Mother. Mama. Mom. Mae. Mata. Ma.
That single word can spring forth a range of emotions for many of us. While some of us may get wrapped in a blanket of warm emotions at the mention of that word, some of us may broke out into a cold sweat. When I first hosted a Mother’s Day twitter chat in #SpiritChat (in May 2012), I was taken by surprise by how many participants actually fell into the “cold sweat” and negative emotions category. I have to admit that I (perhaps naively) believed till that point in time that everyone fell into the former “warm emotions” category. But I was wrong.
I was fortunate to have a lot of positive mothering (and grand-mothering) influences during my childhood. My birth mother, my aunt who raised me for fourteen years, my many aunts (mostly from my mother’s side), my maternal grandmother and so on – every single one of them had an overwhelmingly positive influence on my upbringing. No, it wasn’t all fun and games and warm fuzzies all the time. There were a lot of lessons on accountability, responsibility, integrity, honesty and more taught along the way. There were even times when, say, like every teenager, there was rebellion, disagreement, and outright refusal to listen.
Regardless, when all is said and done and I look back – the influences in shaping me to become who I am today were the mothering ones. Yes, the fathering influences were always present – more in a quiet, stabilizing way. It was the mothering influences that were responsible for providing nourishment, inspiration, motivation and encouragement. So yes, when I started discovering – through social media and otherwise – that not every individual has had the same experience as I have had with mothers and their mothering, my bubble was indeed burst.
And it made me think and consider – why is it that some mothers and their mothering is so different than the ‘ideal’ that is ‘painted’ for us by society? Is it because some women are thrust into motherhood when they are not quite ready? Or is it because our modern, mostly nuclear society, creates insurmountable obstacles and unrealistic expectations for today/s mothers? How are the sons and daughters who have had a less than positive experience with their mothers and/or mothering expected to overcome this negative burden that they carry if they are expected to silence their voices and feelings?
Of course, the fact that some of us have had positive experiences with mothers and mothering – in our roles as children and parents – will give hope to those who haven’t been so ‘fortunate’. In addition, we can do our part in transforming our ‘negative’ into neutral, and lay the foundation for future positive experiences. How so? We can begin with a decision. A decision to forgive all those inv
olved (including ourselves, if that be the case) for the past. I did that twenty years ago in a no-holds-barred conversations with my own birth mother, and it has made a huge difference in my life.
Yes, it takes courage to forgive, but I believe that all of us do have the latent courage to forgive. We just have to step up and make the decision to do so. This single decision of forgiveness is important, not only for healing the past, but for planting good seeds for our future experiences as we happen to influence others with our own mothering influence(s). I happen to believe that it can also open the door for all of the blessings of the Universal, Divine Mother to flow in our spiritual life.
In closing, I invite you to share your mothering experiences with us in the usual Sunday #SpiritChat at 9am ET on May 11th, in the comments below, in a blog post that you write about the influence of Mothering on you, and in how you celebrate your own Mothering influences on others. And yes, if you decide to make that important decision to forgive, we all surely want to hear about that too!
Namaste, and thank you to all my Moms 🙂
P.S. If you have read this far, I invite you to alsoread the May 2013 post about mothers – it covers many diverse aspects of mothers and mothering. About children mothering mothers. single mothers, fathers as mothers, and much more…