I have another blog, dear readers and friends, that I call "Looking for Mama"
I began it little over a year ago, when I was struggling to find some footing in this new life of mine, nurturing a new life...For it seems this culture we're in is awfully fond of celebrating the Maiden, the young woman whose life is just beginning to blossom. Where, I asked, did my new station appear in our current paradigm? Was motherhood anything of value to a consumer society? So I began looking where I could to find representations of reverence for "The Divine Feminine". You know, Mama.
I've been reticent to share that seeking with you here, for this is my Offering Blog, my reverence for relationship itself. What I really feared, though, was sharing the truth of sadness that lies behind my sharing, that lies behind my own reverence. It is painful. But it is the nature of my relationship with my own mother. And it seems, that is the most important relationship of all, for in many ways it defines the approach one has to all relationships. To see the Goddess, I once saw it written, is to see one's own mother.
Now I am going to cross-post the most recent entries of that quest, to share an offering of truth, of grief, and finally, of peace. Go raibh mile maith aghat a deithe.
Ignorance & Bliss Inner truth is a funny matter. Each time I think to write on mine, it slips away; I have such trouble catching it. And I suppose this is because I truly and deeply fear expressing it. And this in spite of the fact that I utterly demand everyone I love to live up to their own. Ah, me. So it is true, then, the tendency I've heard about, to displace upon others the very thing we know we ourselves must, but cannot, live up to.
For me, it is Mama.
When I became pregnant, I came to be in awe of the process of becoming a mother; the way your body and your psyche shifts so utterly and irreversibly while a tiny life grows inside of you. It made me want to slow waaay down, to take stock and find some common ground with the rest of the world, as I quite felt as though I were living on another planet despite my daily appearances on the agreed-upon reality that was spinning around and around me.
When my child was born, it became evident that I wasn't really walking in another world at all-- in fact, I was traveling *to* it, for it is now 17 months on and I *think* my mind and body have begun to congeal once more on this new Planet Mama. (Imagine if you will something akin to "Beam me up, Scotty", and I believe you've got the picture. I've been beamed, but I'm still in that shimmer-shimmer phase, waiting for all of me to catch up.)
Now life revolves at a different pace, reflecting the needs of my growing boy, and the needs of my growing heart. I was always a sensitive one, but with the onset of motherhood you're suddenly Everyone's Mama, feeling the hurt of the whole Earth quite exquisitely. "How could they hurt each other? Don't they know what it's doing to their mothers?"
So it is the pathway of Mothering has more dimensions than what is most evident, which is what is seen directly as mother and child. And sometimes the depth of it is so breathtaking to me-- the continuing of life, and watching the cycle of generations makes me feel so very small. And yet the social responsibility of it, this role I've landed of showing the ropes to a new human, and the hopes that I can give him all the best tools for his place on this Earth-- ah, now that makes me feel quite big. And I suppose it is the breath between this "bigness" and "smallness" that is where I look for guidance, for "how do I do this?"
And so it is, I am looking for Mama, some indication on the part of my culture that this work of nurturing a life is honored. And it troubles me so that I cannot find it.
And here now is the truth that I have been very hesitant to write on, for the fear of exposing my most tender self: I cannot find Mama out there because, dear one, I cannot find her _here_. My own mother is absent.
I have been reading lately of "mother roasting", which is a technique developed by a midwife/Chinese medicine practitioner wherein a new mother receives care just after her baby is born that equates to "mothering the mother". I don't know about any other new mamas out there, but in my own experience, baby and me pretty much hit the ground running with our relationship and there was very little offered to me by way of "mothering the mother". I knew I wanted that, but I felt pretty embarrassed to ask for it. Was I supposed to?
It didn't make things much easier to see nothing but 20-something beauties staring back at me everywhere I went in public, on billboards and shop displays, and all the usual places Madison Avenue speaks to us. Didn't my new role have _any_ value?
But in reality, I think it is an important point that for all my looking for Mama, the real mama I have been seeking is my own. She's been gone for some time now.
We haven't spoken of anything of substance, my own mother and I, for I would say... 8 years, at least. Back then, I was trying to reconcile something with her, hoping to save something of a real relationship (you know, two people, relating!) which had all but dissolved by the time I turned 13. After I turned 18, I think I saw her once a year; after 21, I gave up speaking to her at all for 4 years.
Now I am 38, and I am looking for my mama, still.
Sometimes I like to call it an illness, the way her feet do not seem to touch the ground. She refuses to notice pain, and ever she clings to the bliss of beauty-- the kind you can buy, the kind you can see in a decorator magazine, the kind that can be easily explained in easy language. The kind that a terrified soul clings to when there is nothing but surreal pain all around.
Oh, me. I needed my own mother so dearly while I was submerged in that pain with her; and each day, as I see her still swimming in it, I long for her to come out just for a little while and help me understand it.
Now a bizarre thing has happened, an utterly odd echo from something long past, and it is all I can do but think, constantly, of yanking her out of this pool of ignorance she has committed herself to. But what can I do, really? This mother who needs mothering can only watch as a drowning occurs.
So goes a lonely cry, dear ones. This looking for Mama is really a quest for something that cannot be attained. I know from my own work day in and day out with my own dear boy that the mystique of Mama is not real. There are only human beings trying their best with each other.
What is this Mama I seek? -a reflection from my own culture, as I walk around each day, that expresses the utter priority of nurturing life; -a reflection from my own mother of...something...I need, though I'm not sure what that is; -a reflection from within myself, through ceremony and tribute to mother goddesses, of the sacredness of mothering. It is my sense, at this point, that I cannot find Her unless all three of these are somehow in alignment: recognition of a social "mother", peace with my outer mother, and devotion to my Inner Mother. What pain there is in me, then, that this middle key piece is missing.
Mo Cuisle A year of looking for any hint of reverence for mothering in our consumer-oriented paradigm has left me somewhat empty, and as it would seem, back to square one, which is indeed nestled deep within myself.
This is marked by a major transgression by my own mother, which has unearthed a buried wound, a biting wound she gave me many years ago, when I was a girl seeking "mama". Now there is not much to do but look directly at Square One, right where I sit and exactly who I am in the situation at hand.
The good news of all of this is finally, I am able to grieve the loss of my mother, because the loss has finally become real and I am no longer alone in my experience of losing.
How do I write about the pattern of this square I find myself back upon? I could easily recount the story, mine and now my sister's-- but I don't want to rely on drama or back down in fear of judgment. So I feel, this is not the place for sordid details, because the situation is above all of that now. Suffice it to say, my sister and I find ourselves left as some kind of bait while our mother chooses her own comfort above our emotional and physical safety. In the end, she has chosen a monster of a man so that she can enjoy a very strange kind of security and love.
Really, what sort of woman ignores violence and prey against her daughters, and even chooses to stay with the perpetrator? And what sort of woman does that not just once, but twice in her life, on separate occasions with years in-between, with different men at the helm? It is the ultimate betrayal of a mother against her daughters... And this betrayal has given me such pain in my life, because in the end I wonder, where did I come from? And to whom do I belong?
Where is Mama?
I've written quite a lot of my experience at Bride's Well in Liscannor. Similarly, I had occasion to meet a deity in Peru... And these experiences helped me in my knowing that there IS a source of love and compassion that runs so deep and swift, a never-ending spring of un-conditionality that feeds the ocean of being without asking for anything in return. It is Mama, what some liken to "The Divine Feminine".
But, truth be told, even with the knowing of this Grace, what I realize now is I do need a mother. And even with this amazing source of Grace at my fingertips, I grieve the loss of my mother.
Enter "Million Dollar Baby". You know when you are desperate for something, and along comes a tale-teller who provides you with just what you need to hear? Ah, that mystical gift was granted last night. I don't want to spoil the tale for those who haven't seen it, but oh. Maggie Fitzgerald's own desperation has become my heart-song; and the chants of 'mo cuisle' reached in and reminded me of something even greater, of a a connection that spans lifetimes upon lifetimes, forms and relationships, countries and states of being. It is the echo of all beings that brought me into existence, and the cadence of all the close relationships that continue to buoy me to this day. In fact it is the pulse that runs through me and throughout my world, reaching from within my heart to the tops of trees and the bottom of the farthest point in the ocean. It is ever stronger than any deception. It is love itself.
Where is Mama?
I was nursing my little son a day or so ago, and just happened to look upon our Brighid's Cross. Such a peace of presence descended upon me then, and better than I can type it took the shape of Bride's heart and then welded into my own, and then into my child's. Again came that familiar smile, loving arms, and sense of completeness that I experienced in her well.
My grief is heavy. I will have to learn to live, finally, without my mother, without the expectation of finding my mama. But Mama? It turns out, I have indeed found Mama in the strangest place, and in the unlikely vehicle of a Hollywood movie. Mama's pulse is strong, and my heart? It can grieve, but it is stronger for the beat of it, for ah what else it carries. Ah, for all that it carries.
Oisin G'Dea's mama, wife of an Ruaphok Gaiscíoch; lover of the creative life, nomadship and stewardship; zen priest, gardener, artist, writer, herb-crafter, counselor and dreamer... I've lived in the inspiring high-desert, mountain-punctuated New Mexico & Colorado ~ misty redwood-coated coastlines of Northern California ~ strangely elegant riversides in Southern Maryland ~ snowy, busy Greater Boston ~ lovely and welcoming Hilltown Massachussetts.