Things have calmed quite a lot around here in recent days, which I'm owing to the adage "no news is good news". My sister continues with her own healing closer to the bone, and I'm on the other coast thinking of her and the family we've gained since leaving our mother behind. After all these years, this new episode gave me the reason I guess I needed to share with other elders in our family all that we've been through in our young lives-- and the outpouring of support we received thereafter provided us with such a lift. At long last, at least on my part, the shape of our true family has emerged and rather than feeling isolation, I feel a degree of comfort I didn't expect.
As the physical shapes of things change, so follow the emotional and spiritual; my emotional attachment to "mother" and my spiritual quest for Mama continue to evolve with new insights and revelations...
Last night, for one, as I was in the midst of kinhin (walking meditation after sitting zazen) with my zen group, I had a very powerful, visceral emotional experience. It was born as a thought, and I felt it rise through my belly, into my limbs and beyond my body, echoing like a ripple in the middle part of my brain: This woman gave me life. She gave me life.
No judgment attached, just that fact, again and again: she gave me life.
I owe my whole life to her. No matter what she does or who she is, how she treats us or how she fares in her own life, I exist because of her. Certainly there are causes and conditions that created "me" that are too numerous to count-- but at its barest essence, it was in my mother's womb that I found nuturance and so my life emerged. This realization-- meaning, this thought that grew into a direct experience-- was completely humbling.
I have a friend who'll go into labor any day now. She's so impatient for it, too, the way you get when you are READY TO HAVE THAT BABY NOW THANK YOU!! We shared a sweet talk the other day, about fears and faith, our previous birth experience, our wondering about the future. Late pregnancy is one of those blessed times in life when you feel all manner of possible feelings, sometimes all at once. And her present experience of it drew me back to those moments when I too was on the brink of bringing life to bear life...it is immense and humbling and whoa, nothing at all can prepare you for it, and you know it. You are not yourself, and you know it; you are a funnel, and someone else is doing the pouring. And, you must give of yourself completely-- there is no other option. Glenys Livingstone said the birth experience-- motherhood-- is the prototype for the shamanic journey, and I agree: beyond time and self, you join that mysterious dance of life itself in the most direct way possible.
And now I imagine it must be so for Goddesses, too... The more I learn of them, I see not perfect, impenetrable glorious beings but the glory of imperfection and porousness. Brighid herself wailed in such a way at the death of her son the warrior that "keening" ever-after was known in Eire. Keening is such a deep, deep sense of loss; your heart swallows you whole, and you cry as though the process was squeezing the very soul out of you. This was not the way of a far-flung deity, as "God" is oft portrayed; this emotional act was the result of complete immersion in life itself, just as it is, in suchness.
Last week, as I lie awake in bed one night contemplating things, I began a deep, awful inward howl. I had to let it out, but so as not to wake my own baby, I let it echo inward, knowing the universe within just to be as infinite as the one throughout. I NEED you, Mother, I wailed. I NEED YOU. I NEED YOU.
I waited patiently for a visual message of some kind to arise, half expecting a gorgeous visitation: flowing hair, flames, water pouring from a magical staff, the arms of The Goddess enfolding me, etc etc... but that is not at all what happened.
Instead, I felt my own love, and I saw it enfolding my son; and thus I was embracing myself, and this love burning in me was the love I was so longing to feel, thinking it would come from some outside source. But, I am that source; I am you, "She" seemed to say. And in the far-off corner of my inner eye, even Brighid was smiling.
Oisin G'Dea's mama, wife of an Ruaphok Gaiscíoch; lover of the creative life, nomadship and stewardship; zen priest, gardener, artist, writer, herb-crafter, counselor and dreamer... I've lived in the inspiring high-desert, mountain-punctuated New Mexico & Colorado ~ misty redwood-coated coastlines of Northern California ~ strangely elegant riversides in Southern Maryland ~ snowy, busy Greater Boston ~ lovely and welcoming Hilltown Massachussetts.