Today, and hopefully every day, we honor our mothers. Having walked alongside others for many years I know firsthand that Mother’s Day can bring with it a slew of complicated emotions and experiences. It is not always a happy day. I invite us to consider today in this way.
Gurdjieff spoke of ‘the cost of our arising’ as something we must be connected to and even pay for. Simply put, understanding ‘the cost of our arising’ is about seeing that we are not self made but rather we are an amalgamation of all that has been poured into us, all that has supported and nurtured and formed who we are. A piece of paying for the cost of our arising is honoring, acknowledging and giving thanks for those who have contributed to our arising.
There is no doubt that mothers of all kinds are in large part responsible for our arising.
Today we can honor, acknowledge and give thanks to our birth mothers who play an irreplaceable part of our arising. No matter what unmet expectations, realistic or otherwise, have transpired, mothers carry us in their womb and give of themselves to bring us into existence. Mothers have a love for their children deep in their hearts. At best this love comes through in meaningful ways.
Today we can honor, acknowledge and give thanks to our living or non-living biological and spiritual ancestors (such as Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Sojourner Truth, Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich and the many other saints, mystics and liberators throughout time) who we may feel connected to and whom have offered us mothering.
Today we can honor, acknowledge and give thanks to Mother Earth who sustains and nourishes us, endlessly holding us up, offering us beauty and life for our bodies and souls.
Today we can honor, acknowledge and give thanks to the Great Mother. In the Christian tradition, God is both beyond gender and related to as Mother (one image being that of a hen gathering her brood under her wings). Julian of Norwich referred to Christ as our true Mother.
Today we can honor, acknowledge and give thanks to ourselves and see ourselves, regardless of gender orientation, as mothers. Christina Cleveland reminds us that each one of us are mothers to each other and ourselves and commissioned by the Great Mother (whom she beautifully terms Christ our Black Mother) to participate in this generative process. She says, “The act of mothering – of creating something new out of our pain, of practicing mutuality instead of hierarchy, of choosing self-love instead of internalized oppression, of practicing intersectionality, of refusing to let hegemony “divide and conquer” us – is the way we heal.”
And so I honor the grief that may be present this day for those of you who never had a mother, who had a mother whose love toward you was blocked in some way, who have lost your mother, who have always wanted to be a mother to a child and have not been able to, who are mothers to children who are blocked to your love, and any other unnamed losses around motherhood.
And from a wellspring of gratitude, having received such abundance, I say “thank you to my own mother, to all physical mothers everywhere, to each one of you who participate in the act of mothering, and to the Great Mother.”
Finally, for those who would like to celebrate Eucharist together again, Henry Schoenfield will be offering one next Sunday, May 16th after our centering prayer period. Henry has been missing and longing for liturgy and had the unfolding of new expressions on his heart for quite some time. Recently he said, “I was just rereading what Cynthia says about Eucharist in The Wisdom Jesus. Cynthia says, "It will be some time yet before liturgies emerge above the radar screen that capture this wisdom understanding of Eucharist." That sounds like an invitation worth taking up! I wonder what that might look like...” Please reserve an extra 20-30 minutes after our usual pause time (8:30-9:00) if you would like to participate. All friends and family are welcome to join. You are invited to have bread and wine/grape juice ready at the start of the pause.
May you engage the act of mothering
May you create something new out of your pain
May you practice mutuality instead of hierarchy
May you choose self-love instead of internalized oppression
May you practice intersectionality, refusing to let hegemony “divide and conquer” us
May you be the way we heal
Here are a some of the readings from this week:
“You might think that all meditation is about achieving “still mind” or “single-pointed concentration” or “pristine awareness.” In fact, most meditation practices do have these as their goals. But Centering Prayer doesn’t work with the mind at all; it goes straight for the heart. It’s a surrender method, pure and simple, a practice based entirely on the prompt letting go of thoughts as they arise. I often think of it as kenosis in meditation form, a way of patterning into our being that continuously repeated gesture of “let go, let go, let go” at the core of the path that Jesus himself walked.”
— Cynthia Bourgeault
"No matter what anyone has done to us in the past, or is doing to us now, or might do to us in the future, this innermost, hidden center of ourselves remains invincibly established in God as a mysterious Presence, as a life that is at once God’s and our own. It is in being awakened to this innermost center of ourselves with God that we find the courage to continue on in the challenging process of healing, grounded in a peace that is not dependent on the outcome of our efforts because it is the peace of God, which depends on nothing and on which everything depends.”
— James Finley
‘Blessing the Fragments’
Cup your hands together,
and you will see the shape
this blessing wants to take.
Basket, bowl, vessel:
it cannot help but
hold itself open
knows the secret
of the fragments
that find their way
into its keeping,
that may hide
in what has been
the persistence of plenty
where there seemed
Look into the hollows
of your hands
what wants to be
what abundance waits
among the scraps
that come to you,
will offer itself
from the fragments
— Jan Richardson
“I am, you anxious one.
Do you sense me, ready to break
into being at your touch?
My murmurings surround you like shadowy wings.
Can’t you see me standing before you
cloaked in stillness?...
I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am that wanting:
I grow strong in the beauty you behold.
And with the silence of stars I enfold
your cities made by time.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
Various Readings from Julian of Norwich:
“Our Savior is our true Mother in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom we shall never come."
“Everything has being through the love of God."
“If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.”
“The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything. God is the ground, the substance, the teaching, the teacher, the purpose, and the reward for which every soul labors."
“We are in God and God whom we do not see is in us."
“Between God and the soul there is no between."
“It is easier for us to get to know God than to know our own soul...God is nearer to us than our soul, for [God] is the ground in which it stands...so if we want to know our own soul, and enjoy its fellowship, it is necessary to seek it in our Lord God.”