Stories of Motherhood: Soulful Mama

I love stories of Motherhood. Every mother has a story – and you know every child would love to hear their mama’s story. I love seeing how wide my children’s eyes become when I tell them bits of my “other life” before they joined me here. My journey into motherhood has been interesting too and  one day I’ll share it with my children but now is not the time. I’ll tell you about it sometime though. Here is a letter from a mama that I adore. She is passionate about women living a life that is beauty-full and truth-full and soul-full, and I believe she will never stop working to connect women and their spirits. This mama does a pretty thorough job of introducing herself to you and so I will just let you read on.
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Dear Soulful Mamas,
This is a letter from my heart, to share with You who I am, and why I’ve started this page.  I am Hollie B. and I come from a long story of Women’s Magick and Circling. I hold Space for Women’s Ceremony, Red Tent and other such awesomes in the Canberra region, which is the capital city of Australia. You can look me up via Lunation on Google or Facebook.
I am Mama to 2 children aged 9 & 7. I also have 3 children of my heart, aged 16, 17 & 19, my step-children, the children of my husband Bolj. We live a very happy, carefree life on our bush forest property where we are building a small homestead and spiritual retreat centre. We wake up to the sounds of kookaburras and cockatoos everyday, we watch wombats meandering and kangaroos chewing. My children are Out of School – home educated – and they spend more of their day riding bikes and exploring the forest than they do sitting at a desk. We eat organic food, make as much as we can by hand, drive a HOT car, love to exercise and are known to drop everything in the moment in order to do something more fun.
As a Soulful Mama my life really is Perfect. But it hasn’t always been like this.
My 2 babes have different fathers, neither of whom are my husband, and I’m telling You this because I want You to know, that I have known what it is to feel unsupported and unsure and fearful and to ask yourSelf ‘how the fuck did I get here?’ Their fathers do stupid shit all the time, like drop them home when there’s nobody here, or leave them in front of a TV screen for hours at a time, or feed them food they are sensitive to. When my children return home after a weekend at dads there is invariably a meltdown within 24 hours – from the over stimulation and stress and exhaustion. It has happened like this since both of my children were one year old – that is when I left each father, and when I had to let my child go away at night. You see, dear Soulful Mama, I know all about that.
There are times when I’ve made decisions that didn’t  honour me into the future, for whatever reason, and I’ve had to learn to forgive mySelf, in order to find a Space for love. That’s how I found my True Love, my Divine Twin Flame, my Sacred Beloved and I married him and we live happily in a bush forest with the People we lovely nearby. We are living our dreams and being Soulful parents and we are showing our kids how to dream big, face our fears and Be everything  we came here to Be.
But it wasn’t easy. It was painful and scary and I had to face many parts of my Self and my old stories  in order to make this all happen. I had to get vulnerable and raw and open mySelf. I had to surrender all the unconscious parts of my Self that played out over and over, and step up to Be the Real, authentic me.
I had to learn to accept what is and lean into the things that hurt the most, to allow mySelf to be curious about my feeling, and to eventually surrender it in order to heal. There have been so many times I thought ‘I cannot do this again’ but somehow I do, every time. I want to be All the Mama I can Be, so my children are my inspiration, again and again.
My children have seen me at my best and my worst. I’ve sat on the bed of my two year old, with my newborn in my arms and cried for their forgiveness for us being where we are. They’ve loved me when I’ve hated myself most.
All the while I circled with Women. I held Sacred Spaces and went into other Sacred Spaces. I’ve actively studied and Worked in frameworks of the Goddess, on feminist spirituality, Magick and SpellCraft, in natural healing and conscious, alternative living and all of it has helped me step into my Infinite, Whole, Cosmic Self.
Through my own deep stirrings and in working in the Circle where Women find empowerment within, I’ve identified something important missing from our connections and communications. As Mamas, I believe that it is our responsibility to heal the ‘missing’ within ourSelf and give to our children a world where they can live as Wholehearted individuals. I believe in generational wounding and healing, and I know that what I heal in mySelf heals down my line, through my sons and daughters and their sons and daughters… It also heals up the line, through my mother and her mother. I’ve done so much of this Work and I know it is Real. When we do this our relationships change. We learn to forgive in its ultimate meaning of giving over and surrendering to the essence of vulnerability rather than the story we have carried. It’s hard work but its worth it.
My own research has reminded me that Being the ‘housewife’ – the ‘Woman who belongs to the house’ and therefore the Woman to who the house belongs, was once an incredibly Sacred position. While men were out hunting and protecting the land physically, Women were in the house, literally weaving the Space with Magick and energy to ensure that the family was nurtured, nourished and protected. The housewife was a power-full weaver of magick and healing. It was Women of Power who could do this, not the weak subservient woman we have been led to think of with that term ‘housewife’. She was a Space Holder, a Woman of power-full Magick and knowledge and she was a She-bear Mama raising babes to continue this same Work as they grew into adults. Along the way the Woman of Power has been battled down. She has been judged, abused, wounded and hated out of the system. But now we are bringing her back. We are healing her wounds. We are repositioning her in her rightful place as Woman of Power. As my friend Jane Hardwicke Collings says, WE HAVE BEEN DISBANDED FOR TOO LONG.
I believe it is time for Women to re-empower the Work of Being Mama and Housewife. There is nothing more important, no greater contribution in my eyes than holding the Space for a family while they grow into the unlimited Cosmic Beings they are here to Be. And to do this means learning just how power-full we are as Women.
It is time for Women to reclaim the Magick. It is time for Mamas to trust their instincts and grow the unlimited children they want to raise. It is time to question EVERYTHING because so much of what we’ve been told and what we do is not ours! We’ve picked up stories from the past, from our own parents and teachers and everyone who told us ‘that’s just how it’s done’. It’s time for us to respond ‘that’s not how I do it’ and to reshape the foundations of the way we want to Mother – from our Soul. It is time reshape what it means to be a housewife – a Woman of Power who commands the energy and feeling in her house, who leads with compassion and beauty and who is an example to all those she meets.
That’s why I started this page, the Soulful Mamas. It’s an invitation to Women to Be the Mamas they really want to Be. No more excuses or stories about the past. We are standing for what we believe in right now! We are making it happen right now. And we’re not waiting for anyone else to give us permission.
I want You to know Soulful Mama that You are exactly who and what You are meant to Be. There’s no text book for Soulful Mama-ing. The only way to go about it is to trust the voice inside that says ‘this is the world I want for my children’ and then follow your feeling to make it happen.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Mama of adult kids, whether you’re a single Mama, whether You co-parent, whether your beloved is male or female, whether You are still waiting to get pregnant, whether You have a shitty relationship with your own mother, whether You’ve never held a baby in your arms, whether You have 10 kids…. Your journey to Soulful Mama-ing  is about opening your heart, listening to where the vulnerable is and expressing it in a way that sets You free!
If you’re reading this and you’re thinking ‘I wish I was one of those Mamas’ don’t wish anymore. Give birth to the Mama You want to Be by stepping up, stepping in and expressing the True You inside. That’s all You have to do! You are powerful beyond all measure! Now is the time.
It is the time of the Soulful Mama. Our world is calling us! But we don’t need to venture out to the great abyss to prove a point. We just need to focus our most Sacred commodity : our Attention, on the one thing that we already have the most impact on – our Self. Be the Mama You wish You had. Be the Mama You wish the world had! And then our children won’t have to try so hard. Because for them, parenting from the heart will not be something they have to work at, it will simply be what they do. What a gift Soulful Mama-ing is to everyone it touches!
They, our children, learn from us. You can go out and protest all You want to the big companies about the way they are destroying the world. Or You can make Real choices at home, and teach your children the right way to live and honour the Self and the Earth. You can treat them as You want the world to be treated. Let us raise ethical consumers and wholehearted individuals who know no limits – then they will change the world, just by who they are.
If this is the world You wish to live in, I invite You to join me on the new Facebook page Soulful Mamas. Tell your Mama friends. We are building a community of like minds. There are many possibilities in the pipeline for this Soulful Mama Vision but it all starts with the coming together of many hearts. The Wholeheart. Will You open yours?
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A Mother’s Meditation

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I find meditation quite a challenge. Before children came into my life I never truly appreciated the moments of stillness that you can cultivate by sitting for a moment and just breathing.

Now I am an opportunistic meditator. I take it as it comes and delight in the free gifts of time that are handed to me. The wee hours of the morning (like right now – 3:30 am!) when my little one has woken me up (or when the rooster decides the day has started  – or both) and my brain kicks into gear. Sleep is usually all over for me at this point so why waste time tossing about in bed? I also  make wonderful use of the moments I spend in the car with two sleeping girls in the back while I am waiting to pick up my school boy. My craft, too, is an act of meditation. Rolling large pieces of felt is a repetitive task that lends itself well to letting your mind drift off into peaceful thoughts.

Anything tedious and repetitive is an opportunity to meditate! Stacking the dishwasher, hanging out the washing, mopping the floors … all wonderful opportunities to let your negative thoughts go and cultivate some light in the rhythm of your heart and your breath. And of course the plus side is that if you are meditating while doing housework your home benefits from all the love 🙂

I once had such a profoundly beautiful experience meditating with plants and I thank Ashra from MoonTree for this gift. Ashra was hosting a seasonal women’s festival day and I went along, for I was in such need of women’s company, and a whole day of spiritual nourishment. Ashra offered us her garden and we sat together and drank in the garden, growing living imaginings of the plants within us and listening to their stories. We sat together in front of a magnificent Grevillea plant and just appreciated it for the beautiful being it is.

It was that simple. We began admiring the plant, looking at it softly, breathing it in, asking if we could join it. Looking at it with love and openness before closing our eyes and continuing to see it in the same way within our hearts. We repeated this process, until before I knew it I was on that plant, a part of the spindly ends of the Grevillea leaf.

I was on the branch and just watching the plant and animal life do their things around me, and what I noticed most of all was the rhythms. Flowers budded, blossomed brilliantly, drooped and died. Leaves budded, unfurled and grew strong and green. Each plant with its own green, its own flower, doing it’s thing in its own time. Insects came, worked, shared, chatted and left. Birds fed from the flowers, called and sang and left. The plants around me grew, changed size, changed colour, flowered, fruited …like I was watching the world continue in time-lapse photography, but like a beautiful dance where each being knew what it had to do and did it because that was what it was supposed to to. Each living being did their thing, lived their rhythm, and did it dutifully and beautifully.

It was a gentle and gradual return to my physical presence. I became very aware of how stuck I felt at that point in time in my own physical existence. Of how I had been living my rhythm dutifully, but not beautifully. Going about my own daily life with resigned detachment at times, resentfulness at other times. Bitterness about how tired and hard-done-by I felt. Unappreciated.

I always talk about the importance of rhythm for children and parents, and most of the time I am pretty good at moving in a mindful and beautiful rhythm through our days and weeks – but the very nature of being human means we must experience contrast … and through this experience my RHYTHM had become a ROUTINE.  I was stuck in a cycle and the lack of beauty in the way I was moving through my life was hurting me. I was losing sleep, thinking bitter thoughts, suffering eczema, over reacting with the people I live with. The Grevillea had shared a moment of its life with me and reminded me that life goes on around me in a beautiful way, regardless of what I am experiencing now.

Through this meditation I experienced such a sense of peace and purpose. It happened at the same time I began the GAPS diet, at a time when I have really needed some focused healing. When Melissa, the ther half of Sacred Essence, collected some astoundingly beautiful Grevillea flowers for our circle the next night, I just had to share my experience with her. That evening Melissa led us through another meditative imagining with the plants and I was right back there. Melissa uses Australian Flower Essences in her therapeutic work – and phoned me the next day to let me know that Red Grevillea is a treatment plant for that feeling of being stuck – and also beneficial for eczema! I feel strongly that I connected with that healing during the meditation.

So it was a beautiful reminder to cultivate my daily life as a dutiful and beautiful dance, I am always looking out the window, or wandering outside, and although sometimes the opportunity to sit still eludes me in my busy days, I use those moments of otherwise ‘tedious’ work to reconnect with that experience, or to take a new plant into my heart and appreciate them for their story.

A Day In The Temple

Written by and copyright to Jennifer McCormack, lavendilly@gmail.com, 2011

The sensation of earthly weight grows stronger as I slip back into my body after a night’s journey through the stars. Before my eyes open I become accustomed to the feel of the sheets on my body. I become aware of my fingers and toes, my arms and legs, my breath rising and falling in my chest. My stomach wishes me good morning and makes its first demands of the day. Not wishing the day to come rushing too quickly upon me, I do not yet open my eyes, but linger a moment more in my bed and cast my mind over the coming day. Knowing that my tasks are plenty I greet the Mother from where I lie, promising to spend a few moments more in grateful silence at Her altar when the time presents itself. When I feel fully returned to my earthly body once more I half open my eyes and see the light gray morning sky. It is early dawn and soon my tasks will begin –my day always begins and ends with the sun’s light. Before rising I summon Mother Mary to help prepare myself for the day ahead:

Into my Will, let there pour strength

Into my Feeling, let there flow warmth.

In the my Thinking, let there shine light,

That I may nurture this child

With enlightened purpose,

Caring with Heart’s love

And bringing Wisdom into all things.*

The verse is more for myself then for the children: that I may look after my own needs in order to look after others. To find the strength, love and wisdom to make the right decisions throughout the day. I am not ready to rise yet – just a few moments more (please!) to think about what the day will bring:

My daily responsibilities in the temple predominantly involve the nurturing of the children and care of the hearth. My day flows in a simple way – simplicity is best with children, but the skills and strengths I need to move us from sun-up to sun-down are many. I call upon Artemis and her ability to set and reach her goals. I call upon Athena for her wisdom and skill. I call Mother Mary and her nurturing, encompassing love and patience. I call Demeter and her lesson of learning how to love and let go. I call Hestia and her love and respect for the home and hearth. I call Quan Yin for her endless compassion. Among others, I also call Aphrodite for her self-love and sense of play. I learned early that giving of myself to others is very wearying if I can’t renew the well-spring of love within me.

My day with the children moves in a series of flowing rhythms. Food, activity, rest. Joy, interest, tiredness. Blessings, bliss, frustration. Laughter and tears come and go in rhythmic, almost predictable cycles – and that is not just the children!

I try to involve the children in as many of the hearth-tending tasks as I can. Together we’ll  (but mostly it is just I) rush about the house making beds, sweeping, washing and hanging out clothes, cleaning things that need to be cleaned and folding things that need to be folded. I sometimes see these tasks and other simple experiences repeated again in play and conversation with the children, and feel warmth in my heart to see our daily life unfold from the view of the child. At other times these simple tasks are like the torture of Prometheus.

At times I do feel so trapped in an endless cycle of caring, cooking, eating and cleaning, and I spare a thought for my own mother, who doubtless felt the same when I was small. But when I remember to, in the quiet moments I can relive the joy of the day, and revel in a moment paused. Grab the moment for myself and savour every bit of it – squeeze every drop of creative pleasure and allow the moment to transform me. I can find my centre and reconnect with myself in a day of giving to others. Not every day is joyful but without the sad days, the angry days and the frustrated days how would we truly appreciate the joyful ones? This is something I have learned since I began my journey with children, and my awakening as a priestess in the temple. The best lesson yet: to be grateful and patient. To live and love the moment I am in now, and know that nothing stays the same, even if it feels that way at times. Our lives move in spirals – we must always replay the experiences we have had before – but what do we take from the experience this time, and how do we move forward with it?

I try often to share my experiences with other priestesses in my position.  We gather together and talk and work and play. A woman’s experience must be shared and understood by another woman! The tiniest hindrance to a free-flowing day, the tears that arise over the simplest of problems, the joy that comes with witnessing the smallest of achievements – these are the things that can only be fully understood and valued by another who knows! This tie with other women and children is invaluable.

At the close of the day, with children asleep I’ll be tired too, but then I’ll have time to connect with my life partner and love, the one who walks with me hand in hand, to share stories of our day and to share time with each other; to support one another, to plan and create and love. The one who makes my day possible and is the light I seek at the end of it. It is time now to leave Mother Mary’s mantle of protection as a veil over the children in their beds. Time now to let myself expand in womanhood, to enjoy the company, conversation and touch of another adult. Time to let myself be and forgive myself the day’s frustrations.

And so I spend my days in service: I cook and I clean, I hug and grumble. I laugh, and – yes I do often cry. I consider my task to be of very high importance, but at times it is so hard: I try to remain conscious of my moods, as children as so connected to their carer’s ups and downs. My responsibilities mean that I must be true to myself and care for myself before I care for anyone else. This is not easy! I thank the Mother Goddess every day for Her strength and Her Guidance and while our home is not the picture of compassion, or devotion to details every day, I do my best as I am able. I am a Mother and my home is my temple.

With these musings finished I summon my body to move from my bed. I can hear the children waking up – always at the same time! With one last snuggle up to the reassuring, sleepy, loving, warmth beside me I open my eyes – and like magic they are instantly at my side – one searching for milk, the other standing by the bedside: “Mumma, I’m SO hungry!” How DO they know when we are awake? Daylight barely peeps through the bedroom windows. My day in the temple begins.

*Verse translated from the original by Dr Rudolf Steiner.