Mothering as Service

Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning.

LOVE must be put into action and that action is service.

– Mother Teresa

 

I’ve been a mother for over five years. It doesn’t seem like a long time numerically, but it feels like eons to me. I realized recently that part of the reason for this was due to my immense resistance to the role. Ask any of my girlfriends and they’ll tell you I don’t hesitant to complain about the truth of WORK, DISCIPLINE and PATIENCE this role requires. And I fail… often…. losing him in public places, skipping meals b/c I’m just too exhausted to cook, putting him in clothes that left painful marks that I even winced at, and taking advantage of every opportunity to drop him off with relatives to give myself a momentary mama-vacay.

Yet these outward behaviors only reflected the inner struggle I was experiencing. I didn’t want to be a mother. I thought it would require too much of me, sacrificing my dreams and goals. That giving and giving would eventually deplete me and I’d be resentful of him silently awaiting his 18th birthday to then be free to live my life. These are the fears that float through my awareness every now and then. Yet  instead of clutching to some idea of the perfect mother in my mind, I could release, and choose to follow this growing desire to be of service to this magnificent human child.

Image

My childhood was filled with stories of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and even the Black Panthers, not only as icons of the Civil Rights movement, but as examples of actionable-service. They sacrificed for an inner calling to inspire, root and demand an equitable community. In essence, each represented dynamic and self-less love. In the lessons of their stories, I was taught to not only strive for those standards, but reach them, embrace them, practice them. Love.

Image

Service requires that act of reaching for love. And mothering is one of the most prominent ways that our society embodies service. This is why I think the celebration of mothers is so essential. It breathes new awareness into our recognition of that service. It reflects our true gratitude for those who have supported, aided, rescued, embraced, accepted, devoted….in a word: loved. All of us have had a moment of this, whether it was from our biological mother or some stranger who helped us carry a ripped bag of groceries whose contents were saved from a concrete impact.

Image

My life has been saved from concrete impact, many times, by the women, men AND children who have chosen me as an acceptable receiver of their compassion and love. And on this mothers day I’m grateful to honor my own journey in shifting my perception of being a mother of resistance to one of privilege. I recognize the honor entailed in serving others. I deeply respect those who exemplify courage, elegance, grace and patience. As I learn to practice this way of mothering I recognize that I am magnifying the dynamic energies of Love on the planet. And what could possibly be more valuable of a service to our human-family than that?

Image

weAre

Diving Deep by Thomas Blake

Diving Deep by Thomas Blake

we are
healing one another
with Love.
from oceanic depths
abundantly overflowing
with Truth.
from mountainous heights
exceedingly expressive
with Receptivity.
Bandages of shame
dissolve to the ground
as caressed bare feet
are revitalized by Strong Earth.

we are
burning away
old scars.
with purple flames
transforming
unworthiness
with tantric REAL seeing.
diving deep into rivers
known and unknown
beyond blackness into
Light.

Vortex of Love by Thomas Blake

Vortex of Love by Thomas Blake

we are
readying our souls
that is
One soul
to illuminate
the global mind.
Refreshing our bodies,
to remember
One body,
releasing generational wounds
welcoming back
our spiritual ancestry.

WeAre.

love poem to fasting

Listen,

to that small voice.listening

It’s speaking,

everywhere.

From the rustles of the highest trees,

to the skipping of the ocean breeze.

Go there,

to that quiet space.

It’s waiting

as sweet air.

Listen.

At sundown I begin my ninth journey through the holy month of Ramadan. It is a tradition I began with my former husband who taught me with much patience, for which I am grateful. I’m also thankful that my first Ramadan experience took place while living in Sierra Leone, West Africa. A country of remarkable religious understanding, whose people embrace and celebrate the tenets of Islam and Christianity regardless of the method each individual or family chooses to adhere to. Waking up to the sound of the Adhan (Call to Prayers), bowing in reverence with devote Muslims at the neighborhood Mosque, and partaking in nightly Iftars with (soon to be) family and friends laid the foundation of what I would begin to understand as the core tenets of this beautiful religion. Despite previous knowledge about the religion observing family and friends who shared insights over the years, living in a country where there was a palpable shift in collective interaction during the holy month was an experience I’ll never forget.

“O you who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God” Holy Qur’an (2:183) Asad

Attending to the inward journey is something my life has always incorporated and part of the reason I created this blog. At first the experience of fasting was more of a mental challenge than a spiritual experience. Can I control my physical need for food solely through willpower?  But as the years went on in my experience of the fast, I realized that there were many more moments of clarity, insight and creativity during the time of the fast. But that too is a by-product of the complete experience (like losing a few pounds or having a compelling reason to not to go to the gym). Ramadan is about more than what one is giving up (food and drink for 30 days).

Ramadan is about choosing to prioritize spiritual nourishment over physical nourishment in order to be reminded of why you are here.

I sense this is why the great spiritual teachers always incorporated fasting into their lives on a regular basis. We see this is Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and an array of other spiritual traditions. For why else are we here if not to attend with full presence to that which means more than anything else: LOVE. Yet this word alone is so limited and life-less, especially in English. So allow me to share a poem I recently came across from a Sufi devotee. It is one of the fullest descriptions I have ever read about real love.

starry_skyexpanding heart, expanding cosmos

last night mysteries unfolded.
messages descended as they
ceaselessly descend in all dimensions.

the human love,
in its most pure form
keeps on expanding our heart.
what other way is there
to accommodate more love?

with every glance,
with every presence,
with every outpouring of
the beloved one’s sweetness,
the unseen human heart
keeps on expanding
to make room for more love
and more love
and more.

Trust-the-universe21and to accomodate the unseen hearts
of blessed lovers among humanity;
the cosmos keeps on expanding.
the farthest region of this universe
keeps on expanding towards the unseen,
towards the unknown nothingness.

and thus when each eternal adam inside of us
loves each eternal eve
(and vice versa)
with ishk, the pure love divine
the heart keeps on expanding
so much so
that when the time is ready
it is prepared to welcome the Beloved
amidst the mystery throne.

rmi_barriers_toloveso love dear friend,
love not with muhabbat, the love ordinary;
but love with ishk
and keep on expanding your heart
for welcoming the Intimate Guest within.

where else can He take His seat
but on an Infinite Throne amidst an Infinite heart?

playtime!

play_teeWhen was the last time you played? I mean really, free, complete fun that you felt completely in joy.

If it’s been over 7 days, go find something fun to do TODAY!

Why, you may ask?

Because life isn’t about completing your to-do list. It’s about being in joy and following your bliss.

This video is so beautiful and so simple. Every time I tell my son, no I can’t play with you right now because…” I wonder why my life doesn’t allow more time to simply play with him. This video is starting to remind me that I can choose differently anytime.

You are what you love, not what loves you back.

And if you haven’t heard of Kyle Cease I would really suggest you get a good laugh by checking out his website. It’s hilarious.

Masterful Manifesting

His eyes glistened. His words radiated through the theater quickening my heart with their tonality of strength and raw vulnerability. For a moment, the actor on stage was replaced with a beautiful young man, connected to the deep energetic essence of who he truly was. This was no longer a portrayal of imagination. He was sharing truth. And it lit up my heart.

I leaned over to my friend in the seat next to me and whispered, “I’m going to prom with that boy.”

With the dance only a few weeks away, she arched her eyebrows and responded with, “Ummm, do you even know him?”

I answered simply, “I will.”

I was sixteen when I first began to consciously attract what I wanted to experience. This is the essence of manifesting. That spring I was introduced to Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh, a trilogy that completely transformed my Christian upbringing and paradigm for viewing the world and my place in it. At the same time, the wisdom I recognized in CwG, was familiar, particularly the idea that God meant for life to feel good and for us to have what we desired. Heart-felt desire is the body’s alignment with the Soul’s intention. Desire can be utilized as a pendulum to gauge how to move forward. In the story I describe above, opening my heart to my future boyfriend and following that desire created a new trajectory of joy for my teen-age self. And yes, we had a fabulous time at Prom.

In the fifteen years since that day I’ve attracted many wonderful and thankfully fewer not so enjoyable experiences, people, financial situations and health status’. When I step back to review my life in this way I see the gift in each and every experience and I have to marvel at how genius Source/God/Spirit is to align everything so masterfully that I might grow and expand my understanding.

One area that I examine frequently is my love life.

Many of my beliefs started out defining love as romantic love because yea, I grew up on Disney movies and wanted a prince of my own. This limited definition of love has continued to hold a tight grip on my understanding and experience of love. My choice to believe that love was limited to its expression as romance or mothering was a reason many of my early love-relationships fizzled out. My choice to believe that love could withstand control and manipulation was one of the reasons my marriage dissolved. My choice to believe that love comes first from the outside and filters within was the reason it took me so long to finally get comfortable in my own skin.

Thankfully I’ve grown up and my ideas about love have grown up too. The progression of love I manifested into my life have mimicked my beliefs about love, including its limitations, its way of expression and its self-production. I’m finally at the point (on most days) where I feel a deep satisfaction for the quality of love in my life. Primarily, because I feel it from within. Yet every so often I yearn for the attachments I have to love appearing in a particular way:

princess delusions… boy-cinderella-girl-love-prince-princess-Favim.com-100965

overly dramatic… (but jeeze, wasn’t this film beautiful!?!?)notebook_hug

neediness…I-need-you-I-miss-you-I-love-you-3-love-10112773-1024-768

attachment to forever…US_NEWS_INTERRACIALCOUPLES_2_CC

So instead of giving these images so much attention, I’m learning to focus my manifestation energy on REAL LOVE.

  • Appreciation of continual growth and expansion.

rainbowtree

  • Recognition that I’m on the planet to be more than a wife and mother.
Women Who Look Ahead by Monica Stewart, monicastewart.com

Women Who Look Ahead by Monica Stewart, monicastewart.com

  • Acceptance that self-love is at its core about surrender. And surrender is about…

Trust

Trust in a universal mind that’s got my back. A consciousness that has already proven Itself a million times more effective in delivering me the good I most need at that exact moment. This is why love feels real when it’s about surrender rather than control. When it highlights vulnerability rather than manipulation. This is the type of love I’m manifesting into my life now. And it feels magnificent.

Yesterday, I came across (or was presented with) this video of Gabrielle Union sharing some of her journey to a similar awareness of self-love and manifesting a new way of being. I so rarely see actors be themselves, so was particularly amazed to see her vulnerability and the number of risks she takes to share her story. It influenced Oprah to have her on her show, which often correlates for me that it’s meaningful to listen to. I would love to hear your comments.

 

Lastly, I’m listing out some of my favorite books on the power of manifesting, in case it proves useful for your journey as well.

Life Visioning, Micheal Benard Beckwith

The Vortex, Ester & Jerry Hicks

Building Your Field of Dreams, Mary Morressy

Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, Edwine Gaines

everyone can feel this

Mother’s Day isn’t just for moms.

The surge of appreciation and gratitude that we speak of and recognize today needn’t be limited to those that physically birthed us. There are so many women and men in my life who have been involved in my physical, emotional and spiritual development. So I give thanks for each one of them this day.

  • How their example has inspired me.
  • How their words have supported me.
  • How their vision of who I am, beyond category or profession, embodies the truth of my purpose for being on the planet.

What I continue to learn from all of this is that life is amazing. It is a gift of such magnificence that each of us can feel if we allow ourselves to feel it. Just stare at the flowers blooming, or the sky at sunset or the eyes of a child, or your dog or yourself. I’m certain there is something right in this moment that you can speak appreciation for. Go ahead. Acknowledge it right now.

amazing life

One of the most powerful sources of inspiration I’ve received is from Mary Morrissey. I’ve been listening to Mary since I was ten, first met her when I was 20 and was married by her when I was 24. She continues to embody the type of spiritual teacher that is transparent about our perceived limitations yet convinced of our inner perfection. She created a video for today that I just love and wanted to share it with each of you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jdVIN6ryK2I

I think the reason I love holidays like this, isn’t because I get flowers and recognition for being a mother, but because all of us are invited to gift appreciation to those that embody compassion in our lives. Even if you never knew your mother, the fact that she held and grew you within her own body is a MAJOR act of compassion. Today is a special day, when hugs are freely exchanged, empathy is shown  and love really feels present. For our culture, in these days, that’s a significant shift from the norm.

So if you have ever nurtured, supported, showed kindness to others in your life. I honor you. Thank you for extending the real gifts of mother’s day with all of us.