Mother's Day is upon us. For me, the first thought I always seem to have is a memory of serving my mom breakfast in bed as a child. Rice Krispies and orange juice on a tray brought to her darkened bedroom early on a Sunday morning.
It was such a treat to please her, to make her cards, pick her flowers and put them in a vase and to see her joy in my and my siblings' attempts to show her our love and appreciation.
After that early memory subsides, I think about my own life as a mother; this will be my 14th Mother's Day. Motherhood has changed me thoroughly.
I think about what it means to mother, to nurture, to love without condition, to watch your creations grow into independent beings. It's quite a journey.
I also think about the mother to us all, Planet Earth, and if we all treated the planet the way we honor and revere our human mother, we would all be in better health and more in tune with our natural rhythms.
This Mother's Day, I am thinking about the balance between our feminine and masculine parts of our being. We each embody both, and when they are in union we can feel both grounded and enlivened physically, spiritually and mentally.
In our culture, the masculine traits of action and competition, of doing and building and remaining busy are set upon a pedestal. We are taught from a young age to be successful and productive and that will make us happy. Rarely are we taught to rest, to care for ourselves and nurture our spirits. We are told to achieve, to better our standing in life, to earn more, to rise the ranks of the corporate ladder. But we are not told that tending to our quieter ambitions, to turn inward and listen to our intuition or to arrive in a place of compassion rather than competition or blame.
The masculine traits are not necessarily negative, but rather when out of balance with the counterpart of feminine traits, can lead us to overwork, exhaustion and disease.
In yoga, we can look at the spirit of the Shakti, or the divine feminine that is portrayed in the goddess deities of Lakshmi, Parvati, Durga, Saraswati and many others. These goddesses are there to train our focus on generosity, abundance, keen discernment, loving and compassionate power and the all-encompassing nurturing of the divine mother within.
In her book, "Awakening Shakti," Sally Kempton writes: "We sense that something profoundly important is missing from a world in which the power of the divine feminine is not understood and in which women themselves are out of touch with their own Shakti, the force of feminine strength and the flavors of feminine love."
As we arouse this feminine energy within us, women and men, we can see a powerful balance in energy come into our beings. We can begin to understand that we must engage both the masculine and feminine in an ongoing dance to feel truly whole and fully connected to our deepest desires, understandings and compassion for ourselves and all beings.
I wish you a happy Mother's Day and invite you to a deeper study of the feminine during my monthly Sunday Sangha on Mother's Day. We will meditate, move, journal and discuss the Shakti spirit in all of us. Join me at 4 p.m. for this special donation-based gathering. SIGN UP
Happy Mother's Day!