…for Mother’s Day…
Each of us comes from a mother. Each of us has the experience within us of being a child, an innocent and vulnerable babe whose utter survival depends on the one who brought us into the world.
What happens after the moment we emerge from the womb shapes us and molds how we express in our lives. If we are nurtured, protected, guided wisely and initiated, we become actualized adults who add to the good in the world. If we are not given these four vital things from our mothers – the source of our physical existence to become a human being – we sustain a wound that can cause us to become hurt and hurtful in our lives…unless we heal this wound. It is called the Mother Wound.
For me, the Mother Wound affected my self esteem, my confidence, my self image, my sexuality, my ability to honor my feelings, my willingness to express those feelings, my ability to set and hold boundaries, my trust of myself and others (especially women), ability to accept love in my romantic relationship, and susceptibility to sexual assault and other trauma, among other things.
My journey to heal has been decades long, and has taken me to places I never imagined. I’ve swum with the fish at the bottom of the ocean, facing Sedna, the fierce goddess of the sea. I’ve descended to the bottom of the deepest caverns, like the Sumerian goddess Inanna, who was stripped bare of her worldly possessions and title and killed by her betraying sister, only to be reborn stronger and wiser. I’ve stood on mountain peaks and surveyed the land below, looking and looking for Her. I’ve wandered the inner landscape in search of my Mother, the one who loves me.
I’ve written a book describing my journey into the heart of the Divine Feminine. I’ve experienced (as well as named) what it feels like to be held as I go through my process, without being judged, distracted, or “fixed”. I am learning that the energy that is Yin is the one that accepts all things, that doesn’t judge as “wrong” or “outside of God”. The energy of the Feminine is also the energy of the best mother we ever craved. The Great Mother of the universe holds us while we are with the sorrows of the world.
To confront the sorrows of the world (and our lives) requires that we are present to them. That means we will FEEL them, which is no easy task. We will FEEL the anger, the injustice, the grief, the despair. FEELING takes courage, as I wrote in Feeling is the New Frontier in 2009. My theory is that this is why we shy away from hard news, folks who are having hard times, and our own pain. I feel the greatest spiritual practice is just showing up.
Showing up is being present to what IS, to what’s real, to what’s actually happening. It is being attentive to the moment, whatever that moment may convey. It is the meeting of spirit in the flesh at the intersection of time and space and feeling with our eyes open, boldly going where we are asked to go. As I wrote in 2011, it is Being With It.
And it is defiant! It is civil disobedience, it is not going easily into that good night…It is pointing our finger, opening our throat and allowing the voice of spirit to roar to exclaim injustice, to name horror, evil, as the senseless violence that it is. Spirit asks us to do some hard things sometimes, yes? But we are built to do it.
In writing I Am Her Daughter, I learned that Great Mother is what holds us during the worst of things, enables us to endure and persevere, to bring love forth even when we’re angry. In Her, we have comfort. She holds us without judgment, acknowledging us deeply for how we feel. We are Her beloved children and She loves us no matter how much anguish we may have in our hearts. In Her, the alchemical transformation of grief and anger into love and acceptance occurs in an instant.
I have tried to wish away the concept of evil. It’s terrifying to contemplate that such a thing is real. But having experienced unconsciousness and the evil that the hands of unconsciousness performs, I know there are indeed forces that seek to defy Love/God/Light/Consciousness in the world and in our own lives. I can no longer pretend these forces aren’t there.
Perhaps being familiar with evil causes us to be able to handle it when we are faced with it, rather than to shy away from it. Perhaps as we experience the inner demons of others who attempt to spread their darkness onto us, we begin to learn that we can survive darkness, after all. That we can overcome the inner death that happen when we awaken to darkness, the loss of innocence and the shattering of our illusions. That violence doesn’t win, that it is not the last word. That there is indeed rebirth, resurrection. And perhaps this lends a certain fortitude in the inevitable times of being confronted with darkness later in our life.
As I have heard in many spiritual traditions, the more devoted we are to the light, the more our shadows are outlined, illuminated. In another way of speaking, the greater our devotion to God the more our inner demons come forward to trip us up, to lead us away, to distract us. Choosing light IS a choice, and it must be made over and over again. This fight for light requires consciousness and a warrior spirit. A line in the sand, a battleground
Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee says, “It is time to stop being politely angry”. Our discomfort with victimization is really the discomfort that horrible things actually happen in the world. We must make peace with our anger so we are effective as we seek to envision a better world for all. Our outrage is justified, the unrest we feel is righteous! The Divine Feminine allows for us to feel these unhappy things because it IS THE FIRST ACTION TOWARDS CHANGE. We see the redirection of discomfort with these feelings in blaming victims of violence, whether in the media, the culture, or in our belief system. Isn’t this another way to shield ourselves and deny the darkness, creating a temporary reprieve to make ourselves feel a little better? Is it so we can distract and separate ourselves from our own pain? Is this blame coming from people who have not dealt with their own demons, their own darkness?
Acknowledging the darkness is the first step to changing it, the bridge into the action realm. Whether in the world or in ourselves, acceptance of our unhappy feelings is the mechanism to shift our situation. The pivotal moment of acceptance is also the pivotal birthing of the new. The frontier of consciousness is not a place for fearful people. And then we can accept the sanctuary in the field of all well-being to nurture ourselves. We must refill our cup with the good water so that we may offer it in the world, and to receive the sanctuary of Great Mother and the Divine Feminine in mind and body, heart and soul.
(c) Licia Berry 2014
Licia Berry is the author of I AM Her Daughter ~ The Healing Path to a Woman’s Power. You can learn more about Licia at her website www.LiciaBerry.com.