I stood on the windy bluffs, sun on my tingling face, and a flutter in my heart. Part excitement to reconnect (in person!) with someone who has had such a profound impact on my life. Part overwhelming gratitude for the privilege of beholding the vista. Sandy, striated, bramble-covered cliffs, crumbling to the froth of a limitless sea. A sky that seemed to leap up from somewhere just over the curved horizon, taking a softer version of the ocean’s deep hue with her as she soared above me. I wondered how clouds could hold their fluff with so much wind. As Aidan approached, her face was alive and open. And her voice, as if a giggle and a cackle had a baby. “It’s all so BLUE!” she beamed and threw her arms wide as a welcoming exclamation to punctuate her glee. We hiked on the bluffs, from Funston to Thornton, then back along the beach, talking about our hearts and our lives and trauma and parenting and creating and resisting and serving and struggling and healing and habits and inflammation and growing and feeling stuck and inspired and writing even when you’re not writing* and everything else. We watched a murder** of crows, flying at eye level, chasing one crow who was carrying a stick. Then we noticed their friends, a few yards away, doing the same thing. It was a game! They weren't the only ones playing. Everywhere, curious, over stimulated, out of their mind, happy to be at the beach, dogs flirted with us. A hang glider soared in the sky above us as we trudged up the long sandy hill back to the parking lot.
That’s why I thought I was sore when I woke up this morning. But I know it’s deeper than that. One of the first things I learned from Aidan was, when experiencing discomfort, to ask yourself “what am I making it mean?” Because it’s not just the thing that’s uncomfortable, it’s the story we’re telling about it that leads to our suffering. See, it isn’t my glutes or leg muscles that are screaming. It’s my hips. A burning ache seething deep in the stabilizing intersection of all my moving parts. I store so much emotion in my hips. My body is like, “Wow. Mother’s day is intense.” And I feel that at the core of my being. I don’t have kids, or a mom, that are alive and here with me today. That feels like a lump in my throat and a burning in my hips and an ache in my heart. So here’s where I get to choose what I make that mean. Because I have a choice! And I have tools! And I’ve practiced them with others! So now I have the capacity to tell more than the one story of aloneness and loss and regret. I can acknowledge the sensations in my body and the thoughts I have and how those thoughts make me feel and see that as part of a complex kaleidoscope of experience and emotion and meaning making. Some mother’s children come from the womb and some don’t. Some of our mothers are alive and some are not. Some of our children are alive and some are not. Some people mother each other. Some people have learned to mother themselves. This is both a day of celebration and of deep grieving. I’m realizing those things aren’t really separate inside of me. They live entangled with each other, like lovers, entwined in my heart, pulling on the edges of my boundless capacity to love and need love. So this is my story on this day of the mother.
I am awed by all of the people I know who are mothering in all ways, every day. You are raising the future. Thank you.
I honor the mother archetype and mothering as a gift, for all the complexity the word mother brings.
I celebrate our shared-human-yearning to hold someone in a tender, safe, nurturing way, whether or not we had the privilege to be mothered like that.
I will continue to learn ways to do this kind of mothering, not just for others, but for myself.
Standing with you, in spirit, on the windy bluffs of our wild and precious lives, face tingling and heart fluttering. -Mol * Shout out to the amazing Andrea Canaan who reminds us that writing doesn’t just happen when we put pen to paper ** A murder of crows. That’s what a group of crows is called. Isn’t that wild?!? Also this person knows a lot about the subject and is delightful. Learn more about the work that Aidan and her wife Marisol do at Verve Wellness. Read about our emotional hips.
check out the bomb of a mom project.