Note: This is a re-post from one year ago. When I re-read what I wrote, I realized my message still holds true for me. Hopefully it still holds true for you!
While I am so grateful for all of the expressions of love I received yesterday, I have to admit, I have never been a big fan of Mother’s Day. It just doesn’t seem inclusive enough.
The act of mothering is something we are all called to do, whether we have birthed a human or not. It’s a disbursement of feminine energy, although I don’t believe it is particular to women. To me, mothering—and what should be celebrated—is the creation and nurturing of relationships of all kinds. The tenderness, the giving, the care, the sacrifice…the unconditional love.
It’s expressed in so many ways, starting with the fact that we are all fed, sheltered and often clothed by Mother Earth! We all can, and do, mother. From the artist who lovingly creates a sculpture to share the beauty she sees, to the guy who stays up all night tending to a sick pet, to the child who holds an arm out to steady the gait of an elderly grandparent, mothering is all around us. It’s in the hands of the gardener who plants a seed, in the voice of the nurse softly singing to a critically ill patient, in the feet of someone who walks beside a grieving friend.
Mothering, like motherhood, often includes sacrifice, and it can be exhausting. Baby birds come to mind here. Have you ever had the opportunity to watch bird-parents endlessly bringing food to a nest of babies? It makes my time as a nursing mother seem like a piece of cake! But mothering is about giving, reward not guaranteed. The seed may sprout or it may not. The sick pet may bite you out of a reaction to its own pain. The friend you support one day may gossip about you the next. Reward is not the point, but when it comes, we cherish its sweetness.
Mothering almost always includes pain. Sometimes gut-wrenching, sometimes simply bittersweet, but pain nonetheless. I believe it’s worth it. Think of any kind of emotional pain you have ever endured and then notice if you suffered because you loved.
We all know that despite pain, we tend to go on mothering because of our capacity for unconditional love. That says a lot about us as humans. But let me pose a question here: Who is mothering you? I hope your answer is a resounding, “Me!”
If I could wave a magic wand and make one thing an absolute given it would be that everyone was filled with unconditional self-love. Not selfish love. But true acceptance, support and nurturing–mothering of self. If we could accomplish that we would have no need to feel inadequate or unloved, no need to see a division between you and me or human and nature. We would all be mothers; we would all be mothered. And that’s worth celebrating, don’t you think?