Happy Mother’s Day for all of us who have stepped into the role of caring for another’s well being. Whether mothering a child, a pet, a garden or a complete stranger in need. It is one of the most profound human privileges. There is a fulfillment in the offering, like that of perfect union, in giving and receiving. Many of my favourite mothers have never given birth and some are not women. Yet when you are the subject of that care, nothing compares.
Recently I have been getting delightfully lost in the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. She is a botanist with an Indigenous background who shares in the most poetic detail the extraordinary wonder of our union with nature and the Mother of us all. A book I’d highly recommend.
She writes “We are showered every day with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep. Their life is in their movement, the inhale and the exhale of our shared breath. Our work and our joy is to pass along the gift and to trust that what we put out into the Universe will always come back.”
This book makes you feel not only incredibly mothered, nurtured and loved but aware that it is a beautiful treaty between grace and life. Thinking of Mother’s Day today I am so aware that the importance is not in giving birth, the role, acts or responsibility that makes you a mother. The essence of mothering is a nurturing that is heart centred. Who and what nurtures us and how do we share what we receive into the world? All nature mothers. Every living being. I often think of mothering as being taught a lesson with the embrace of a smile.
The premise of having returned whatever we put out in the Universe is also a great reflection point for practice. The world and everything in it seems to be struggling right now on so many levels that it's difficult to see the gifts. Most people I know are feeling it. What ways are we contributing to the pains and the joys we feel and see? I sit with this teaching so much these days. I also know the importance of not neglecting the suffering either. How would the quintessential mother guide us now? With the embrace of tender empathy, for sure and perhaps broaden our lens to not omit the beauty and wonder still available to us.
Thich Nhat Hanh says that there is no path to happiness, happiness is the path. Happiness is not contingent on external outcome. It is a commitment we can make within ourselves and bring to the experiences we meet, even in these crazy times. Existence is suffering. This is the first noble truth and the more we understand it and its causes, the less we will have to suffer.
To all the teachers that come to us in mothering ways, thank you. To all those that nurture our dreams, thank you. To the shared wisdom of grandmothers, thank you. To those whom allow us the opportunity of mothering, thank you. To the sun's love, thank you. To the cleansing rains, thank you. To the extraordinary living Earth who shares so graciously her magnificence and all her creatures, thank you.