Insights Into Mother's Day
Written by Dr. Isaac Eliaz. As first seen on huffingtonpost.com.
What a gorgeous time of year it is! As we enjoy the delights of spring, I am continually inspired and uplifted by the beauty and energy of this season. This is an excellent time of the year to enhance your health with a gentle seasonal detox or cleanse — simple and so beneficial on every level. This time of year also offers an excellent opportunity to release old patterns, fears and frustrations, so we can move forward in a more harmonized way. The strong life energy of this season moves our emotions, and if we are listening, we can find the places where our energy is stuck — the places that need healing.
It is no coincidence that Mother’s Day comes at just this time of year. The archetype of motherhood is the source of all life — the most primary and primal connection that marks the beginning of our individual existence. This season ushers in a real opportunity to get in touch with the life force flowing within us, and to feel a deep sense of gratitude for our own life.
In ancient spiritual traditions, one of the fundamental tenets is that “everyone was once your mother.” This concept has many important meanings. Human beings and living beings are interdependent and interconnected, whether we recognize it or not. Respecting all beings, and treating each with the kindness that we would extend to our own mother, are powerful tools that we can practice moment-to-moment. This image, this metaphor, can inspire us to develop greater kindness toward our own mothers, toward ourselves, and toward anyone we are connected with.
I encourage you to make some time to contemplate your relationship with your mother. Often in our culture people have challenging relationships, or have had particular experiences that were difficult, with their mothers. We tend to continue carrying this burden throughout the years, which can create a deep but perhaps unconscious wound in our fundamental relationship to life.
Healing this relationship is very important, and this time of year enhances our ability to transform these old wounds. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the spring season is associated with the liver. The liver, as you know, processes what comes into our bodies, so that we can use what’s beneficial and safely eliminate what’s not. If the liver and digestion are not functioning well, toxins get recycled back into our bodies. This is true on an emotional level as well. In TCM, the liver is associated with anger and frustration, common feelings that many in our culture have had with their mothers, at some point in life. We can work on it, but more importantly, we can simply allow the attitude and practice of deep love and gratitude to our mothers as the ones who gave us life, to open our hearts toward all living beings.
It is always possible to heal and restore this relationship to our mothers. You can do this even if your mother is no longer alive.
I’d like to share some excerpts from a writing called “A Rose for Your Pocket” by Thich Nhat Hanh, who writes beautifully on the subject of healing our relationship with our mothers.
Even an old person, when he loses his mother, doesn’t feel ready. He too has the impression that he is not yet ripe, that he is suddenly alone. He feels as abandoned and unhappy as a young orphan. When I was a child I heard a simple poem about losing your mother, and it is still very important for me.
That year, although I was still very young
My mother left me.
And I realized
That I was an orphan.
I realized that to lose your mother
Is to lose the whole universe.
We swim in a world of tender love for many years,
And, without even knowing it, we are quite happy there.
Only after it is too late do we become aware of it.
We tend to think that healing this relationship is complicated, and many times we get stuck not knowing how or what to do. Thich Nhat Hanh, in his beautiful straightforward way, gives us a starting path that is simple and yet very powerful:
The next time you visit your mother, you may wish to go into her room and, with a calm and silent smile, sit down beside her. Without saying anything, make her stop working. Then, look at her for a long time, look at her deeply. Do this in order to see her, to realize that she is there; she is alive, beside you. Take her hand and ask her one short question to capture her attention, “Mother, do you know something?” She will be a little surprised and will probably smile when she asks you, “What, dear?” Keep looking into her eyes, smiling serenely, and say, “Do you know that I love you?”
Ask this question without waiting for an answer. Even if you are thirty or forty years old, or older, ask her as the child of your mother. Your mother and you will be happy, conscious of living in eternal love.
Then tomorrow, when she leaves you, you will have no regrets.
This kind of approach, this kind of profound experience, does not only have the potential to heal your relationship with your mother; it has the potential to heal your relationship with yourself and others.
If your mother is not alive, you can do this practice by visualizing your mother and talking with her. You may have many layers of feelings to experience and release as you go through this process. Allow it to unfold and peel away, letting go of everything that is arising. You will eventually come to this very simple place of unconditional love, acceptance, and if necessary, forgiveness. It’s important to recognize that it is okay to ask for guidance from a qualified therapist or healer as you navigate this process. The tools you develop will benefit all of your relationships, and restoring this connection with your mother can transform the life she gave you. Love and compassion, an open heart, are the greatest healers. They protect us and offer us the opportunity to heal ourselves and others.
May this spring season bring healing and renewal to all aspects of your life.