Every month, during the two or three days before I bleed, my tolerance for bullshit and injustice goes way down. While some realities simply irritate me more than usual, others suddenly feel infuriating, maddening, and/or absolutely unacceptable.
I stopped buying into the generic, dismissive, and disempowering PMS narratives our culture loves to throw around a long time ago. I’ve learned that there is incredible power to be harnessed during the luteal phase of my cycle. This is prime time for witnessing, information gathering, unearthing buried truths, and honoring the wisdom of my body, emotions, and intuition.
This is not, however, the time for taking action. That comes a week or so later, when I’m feeling stronger, better able to regulate my emotions, and more oriented toward actions that serve rather than sabotage myself and others.
A few days ago, it struck me that the Covid-19 crisis we’re all navigating has similar qualities:
- It’s uncomfortable
- It’s forcing us to look at our lives in different ways
- It’s illuminating bullshit and injustice
- It’s asking us (as a whole) to slow down
- It’s causing heightened sensitivity and emotions
- It’s shedding light on what’s not working
Perhaps most importantly of all, it’s thinning the veil between the conscious and the subconscious realms, which means that wisdom is just below the surface, waiting for us to notice its potent presence.
This is no small thing. It means that the wisdom keepers, the healers, and the visionaries of the world–while stressed–are closer to their power than ever.
Trouble is that so many of the most powerful wisdom keepers, healers, and visionaries in the world are mothers, and mothers, as I see it, are among the demographics being hardest hit by the many stressors related to this pandemic.
We have front row seats, mamas. As a collective, we see and feel the pain, the dysfunction, the tragedies, and the injustices of our broken systems and disempowering cultural narratives more often, more acutely, and more intimately than most.
Our hearts are constantly on the pulse of the world’s unmet needs.
But because we are so radically undervalued, overlooked, and misrepresented by the world we live in, we, as a whole, have forgotten our power. We’ve bought into the gaslighting that tells us that our inadequacy is the reason we’re not able to keep up. We’re told that our inner knowings can’t be trusted. We are made to feel that we–the ones loving this hurting world the hardest–are the problem.
(Tragically, though not surprisingly, we don’t even get counted on the essential workers list. I wrote more about that here if you want to get fired up.)
I’m not having it. I won’t stand by and allow this gross oversight to degrade mothers’ sense of self even further and make our thriving even more difficult.
Dear wise, overwhelmed, fed up mothers:
Now is our time–not for taking action, but for peering through that mighty thin veil and opening our hearts to the gems that are rising to the surface.
This is the time for listening deeply to what our bodies and spirits are telling us.
It’s time to break the rules and create our own routines and rhythms according to what works best for our families.
It’s time to see what we’ve been burying for years beneath all the busyness.
It’s time to get real about what’s working and what’s not within our culture.
This is a feminine call to action, which means no action at all until we’ve gotten good and still for long enough to hear our intuition, to call on the wisdom of the wild, to seek the counsel of our ancestors, and to channel the crones within us.
I believe this phase–this unique moment of history–is trying to reorient us toward our wise and wildish nature.
This is also a particularly loud, overwhelming, and distracting moment in history (and likely, in your home). For this reason, I have a few reminders for you. Because I’d hate for all that noise to drown out the soft voice of your soul, begging for your attention right alongside (though much more quietly than) your kids.
Reminders for mothers who also happen to be wisdom keepers, healers, and visionaries:
- Your wisdom is more easily tapped into under certain circumstances, and only you know what those circumstances are. Need time alone? Need time alone in your home? Need long stretches of time alone in your home? Everyone’s needs are different, and there’s nothing wrong with needing a specific combination of circumstances in order to tap into your creativity and/or wisdom. Do your best to carve out the time and conditions you need, and/or make a commitment to yourself to figure out how to better meet those needs for yourself once restrictions have been lifted and support is more readily available.
- Your unmet needs keep you from your power. Your ability to live from your values (and thus, from your power) is directly related to how well your needs are met. Taking your needs seriously and finding ways to meet them is not just good for you and your family, it’s good for the world.
- Absorbing the impact is admirable and problematic. You are likely doing even more for your family than usual, and you were already doing more than your fair share before this mess. This is admirable and sometimes necessary for stretches of time. Made into a habit or default, however, it makes thriving extremely difficult and perpetuates norms and narratives that keep women and mothers over-giving and overdoing. Until we begin to organize our lives around not only our children’s worthiness and wellbeing but also our own, mothers everywhere will continue to bear the brunt of cultural pain and dysfunction. This matters because we cannot be the changemakers we’re meant to be while so heavily burdened.
- Your anger is essential. It’s evidence that you care, that your boundaries are being crossed, that something you’re witnessing or experiencing is unjust or toxic or damaging. (It’s also sometimes evidence of woundedness and unhealed trauma, which require extra tenderness and, sometimes, professional support to move through effectively). Finding healthy outlets for your anger allows it to become one of your greatest allies instead of your greatest saboteur. Feeling our anger as mothers and learning to channel it wisely is a much greater gift to the world than repressing it or pretending everything’s fine.
- You are the most essential of all the essential workers. We know this, deep down, but because this isn’t our culture’s narrative, we tend to question and doubt our importance. It’s up to us to create a new narrative. I wrote a book about doing exactly that. It was published just last week. Have a look!
- Self-trust, self-authority, and intuition can be strengthened. Every time you listen to that soft voice within, you send a message to your intuition that it’s safe to speak up. Every time you act in accordance with your needs and heart’s desires, you heal your relationship with yourself a little more. This process gradually deepens your self-trust and strengthens your self-authority.
- The majority of your “mom guilt” is manufactured. It’s the result of being gaslighted and unconsciously agreeing with toxic patriarchal norms and narratives. The next time you feel guilty about not being able to give more to your children or losing your patience with them, try to remember that you are attempting to give your kids all the love, support, understanding, engagement, and mentorship that is meant to be given by an entire community. You are not inadequate. You are one person trying to be an entire village and brainwashed into believing there’s something wrong with you when you can’t achieve this preposterous goal.
- Your unconscious agreements are likely running your life more than you realize. We make all kinds of agreements throughout our lives without realizing what we’re doing or understanding the potential long-term implications of these agreements. Once made conscious, our agreements can be examined, reworked, and remade from a more aware, mature, wise, and self-respecting place. (This is also in the book.)
- Support comes in many varieties, and so does medicine. Support is critical in order for us to feel strong and access wisdom. We tend, however, to have a narrow view of what supports we need and/or what is possible. The natural world, neighbors on your street, books, podcasts, online circles, Voxing with friends (a lifeline of mine), spiritual relationships and practices, animals, even essential oils can feel supportive if we train ourselves to see them in that way. Likewise, medicine comes in many forms including beauty, time in nature, alternative therapies, dance, and herbal and chemical supports. The important thing is to be honest with ourselves about our relationship with the medicine we use and make sure that it truly is supportive and not inching us away from wholeness or wellness.
- Overthinking steps us away from wisdom. The wisest women I know feel their way to truth as much as or more than they think their way there. This requires that we get into our bodies and out of our heads much more often than most of us are accustomed to, through dance, sex, self-pleasure, playfulness, meditation, yoga, and any number of body-based practices that still the mind, enliven our senses, and/or bring us into stillness.
Which injustices are standing out most to you right now? What feels particularly unacceptable to you these days?
Let these feelings lead you to your passions, your core gifts, and your truth.
What unmet needs are you feeling most acutely?
Take these seriously. Use them as guides.
Please pay attention, dear mother. Dare to look beneath that paper thin veil.
Tempting as it may be to try to make sense of this mess and put the pieces back together as soon as possible, it’s essential that we sit with the discomfort and allow it to guide us deeper. Premature meaning making is a thing we do to help ease our discomfort, but it also adds to our burden and fools us into thinking we can skip the hardest, most transformative step: staying soft and present, feeling all the feelings, and allowing ourselves to be remade by grief’s healing hands.
With love, respect and healthy dose of rage,
Announcements and offerings:
- My book is finally finished! Motherwhelmed was published just last week and I couldn’t be more thrilled to get it out of my head and heart and into your hands. It’s got 65 glowing 5-star reviews on Amazon already and will be available soon on Audible. Watch the trailer and learn more about it here!
- Crave more 1:1 support? I currently have a small number of openings for 1:1 clients and would love to help orient you toward your unique power. Get all the info and/or sign up for a free connection session here.
- I created a new tool called the Whole Mama Wellness Wheel to help step you toward a more whole and thriving sense of self. Get yours for free by signing up in the green box on the sidebar of this page. →
Photo credit goes to my amazing eldest daughter @inrogis.