When I was a young adult, yet unschooled in the ways of the world, I had the idea that I needed to remove myself from the current culture and flow of life in general and in order to dedicate myself to a “spiritual path”. When I finally left the community I was involved with, (along with this idea), one of my first observations was that the typical path of human life seemed designed to be THE spiritual path. All that was required was to step into life consciously, to pay attention to LIFE. That in fact, this “real” path that everyone was on…was far more challenging than trying to master spiritual practice while sequestered from the world.
All of us, on a daily basis, deal with things that require us to hone our souls and spirits. Staying really awake and engaged is hard work, really hard work. Bringing our best on a daily basis, almost impossible. And yet that is what we are asked to do.
Mothering is the best example of this I can think of. Here I’d like to say that I broadly define mothering. I might define it as extreme and dedicated nurturing. This could be of an idea, a book, a work or company, an elder, animals or plants, or of a human child…really anything. It requires everything we have to give and more. I am going to go out on a limb to say that mothering is also not necessarily gender- specific. In my work, I am blessed to know so many amazing mothers. Across the board, they are stretched daily beyond their means to give. They receive almost no positive feedback for their hours of work. They struggle to find time for themselves and yet they give to others. The work of mothering is entirely unpredictable. You can do everything “right” (whatever THAT is) and everything can go horribly wrong. You can end up successful and yet you can’t take any credit in the end because you have poured your lifeblood into something/someone that is really not yours.
We do have a perfect example of this, one that we can follow if we dare…in fact, we stand on her back daily. On one of those perfect spring days when everything was radiant and in bloom I thought…here is the perfect example of mothering at it’s very best. It is no mistake that we call her Mother Earth…she too is involved in thankless work and yet she brings her very best to us still. I honor her today. I see her and you and all that we all do…every day.