An Ode to Mother, big and Small

It is that time of year when we allot a day to the honoring of Mother, using flowers, food, and perhaps our presence to show gratitude for the women who honor the sacred trust of tending, guiding, and nurturing the young -and not so young-for the world. In recent times, we have expanded our notions of mothering to include those who nurture others through compassion, consistency, and care as well as those whose role in a family is Mom. Yet, we have not so much expanded our active support for the mothering role, still subscribing to beliefs from an age when Father knew best and Mother simply made it so. If we truly took our power-not only our responsibility- as sacred, would we as Mother allow war- the killing of our sons and daughters and other mother’s sons and daughters- to continue as an acceptable form of conflict resolution? Juliet Ward Howe, major architect of the celebration of Mother’s Day in the US, certainly did not think so as evidenced by her poem in honor of the power of mothers.

To be Mother is to be the first teacher, leader, warrior and healer that a soul in the human journey encounters, her impact-beginning in the womb-deep and wide. A mother first informs the young what is and is not true, what can and cannot be done, and what is to be and not to be…the first map of the human world for the next generation as it were. We mothers also benefit from investing in the mothering role for life truly is mutual. While mothering, we stumble upon places within ourselves still un-mothered… the sacred invitation to heal a wounding of our past instead of simply passing the wound onto the future. And in traditions ancient, the prayer of a mother is said to be the one prayer the gods must answer.

In working with women in transition-and who is not these days!- what I have come to understand is that often before we can relax into more of our unique selves as women, our daughter-selves need to allow our mothers to have been both good and bad, right and wrong, big and small, individuals and accumulated lineage. When we cannot allow our mothers to have been human with her own needs and desires as a woman and limited by the times she lived in, we put ourselves at risk for not allowing our needs as women and dissolving the limitations we may feel from the times and roles we ourselves are in. Where we still act as daughter, while otherwise claiming the full rights and privileges of being a grown-up, is an invitation to not so much make our human mother wrong as much as a reminder to call upon our Divine Mother and Earth Mother to nurture us as their children.

Honoring the sacredness of the role of Mother invites us to become more conscious of the lineage of the women before us in our family, for truthfully, this is who is present-known and unknown, liked or disliked- in ourselves as women. We all know where we swore we would be different from our mothers; are we also willing to also give gratitude and acknowledgment to their wisdom and ways that we are passing on? Mothering is a role with tremendous power and impact, a role sacred in a world often profane.

And so, my prayer for all mothers this Mother’s Day, is that we honor the role of Mother, taken up in sacred trust with the souls we call children, on behalf of All. And I pray that we truly and actively support mothers in not only the attending responsibilities of this sacred trust, we truly and actively support her engaging the power of this sacred trust as well. For all reality begins with a dream and is it not the dream of all mothers that her children realize a life long of health, happiness, and the holy from the gift of a human life? All of us are children of Mother Earth and I know this to be Her prayer for all Her children…simply we are asked to honor our sacred relationship as such….mother Small, mother big..