Monday, 12 December 2011

The longing of a woman

I am grappling with something these days. It is about longing, my longing. What is it I am longing for? It is difficult to find the words to describe it. It is buried and inscribed deep down into the caverns of my soul, where shadows and light meet and dance the story of love and passion. Not the kind that is flaring up and then subsides leaving you empty but a fire in the belly that ever burns and guards fiercely that which is important and key to the growth of the soul. 


I want to express that and I want someone to meet me in that expression. And sometimes I feel that other does not exist. Maybe that's not it though. Maybe I am scared to unleash that bellyful of fire and therefore I feel there is no one there to meet it? 

It takes courage. 

Yes.

What if I express, live, be that which is 

cavernous
fleshy
juicy
strong
healthy
all-encompassing
bountiful
fertile
wise
deep
truthful
magic
old
round?




Open Rooms 
Internal Spaces 
Body Harbouring Blood
Blood Harbouring Body 
Spaces 
Internal Rooms 
Open

Body Space 
Image Body 
Space Image 
Body Space Image 
Body Space Form 
Body Space 
Sacred Body 
Space Form

Heart 

Body Bones 
Structure 
Fluids Body Space 
Fluid Form Space 
Sacred Body 
Cathedral of Structure 
and Chaos 

Body 

Image Space 
Sacred 
Valid 
Body Sacred 
Space Body 
Sacred Space 
Body Sacred Space 
Cathedral of Fluids 
Mixing 
Faith Space

Sacred Spaces 
Sacred Room 
God forms a heart 
and the Star twinkles 
joyfully 
playfully 
safely 
Sacred Spaces 

Room for thought 
Food filling internal catacombs 
Internal space 
Landscape 
Sacred Spaces 
Playing in the halls of monsters 
Glittering stardust 
Powder of dust 
Lifting
Sacred







Sunday, 27 November 2011

Month of Light and Rehearsal of Christmas Carols

Today is the first advent. Although I am not so much into the traditional and don't particularly like Christmas anymore because of the consumerism I do love the symbolism of light. So this year, like many other years, I have created my own version of advent wreath and after a hard day's work have lit the first of the four candles. Every Sunday up until Christmas a further light gets lit.  It's also a reminder of my childhood in Switzerland, where we used to have an advent wreath every year. My mother still makes her own every year. 


Like every year around this time, the girls are practicing their Christmas Carols for their Christmas performance at school - with devotion and graceful zeal - and I was in tears. There is something about the symbolism of the Christmas story that I find very moving; the baby born in a stable to humble parent. The idea that with every light we move closer to the Big Light, the Shining Star. And this delivered by the seriousness of children with their big eyes, bell-like voices and their real emotion whenever they sing "Baby Jesus is born". 

So Christmas can be special after all. The stillness, the introspection, the being together in a meaningful way without having to do anything in particular. I can feel the magic. What magic will this year bring? With every light I light I feel I want to connect to something deeper - within. Something that connects us all. Humanity in union perhaps. All nations - one nation. And Peace. Not an ideal but an aspiration. 

Monday, 14 November 2011

The end of breastfeeding and the beginnings of openings

One door closes and one door opens. And in reality probably more than one opens. The way I experience it these days is like little bubbles of openings appear in my consciousness and for a split second I am at one, I am at peace, I believe that good will come, I trust and I can almost see the shape of what comes next. And then it's gone....... This is a new process. It's exciting. It also feels like a wind is blowing through my body and the openings, new openings,  are the passages where the wind can blow through freely.


This has come about through the transition of having stopped feeding my little one from my breasts. That was an intense and big transition. My milk took two weeks to go. For that time, I am blessed, I wasn't alone and my husband took over the comforting and soothing as with me the baby could not settle down with the absence of the breast and the presence of milk!

His hands still search the warm and soft skin but I think he has now forgotten where and how exactly he used to get comfort from. With this little one it had to be all or nothing. I kind of knew that a long time ago, but up until now I did not have the strength, or I or he were not ready to let go of that part of our relationship. Until one dear morning he would not let be of the breast, nor would he be comforted, and we ended both up in tears of frustration and I decided there and then that we had to end. We had a talk: "my dear baby Mami is tired and can not give you this anymore. We are going to end and it is going to be hard for both of us. It does not mean I am not there anymore to soothe and love you, it just means that we are moving on and growing".

So here it is. Growing we must and change is inevitable, ever present. I am not connected anymore in this so unique and intense way to another human being. Part of me is sad, and part of me is glad. There is an awareness and a wondering about the fact that the little one now grows independently of me, in the sense that nothing of my body flows into his body anymore. We are now truly two whereas before, for a long time, we were one, one flowing into the other, one giving and the other taking, to and fro. The first circle was severed through the process of birth, now the second circle has been severed through the ebbing of the milk. That there is a big circle connecting us somewhere I am sure of, but it doesn't lessen I think the importance and the enormity of the severance of these physical, perhaps existential circles. Somehow the question of 'who are you and who am I' moves into the foreground and 'what kind of relationship can we build'.

So my little baby, now I must get used to you now actually being a toddler. With that comes your will and your personality and we know that you have a very strong drive for exploration and a very strong mind of your own. I can see that we are going to have our battles, perhaps because your drive for exploration and your strong mind meets mine. But we are going to sail these rough seas no matter what. And my openings, the way I can seize them, will ultimately also be yours. So come on, let's sail sailor!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fundamental Aloneness

I have reached a stage where no talking, no books, no advice, no information is doing anything for me anymore. Any input is confusing me and shaking my balance - it threatens to throw me into the abyss. 

I am alone

Alone in me I will find the answer

I know

It's a habit running to people or things to appease my doubts and anxieties. And there is a sigh of relief when I turn towards my inner sanctum - and stay still. But to do that, completely, is a mammoth task. I don't know why. I panic about letting go of this worldly habit. 

I am almost in terror about letting go of this shore and to give myself over to the water that takes me to the other side. 


I am indeed in a process. 

May I sense the extended hand of the Light

and not fall into the traps of the Black Hole

This is my fundamental aloneness. 

No one but me knows 

I am clinging on but soon must let go....... 

Change. 

The Hanged Mother with Babe



Monday, 19 September 2011

I forgot about The Great Mother

It seems that over the summer so much growth has happened. It's been an intense time and with growth come the growth pains, literally for the babes and symbolically for the mama. A few times I have been floundering, searching, yearning, fretting, wondering and sighing - where is the answer, what is the answer...... and why can't I be scooped up by my mother and carried and soothed when the waves are threatening to drown me? 

So, once more I forgot about the Great Mother. I encountered her in the dark black hole in the past, where she was saying to me "I have waited for you and have been here for you all along". 

So the other day when I was just scraping by in the face of life's challenges there she was in statue form, looming out from the window of a second hand shop, as if to remind me that indeed she is there. I brought her home and I think she is very special. She radiates a strong energy and keeps me focused. 

Here she is holding her babe. 














And I was reminded of a poem I wrote in her honour:


Mary, Universal Mother
I have received your gift
With love I became his mother 
and gave birth to him
I return him to you, to hold once more in your 
heart and healing hands
And through him and through you
we join Hands
and draw a line around the World
Our Supreme Act of Worship
In honor of Creation
United as Brothers and Sisters

And although I wrote this when I lost the teeny babe I feel now it speaks to me in connection with any loss or pain. I can hand this pain to her when it gets too much for me to carry and she holds it for me. And through her I transform my pain into the energy of connection and worship of life. And be healed. And be transformed. 

I am glad indeed that the Universe has reminded me of The Great Mother. 



Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Change is in the air and a prayer of the dead

The weather has turned, the light has changed, autumn is upon us and with it all sorts of yearnings and flights of imagination. This time of year, year in and out, takes me into questions of existence; why do we exist? What is the purpose of my life? 


It invariably always takes me to the question of the beyond, its mystery but also its revelations. Three years ago I wrote this poem, based on a real experience of loss but also as a metaphor of the cycle of creation and destruction of life. Here it goes. 


my heart is on fire
for my weenie boy died
my inner crucible is on fire
for her little boy died

let us guard the sacred fire
cleanse and rekindle the dead
our boys shall dance the fire-dance
our boys shall meet in the fire-ball

let us race towards the destruction of our anguish
and walk towards illumination
greet the fire
from high above and from deep below

red earthen mud

let us place that little seed
in a cool dark place
to rest
and perhaps it may grow

Shall we ever meet again?

Friday, 15 July 2011

The flow of life; the golden life force and Creativity

I am the Creator of my life. I am the creator of my world. My World is your World. Today I feel excited and engaged. I race on my bike, aware that I am taking risks yet my eyes and ears are open. I am moving in and out of connection with drivers, cyclists, buses, traffic lights and yes sometimes get distracted by the magnificent trees and the smell of linden blossom and people walking along. 

On such days I love the whole world, I feel compassionate towards myself and I feel grateful for being able to partake in this amazing amazing flow of life, the golden life force, Creativity. Every single moment is a nugget to be explored, every single moment is a new moment where I can make amends, make a u-turn, feel a new feeling or think a new thought. Doesn't matter if I make a mistake now, if I have missed something now, for the next moment is here already where I can do it differently.  

My girls have discovered singing in a group. They are very excited about it. One of them said 'you know I love this bit of this song because it gives me this feeling - of freedom'. Ah how amazing, how amazing that my little big six year old can already feel and comprehend this. And the little one is discovering his own little freedom: just now he found a paint brush and crawled in the garden up and down the stairs, clutching it, giddy with joy. 

So we live. So we move. And are moved. And what comes to mind is the prayer of the new age by Maitreya. 

I am the Creator of the Universe
I am the Father and the Mother of the Universe
Everything came to me
Everything shall return to me 
Mind Body Spirit are my temples 
For the Self to realize in them
My Supreme Being and Becoming

Blessings to you all. And I love you.




Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Does my anger make me a bad mother?

This is not an easy one to write. Anger is a bad thing, right? And anger and women is very bad; she historically was labelled as hysterical and out of control on the brink of insanity who needs straightjacketing. A dominant message for a woman seems to be 'be nice, smile and get on with it'. 


Of course we feel the anger. And I wonder, how and where does it get expressed? What's the damage and cost of the silent simmering anger cum rage? 


Man and anger is not unfamiliar and the display of public aggression is a common occurrence. It seems that they are allowed, from childhood onwards to express, bash, destroy and thrash - the response mostly is a shrugging of the shoulders with a comment along the line of 'oh it's a boy - oh it's a man thing'.


Two examples of male aggression:
1) When I was laying in the hospital bed after the birth of my twin girls I was suddenly feeling very alert, pricking my ears as my heartbeat quickened. What was this noise? I was feeling alarmed and slightly scared. It sounded like a collective roar of voices and for a moment I was convinced war had broken out. I went to the window to see and guess what, it was men playing football!
2) The other week it was school sports day and at the end the parents get to run too, of course women and men separated (why??). I swear I have never ever seen anything like it when the men were running. It felt like they were running for life, that winning was a matter of life and death. Eyes were bulging, bodies were thrusting forward. Momentarily their raw energy and resolve made the air shiver as if a herd of wild animals had just run by. There was definitely aggression in there. And ok some women took it equally seriously but for the most part the women had fun, didn't mind looking ridiculous and it was mostly boobs bobbing up and down!


At least this is a manifestation of anger/aggression of a type of man that seems perfectly acceptable. 


My anger the other day manifested in the morning when first the baby wouldn't eat and I felt frustrated and let vent by letting out some guttural sound like 'aaahhhrgggg'. He didn't seem to be bothered and I managed to feed him in the end but I noticed the girls eying me suspiciously. The next one, and that's the one I would usually feel ashamed and not talk about, was when we got to the usual hair-style discussions that go on every morning these days. The hair style is a big thing at the moment, taken to a real heights the other day by the girls mentioning another girl at school who was wearing a real flower in her hair! (It was probably fake!) One of my daughters asked me to do a hair-style and after it was done, she decided she didn't like it pulled it all apart and blamed me for not understanding her instructions. I lost it - I shouted at her, she started crying and said stop shouting and I then walked away from her throwing the hairbrush on the floor, which broke in two. I felt immediately pretty stupid, and ashamed.


I told my husband in the evening and he said that breaking the brush wasn't such a bad thing but that he found it interesting that I didn't express my anger directly towards her rather than channeling it through an object. Maybe he has a point. 


Perhaps it is more acceptable for men to show anger and aggression directly and we women are expected not to and therefore go on a detour to express it?


These days I feel a lot of anger and frustration and I notice that it feels like a problematic thing. Many women report anger and rage in the premenstrual period and I am similar there. Again I wonder why it's regarded as such a bad thing. I know that any display of anger of a mother with child makes people around go quiet and everybody retreats embarrassed, pretending that it's not happening. A lot of mothers admit and say 'oh I have been shouting again this morning'. But there rarely seems a display of that publicly. If it is, like the other day in the park, I noticed that there was an us and them narrative going on whereby she was this bad mother from the housing estate and we were these proper educated good mums definitely not from the housing estate! 


Perhaps this undercurrent of fear is bubbling away under the surface for all of us where we are terrified that someone will judge and label us as a bad mother. I know I do. Yet it is vital I feel that my children, perhaps particularly my girls because of the socialization of gender, get that anger is a normal emotion. Of course we don't want to be destructive and we don't want to hurt someone (although in relationships that's sometimes inevitable, we are not saints) but I want my children to know that why I feel angry and realise that they have an impact on me. Equally I would like them to be able to express their anger and not eat it! 


Ultimately perhaps it is about need. So often I find we women are afraid to ask for what we need and want and the anger simmers away until it finds a trigger and we explode. 


So maybe, forget about the good and bad mother, it's a construct anyway, and try and tune into what I need and express my feelings when that need is not met, there and then, not tomorrow. Then perhaps the anger does not have to become rage and hate but can be expressed as a positive catalyst for change!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The placenta is coming out of the freezer

Yesterday it was my little boy's first birthday! What excitement, and sense of achievement, and amazement - that a little babe can grow to such a lively active almost toddler! And so we sang happy birthday to him at the exact time he was born - 16:43 - and then .....the placenta came out of the freezer.


Some data: the placenta weighed exactly 400 gr and the placental sack, was an amazingly stretchy membrane cuddling the baby within. It could sit comfortably inside my two cupped hands. It smelled strongly of iron. And it was, well, a piece of meat. And since I am a vegetarian I found that a bit challenging. I touched it several times, but had to wash my hands in between. 


When I told my mother about the placenta coming out of the freezer, she said sarcastically but really with admiration; no doubt you will dance around it naked! We didn't but it is time to say thanks, and no not to eat it, but to give it back to Mother Nature. 


And if she has still some goodness left she can nurture other creatures around her and the yellow new rose bush I bought for the occasion. 



I am happy. I am grateful to have a healthy lively child and grateful that I was able to birth him and the placenta without any intervention, any medication, any invasion. I did it. Just me. With the help of Mother Nature. And what a force that is. The birth was like thunderbolts coming from above shooting through my body into my pelvis and pulling downwards into the ground. 

I entered the tunnel, I was scared, fearful at times that my husband and my doula would abandon me, and sometimes I felt I was doing everything wrong. 

And at the same time, I have never been so sure of myself. I knew I could do it, I knew I didn't want anyone to touch me, I knew that everything was going to be alright. The pain was unimaginable, it was very very painful and I have still a memory of it. But not senseless pain - meaningful pain. It is you together with your child going through the first of many crisis together, it is I feel the first bonding experience. 


So I give thanks and bow to what an amazing unfathomable process nature can take us through. 

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Thoughts on the Power of Creation

Here a ray of light. 

I blink. 

It’s the changing of the moods and the weather that are liberating on this island. Every man an island. You don’t stay for too long in the same spot. Move on. Get used to it! 

Change is the stuff of life, of nature. 

I am a mother no matter where I go, what I do. I take her with me. It strengthens my womanhood. It gives me power – coming from the belly. Punch! I can stand my ground. Punch! That’s where my sexuality lies. Punch! I am not a victim of men but victoria of a long line of women who have carried and born children. The force of nature between heart and genitalia; pulsing away, fluttering, pushing, kicking. 

Is it with the exit of that creature of God that we/I struggle? No more united. No more mine. 

Then the question arises who am I? 
Perhaps then the creator of the universe?


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Daughter in me of the Northern Mother

The sky is changing, the clouds become thicker, closer to earth, snow mountains of flock of sheep – in the Sky and on Earth. We're going up North. It forms an important part of my childhood consciousness; where is it located in my adult consciousness? Unnecessary division? But in my adult world there is quite a bit of disdain, perhaps snobbery. It’s brim full with emotions, like their glasses. Too much, too much. And too many tears - stifled silenced voice of me mam. Liberated when she gets there - perhaps not so much anymore as she gets older. My mother is part of me whether I like it or not! Sometimes I am at peace with her, in my mind and heart, and sometimes I oscillate between love and hate in quick successions. The grey clouds are gathering in the sky. North Rain – Rain North. Familiar northern backyards are flying by. The angel of the North. Things become more functional up here. Practical, functional, but not pretty. ‘Have faith in God’ a sign says. Aye. My playlist is called ‘War’. “You’re in a funny mood” he says. The Horns of Lhasa in Newcastle. As we pull out of the station I put the 'Peace' playlist on. My breath is my salvation.  

Monday, 27 June 2011

Alone not lonely


I am alone again. How strange. It is as if I open the door to visit this other woman I leave behind again when I am with the family. Is that right? Do I do that? Who is she? She is more self-assured, stranger, wiser, more in tune, more grounded. Also more sad! Why can’t she be with the family? Can I take her with me? It feels like with others I am so much more (aware of dependency) dependent – weakened by it. Losing my self, this other woman, ISIDORA, the gift of wisdom. I am pulled away from her, pulled apart; I feel like being pulled back to family life at origin. Like my mother, passive. Like my father, excluded. Not always - of course. But these moments are sinking – drowning, at loss of a point of reference, of solace, of consolation, of strength, of power, of backbone, of fighting spirit. There is insecurity, shaking like a leaf, trembling, in the face of a wind, fearing the storm. In reality, I pick myself up, straighten myself and feel power. It’s not all lost. It’s just difficult. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Dartmouth thoughts

In every pebble the beauty of the world is contained. Every spot seems to be the spot where the beauty has reached perfection. Every pebble is the world; Worlds.......... And I am consoled. I am temporarily appeased. I wasn’t just before. And the day before. Who am I? Who am I if I haven’t got my work, my profession, my husband, my children, my things? The illusion of identity, which changes depending on situation and people. But only a few, they are interchangeable and mostly compatible. But what if I am stripped of it all? What remains? My intellectual understanding (belief?) - Says the soul. But I am not ready yet to dispense of titles, things, people. What would happen to me if I was left to my own devices, bare of extensions and appendices? Would I succumb and die or would I discover my treasure? I can not possibly contemplate that - yet. For now I take consolation in the beauty of the pebbles and stones – natures’ soul. 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The loneliness of being a mother

Now and again a yawning loneliness seeps into the daily life of looking after a baby. I've had this before with my twin girls. A deep wariness that envelopes an invisible, nondescript me who is drowning in the endlessness and boredom of feeding, sleeping, changing nappies, playing, feeding, sleeping, changing nappies...... And the other mothers too. In those days we all put on a brave smile, display our best behaviour and play at being such a wonderful and engaged mother. The truth is today I want to resign from this job. The truth is today I feel utterly depressed and lonely. In vain I try to reach out, to someone, something, anything - until I succumb to the lonely gaping hole. I have learned that there is value in not escaping this hole and not filling it with chit-chat, gossip, or senseless doing but - to sit still and see what happens. More often than not nature is my great friend and helper. The gentle swaying of the leaves in the wind, the accompanying rustling sound, the bird's song, the beetle crawling over a stone; the rhythmical beating of the drum - the universal hum. And suddenly there is an opening in the hole, light seeps through, speckles of greys and whites. And my heart rejoices. I have a gift. I am a gift! And I break out into a song of jubilations and celebration of life. And the baby squeals.

Friday, 17 June 2011

She is everywhere and in everything

Motherhood
motherless
mother country
mother earth
mother’s day
mother-in-law
motherland
motherly
mother-of-pearl
mother tongue
Mother

soft breast of my mother
children go their lonely way
watching out for a loving bird
nest
bird fly over the clouds 
where home is not
fly through happiness 

love body
milk
white milk
licked by the cat’s tongue
red little tongue caresses my body 
over and over 
caressing our bodies 
our freedom

a dead dragonfly lies on the road
accusations start
you stepped on it! 
no you! 
not me! 
yes you! 
no - You Mami! 
YOU MAMI STAMPED ON IT! 

to have peace I concede
yes it was me
Mothers
my own mother
between hate and love 
or yearning and love? 

will it be the same with my girls? 
separation
my wedding finger is throbbing
the little one is crying in her sleep
it’s midnight
what might it be? 
she was in pain
throwing her body about
and 
now settled again

she is so much more able to say what is wrong
what she needs

I am too

Friday, 3 June 2011

Healing

Landscape
finding my place within it
around it and be it
my tears and heart - moving
turning towards and holding
it's ok, it will be fine
a long time - coming


sticks and stones
not so random anymore
but placed and held
and appreciated and
transitory, but into a different
order and shape
to suit the mood
to suit the need
the need to be seen and heard
a place in the heart of - World


Mother and baby
breathing together
in unison
subtly aligning - re-aligning
to what needs to be
you are me and I am you
for together we create
a world that understands
and seeks and accepts
that love is the ground


I left a stone for a friend
who moves my heart
the stone is old
smooth-edged-round 
by the comings and goings of the tides
the tail-end of a word
engraved in old letters
END - at the edge - so that we may begin

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Nurturing attachment

My son is almost a year old. His needs at the moment are almost that of a newborn. He wants to feed regularly, at night it's again down to every two hours, and he wants to be held and be physically close, particularly at night. In the day he goes crazy exploring and cruises around like no tomorrow. I can hardly keep up. And then back to the breast, back to the cuddles. It's exhausting, but it's got to be done. Many voices there are who say a lot to the contrary. I find this confusing and puzzling. I am amazed at how strong these voices are that decry closeness and champion independence. Maybe I see it, hear it everywhere because I am aware that some of these voices are also inside of me. 


I've noticed that the voices about independence start pitching up at around two months, but definitely at around three months of a baby's life. This seems to be the acceptable cut off point of continuously being at the mercy of the baby. The things I have been told or have heard: Don't cuddle too much, for too long, otherwise he will get used to it and will eat you up. Don't ever make the  mistake of taking the baby into your bed, you will never get them out again. He will grow up mother fixated! At this age he should not be wanting so many feeds, he should be sleeping through now. Wouldn't a bottle be better? For you, easier? It's all that sling carrying you did, he got used to it now. It's the breastfeeding, it makes them dependant. It doesn't harm the baby to be left crying a little (what's a little I wonder). Do you leave the baby alone at home while you go to get the girls from school? He has to learn to be on his own too and not always be wanting mother. 


But see I say, I think, the little one was born with the need for closeness and physical contact. Nothing else but mother will do. No dummy, no bottle. Mamma. And why should it not be like that? Who benefits from it not being like that? Why do we in this society value independence so highly? What's wrong with me committing to nurturing that attachment to that child as long as that child needs it? Believe me, sometimes I would rather sit down and have a cup of tea and read a magazine. Or go for a snooze, on my own. Or do some gardening. This attachment business does not come easily to me. And I don't always do it with a smile. I can be rather grumpy about it sometimes. But the commitment is there, because I believe in its importance. 


I believe that for the first few years, the infant needs to have that secure base to which they can come back to again and again (it is often one step forward and ten steps back) until they have a more solid footing in the world out there. I want to give that to my child. Because this child is the future. This child will have an impact on the world so I want to do a good job because I care about the world. And my commitment and the belief in it is not theoretical. It's real. With my twin girls the attachment was far more patchy and difficult because of their prematurity and them being twins. I worried many times that because of our circumstances I had not been able to give enough to them. It turned out that my worries were unfounded. I believe it's the commitment that was crucial in our relating. They always knew and still do that I am there for them, however grumpy. 


And with my son, him and me having the luxury of time and no competition of another baby, the work that goes into nurturing that attachment shines through every day in the form of smiles and laughters and cuddles he gives to me. In the way he is completely sure in his knowledge that I am looking after him and making sure he is safe (when he crawls up those dangerous concrete stairs and grins back at me!). It glimmers in his eyes. And he not only graces me with his glimmer, others get it too. So I shall continue with my commitment of giving, of nurturing - for this attachment is the basis for Love to oneself, and Love to an other. It's a lived experience on a daily basis. 

Thursday, 26 May 2011

What is Love?

It is maybe naive of me to think I can tackle this big question in a few sentences in a blog. But it is at the heart of my preoccupations, motherly, and otherwise, so I will. I know many have pondered and will continue pondering on this question - many would probably agree there is a self-lessness component to it. If I love in order to get something then it is not the kind of Love I am thinking about. Yet it is the most common and so human way of loving. We mostly do things for selfish reasons. But we can rise above it too, and experience those rare glimpses of true Love where the light shines and the jewel of our being is revealed. 

I was once in a tram in Zurich, many years ago, feeling quite down and forlorn. I was looking out of the window as the tram was pulling into Stauffacher station. Suddenly something quite inexplicable happened. A man of Asian origin stood on the pavement looking directly into my eyes. It was as if he had been waiting for me. He simply raised his arm and waived at me. Maybe an ordinary scene, maybe a case of mistaken identity. But what happened to me was far from the ordinary, nor could it have been a mistake. His presence evoked in me what I can only describe as an awakening of Love. It felt as if this man knew me through and through. It was as if this man Loved me despite my failings, a Love that was far bigger and enveloping than any love I had experienced in this earthly existence, ever. I felt small, like a child, but utterly safe as if held in the cupped hand of the big Mother. Time was momentarily suspended and expanded at the same time. As I snapped out of it, turning around looking for the man to no avail, I was left with immeasurable joy and happiness that lasted for some time. 

Now what was that?? Over the years I have been lucky to experience something similar a few more times, and these experiences have galvanized me into the journey of becoming. These rare glimpses of true Love are about me not feeling smaller than you or you feeling smaller than me. It is the meeting point of souls, where there is no separation between you and me, we are brothers and sisters. So often I find myself disappointed in myself when I become aware of a lost opportunity for true Love where the pettiness of the me has moved centre stage yet again. Alas I am human. And of course I can't will such moments, I can't actually do it. There is a secret and a subtleness to the awakening of these moments of Love. I am working on staying awake. Will you join me?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Good and Evil Mother

The other day, in a professional capacity, I was asked to consider the possible dynamics between social workers and mothers whose children have been taken away from them. You'll have to excuse me but I got quite emotional on the subject and the claws of the tigress threatened to strike. For imagining that my children could be taken away from me by the state sent chills down my spine. 


But it was also the views of other professional woman (all of them childless) that made me tremble, such as: A mother who truly loves her children could not harm them.  Maternal love is a natural instinct born when the child is born. If a mother does horrific things to her children and the children are taken away from her she is not worthy of any help and support and all contact  between her and her children should stop.  What all of these statements have in common I think is that mothers can be divided between Good Mothers and Evil Mothers. 


I want to scream at this grossly wrong perception. The best advice one of my friends gave me when I was first pregnant was; "If you feel like throwing your child out of the window don't be alarmed. It's normal to feel like that from time to time. It doesn't mean you are a bad mother".  Now of course there is a difference between feeling that way and actually doing what you are feeling but the line is fine and if support is thin then the road to losing control is not far off. I say; invest in research and support of womens' healths; restore pride and empowerment in the birthing process and make excellent women-centred maternity services a priority;  get men and dads more involved; give more and better maternity and paternity leave; support mothers/families all the way through to when the children leave home; educate new mothers, the wider world, what challenging job it is to bring up children and honour it for what it is - an amazingly important and difficult job. For the child will carry what she has learned into the world. 


Therefore we all have a responsibility, not just mothers!, because the little world has an impact on the big world. And a child is a gift. But we can only see the gift if we feel that we are a gift too and feel that we are honoured and cherished by society. And no one can love better than a mother. YES. No one can love better than a mother because she has carried that child, she has given birth to that child, and no matter how far she has slipped down the path of chaos and disconnection, deep down buried in her depths, she still loves that child the best. She may not be the best person to CARE for that child. But that love is the love the child deep down wants no matter how bad things have gotten. For a child their mother, their father, is God. There is no one else than God. That's why it is so terribly terribly painful when the parent does not give good enough parenting. And as a society we have the duty to meet that pain and to repair wherever we can. And to support before it comes to the point where a child is torn from her mother, where a mother is torn away from her child. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The experience of misscarriage

Three years ago, in the blossom of Spring, my other little boy-to-be died. If he had lived, he would now be two and a half years old. He would be running after his sisters and no doubt, would be creating mischief with our neighbour's boy, who alas, at the moment is the only boy amongst the wild crowd of girls. And I don't know if our now-oh-so-fully present baby boy would have ever come to us had the first one not died. 

Here is what I wrote to Valentin three months after he ceased to be. 


My dear Valentin


I hold you close to me, close to my belly, close to my heart. I hug you and hold you – I don’t want to let you go. It’s now three months and nine days since you have left my body. My body is still expectant, a hollow cave, empty and confused – what role am I to play now that you are gone? I am lost for words.

You were such a delicate and beautiful creature, fully formed yet still very small, almost the size of my hand. You couldn’t live without me. What is that bond between you and me? How is it that one creature is so dependant on the nourishment of an other?  What nourishment did you give me?

Carrying you was a special time. I felt connected to the world, as if the umbilical cord that connected us was also connecting us to the universe. We were larger than life, as we know it. The miracle of growth within me in preparation of the world is a gift to carry.

Your conception was a special time. It was a creative time. You coincided with me allowing my creativity to reach others – to be seen and to be heard – together with your father. We were creative together, and you were created in the process. One day before my birthday. You were my creativity baby.

You responded to me calling you. From day one your presence was so powerful, other people sensed your miniscule existence. Whenever I put my sacred music on you fluttered, as if in recognition. When I started bleeding and called you you came swimming towards me saying ‘it’s ok, I’m here, I’m ok’.

And when it was time to let go, to surrender as your daddy said, I said to you “it’s ok, we can stop the battle now, it’s ok you can go now”. And you did. You slipped out of me, effortlessly. You even took a last breath and then you smiled. 

Despite your size and tender age you were such an individual already, so uniquely you. And there was something about you that we recognized. You were at peace, you looked as if you had fallen from the sky into a deep deep sleep. You were beautiful. And you looked like your daddy looks when he sleeps.

What have I lost? Why does it hurt so much? What hurts so much? The loss of a creation? The loss of being heard and seen? The invisibility of pain? The emptiness? The loneliness? Through you I felt connected -  I was connected. Without you, with the separation of the baby from the womb………

I struggle to be.
I struggle to meet.
I struggle.
It is Life on Earth.