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Bringing the Deep to the Surface

As I prepared to host a Mothers' Day gathering, I felt my usual anxiety around hosting. Dusting, tidying, worrying about whether there would be enough food and if everyone would enjoy our menu. Worrying about restraining our abundantly loving two year old golden retriever for everyone's safety. Hoping that some of our new guests wouldn't be concerned about the many goddess shrines on shelves all over the house.

At some point during preparations, I noticed a darker and more sinister undertone beneath my typical anxieties. A tone of judgement and recrimination. The message of this undercurrent was that I am a bad mother, a bad housekeeper, that I practice a bad spirituality. I wasn't lovingly preparing my home with pride, I was shamefully preparing my home to face ridicule and humiliation and possible exile. In that moment I realized that all of this shame and ridicule was coming from inside me. No one outside of me was saying these things, or had said these things in the past (well, besides the bad housekeeper part).

I was lashing myself. Attacking myself. Hurling tomatoes and rotten eggs at a part of my self that I had locked in the gallows. I was doing to myself what I was afraid others might do to me, as a way of preparing myself for the exile and shame that some part of me was expecting.

I come from a long line of black sheep and outcasts. During some periods of our history, our choices did lead to persecution, humilation, exile, even death. But that is not true today. This inner voice, inherited through generations of survival fear, is not living in current reality. Parts of this dynamic were also born in this lifetime, from the severe bullying and humiliation I experienced as a teen. And that is also not relevant today.

I realized I was having a breathrough when I became clearly aware that these voices were not fulfilling their original function of protection, but were actually just wasting my energy punishing myself instead of allowing me to be radiantly loving of myself and my guests. This is how ego dynamics work. They are installed as a protective mechanism as some point in our lives, and we blindly adopt them as a survival strategy. At some point, if we are healing and growing, we have to confront the strategies that don't work and are actually threatening our health and relationships with how maladaptive and life-denying they truly are.

Punishing myself with shame and cruelty to prevent the experience of shame and cruelty is maladaptive. The truth of my whole and more integrated self is that I love our house. I love our goddess shrines. I love the magical and enchanted spirit of this place. I love our kids and I know they love me. I love the Druidry that I practice, and no part of me thinks it's bad spirituality. Yes, we live in a way that most people don't understand, and that lifestyle is reflected in our home. But the choices we have made are perfectly in alignment with who we are, whether or not anyone else understands or accepts them.

This part of me that is akin to a residual haunting, playing out scenarios of persecution and exile, is just a small and very painful part of me that does not encompass the truth of my essence. The danger is in believing the energy emanated by this loop of conditioning. If we don't examine it closely, we just feel the survival fear that it excretes and we start to create stories in our minds to validate the feelings. These stories, when unchallanged and unexamined, can lead to self-isolation and self-imposed exile. The fear of persecution and judgement can be so great that we never take the risks to expose ourselves to the kinds of violence that this undercurrent is convinced will occur, and that are energetically already occurring within us as we bathe ourselves in the feelings that we are desparate to avoid.

I allowed this dark undercurrent to come fully to the surface as I lovingly witnessed it pouring out its fear. I realized that I don't believe anything that this undercurrent was narrating, that was driving my anxiety. I allowed myself to feel the deeper truth, the truth that this current of conditioning was trying to protect me from, the truth of my love and devotion to my family, our home, and my desire to share that love with our guests. I decided to give myself the biggest Mothers' Day gift of all, the gift of fully accepting myself and offering myself to our guests in love and generosity and openness.

This is so often the legacy of mothers. The shame, fear, self-judgement and anxiety that we aren't doing enough, that we aren't enough, and that our failures will hurt our children. I know the truth is that our freedom will liberate our children. Our self-love with empower our children. Our generous and open hearts will show our children how to live in community. And if we do face rejection or humilation, the way we move through that experience with empowered agency and self-love will give our children a template for resilience in adversity.

I will not hide in shame or self-imposed exile to prevent my fears from coming to pass. I will rest in love and authenticity, and respond to life in each moment from an emotionally mature and sovereign place of empowered confidence. This is my mothers' day gift to me, and the legacy I want to leave my children.


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