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