Saturday, July 30, 2011

On nurturing mothers

I am going to a three hour yoga retreat tomorrow.

It is part of the series of Fill Up Your Tank workshops that I have been doing through my yoga.
My teachers decided to do a mini workshop specifically for mums.
Because when speaking to mums about the full day ones, the mums would tell them that it was too long, but they would love to do a mini version.

Hence the workshop tomorrow.

But, something interesting has happened.

My teacher tells me that the interest from mums has been very low.
They have had a lot of interest from men.
And women without children.

But, not the mums.

What do you make of that?

I think that as mothers we feel so guilty to take care of ourselves.
So guilty, that we will not set aside a few hours to replenish ourselves.
We are very happy to nurture our children and our partners, but we put ourselves at the bottom of the pile.
And we keep giving until there is nothing left.

And then we shout at our children and our partners.
We get depression.
We get illnesses.
We feel unsatisfied with our roles as mothers.
We feel unsupported.

But, we won't support or appreciate ourselves.

If we won't do it for ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to do it?

I have a secret to tell you.

The world will not come to an end if you have a three hour nap in the afternoon.

I know, because I did it today.

You may come out of your slumber and find that the house is a bit messier than when you went to sleep and the washing is still piled up, but the world has not come to an end.

The washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, will still be there when you are dead.

It is all a cycle.

If we look at nature, the changing of the seasons, the waxing and waning of the moon, the way that animals hibernate, we see that everything has a time of rest.

The trees in winter lose their leaves and the earth looks dead.
But, under ground, everything is replenishing.
The bulbs are fattening up to burst forth with their beautiful flowers in spring.

Would they be able to produce such magnificent flowers if they didn't die down every season?

We cannot keep going and be surprised when we crash.

We need to nurture ourselves.
For our children, our partners, our colleagues, friends.

But most importantly; and actually the only reason is that we have to do it for ourselves.

We deserve it.

It is the new moon in Leo tomorrow.
This new moon is about the sunshine, the Leo lion heart.
Spend some time to think about what you would like to do this moon cycle that is fun.
Something just for you.
Maybe you would like to watch a funny movie, or join a zumba class, or paint a picture.

It doesn't matter what it is, it just needs to be true to your courageous lion heart. 

And if you still don't think that you deserve to take care of yourself, have a look at what women all over the world are doing to support each other.

Blessings to you.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Honouring the new moon

Here is a radical idea.

How different would your life be if at the beginning of your monthly cycle or at the new moon, you took some time to stop?
To acknowledge that a new cycle is beginning.
To rest.
To recuperate.
To set intentions.

Is it possible to plan for this?

To cook some meals before hand?

To get your partner and older children to take care of the household tasks for three days?
Ok, start with one day.
Or even half a day.

Just start with the intention.

How different would your life be if you spent some time nurturing yourself?
Sitting in nature.
Having a special bath.
Having a special massage.

How about spending an evening with some special girlfriends to honour the one thing that unites all of you - your sacred feminine.

The moon has a natural cycle.
The new moon - the dark moon is the time for new beginnings. It is the time when we go into our own darkness.
It is the time when all our dark issues come up.
It is the time to go inwards.
Reflect and plan for the up coming cycle.

The moon then grows and grows.
Until it becomes the beautiful full moon.
That is the expansive time.
The time for growth and activity.

Until it wanes again to it's darkness.

How different would your life be if you just honoured this natural cycle?

Next Sunday is the new moon in Leo.
How about planning just one thing to honour that?

Tanishka has a wonderful website that gives a lot of information about new moon rituals, such as Red Tents and Moon Lodges.

Mystic mamma has some wonderful posts on new moon gatherings.
Here is a great idea to plan with your girlfriends.

I am busy cooking up some meals to freeze.

Blessings to you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Red Tent

I have just finished reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.

To say that I have been touched to the core is an understatement. The Red Tent is a novel about the biblical character Dinah, Jacob's only daughter, in the Book of Genesis. It is beautifully written, detailing the lives of women so many many generations ago.

I was struck by how much we, as women, have endured over so many centuries. We have lived in a patriarchal society for so long. We have been sold by our fathers as brides and slaves, we have been beaten, humiliated, raped, tortured, burned at the stake. We carry all of the wounds of our mothers and grandmothers and our great grandmothers and all the mothers before them in our cells.

We carry it through depression, cancer, PMS, fertility issues, anger and a general disconnection from who we truly are.

 We have liberated ourselves through the feminist movement. And we have equality now. And we can do anything that any man can do.

And yet, we are still lost.

Because we have forgotten how to be

It has been beaten out of us.

By the men who no longer know how to be men.
Who carry all the wounds that we do.

We are a society, lost.

The Red Tent was a place where women would gather to menstruate.
In times long past, women would all menstruate at the time of the new moon.
So connected to nature we were.
Women would spend this time together.
Resting, telling stories, massaging each other, embracing the wonderful goddesses that they were.
They would come out of the tent revitalised and refreshed.

There was no such thing as PMS.

We now live in a society of the pill and a never ending treadmill of go go go.

But, we all sense that we there is something more.
We sense that it is time for a change.
For us to embrace ourselves again.

Do you feel the shift?

This book has started a movement.
Red tents are popping up everywhere in the world.
Women are coming together.
Healing from their ancestral wounds.
Celebrating each other.
Creating new legacies for their daughters.

A documentary about this movement is now being made.
Have a look at their website over here.
There is a lot of information and inspiration to be found.

Here is a beautiful clip from the movie to inspire you:

And a part of the book that makes me weep:

"I died but I did not leave them. Benia sat beside me, and I stayed in his eye and in his heart. For weeks and months and years, my face lived in the garden, my scent clung to the sheets. For as long as he lived, I walked with him by day and lay down with him at night.
When his eyes closed for the last time, I thought perhaps I would finally leave the world. But even then, I lingered. Shif-re sang the song I taught her and Kiya moved with my motions. Joseph thought of me when his daughter was born. Gera named her baby Dinah. Re-Mose married and told his wife about the mother who had sent him away so that he would not die by live. Re-Mose's children bore children unto the hundredth generations. Some of them live in the land of my birth and some in the cold and windy places that Werenro described by the light of my mother's fire.
There is no magic to immortality.
Egypt loved the lotus because it never dies. It is the same for people who are loved. Thus can something as insignificant as a name - two syllables, one high, one sweet - summon up the innumerable smiles and tears, sighs and dreams of a human life.
If you sit on the bank of a river, you see only a small part of its surface. And yet, the water before your eyes is proof of unknowable depths. My heart brims with thanks for the kindness you have shown me by sitting on the bank of this river, by visiting the echoes of my name.
Blessings on your eyes and your children. Blessings on the ground beneath you. Wherever you walk, I go with you.

Let us celebrate the goddesses that we are.
Give thanks for all the women before us.
Who have paved the way for us now.
To make a change.
For ourselves.
And our daughters and granddaughters.

I hope that something has touched you here.

I know that I feel truly inspired and grateful for who I am and what I can achieve.

Blessings to you.
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