Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Restore the Compassionate Mother Workshop
Discover the Compassionate Mother Within
Sophia is Divine Wisdom. There are many references to her but her voice of wisdom was silenced by patriarchy in the early years of Christianity as the Divine feminine was swallowed up by male dominance and logic. As a result the voice of wisdom is overpowered by the voice of rationale and disembodied logic.
“You of the whirling wings, circling, encompassing energy of God: you quicken the world in your clasp.
One wing soars in heaven, one wing sweeps the earth, and the third flies all around us.
Praise to Sophia! Let all the earth praise her!”
-Hildegard of Bingen
Hildegard (10989-1179) also known as Sybyl of the Rhine was a German writer, composter, philosopher and Christian Mystic at a time when women were not allowed to move forward in the careers or avocations.
Introducing Wisdom, Sophia
Most of us have grown up in a very patriarchal society and have been confused about our roles whether we are men or women. Many men came from families where the mother seemed to be the wisest, smartest, and practical of the two parent family but because of some invisible rule that as a child you could not decipher things always went dad’s way. Often you suffered from lack of enough money for food or school clothes because dad would squander it away gambling or drinking. As women, sometimes our experience was watching our mother’s serve our fathers just because of some sort of invisible hierarchy. It was easy to fall into social hypnosis where children of the 50’s, 60’s and even in the 70’s where men were viewed as better than women. Of course, there is plenty going on in our world around us that still echoes a long overrated patriarchy.
Discovering the Compassionate Mother Within is about finding the ancient voice of inner wisdom that comes from a divine feminine energy of Sophia, the wisdom of God, which is portrayed as female. Often because there are too many mixed messages from our past about who we are and who we are supposed to be that is so hard to discover our own inner voice. By using meditation and reflection to sit with Sophia, the wisdom of God we are able to extrapolate into a sacred space within us where a whole host of positive empowering energy exists that has long been buried.
Discovering wisdom is the first step to letting go of old lies that no longer serve us.
For instance, why do you believe you are not good enough? How does that serve you to malinger in a lie that keeps you from enjoying the best part of your life, this day you have. You are tied to some invisible or maybe even visible loyalty that you heard from a sibling, parent, grandparent or teacher or something you created because no one gave you a beautiful perspective of you.
Imagine that Sophia hears you say, “I am just not good enough.” As a Compassionate Mother she might say any of the following things to you.
“Really, well child, I am clearly blind then. Cause you are clearly good enough for me. My wisdom would tell you to get off the couch and go take some water to a homeless person and experience what being good enough is.”
Or, she might say, “quit feeling sorry for yourself and get out of the house and go play.”
Or, maybe she will say, “tell me all about those times in your life that you have not felt good enough and I will listen with intent to every hurt that has made you feel that way. But when you are all done, I want you to go out and play. You can come back and share with me again and again whenever those old hurts box you around like a boxing bag. But one day, you will be able to box back with my nurturance and care.
Monday, April 15, 2013
The Mother of God and Demeter
Discovering the Compassionate Mother Within
(The first in a series of essays.)
What in the world does that mean?Think about it.
I started thinking about this concept of restoring the compassionate mother after reading Pinkola Estes latest book, Untie the Strong Womanand found myself falling further in love with the Mother of God, Mary.Mary is basically invisible in the protestant church and as an Episcopalian it seems to be she is ignored.We (Episcopalians) have ignored her strength and position in the hierarchy of the Church and I do not hear us turning to her as a resource for our spirituality.
However, from the first time that I walked the Labyrinth I found myself connecting to the Mother of God as I entered the center of the Labyrinth which is like a womb to me.I could picture myself being cradled there like a small child or held closely like an adult who needed a shoulder to cry upon.Or on more interesting occasions I can even see myself sitting across from Mary having a cup of tea or glass of wine, sharing woman talk about the things that interest or concern me.Thus the labyrinth is way to Mary that opens a whole new world of creativity.
The Mother of God is about relationship.When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 1999, I remember saying something to the effect of “I need to go to the top.I will skip pass Jesus and God and talk directly to the Mother of God.”I write about that experience in my book, In a Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer and I dedicate a whole chapter to the wonder of the labyrinth as part of my journey. However, not all of you will relate to Mary as the Mother of God.Thus there are many other images of the Strong Woman.
One of the most recent images is in William P. Young’s book, The Shack.In this very powerful read Papa, represents God in the book.The paradox is that “Papa” is a big black woman who has a wild sense of humor and wonderful cooking skills.
In Greek mythologies there are several characters, but the most imposing is that of Demeter, the mother of Persephone.In this story we see a strong woman, a mother whom refused to be comforted until her daughter was returned from the underworld.Demeter, the goddess of food and grain became enraged with depression and refused to plant any seeds after Persephone was abducted by Hades in the underground.This deal was made behind Demeter’s back by Persephone’s father, Zeus.Finally, when it was clear to Zeus and everyone else that no one was going to eat until Persephone returned another deal was made and Persephone was set free from Hades for nine months out of the year.Those three months that Persephone must return to Hades, Demeter refuses to plant and there we have the story of winter.
In order for us to grow up as strong mature adults we need a strong woman in our lives and a strong woman is a compassionate woman.We must create her within us or if you prefer discover the Mother who was always there.