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Friday, May 09, 2008

Mothering Your Self on Mother's Day

Dear woman reading this blog,

We can all celebrate Mother's Day this weekend, whether we are daughters or mothers. Whether you have physically birthed children or not, you probably mother others in some way. Maybe it's fellow employees at work, bringing them tea or coffee and a muffin. Maybe you give someone a shoulder massage when they're tense and uptight. Maybe you take the elderly woman next door a quart of milk and some eggs when you do your grocery shopping. Maybe you send someone's child home from school when they have a fever. Maybe you have three kids of your own, and need a sabbatical from mothering.

We all mother others in different ways. But this weekend, this day, how can you mother yourself?

This morning after the kids left, I made myself a one-hour mini-retreat with that theme in mind. I had a hot bath with lavender oil. I meditated, then lay on the floor and did some leg stretches, moved into downward dog, then rolled into happy baby pose down on the carpet. I stretched and yawned, feeling myself held and caressed by a loving presence. I wrote in my journal for two pages. Then I put on some Indian tabla and flute music and danced a little happy prayer of thanks dance.

You can make up your own self-care ritual; it doesn't have to be elaborate. It might involve doing something you hardly ever give yourself time for, like a mineral foot soak, or a special hair treatment. It might involve making yourself a healthy dinner with fresh green vegetables that your kids hate (asparagus, artichokes, green beans). Or lying on the floor in happy baby pose, rocking on your back and remembering that the universe is holding you up, you can trust in the power of love.

Whatever makes you remember that cherished, loved feeling, of I deserve love, do that.

Or follow the simple instructions below to practice the compassionate breath. Start by sitting, and inhale deeply. As you exhale, sigh out Aah. Take several long soothing breaths. Then with your hands one on top of the other over your heart, feel the drumbeat. Let youself become absorbed in the rhythm of its pulse.

As you connect to the energy of your heart, imagine it spreading across your arms, legs, torso and into your head.

Imagine the loving heart energy filling up every cell. As you inhale, gather loving heart energy into your heart and palms. With every exhale, let the energy spread to each and every cell.

Inhaling, collect this healing gift in your heart, As you exhale, allow it to radiate out and surround your body with its protective power. Feel it encompass your entire being, encircling your head, face, and neck all the way down to your sit bones.

Let it flood any part of your body that might feel uncomfortable, achy, tight .

From a deep inner smile, let a slight smile light your face.

When you feel complete return your hands to your lap. Notice the connection between yoour hands and loving heart even when they are not touching.

Inhale, exhale with a sigh, Aah. Repeat three more times.

Notice how you feel at this moment. Allow your eyes to open very slowly.

(taken from Yoga for your spiritual muscles, by Rachel Schaeffer )

Happy Mother's Day weekend,

Jennifer

1 comment:

Sue said...

Hey Jenn. I just want to say Happy Mothers Day. (It was last month here in England so I almost forgot). Great blog...I wish I had read stuff like this when I was home with three kids!!! I didnt have a clue about boundaries or taking care of myself. AT least I did spend time every day sitting and focusing inside...my practice...though even that got a bit sparce over the years. It took a total crash to make me start learning how to nurture myself. Still learning. Long hot baths were a part of my sanity for years...never really had them when kids were young. In fact...it was only after their dad and I split that I actually got time to myself. So it was a blessing in a way. Saturday nights after he picked up the kids I would have a long hot bath...no body knocking at the door...no sound but for the runnning water. Sigh. Then, watch a bit of telly...make a nice meal...maybe go out later with friends...come home whenever I wanted...sleep in. Ahh hhh. I still absolutely relish my time alone...like I can never get enough...
Have a great day xxxSue