Wild Card Wednesdays ~ Forgiveness

Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.

I have to keep it really simple tonight.  I have family in town, and I have been absorbed with a fall cleanse that is deeply fortifying.

But I have been thinking about forgiveness much this week, forgiving myself for my  my pet grudges and genuinely noticing the fresh air that enters when we open the window of forgiveness.

I have sat with these lines from the prayer attributed to Saint Francis.  Maybe since I am emptier than I normally am—no sugar or caffeine or wine for me—they strike a richer note.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Who can you pardon, now, today, even if it’s just a inward gesture?

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is such a deep card for me, goes right to my essence. Forgiving my shadow, who pops up unexpectedly , growling with rage at my kids when I have been tapped more than I can endure. Forgiving myself the limitations of my love, the times when I can’t muster any more empathy and sweet sing song cadences. Forgiving myself the darkness, the endless wanting things different: different behaviors, different lifestyle, different house, different food.

Reading an incredible memoir by Mary Karr called Lit all about her struggle with addiction and the glorious relief—and hard work—of sobriety. While I don’t necessarily have addiction issues, what resonated with me is how beautifully Karr talks about prayer. Not in any woo woo way, but in a blunt, almost practical terms that pierced me with their beauty. I have been praying a lot myself of late. And inspired by Karr, I have unabashedly asking God to help be a better mother, or trust that things are unfolding perfectly, or to know that I have all I need. And in those moments of prayer, there is a sense of forgiveness, that in asking to be healed lies the healing, that praying is its own solace, regardless of what comes. For me, prayer is forgiveness. I can let myself  rest in the absolving.

Here is an excerpt from Lit:
“It’s unhip to fall to your knees, sentimental, stupid, even. But somehow I’ve started to do it unself-consciously.

Behind a door, my body bends, and the linoleum rises. I lay my face on my knees in a posture almost fetal. It is, skeptics may say, the move of a slave or brainless herd animal. But around me I feel gathering–let’s concede I imagine it–spirit. Such vast quiet holds me, and the me I’ve been so lifelong worried about shoring up just dissolves like ash in water.  Just isn’t. In its place is this clean air.

There’s a space at the bottom of an exhale, a little hitch between taking in and letting out that’s a perfect zero you can go into. There’s a rest point between the heart muscle’s close and open–an instant of keenest living when you’re momentarily dead. You can rest there.”

Live the perfect zero, the endless letting go, the emptying. That’s the sweet spot of our love. Our children forgive us every moment–you can see that unconditional love in Oriah’s eyes:

rainbow face

What do you struggle to forgive in yourself?

Mothering Muse ~ Unconditional Love

On Friday, we invoke the muse of motherhood to shine her light of inspiration upon us.

I treasure this book and highly recommend it: HOW TO TRAIN A WILD ELEPHANT & OTHER ADVENTURES IN MINDFULNESS: Simple Daily Mindfulness Practices for Living Life More Fully & Joyfully, by Jan Chozen Bays, MD. Sometimes I catch myself saying “no” for a mess of reasons: for protection, laziness, fear, to defend my own opinions or agendas. I laugh at myself as I type this list and reflect on how the majority of these times, saying “no” is insignificant and doesn’t serve my family or me or my mothering. I love how this simple practice of saying “yes” in Jan Chozen Bays’ book turns life upside down (in a healthy way) for a new perspective.

SAY YES
The Exercise: In this practice, we say yes to everyone and everything that happens. When you notice the impulse to disagree, consider whether it is really necessary. Could you just nod or even be silent but pleasant? Whenever it is not dangerous to you or others, agree with others and what is happening in your life.

…Saying “yes” (or not saying “no” or being contrary) is energizing, for everyone…and positive and loving.

 

Wild Card Wednesdays ~ Unconditional Love

Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.

My peace of mind has been completely unraveled by the recent abduction in Colorado. In the wake of nightmares and paranoia, I am left feeling raw and vulnerable as a deeply loving mother. What does one do when faced with the reality that we have only this precious moment; the past is out of our reach and the future is out of our hands. I take refuge in prayer.

For me, prayer unfolds as deliciously spiraling, homespun praise and gratitude for this untamed world and the honey-hearted life I have been given, followed by requests for protection and long life on behalf of all those I love.

Whatever prayer means to you, I offer you this stirring ‘Abwoon Call to Prayer’ created by two beautiful friends of mine, songstress Jahanara Mangus and video artist Dustin Brunson. How do you respond to this call? What is your prayer?

 

Unconditional Love

Mother MaryMother Mary have mercy, I am smitten. This is undoubtedly the ideal card for me to have drawn today, my firstborn’s birthday. On the day this little guy came into my life, my heart dropped all pretense and protection. There was no holding back or making excuses. My love poured forth, ever flowing from within and beyond me. I even remember listening to gushy love songs on the radio and thinking that they were all written about a mother’s love for her child. I had lost my mind and revealed my heart.

Haven at BirthHow could someone so small hold the key to the boundless force of love? This for me is proof that children are heaven sent. I believe that love is the ground of the universe from which we all originate. During our time here on earth, we may grow forgetful, or find ourselves unworthy, or feel disconnected from this infinite source. When a child is born, they carry the smell, the taste, the feel, the spirit of the divine umbilicus. One gaze into their otherworldly eyes awakens within the knowing that we all essentially are love.

If we can hold our hearts tenderly, if we can forgive that we are not perfect, if we can love ourselves unconditionally, then our children remain portals of love in our lives. But we all close that door sometimes. When I grow frustrated or lack empathy, I find that remembering how my children are always doing their best allows me to tap my heart again.

To be sure, the floodgates are always open on birthdays. I remember giving birth and I cry because I am once more overwhelmed by love.

As a birthday gift to you all, Haven wanted to share his very own bubble recipe for making wishes:

1 tbsp Seventh Generation dish soap

1/4 cup water

Bubble wand and wishes