“I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is.”
Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas! If you ask me, every day should be Mother’s Day; I mean, don’t we Mamas make the world go ‘round?
One of the things I’ve discovered through yoga is that every day can be mother’s day, if we honor ourSelves (capital ‘S’ to emphasize the Higher Self that shines forth from each of us) as well as honor the Divine Mother.
That’s not to say you can’t have your own spiritual or religious beliefs while paying homage to the Feminine Divine. I don’t wear my own spiritual beliefs on my sleeve, but lately I’ve been writing on what exactly the Divine Mother is to me. She is definitely easier to connect with in nature, but luckily for us urban folk (I live in Chicago), symbolism and natural objects and sounds can bring a touch of the Feminine Divine into our daily lives no matter where we are.
What is the Divine Feminine?
I tend to think of the moon as a natural expression of the Divine Feminine: continually changing, receptive (of the sun’s light), associated with emotions. We can also think of the Earth as the ultimate representation of the Divine Feminine: creative, nurturing, receptive, continually changing and transforming, and capable of holding everything (literally everything!) in the world. Isn’t that why we call her “Mother Earth” while we refer to the sun as Father?
Last month I offered an Earth Salutation as a way to connect to Mother Earth on the week of Earth Day. Other ways to connect to Mother Earth might be to go to a cherished spot in nature or even in a city park, to gaze at the moon, or listen to some nature sounds as you meditate or do yoga.
Then there are symbols that can put us in touch with feminine qualities. What is a feminine shape or symbol? Think of the qualities of an ideal mother: nurturing, empathetic, intuitive, creative, grounded. Please add to that list; conjure up words that have meaning for you. Words, symbols, qualities: they can all remind us of the Divine Mother and our feminine qualities.
When I think of feminine shapes, I think curves, circles, and spirals. In my mind, to be feminine is to be cyclical, soft, enveloping. Then there are the yantras of the Mahavidyas, or the ten Wisdom Goddesses of Tantra, which have a lot of angular shapes like squares and triangles. Whatever symbol, word, or image you choose should remind you of how you get grounded and centered. It should fill you with feelings of peace, love, and acceptance of your life as it is.
Yo Mama...or Not Yo’ Mama
I know Mother’s Day can be hard for those who have lost their mothers, or who have had less than ideal relationships with their mothers. This is one reason why it can be so powerful to include some conception of the Divine Mother in our yoga practices. What is it we got from our mothers that we are so grateful for and/or what is it we most wanted from our mothers, but didn’t get? Then, we can acknowledge that it was the best our mothers had to give in that moment and put forth an intention to forgive them (because we can’t force forgiveness). These are the types of things that can come up on the yoga mat as well as the things we can work through on the mat (and off!).
A Yoga Mama practice is all about the Feminine Divine that is Yo Ultimate Mama; maybe she is soooo Not Yo’ Mama in other words, so different than the mama you had from your upbringing. Take this as a call to mother yourself so that you can be the best mother for your kids, and so that you get the love that you deserve.
So, not just for today, but every day, find a way to nurture yourself the way your mom always did, or the way that you always wished she would have. Maybe it’s pausing for a few slow deep breaths as you gaze at a symbol of the Divine Feminine, or while you walk on a trail in nature, or maybe you listen to nature sounds on your earbuds as you wind down for bedtime or nurse the baby. Maybe it’s taking 5 minutes to practice on your yoga mat or meditate. Whatever it is, do something daily, however brief, and know that you are always held and loved.