When the astronaut Edgar Mitchell was out in space he looked back at earth, and from his vantage point amidst the stars, with fresh child-like eyes, he had an epiphanic experience. He found a true understanding of the connectedness of all things. Everything in creation was, in a sense, his brother or sister.
As we sit here on earth, if everything is indeed connected, as Edgar Mitchell noetically discovered, then our very own Mother Earth has no preference around her love and support of all her children: a tree, an animal, an insect or any human, whatever their nationality, their shape or the color of their skin. Mother Earth’s love is unconditional and all-inclusive. She is the Mother of all Mother’s.
Working with clients for more than two decades, I have found there to be a wide array of relationships between folks and their mothers. Mothers are given different skills, levels of self-awareness, maturity, past emotional baggage or traumas, distinct personalities, and varying physical and financial circumstances. Becoming a mother does not guarantee resourcefulness or even the capacity to love unconditionally. Though children want to love their mothers and feel loved by their mothers, often they can experience a sense of “lacking” or, conversely, “too muchness.” Mother and child relationships are complicated, to say the least.
And being a human mother is not easy. Just as children want to be loved, most mothers want to love well. If they can. Being a mother myself, I often have not known the right recipe for every given moment, no matter how old my son has been. I can only do my best, with good intentions.
I was working with a twelve-year-old client and her mother today, and invited them to write themselves Mother’s Day cards, celebrating their capacity to mother. The twelve-year-old loves animals and could relate to mothering her animals. I also asked her and her mother how they are learning to mother themselves better. Finally, this ability to mother ourselves in the most loving way is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, no matter what kind of mother we had or have. It doesn’t matter our gender or age, we hold within us an instinct to nourish and be nourished, to love and be loved.
When we are feeling “un-mothered,” we have two places to look. First, within ourselves, as we continue to learn to mother ourselves in the ways we feel we need to be mothered. And second, to look toward Mother Earth. All we need to do is close our eyes and feel the support of Mother Earth under our feet, holding us up and sustaining us. She is the great provider. Even a motherless child can take the rich soil in their hands and know they are being cared for if they allow that in. Clients who feel they were abandoned by their mother can soothe themselves with the acknowledgement that Mother Earth is right there for them.
I am fortunate that both my mother and grandmother loved their gardens, as I love mine. They understood the power of the Great Mother. When I plant my plants, weed, or tend to my garden I have learned that I am tending to myself as well.
Today, my Mother’s Day gift to myself is to take time out and go to the Chicago Botanical Gardens, a sacred place my mother and I shared and held dear. Our hearts are forever connected in that particular temple. I always feel my mother near, but there we both celebrated and rejoiced in seeds and growth, beauty and pure potential. Wherever my mother’s soul resides now, she will be fully with me there.
I will remind myself that Mother Earth is capable of holding and healing. She feeds my soul with her infinite creativity. She goes beyond nourishing and supporting, she provides such beauty to all of my senses. I will offer gratitude to Mother Earth, the mother of all mothers. And I will also offer gratitude to all the loving mother energy that surrounds me and is within me.