Are You My Mother?

This week started with me caught in the current of the river rapid I have long called mother. After the flood of emotions, I once again stabilized my vessel by freely accepting love from my husband and calling in my support from soul family and friends.

The week has carried on calmly.

Yesterday I started to make my plan for how to address the transgression that led to the emotional upheaval. In doing so I decided to call on the Universe and my own intuition for guidance and support.

I pulled cards from three decks – Self-care, Mother’s Wisdom, and Work Your Light.

My over arching question being what should I be doing about my mother?

The messages were clear. One in particular was clarity that I desperately needed.

While I have unraveling my attachment to my family of origin, specifically my mother, the feeling of being a motherless child has continued to rise and it is painful. That child does not want to be motherless. The world does not feel safe without a mother. My truth is, for so long my mother is part of what has made the world feel unsafe.

Still, this child has been searching. She does not want to be without a mother. Her question is, Who is my mother? If it is not her, than who? We have to have a mother!

I have felt like the little bird from the book. Abandoned and scared in my nest, then deciding – I will go find my mother. I search everywhere – in other relationships, in food, in shopping, in drinking, in work.. All along asking, Are you my Mother?

Are you the thing that can replace her?

Are you the thing that can bring the comfort I so long for?

Just like the bird I have discovered over and over the answer is No.

My husband is not my mother.
Ice cream is not my mother.
Clothing is not my mother.
Alcohol is not my mother.
Work is not my mother.

None of this will replace her. None of this will heal the wound she created. None of this will fill my void.

The card I pulled to answer the question, Who is my Mother? was Pachamama.

The words I read washed over me bringing me the comfort and truth I had been searching for;

You are within her and she is within you. You are inseparable from Pachamama. Sitting among the trees you can feel this bond. 

This is a truth I have known. I possess the mothering comfort I am seeking and it is all around me.

Our Oak tree’s name is Nana for a reason. She is maternal, she is comfort.

What I seek is within me as well. I do not need to look outside of myself for the love I am needing.

I am sitting with each message I received and the truth they are leading me towards.

I am grateful for guidance and support in all of it’s forms.
I am grateful for eruptions that bring deeper  connection to my truth.
I am grateful for the reminder that I am what I am seeking.

pachamama.jpg

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Home in My Truth

I want to share with you one of my most sacred stories.

 

It is a story of pain. of grief. of fear. of shame. AND it is a story of love.

It is time. Time to LOVE myself openly. Time to feel any and all things that I feel about this OPENLY, FREELY, PUBLICLY, TRUTHFULLY.

With my hand at my heart I share with you something precious.

I was sixteen years old when my relationship with motherhood began.

I was afraid.

I wanted to be small. I remember that specifically.

I wanted to be small, a child, innocent, not capable of creation. I wanted to hide, I wanted to be saved, I wanted to disappear.

I was afraid.

I told my mother. I stared at the blue of my bed, tears in my eyes, and I slipped away.

She told my father.. I am not mad, I am disappointed.

They made the decision for me. I was a child, their child. They were saving me, I was letting them. I said nothing.

I was not saved.

My father was noticeably absent. He dropped my mother and I at the clinic and left. My mother dressed me that day. Like a child, she picked out my denim overalls and pale pink shirt, and my hat. It was important that I wear a hat so she could hide my face from the protesters. She was saving me.

I was not saved.

A woman took me into an office and talked to me about sex, how the female body works. My mother asked if the talk was necessary, she thought I was too young to be hearing it.

Years later looking back at the parts of this story I consciously remember, it amazes me how powerful denial can be.

If I treat her like a child and dress her like a child, she will be a child again and we will make this go away and she can be my baby again.

I am sorry Mom. I am sorry we had to experience this together. I am also sorry that I can no longer carry the burden of these untruths for you.

THIS HAPPENED.

I was not given anything for pain or comfort.

I know that I felt everything but I remember almost nothing.

I remember feeling empty.

An indescribable emptiness. The floor opened up and ate me up whole. This is where my largest void was created – in this room with my feet in stirrups where I was made empty.

This is where I became hard, rigid, AFRAID. This is where I was made empty.

I could not love myself anymore. The darkness enveloped me. It did not creep in slowly, it swallowed me whole in one gulp. Then I was gone, all that was left was empty.

Empty and shame and fear.

There are so many stories in this story. This pain is so layered there were times I never thought I would be able to unravel enough to tell any part of this story with clarity. I will start here, with this truth; when I was sixteen I became a mother, a mother who would never hold her baby.

This is my start. My BIGGEST moment. I am allowing YOU to see me in my most naked state of truth and love and pain. I do not know who you are, I do not know if you are safe.

What I do know is that I AM SAFE. I am safety.

I am no longer empty. I went so deep into myself to rescue this mother who was abandoned. I love her without exception. Without fear, without shame. I am in love with her and this is not dangerous, it is one of my most sacred truths; I love my darkness.

Nikoli

Misremembering

Recently one of my dearest friends and her fiance came to stay. I was over joyed! I could not wait to see her and I could not wait to meet and HUG this man who is loving my friend so well.

The visit was wonderful. We talked, and played with Lu and little bubby, and shared a meal I made with intention from the heart. We laughed and played games and shared truths. I felt seen and was grateful to bear witness to their truest selves as well. It was connection in the best ways.

It was wonderful AND there was a moment where my shame crept in.

I sat with this feeling of shame for days after their visit. I held her and listened with a heart to understand her pain. Her pain came from feeling like a bad friend to this woman I love so much.

Once I touched the pain I knew what I had to do.

First I had to show myself love. I am not a bad friend. The part of me that was experiencing shame was not allowing any room for the fact that this friend and I have known each other for about 20 years, our relationship has evolved and grown. If I engaged with this friend now the way I did 10 years ago then Yes, I would say I could do better. 10 years ago we were different kinds of friends though, AND I still think looking back at it I could have done better. That is my truth. We weren’t as close but we did spend a lot of time together and the shame was partially coming up because I don’t think I honored that time we spent well enough (there is the not-good-enough creeping in). So I held all of these truths in love knowing that I can be less than the perfect friend AND be worthy of love and connection.

The next thing I needed to do after processing all this was speak my truth. Shame cannot survive being spoken, Thank you Brene Brown.

I reached out to my friend and let her know how I was impacted by my feelings of not honoring our connection back then and that I am grateful for her now and that I hold our bond sacred.

That was all it took. Like a candle burning down, that light and love I shared with myself and my friend melted away all the shame.

I am grateful for all the ways I get to practice sitting in my truths and holding my pain now. I am grateful for connection. I am grateful.

 

Un and Re Learning Communication

I spent some time sitting in my power after my last  post wherein I reclaimed my truth about how I define successful communication in relation to boundary setting.

I reveled in the energy of my power, noticed how INFINITE I feel when I love myself well. I even shared some of that energy with my soul family because you never know who might need a reminder of how BIG they are.

After this glorious love bath (wink to my soul friend), I was hit with a bit of reality I still needed to process.

It is awesome, truly, that I have reclaimed my power in this area AND there is still a bit of unlearning that needs to take place here. I feel parts of me are being left out of this joy fest because they are confused and scared. They are super small parts, they only know how to communicate one way and none of this makes sense to them.

Let’s start by outlining the hard thing that I have decided to do.

I have two friends from long ago that have recently resurfaced for different reasons and what I realized right away in my interactions with both of them is that our lives have taken different paths.

This is totally okay, their path is theirs and mine is mine AND I am feeling the need to put up some fences with one person and close the door with the other.

One relationship will continue, I know it will, this person does not know this version of me though and I need to introduce myself. The other relationship will not continue so I need to find my words to let that person know.

This is all new and my old ways of communicating will not work here. I have to figure out what boundary setting through compassionate truth speaking looks like with both of these people.

I think I need to take a look at what I was taught about communication so I am able to unlearn any part of it that is no longer my truth.

In relation to what I am up against in these two relationships, what do my old ways of communicating tell me?:

Spare the other person’s feelings – translated into my BIG language- You are responsible for the feelings of the other person. This is not my truth.

What they are doing is not a big deal – translated into my BIG language- Your feelings do not matter. Do not trust your feelings. They are more important than you are. You are small. This is not my truth.

Don’t be mean/be nice -translated into my BIG language- Truth speaking is bad/wrong/mean. Stay silent. Your feelings are bad/wrong. This is not my truth.

Keep quiet/Stay silent – translated into my BIG language- truth speaking is not safe. Trusting yourself is not safe. You cannot trust yourself/how you feel. Nothing is safe. This is NOT my truth.

These messages were made more confusing by the conflicting message received about being honest. I was punished if I lied yet energetically or directly told that it was not nice to tell the truth because it could hurt someone’s feelings.

I understand that there is context to a lot of this that is being left out.

For example;

If as a child I thought eggs were yucky, that is okay, that is my truth, AND it does not mean I have to tell Sally from school that I think her egg salad sandwich is yucky.

All of this is confusing as a child though, especially when punishment comes into play.

It makes sense why some of my little parts struggle with truth speaking now.

So I guess it is my job as the adult and mother of my parts to reteach them what it means to communicate honestly and kindly.

Now that I know what my truth IS NOT it is time for me to determine what my truth IS. I cannot teach what I do not know.

I think I need to sit with this for a while and check in with all of myself. I want to be sure that my truth about all of this is coming from a place of connected wholeness and that takes time.

I am grateful for my unraveling. I am grateful for self-discovery. I am grateful for the knowledge that I can do hard things because I am not small and I am the hero. I am grateful for connection.

 

 

REdefining “Successful” Communication

As I sit here in front of the next hard thing I have decided I am going to do I am sitting  in the energy and knowledge that being BIG is so hard.

That is absolutely my small self speaking. She is not used to the amount of work that goes into standing in my truth and being seen full-time. It was something I played with before, and it was hard then too, but being fully committed to owning my value and worthiness is absolutely a full-time job. Right now I feel well-loved AND worn out.

I have to go through it though, there are parts of me to rescue and important love on the other side that is waiting for me.

This particular hard thing has to do with setting boundaries and speaking my truth with love.

There are people in my life I already practice with, I have had mixed results.

Usually my level of success has to do with the other person’s ability to meet me in the energy of truth-speaking and willingness to do hard things. Not everyone is ready for this kind of communication.

You know what, I need to call bullshit on myself.

That is not true. My success does not in anyway depend on the other person. I need to redefine success if I am giving the other person the power over it.

Okay, so when my success was dependent on the other person (when I was playing small) I was defining success as the conversation going well (me feeling heard, the other person being receptive and responsive, and the interaction leading to deeper connection in the relationship).

Successful communication (wherein I set a boundary and speak my truth in love from my BIG place) is defined by me setting the boundary clearly and concisely, speaking my truth compassionately (which means holding myself in compassion and being kind). That is it. Success is defined by my action, not the reaction of the other person.

So going back to my previous statement.. There are people in my life I already practice with, I have had mixed results.

Under my new definition for success this is no longer a true statement. I have been successfully communicating boundaries through compassionate truth speaking for years.

It is not always well received but that part of it belongs to other person, I don’t have to hold that. Their reaction does not diminish my success in showing up, being seen, and not playing small.

Now that I have unraveled my former definition for successful communication and REdefined it I feel much more confident going forward with my next hard thing.

When I was small I was not taking credit for my success, I was giving all my power to the other person. Now that I have taken my power back I can clearly see that I already have a long track record of success and I am fully capable of DOING HARD THINGS!

I can do hard things because I am not small, I am BIG. I am the hero.

Sometimes You Have Someone to Rescue

I was just hit hard by something I read, it relates to everything I know about experiencing a shift and not being able to go back to the smaller version you once were.

Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind. And sometimes you break a barrier that no one knew existed, and then everything you knew before crossing the line is gone. But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

The book I am reading is not a self-help, it is not spiritual or philosophical, it is not a book that makes you think or question (at least I do not believe that was the author’s intention). It is a young adult fantasy. I read mainly fiction and inside that genre I read mainly fiction that contains an element of magic or make believe. Part of my survival growing up depended on my ability to disconnect, my ability to create beautiful alternate realities where home was safe, siblings were fun, and mother’s loved their children. My imagination has always been one of my greatest powers; it protected me from harsh truths my delicate pieces could not handle.

To this day I love stories with whimsy, imagination; stories that are magical where realities can be bent and you can count on the world around you to come alive and help you. Whether it is a talking animal or being held and comforted in the maternal arms of the Oak.

I know this has much to do with my artistic leanings towards fantasy landscapes – I like to create worlds that you could step through the canvas into. My little pieces like to have places to go when reality feels like too much.

Coming back to what I read –

This spoke to me. It is how I feel after experiencing a shift. My heart is bigger on the other side of that line I crossed and I cannot go back to the before, the place where my heart was smaller. She is right, you do have to think carefully about that decision because there is loss involved in stepping over a threshold like that.

But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

I have stepped into my darkness so many times to perform rescue missions. I know the rescue is worth anything that could be lost in the process. Finding a piece of yourself in the dark, picking her up, carrying her home to the light… Once you’ve done it you know. You know you would be willing to put down every single person and every single thing that you thought was important if that is what it would take to pick that piece of you up.

I am grateful for this reminder of one of my very sacred truths tonight. It is validation of the path I am walking.

I am not afraid of the dark, some of my deepest truest loves were rediscovered in the darkest places. I will continue to venture into the dark unknown until I my heart tells me that all parts of me have been welcomed home. I will not leave any piece of me behind as I walk my path forward, we all go together.

the swamp

Teaching and Learning

Over the weekend we worked with little bubby on sleep training. It was hard for all of us, AND we did it. I am the proud momma of a champion sleeper now. It took two days and lots of resolve on my part along with emotional support from my husband but we successfully made it through to the other side.

A lot came up for me as we worked with little bubby on the skill of being able to put himself to sleep.

  1. I felt major disconnection from little bubby. This was a major change for us. Prior to sleep training he would spend half his naps on me in the chair and half in his crib, he co-slept with me in the morning for about an hour, and he was still breastfeeding overnight even though the pediatrician said that was absolutely unnecessary. To go from that much physical contact to much less during naps/at bedtime and none overnight was hard.
  2. I felt major disconnection from myself. Our pediatrician was pretty direct with us about now being the time for little bubby to master this skill and that it should be accomplished using the Ferber method. I was crushed when I heard the word Ferber. I have been saying since before we got pregnant that I was strongly against the Ferber method. I discussed my concerns with the doctor and we had a very frank discussion that included a bit of a debate about development and emotional/psychological well-being. By the end of the conversation I felt better about giving Ferber a shot. It was hard though and I was holding onto so much doubt and feelings of failure as a mother as little bubby tried to figure things out.
  3. It is not my job to save little bubby from everything. This was a hard pill to swallow because there are absolutely parts of me that want to save him from negative experiences. That is not my job though. My job is to love him and provide him a sense of security/connection as well as a safe environment so he can learn and grow. I realized how triggered I was by his crying, the little parts of me who were never saved my trauma wanted me to rescue him from this experience. I had to keep telling myself, He is safe, he is loved, we have a secure connection – it is okay to give him room to learn and grow, even if it is hard. I had to be very mindful not to project my own emotional state triggered by old wounds onto the situation. That would not be fair to him and it would not be healthy for either of us.
  4. Little bubby is not small. When given a little space to learn and grow, that is what he did. After two days he was putting himself to sleep without crying in the evening. He now sleeps 10 hours uninterrupted and wakes up with big smiles for momma and daddy.
  5. Connection was happening all along. By stepping back a little bit to give little bubby room to learn and grow we also gave him the opportunity to start building up his inside connection – connection to self. Autonomy is one of our family values and I did not understand at first that this is his first chance to experience that. This experience gave him the chance to self-soothe as well as do something for himself that momma and daddy used to do for him (put him to sleep).

I realize now that if I saved him from every negative experience what I would really be doing is sending him the message over and over that I do not believe he is big enough to handle whatever it is. Of course I keep all of this in the context of his age and level of development; I am not going to expect my baby bird to fly before he knows how to use his wings. I feel like over the weekend though little bubby learned that he is not small and he can do hard things. And while he may not be ready to lift up off our branch quite yet, he now knows that he has wings. Going forward it is our job to continue to provide him with safe experiences that allow him to use those wings over and over until he is ready to take that first big leap. When he is ready it will not matter if he flies or falls because he will know some very important truths;

He is loved. He has a place of connected security in daddy and I that he can land on. He is big. He can do hard things, including getting up after a fall and trying again until he learns how to fly.

In the midst of disconnection I find a deeper sense of connection with myself, little bubby, and the values we hold close as a family.

I am grateful for this difficult experience.

I am grateful that there was no saving going on during the experience and that little bubby and I were both allowed to figure it out.

I am grateful for love and connection and this life we are creating together.

I am grateful for my sacred truths;

We are not small. We can do hard things.

I am not small. I can do hard things.

gratitud