Please see the class announcement at the end of this E-news!
Exploring the relationship between mothering and personal growth
I had a very interesting conversation with someone recently about emotions…specifically, the perspective that you can choose your emotional response to something rather than believing that you have no control over your response, that it is shaped by your personality and your history. However, if you “choose” your emotional response, that is, you respond with an edited version of your original impulse, does that mean that your response is less than authentic? Why do I bring this up in the context of mothering?
Let’s first take a step back. People have such different impressions of how they were mothered, and by whom (ahh, the complexities of large or blended families!) that it is not a good idea to introduce the topic of mothering with an idea that everyone had a good experience with their mother, or that their experience was similar to yours. It can actually be a very “touchy” subject! I learned this by sharing one of our descriptions of our Mexican Lime essential oil…it offers “emotional mothering”…with a visitor to my Shining Sun Aromatherapy studio. Her immediate reaction was to reject experiencing the Lime essence, as she had had a very difficult relationship with her mother her whole life. And while it allowed us to broach the concept that using that essence might be a positive step in healing that relationship, her initial comment also brought home to me the mixed and sometimes difficult relationships many people associate with the word “Mother”.
Another step back. When I was in the corporate world, I conducted research in the area of human resources for a major public accounting firm. One of the studies I did was on mentoring…exploring how it happened, its benefits and pitfalls, and whether men and women were equally mentored in our firm. What I discovered was that a narrow definition of mentoring did not provide the understanding, or the possibilities, that a broader definition offered. I explored traditional mentoring (a senior level person looking out for, providing developmental opportunities for, someone who was at a staff level significantly junior to them), peer mentoring, and, lo and behold, even upward mentoring…where a more junior person provided some of the feedback or support generally associated with traditional mentoring to someone at least one organizational level above them, and sometimes more. This really stretched the understanding of upper management when I presented this aspect of the research. But, as we discussed it, they became really excited about the expanded possibilities a broader view of mentoring revealed. Looking back, I realize that “mentoring” was just a way of expressing “mothering” in a way that was more acceptable in a corporate setting. But that experience of the benefits of creating a broader understanding helped me to look at the concept of mothering the same way.
As often happens when I am thinking deeply about a concept or situation, related information starts crossing my path. I love how the Universe works!! Recently, a FaceBook friend shared a beautiful piece by a foundation in New Zealand called Sacred Dreams. Within the wisdom offered in that post was one gem on mothering, offered in the context “Mastering the Art of Dis-entanglement”. It used to be easy for her to get triggered…[This personal] story made for a tremulous existence, one that was continually shaken by how the world was responding to her. The story is changing as she entered deeper into her heart, her soul, her womb, her mind. Every pain and heart-break became an opening to enter deeper. She reached the place of origin of many wounds. She touched them softly, lovingly, kissed them tenderly. In her inner journeys, she’s found this place of tranquility, where she’s always safe, always loved. This place is her mother-centre ~ one that loves every single bit of her. She’s practicing living awareness from this space, while old wounds try to take her down the familiar path. She practices keeping her heart open, even in the deepest pain. This wise space teaches her to sit out the triggered wounds rather than act from them. – Sukhvinder Sircar
The “mother-centre” described above …female or male, we all have it… can be a source of guidance and support for us. Self-mothering, in a way, not something often considered. Also, I think this quote addresses the concern raised in the conversation I referenced in the opening paragraph of this e-news…whether choosing our emotional response to something is less than “authentic”. I think the perspective offered by Sacred Dreams demonstrates that holding onto our “authenticity” (and believe me, I am hugely about being authentic) can mean holding ourselves back from growing…intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. I remember once, many years ago, when someone wanted me to consider an experience that was very much outside of my comfort zone, I kept thinking “this isn’t me”. I honestly do not remember what that experience was, but I clearly remember the lesson…I decided to give it a try, and was amazed to learn that it was more “me” than I ever dreamed possible. And though it wasn’t consistent with the “old me”, it WAS like the “new me” who emerged from that experience…I had grown.
So, I will leave you with that little story that has stayed with me all of these years, and also some suggestions, in addition to the Mexican Lime (great on the soles of the feet) that will help broaden your perspective on the concept of mothering, and assist you in accessing that “mother-centre” source of wisdom, so that, even if you don’t have other positive “mother” figures in your life, you can effectively “self-mother”.
Rosemary verbenone: This beautiful essence is about remembering, and deeply exploring our memories in the context of our greater self-knowledge as we learn and grow. What we may find is that we have an incomplete memory or one that, from an adult perspective, takes on a different meaning. Rosemary verbenone helps you discern which memories to hold in your heart, which to “update” in terms of your broader, more mature understanding, and which to let go, as they no longer serve you. This can be a very freeing process.
Davana: This ancient beauty is all about healing through expansion…greater compassion for self and others; greater understanding of how life works. She helps you to challenge beliefs that may no longer serve you, and are limiting you.
Exotic Basil: Expands your perceptions of self, others, and your physical environment, which yields many opportunities for change, new directions, and growth.
Oak Moss: I find this exceptional for doing deep heart work, and it would be perfect to access that mother-centre discussed above. And, it smells divine, evoking the mystery and power of our connection to Mother Earth.
Chamomile (Blue/Green); This gorgeous essence will take you to the depths of your emotions, with calm acceptance of what was and a grounded vision of what will be. She supports you in making new choices by softening and neutralizing your “triggers” and creating an awareness of other, more authentic ways of understanding and responding to situations and opportunities.
PS: This is an announcement about an upcoming, two-day, private Level 1 Certification Class in Medicinal Aromatherapy to be held at my Shining Sun Aromatherapy studio in Santa Fe. This client is open to having others join us, and we are considering these possible dates: July 2-3; August 28-29; or September 11-12.
if you are interested in joining us, please contact me ASAP about the date or dates most convenient for you. The tuition is $575, and I will offer the $25 early registration discount to anyone who responds by June 7th. Call 928-300-5090 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or to register.