On the Exchange Between Mothers and Their Children

...The human species is unique
in many ways
but not so much because of abilities
that other, simpler species lack
but most of all because of the gift of self consciousness
which enables humans to observe and reflect
upon even the most instinctive and primitive response


A mother conceives and births
a mother nourishes and protects
a mother teaches and informs
a mother loves without hesitation
and sacrifices without reserve
These characteristics we witness
in so many species
but when a woman gives birth to a child
she fulfills these actions
with a layered purpose
that reaches far beyond the commands of her biological nature
and a means to ensure the survival of her child


A woman is spirit in physical form
and her body knows the instinctive call
to procreate, gestate, labour and nurse
to hold her child close
and wash behind her baby’s ears
but she also births a dance
between two souls
each one engaged
in a search for love and meaning
each one offering the other
an opportunity to awaken the soul
in a perfect contract
as each chooses the other
for all that may be offered
all the love
all the healing
all the pain


And so as the soul of a child
enters the womb
the world of the mother
she does so knowing the profound perfection
of what she will find there
including all the gifts and limitations
of a mother upon her own journey
and similarly
as a woman opens herself to conception
she too invites
exactly what is needed
what is a perfect match
for that very moment in time
in the evolution of her own soul


Neither role is more important
and neither is meant to “give”
while the other “receives”
for the exchange between them
is the very essence of the symbol of infinity
the endlessness of the figure eight
as two conjoined circles
each enter the other
and leave
over and over again


This dance of love, energy and awakening
may appear one sided
when a grown woman holds a tiny babe
in her arms
but be assured
that the years of nurturing
holding and carrying
form a labyrinth of connections
so that as the child grows
and stands more and more separate
she takes with her all the knowing
of her mother
and her mother’s mother
and her mother’s mother’s mother
even as she finds her way far beyond
the worlds they have known


In this contract
yes
it is understood that the child drinks from mother love
as both her need and her right
but it is time to understand
that the mother too
has just as great a right
just as large a need
for the soul nourishment
of one who reaches inside of herself
and finds that she is not
and never will be
alone in the world


And in this exchange please understand
that there are no wrongs
no mistakes
no deficits
and that as always
pain is as great a teacher as love
for it awakens both mother and child
to the truth of their oneness
even as the dance leads them far
from the unity of their shared birth


We are mislead if we perceive our children
as being the result only of our intention, love and care
for while every seed needs sun, soil and rain
each will grow into their own destiny
and no amount of tending
will turn an oak into a daffodil
coax a cactus to grow in the Tundra
or allow a meadow flower
to get up and leave her field


In fact
in our human ways
we learn and grow more
from contrasts than from similarities
and so it can be
that the greatest gifts parents and children
may offer one another
are found in the stark awareness
of their differences
the many ways they push and pull one another
to examine habits of comfort and ease


This is most commonly observed
when a parent is living out unconscious ways of being
and a child challenges this
by making oppositional choices
not necessarily “better” ones
but those which reflect the child’s experience of resistance
and an unconscious hunger for consciousness
no matter what the cost


And so you may have a mother whose nature is gentle

who births a child who is fierce and wild
or a mother who carries and expresses passion and rage
who births a child who is shy and kind
and these contrasts are not simply in reaction
but more in reflection
as each prepares to teach the other
by holding up a mirror
both to what is missing
and what is readily found


In these situations
one may reach for the other
seeking understanding of the exclusion they experience
and the thoughts that speak may be
why are you hurting me?
or how did I hurt you?
but both questions miss the point
for the differences between them
are in fact expressions of a great love
a willingness on a soul level
to travel closely with one another
and to say
yes you are a part of me and I of you
and through this union
and the confusion it brings
I may learn much about the choices I have made
upon my own path…


in a daughter’s words…


“I can’t fail you
because I can’t fail myself
no matter what happens
but I can push you
to discover what makes you afraid
about my choices
and just think
when those fears soften in you
I won’t have to defend myself against them
and though I may never be
that little girl who does what she is told
I can be a grown woman
full of colours
bright ones
strange ones
all in a beautiful bouquet
ready for your waiting hands


I promise you
that once you are willing to see
that safety isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be
and just how wonderful risks and mistakes can feel
when you let them flow
you may find that you are the one
who becomes the child again
and I may have my turn to be the parent
to smile and cluck
and wonder what you were thinking
and you won’t care
because you will have discovered how wide joy is
when you ride the whole rainbow
of life


I love you always
mother of mine
and that love is alive
in every corner of my ways
and my life
I would never dare
to be what I am
if it weren’t for the safe home
you gave me to wander from
and the older I get
the more I will find the wisdom
to honour the story
that is ours..”


excerpt from Ride the Rainbow


Transmissions, Readings, Love Letters
http://www.cynthialong.ca

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