“it’s late. perhaps it’s early, depending on how you look at things. I get up and step into the infinite night. I inhale the sagebrush aroma that fills the air as I raise my head to greet the stars. the storm traveled far and the rain, the rain, that blessed water after traveling a life time is on her way Home at last. it’s late. or perhaps, too early yet. I stand firmly in the coolness of a desert night, with the little girl knocking on the walls of my heart, wishing to be found, longing to be found at last.”
Like most people, I often experience a profound loneliness that coils itself up in my chest relentlessly; it could happen while I am on a busy street, at a cafe during a conversation or in an airplane. With this intense sense of loneliness comes the existential fear of not being seen and not belonging.
As if I am a random atom drifting aimlessly in an alien universe.
I often wondered where this experience comes from: is it part of human condition? is it because we are not born to loving and welcoming tribes anymore? or is it because I wasn't raised by an affectionate and accepting mother who held me in safety no matter what?
Probably, all of the above and more.
Whatever the reason is, when I dig a little deeper, I find the child in me trembling with fear. After years and years of journeying in the world, unlike Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, being guided and feeling very much protected by the Divine and the invisible forces, having reunited with Pachamama - beloved Mother Earth - and knowing my love of and devotion to Her, having challenged myself countless times and having expanded my boundaries by love of life, I still find that young version of me feeling insecure, lost and scared sometimes, crying and waiting for the compassionate mama that she never had. I thankfully had a compassionate grandmother - what a savior she was! - from whom I was at least familiar with an experience of unconditional love but my inner child kept asking for a mother who couldn't show up, consistently.
I now know that I've been suffering from "mother wound" for my whole life. Bethany Webster of Womb of Light writes:
"The mother wound exists on two levels: Personal and Collective
On the personal level, the mother wound is the set of painful patterns that originated with your mother that cause you to unconsciously limit or sabotage yourself.
On a collective level, the mother wound is the pain of female oppression being passed down through generations of women and the dysfunctional coping mechanisms that women have employed to process that pain."
( I think Bethany's work is quite important, so please read more in her blog)
The intense need of a loving, compassionate and accepting mother and the rage of not having had one often clashed inside me, sometimes in violent episodes. It is a very primal and complex process in which I fell apart again and again. Living with shame - a consistent background sense that there is something wrong with me and not feeling good enough - transferred to me by my mother seared into my flesh, falling prey to her disowned anger and bitterness ripped my heart open.
If this story is familiar, you know what I mean. While the mother wound served me in certain ways - finding my own voice and path in a world that became my playground in the lack of a (emotionally) safe home -, it also kept me small, needy and disoriented at times.
I figured that there is only ONE person that can show up if my own mother couldn't and cannot mother me: my whole, beautiful, wise Self. So I called upon her to mother my inner child.
Throughout my winter retreat, when something intense and difficult rose from the past, I connected with my inner child and just like a mother, I held her in my arms until the emotion was felt, expressed and released. I pampered her and whispered her love words, and assured her that I was present with her NO MATTER WHAT.
no matter what is important. The commitment and consistency I kept seeking in others - and guess what, often failed to find - I finally gifted to myself. it made the whole difference. you know what, after 40 years, I am really becoming an ally to myself and befriending this woman I live with. maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of a love story..
Let me close with John O'Donohue:
"Love should make you free. You become free of the hungry, blistering need with which you continually reach out to scrape affirmation, respect and significance for your self from things and people outside your self. To be holy is to be home, to be able to rest in the house of belonging that we call the soul."
and therefore, being at Home no matter what, staying with no matter what.
and learning to love myself anew every day.
A gift from Sounds True - SELF-ACCEPTANCE PROJECT: In this FREE online video event series, Tami Simon speaks with several contemporary luminaries in the fields of spirituality, psychology, and creativity to explore insights and practices for living with a sense of your own fundamental worthiness.
p.s. And even though she has the capacity to drive me insane, I love and respect my mother dearly, and I bow to her in gratitude for everything.