With Mother's Day quickly approaching, you can't help but see and think about all things mother!
I remember when my daughters were young I used to read them the children's story by P.D. Eastman, Are You My Mother? It is a story about a baby bird that is born while his mother is out looking for food. Since the mama bird is not in the nest when the baby is born, he decides to go searching for her. Not knowing what she looks like he approaches everyone and everything he meets: the cat, the hen, the dog, the car, the boat...asking, "Are you my mother?" Of course they all reply, "No!"
Lately I have been thinking that if this book was written from the perspective of shadow work, the answer that everyone would give the baby bird when he asks, "Are you my mother?" would be, "Yes! I am your mother!"
Shadow work is based on the premise that there are no coincidences in terms of the people who come into our lives. Our relationships serve as mirrors for us to see ourselves and to aid our soul's evolution. The people that we draw into our lives also help us unconceal and hopefully heal our most fundamental, deep-seated wounds. These wounds were formed during our childhood as a result of the environment we grew up in or a situation that transpired with a member of our family, often our parents. (Since I am writing this newsletter in honor of Mother's Day, I will write in terms of mothers but of course the same holds true for fathers.)
I often hear stories about people who attract partners, lovers, bosses, co-workers, and friends who seem to be nothing like their mother, but as time goes on they realize that their behavior and the dynamic that forms between them is, in many ways, a carbon copy of their relationship with their mother. Just last week, I was working with a client whose partner suggested they "take a break" for the dozenth time in the last few years and she realized that her partner was just playing the role of her mother who also used to abandon her. She also saw that her tendency to wait around, to always be there for her partner, and to basically settle for crumbs was a replica of the pattern of behavior she had developed with her mother. Although the pain of my client's break-up from her partner was real, her deep heartache was the little girl inside wanting to be loved by her mother. She recognized that her lover, just like the one before that and the one before that, was her mother! They all came into her life to rip the band-aid off of her childhood wounds so they could be healed and she could learn to love and not abandon herself.
We have all heard that men marry their mothers and women marry their fathers, but the truth is that it is not only men who "marry their mothers." Women do too! Even for myself, in the past I always thought that I was attracting men into my life who were exactly like my father. That might be true, but lately I am fascinated to see how much they are like my mother and how quickly I adopt the behaviors that are predominant in my relationship with my mother. I dive straight into my role as the fixer -- the role I adopted as a young child who thought that if she was good enough, helpful enough, or perfect enough, she would make her mother happy and attain her love and praise. It was through my relationships with these men in my life that I finally saw my pattern and realized I can't make someone else happy. So I retired my position as Chief Fixer. There is no question they came into my life to show me myself. The gift is that as a result of understanding shadow work, they helped me to create a healthier, more authentic, and loving relationship with my mother! (And with my mother being 91, this truly is a blessing!)
So on this Mother's Day, if you truly want to unwrap the gifts of your mother, start by taking on that everyone who comes into your life is your mother! They are there to help you heal and grow. And just like your mother, they are a crucial piece of your birth, continued rebirth, divine design, and your evolutionary process!
Transformational Action Steps
(1) Make a list of some of the closest relationships in your life.
(2) Start to look at how these people are like your mother. How is the relationship you have with them like the relationship you have with your mother?
(3) Going deeper, journal about what these people are here to teach you. What wound or issue from the past are they here to support you in gaining wisdom from or healing?
(4) Come to The Shadow Process or The Shadow Experience with your mother or someone in your life that could be instrumental in your next level of healing or "aha" moments.