Nature is doing her deep work.
Energy turned inward, reaching deeper into herself,
Sending love down into the roots to self-nourish and strengthen.
Working in the longer shadows of shorter days
Tending to behind the scenes in preparation for a glorious reveal.
What behind the scenes work is calling you?
Expressing a deep need for attention and presence?
Patiently, quietly, revealing the inner strength
To support the external beauty.
We are in a season of introspection. A time to cultivate our core, using all the energy of harvest to deeply feed parts of ourselves that may be starved for focused attention. In our energetic fields, these parts pulse uncomfortably. Our thoughts may become snagged, and we feel pulled out of balance. Or we may experience a heaver vibration of ill-ease in our guts.
Winter supports our work to balance these feelings, encouraging a slower pace; time to gaze more intently into persistent patterns in our lives. Sometimes what may have felt resolved returns to highlight the areas where deeper healing is needed. This is the cyclical nature of growth. Like seasons spiraling on axis, bringing with each shift opportunities to align with the highest iterations of oneself.
For many, the call this season is an outward one; filled with distractions that keep our precious attention on the surface. Creating responsibilities for the ego to attend we resist the call to look after our own, more subtle, needs even as we acknowledge the familiar appearance of seasonal disorientation. When we choose to gift ourselves with the same intensity and dedication we see fit for others, we receive the immeasurable gifts that are the result of self-consideration.
However, distraction is easier and appears more convenient. Inner work is work, generally doesn’t feel that great, and requires discipline and faith. When daylight hours are short, the narrative that there is not enough time to get everything done is prominent and easy to hear.
Nature never rushes…yet everything gets done.
What Earth, our mother, shows us this season is that the internal work must not be discounted. For a truly fruitful yield, we must be willing to head into ourselves eagerly, taking time to slip behind the curtain on our fears and concerns. This is the season to carefully examine and organize what is there.
Doing this requires actually facing the anxiety and stress, naming what is present, and being accountable to the feelings that arise. Why are we choosing discomfort, to fear or worry in the face of these circumstances? What vulnerability is being protected by our choice to be fearful? What superpower is cleverly disguised by a perception of weakness, masquerading as apprehension or dread? What do we believe? What do we know and what is the difference?
Through the clarifying process, we can begin to discover what is truly ours and what does not, in fact, belong to us; feelings that exist as a result of other’s projections, our failure to identify external agendas, or entering into agreements that do not support our higher selves. This is the work of the shadow, exposing the discomfort to identify what is there; debriding the wounds, and nourishing the healthy tissues so that necessary healing can happen. So that, as the days grow longer, we can bask in the majesty of our own new growth.
With Profound Reverence and Gratitude,
Elemental Birth Rites
The doors are open! We LOVE to hear from our community and welcome participation!
If you are inspired by what you read and feel moved to contribute to Elemental BirthWrites, please send your offering to firstname.lastname@example.org
FEATURED: Mystical Motherhood by Chelsea Wiley, FNP
Below is an insightful excerpt from the writing of Ms. Chelsea Wiley followed by reflection upon her work. Here, she offers parents guidance that ultimately leads to increased emotional intelligence in ourselves and our children. Enjoy.
Put Yourself in Time Out
“You have no right to tell the Child what to do. The Child has the right to know what is good and what is bad. If you teach the Child good and bad, the Child will never leave you. There is no better student. You have never accepted a Child as a God-given student. You accept the Child as your possession. That is your mistake.”
– Yogi Bhajan
Many parents accept that the time out is the best way to manage their children’s unwanted emotions and behaviors. It is what the generations before did so why wouldn’t they? Most families across the Western world use this type of enforcement and don’t think twice about it, but I am going to suggest that you begin to question the way your discipline your children. Have you ever wondered why we use time outs and where the concept came from? In desperate moments of not knowing better, we need something else to turn to that will teach our children love and compassion.
Through interviews with child specialists, I found that the time out was originally invented by a group of researchers in order to solve the growing problem of juvenile delinquents. The funny thing is, it was never made for the delinquents – it was produced for the parents. When the adult brain is overwhelmed or flooded, the capacity for empathy is reduced. During these moments, it is much easier to put a child in another room than to teach them [about] the emotions they are feeling. The time out should be a time for parents to take a moment and the family to cool down together. Yet we have let our bull-headed ego get in the way and turned it onto the child, when it is actually us who needs the moment alone. The child is acting developmentally appropriate, and when the adult begins to control, he or she is the one regressing. When we put our child into a room alone, it is only telling them, “When you need me the most, you can’t come to me. I am emotionally unavailable.” This makes it difficult to raise conscious children, who are able to trust the world and the adult taking care of them. When we put children alone to manage uncontrolled emotions and tell them that they are inherently bad, we are cutting them off from connecting their heads to their hearts.
We need to shift to the family time out, which is really the family putting time in for meditations or a calm break before any reactions occur. We also need to begin to negotiate with our children before they can learn the rules of order. Let your child know how the world works before they can speak, and when they start to communicate, teach them how to explain their needs and comprehend that actions have consequences. Children should learn to present their case to you and understand why they should or should not be punished from an early age on. Punishment does not mean neglect or abuse but the fact that every action leads to a sequence of events. Every household will have to decide for themselves the consequences to not following the rules, which may be reduced screen time or toy use. Set up a household system that coincides with the child’s level of development when it comes to rules and use adult language to discuss issues that arise with your child.
…Children have to learn boundaries and consequences, but it is better to do this in a way they can comprehend and develop intelligent emotions. When we become overwhelmed, we have to slow down together. It is time to let our children know there is nothing wrong with them- only something wrong with what they did, reducing the creation of shame. By breathing deeply in front of them and disciplining from a non-reactive state, we can demonstrate presence and teach them patience. If you yell at them, or make a mistake, make sure that you talk about it with them later. Admit when you do something wrong and explain why you did it, so they do the same thing as they as they grow older.
Instead of Putting Your Children in Time Out, Try This Next Time
Meet your child where he or she is at energetically, and project that energy back. Let the child know that you feel their anger or sadness. If your child is having a tantrum, wait a few minutes before trying to communicate. It takes a young child at least 90 seconds to get out of the fight-or-flight response. They literally cannot understand you or respond in the first couple of minutes of a tantrum. So, give them a moment, and then let the child know they are heard as their brain adjusts. Get down on their level- physically kneel or sit so the child can see your eyes. After eye contact, give your child a touch and a nod so that he or she knows that you are present. Be clear that you see and feel them and that they are human beings having a normal experience that will pass. Speak to your children only in a language that has their backs so that they know you are always on their side.
For so many of us, disconnection from our own thoughts and feelings began before we truly came to know what they were. Depending on how our caregivers managed our development, we inadvertently became adepts at dissociating from our authentic emotional experiences to give focus to our caregiver’s response to us having those very same authentic emotional experiences. Instead of learning, in these childhood moments, that crying from overwhelm is a natural human response, (and that there is nothing inherently bad in being overwhelmed) we learned that Mama becomes angry or goes away when we are overwhelmed; and that to keep Mama close, which is what we truly need and want, we would do well to redirect our expression of that overwhelm. Few of us were encouraged to fully feel our emotions and supported in understanding them as healthy expressions of the human experience. Learning to, without shame, name them and to, most importantly, move through them, acknowledging their transience as we found our way back to balance.
How do we, then, begin to straighten the crossed wires that exist within our very blueprints, transforming our own emotional suppression to emotional freedom in our children? Acknowledging that the child within us still exists. And being willing to show up for our own emotions, as caregivers of ourselves, giving deference to the guidance and intelligence that surfaces. We must know that it is possible to forge connection with our emotions, accepting the infallible wisdom and guidance they offer. Because we have learned to detach from particularly uncomfortable emotions, it is imperative that we challenge ourselves to face the shadows of this darker side; here we have the opportunity to follow the trail of discomforts back to their origins, dismantling, piece by piece, the structures that scaffold the disconnection we feel in ourselves and with our children when their emotions take them “out of reach.”
It is necessary to understand that the essential nature of what our children feel does not title itself; our babies learn through observation of our responses how to feel about what they feel, how to manage what they feel, and ultimately how to release what they feel, restore themselves, and carry on with life. The likelihood is that if we are unable to sit with our own emotional challenges, unequipped to exercise compassion with ourselves, we will not be prepared to manage the, often non-verbal, expressions of our children as they are learning to navigate the human experience. Exercising the patience necessary to accurately identify what we feel and observing our personal management of those feelings defines our work as we seek to guide our children in the best way. The effort is ongoing, but a clear mission to help our babies develop healthy emotional intelligence is worth every moment.
BEYOND THE RING OF FIRE
“We just celebrated his first birthday and I keep circling back to the Mother!”
I was sitting and chatting with a lovely Mamababy over milestones and tea.
“And I suppose I’m wondering why we just can’t seem to get it together…?”
Sort of a question, sort of a statement, her eyes were in no way defeated but they assuredly asked for help with the seemingly endless task of pulling back layers on the relationship between she and her mother.
I thought about my own journey, realizing the ongoing nature of addressing, and redressing the mother wound. The shared stories of women I’d worked with, all reaching out from or back to their relationships with their mothers. This great community of women can share anecdotes, insights, tools, and stories, but the journey with The Mother is the journey into oneself. And there will always be more to the voyage…
The day my mother decided that she was “cutting the cord,” I fell twice. I was in a different house than her, very much involved in the personal comings and goings of my day. And then, two times in a row, my feet, suddenly, were not underneath me. I am not a clumsy person so by the second time I was laying on the floor, mentally assessing my body for pain, the deeper part of my consciousness was scrambling to put pieces together. It wasn’t until later in the day when my mother showed up with a van full of boxes, pictures and certificates from my grade school years, tempera colored hand-prints and macaroni-laced, glue-filled love-notes, team pennants and year-books all gathered for removal in the name of “decluttering,” that things began to make sense.
“All these things have your name on them. I figured they belonged to you.”
Umbilical cords are surprisingly tensile. It makes sense, they have an insanely important job. I have seen cords; hefty ones, pulsating with radiant life, and felt a visceral sense of that child’s connection to its mother. But even the cords that are thinner, that might leave one wondering “is the baby ok?,” are surprisingly resilient. Even well-designed cord-gathering scissors might need ‘a few chews to get through.’ This cord is the physical representative for the connection of Child to its Creatress. And Life is serious about safeguarding that connection. The severance of this energetic freeway is no small thing. And though the physical cord may be severed shortly after birth, it can take several decades for the energy of it to dissipate…if it ever even really does.
“You accept the Child as your possession. That is your mistake. – Yogi Bhajan
“They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”
– Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
I think a brief moment to consider the conundrum of ownership is warranted. What a challenge it is, indeed, to grow a tiny human, from an imperceptible cell in our bodies into a functional being, experiencing life as a satellite of our own awareness and sensitivities, and then to somehow, with all the responsibility inherent to this reality, not claim exclusive rights and control. But, in fact, when we think of children as our possessions, we have inextricably linked our value to them…And they are people, growing, changing, forging their own way in the world. What’s more, our children, the ones we own, develop within a framework of being owned. Deeper than a sense of belonging to something; from the adage, “mother’s baby, papa’s maybe,” children understand that their very existence always and ultimately trickles back to their mother; presence or participation be damned, it is The Mother to whom we return.
Why is this important? Because this timeless link is what makes mother wounds possible. Because even as adults, moving in and through the world, having our own children, the link between ourselves and our mothers persists. For those of us who never knew our birth mothers, we look deeply into ourselves, seeking resonance with that archetypal energy that allows us to feel her presence even in her absence. And for those of us whose mothers are present, we dance with them, wrapped tightly in their deepest hopes and dreams, throwing off their expectations and convictions. Only to find them expertly folded into our own beliefs and ways of seeing the world. We are our mothers. Every effort we make to be all the things they never were is everything they prayed we would become. The joy of who they are is the pain we feel when we see them as reflections in the mirror. The pain of who we are is the pride that is felt but never spoken when they watch us as we sleep.
Healing happens in layers. We can observe this watching the careful wound closing from that last spill off the skateboard. The bleeding stopped. The scab formed. It fell away and new skin slowly, surely, grew in its place. Perhaps a scar was left. Every day the body tended a little more until that open place had closed. We move through our lives, surviving the “spills,” time tending to the open places until a new skin has formed…perhaps a scar is left. When we decide and commit to healing the deeper wounds, we have taken to the task of lifting that skin, digging into the scar tissues to get to the original injuries, using the tools of compassion and forgiveness to gently undo the severity of the impact. The wound becomes less about the weapon and more about the tissues; is their blood flow? Oxygen? Nutrients? How are we feeding ourselves; caring for ourselves? The work in deep healing belongs to us. And, as not to overwhelm, comes upon us in layers giving opportunity to fully heal so that as new skin develops, we become stronger and more flexible than we ever were.
My mother’s decision to release from her possession all that had my name on it, in a way, felt as though I was cluttering her life. Perhaps she had also felt that way, burdened by her attachment to every expression of my creative energy in the world. In an effort to honor me, her creation, she carefully packaged that energy and handed it to me as if to say, “Fly free. You decide what to do with yourself.” I imagine what I might have felt had she invited me to her home, and if together, over tea, we would have sorted those items and mutually decided to gift or discard them. The ‘self’ she handed me was a self that was fully committed to exaltation of, her, the mother. It was debasing to be suddenly, and without warning, in charge of that self. However, my time sorting through those mementos alone brought a powerful medicine of autonomy. There was a subtle changing-of-the-guard in my life. Our mothers possess a wisdom that never fails us if we are willing to hear its voice. Observe them carefully. We may have to watch them through the looking glass, but the magic is there.
This ongoing process, wounding, strengthening, healing is the ever present and continual work of navigating The Mother. As with any relationship, the commitment each one makes that allows the other to be fully in their journey, accepting without judgement, the process of the other, may be as “together” as it gets. In any case, bringing our authentic hearts forward, clearly reflecting the beauty of who our mothers are as we learn ourselves again, and then again, is the gift that we bring to them. It’s the gift we bring to ourselves and the one we shall pass on to our daughters for evermore.
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
From the Hearth
I’m going to just go on ahead and jump right in.
L I V E R. (Collective screw face.)
No one wants to talk about it.
But we need to talk about it.
Because on a scale of 1-10, liver is like… a 13.
THEE (thank you Ms. Stallion) most nutrient dense food on the planet. Many a plant-based Mama I know, who otherwise would not dream of putting animal products in her mouth, makes the exception to supplement with desiccated liver.
Pound for pound liver and organ meat is unmatched; far surpassing the nutrient density of all known fruits and vegetables, particularly in its concentration of choline, folate, iron, vitamin A, vitamin K, and B vitamins.
And it’s a game changer for nourishing a postpartum mother, particularly after a tear, cut (read: surgical incision) or significant bleed.
We’re talking grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic free, y’all. As with any animal-based product, the highest quality possible is of paramount importance. There are fancy ways to hide liver textures in heavier foods like lasagna or meatballs. But, since we like to keep it simple, below is a basic pate. Enjoy!
This recipe is so easy, it will only take you 30 minutes to make it.
Wash liver very well to remove any blood and pat dry it with paper towels. Cut in pieces (the size doesn’t matter so much) and set aside.
Heat high quality butter in a medium size pan. (A heavy bottom pan would be great if you have it.) Saute chopped onions and garlic for a few minutes and then add the liver to it. You want to cook it until it is no longer pink inside, but try not to overcook and dry it out.
Now is the fun part! Blend everything together in a small food processor or blender. Add more soft butter, truffle oil or olive oil to reach your desired consistency. Scrape the unprocessed pieces from the side down to blend.
The mixture should be smooth and not grainy. You can add more of your favorite spices or vegetables if you wish. It would taste wonderful with roasted jalapenos or red peppers. Or with chopped scallions or cilantro. Spread on Miltons or toast to enjoy.
Our doors are open! If you have a nourishing recipe to share with the Mamas and families in the Elemental Birth Rites community, please write email@example.com!
Elemental Birth Rites would like to officially welcome of the babies born in the last season into our community! We hold you up and uplift the Mamas and Papas that made you possible. And we pledge our support as a community of safety, presence, and wisdom to guide you into a beautiful future.