This past weekend, we celebrated Mother’s Day here in the U.S. As I spent my holiday relaxing with my family, what arose for me was gratitude for the essence of mothering itself – for the feminine force of love in the world.
As I see it, the feminine face of love is a love that knows no limits, no boundaries; a love that stretches as a mother’s body stretches to carry the growing life within.
After birth, a mother’s heart does not contract as her body may, back to its normal size. It continues to expand and grow.
No matter how you were mothered (I appreciate that you may have received less than compassionate mothering in your life), we can all call on this archetypal form of love for ourselves. We can give birth to love.
A lap as large as the world
If God is all knowing, than the Mother – the feminine – is all loving. A mother is asked to love. Period.
It’s why we refer to imperfect or “ugly” things as “something only a mother could love” – because a mother can and does love what appears unlovable. This reminds me of a comedy routine I heard once about how even if you rob a bank, your mama will still love you and think you’re wonderful.
Feminine love is a never give up kind of love: a love that never gives up on ourselves, and a love that never gives up on each other. It’s all inclusive, a lap as large as the world.
I believe this lap serves a Divine purpose.
Holding our imperfection in love
These past few months, my eyes have been opened to some things about myself that are really messy. Things that make me squirm; things that feel like a punch in the guts. That lap of compassion has had to grow and grow and grow.
Imagine the one thing you swore you’d never do. And then imagine recognizing (or in my case, having trusted people tell you) that you’re doing it. Ouch.
Oh, how do we bear it?
Love bears all
We bear it through love. It is through love that we’re able to see those mucky, icky things that feel unloveable and say, “Yes, too.” Yes, even with this, I am still lovable and good and worthy of tender care. It’s through this love that we’re able to see our goodness.
And it’s through this love that we’re able to heal and change and grow - not so we can feel more good about our ego selves (that’s always a recipe for suffering, in my experience, because the ego is never satisfied and never happy.) But so that we can free ourselves from unnecessary suffering. So we can be more of who we really are, our essence, which is Love.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes it this way: “Mother Mercy” is the one who…”checks doorways, sees through cracks and into corners where souls often hide.” Our mercy – our love – is what gives us the strength and courage to see our shadowy stuff and not be decimated by it – and then to make the decision to heal and grow. It’s an exhale of compassion and acceptance.
Sifting the mix with love
Feminine love is and. Yes, we each have our conditioning, our imperfection. Sometimes it’s mucky. And we are so much more: we are funny and tender and sweet and good hearted and capable of tremendous kindness.
We are the mix.
Feminine love reminds us of this mix. It reminds us that we’re a mix of humanity and Divinity: a mix of everything. Everything that is outside in the world – joy, beauty, love, kindness, appreciation, gratitude, creativity, anger, violence, fear, greed, aversion, jealousy – is also inside of me. All the seeds are there.
So what do we do with this mix? How do we care for those things that we do that are harmful to ourselves or others?
We sift the mix with love.
Resting in presence
There’s nothing that can make us unloveable. Nothing.
That’s such a profound statement – really? nothing? – that I honestly can’t grasp it. It’s beyond my comprehension.
But if I take it as truth, that there’s nothing that can make me unloveable, then what do I have to fear? I can look at all my mistakes and imperfections and be honest about them, knowing that they won’t keep me from love.
My mentor, Dr. Neufeld, describes the essence of loving parenting as offering children “the invitation to unconditionally rest in our presence.” When we give our children the gift to show up, warts and all, and know they’ll be welcomed, accepted, loved, they come to rest. They rest in their greater belonging. They rest in love.
When we give ourselves the gift to show up as we are, warts and all, and to know we’ll be loved, we come to rest. We rest in our greater belonging. We rest in love.
Rather than spinning our wheels endlessly, embarking on one self improvement project after another – all in a quest to create an ego self who feels worthy enough to be loved – we can stop. We don’t have to make ourselves any bigger or smaller than we are. We don’t have to excuse or justify the mix.
Instead, we come to rest. We rest in the great, wide lap of love.
With this rest, we can approach our humanity differently. We don’t have to rush around trying to fix it all (before anyone finds out all our shadowy stuff!) We don’t have to hide or isolate ourselves until we feel “enough.”
We show up, we join in, as is. Most importantly, we allow ourselves to receive love from others.
Dear one, let that sink in. Imagine taking everything that feels unloveable about yourself and letting it rest in this greater lap of love. Imagine allowing yourself – the “you” you are right now – not the more improved you who’s lost the extra pounds or eradicated the bad habit or healed the old wounds – to be deeply, fully, immersed in, love.
And now I ask, with this love: who are you? What is possible? And how does your life feel different?
Happy Mother’s Day.
Wanting more hands on help:
- This month we’re exploring the theme of “healing through love” on Firstourselves.org. If you want to learn how you can heal the roots of overeating through love, I invite you to explore the Heal Overeating: Untangled program. This audio and workbook program is my most popular program, and can help you heal your relationship with food and your sweet self. If it feels right to you, I encourage you to experience the healing in this program for yourself. Sign up for a free mini course, an introduction to Untangled, here.
- If you liked this article, you may also like this post on removing the barriers to love.
- You may also like this post on the healing power of loving your overeating self.
- This article explains how self acceptance fosters healing.