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For those of us who have had the good fortune of experiencing positive, loving relationships with our mothers (including those who played maternal roles for us), the word “mother” brings up warm, loving, nourishing feelings. As one who has had many such maternal influences in my life, I am one of those fortunate ones. The spiritual influence of mothers in my life is unmistakable – my birth mother, the mother who raised me for fourteen years, all the way through past high school and in my undergraduate years, and the various other aunts and grandmothers who were (and remain) an integral part of my life.

In addition to the “mothers of relation”, I have had meetings with “spiritual mothers”. My recent meeting with Mother Meera had a deep impact on me, and the positive energy and vibrations transmitted during that meeting still lingers within. Multiple meetings and meditation retreats with Mother Karunamayi, have had a wonderful positive impact in furthering me on the spiritual path. The various festivals in Hinduism that honor, celebrate and venerate the “Mother Godess(es)”, some of them lasting for a week or more at a time, serve to nourish and grow the faith seeds of the “divine Mother” planted early on in childhood.

So, in this background and context, one may say that I mostly wear “rose-colored glasses” when it comes to viewing Mothers in general. However, as has been made abundantly and painfully clear to me in #SpiritChat conversations in previous #MothersDay chats, there are many who associate this single word, Mother, with fear, anger, hurt, trepidation and disappointment. Their heart and spirit bears the scars of hurt and pain from inappropriate and/or inadequate experiences with their maternal influencers. Some of them have had the courage to overcome, but some of them continue to struggle to forgive and/or overcome the hurt and pain. In addition, there are many mothers who have borne the pain of bereeavement – the loss of a child.

One aspect that was pointed out to me during previous #SpiritChats on #MothersDay (May 2014, May 2013, May 2012) – the notion of maternal influence is not based to a particular gender, or even age. Very often, fathers end up playing the roles of mothers, and young children may play mothering roles to their younger siblings. For those of us who are taking care of older parents, some of us find ourselves “mothering our mothers”! So, it is apparent that in our fast changing and fast paced world, the notion of “being a mother” is indeed fluid, and rapidly changing.

Why does the word ‘mother’ invoke such strong emotions in many of us? What role(s) come to your mind, when you think of the word “Mother”? On balance, what has been the (spiritual) impact of your maternal influencers on your life so far? How may mothers and children help each other in the healing process? If you were to “write a letter” to future mothers from the perspective of a child, what would you say?

In closing, I invite you, to reflect on the idea, the notion, the spirit of Mothers and Motherhood – how has it affected you, how does the effect transmit through you to others, and more. Please share your thoughts in a blog post, in the comments here, or in our live twitter chat in #SpiritChat on Sunday, May 10th at 9amET/1pmUTC (#MothersDay in the USA).