to forge my own path.
I am my own mother. I nurture and protect the seedlings within that are taking root and in the formation stage. I wrap a warm blanket around the shoulders and heat the tea kettle when I am sick. I look in the mirror and say I believe in you when fear is telling me to give up on my dreams. I tend to the details like only a mother can. I hold on when it is needed and let go when it is time. I am always present and stand by me no matter what. I stand up for what I believe in and offer others the respect to choose their own way. I am a mother, to myself.
Claiming this powerful archetypal energy is available to women everywhere. It is built into us, a birthright. Regardless of the decisions or circumstances that have shaped the outer world, if their are children running through your house, have been, or ever will be, you are a mother. Whether your experience of motherhood leaves a smile on your face or tenderness in your heart, there is space for expansion and healing. Choosing to recognize the mother within is a life affirming move. When the mother within is found, seen, and allowed to express herself, the whole world changes.
Can you recall a woman who has shaped your life in meaningful ways? Perhaps it is your biological mom, perhaps it is not. Whoever comes to mind represents a loving mother to you and can be honored. What did she do, what energies did she embody and what did you learn from her? Tap into this wisdom and channel it. Now try on the motherhood cape, just for yourself, and notice what you find. Becoming what we desire from others is the key to living a peaceful, deeply fulfilling and vibrant life. If you have children, I have no doubt that providing and showing up is a constant. Giving is honorable and important, and so is receiving. Looking in the mirror and seeing my own inner mom gazing back is the sweet stuff I wish for all of you. Whatever you've been through, wherever you're going, that inner mother companion and guide is there cheering you on, sometimes with a quiet sweet smile, other times hooting and hollering. It might take practice to find her or make sense of how she speaks to you. Good things can take time to cultivate. If you feel lost, simply start by asking "what would a loving mom do?" and go from there. You know the way...
Have you ever played with dominoes? Something I have been mesmerized by since childhood is creating a path around the living room and beyond, setting up hundreds of dominoes in a winding line. The pieces wrap around the room, circling furniture and man made obstacles, all lining up one after the other. Forming the path is a process, setting intention and planning out the route ahead only to tip over one piece and see the path change. One domino sets the rest in motion, the power of that one small piece fascinates me still. When one piece is touched, the whole line is shaped and shifted. The slightest touch of one domino changes the game for all the others.
We all lead by example. We all set the path in motion, like the lead domino we influence hundreds of others in any given day. There is no way to know how one small choice, action, word, thought, intention, smile, smirk, wave or tear will influence the world as we and others know it. Every choice matters, however small it seems. Each of us has a responsibility, to live with awareness and choose the example we will lead with. Having such awareness can seem daunting sometimes, as can the reality of personal responsibility. The wonderful part of this domino effect thing is that it comes as much from doing what gives us joy as it does doing the conscious and responsible thing. There is so much room for joy. Haven't you been around someone who is enjoying the moment so much it rubs off on you, too? We touch one another every day. How we do this is ours to choose.
Our domino effect is never ending. The choices we make, how we treat ourselves and others, is shaping our path. Acknowledging that I have a responsibility to the world around me is humbling and empowering. I am part of a greater whole, what I do matters and I am just one among many. I choose my attitude, I lead by example, I how I effect others is mine alone and I can always choose again. I have no idea how much my choices influence others. What I do know is that I’d rather err on the side of kindness. If my smile will help someone else out, why not smile? After all, it takes less effort to smile than it does to frown.
What you do matters. If you knew your choices in this next thirty minutes would alter the lives of others for many moments to come, what would you do? Thoughts and intentions create our experiences, so choose wisely. Take a minute and ponder, explore, & decide how you’ll tip the stack o’ dominoes in front of you.
Go ahead, it's your turn.
I can barely wait to see what you set in motion,
"Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." -- Scott Adams
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas