The Mother Line

Silhouette of a young mother lovingly kissing her little child o

It’s been a journey.

I have meditated and prayed and cried a lot since mid-March.   And I had been morphing and grieving and adapting into “mother” all of last year, which also put me on a course for an unexpected emotional journey.

Last fall I had nearly lost it.  I was beyond overwhelmed trying to make up for losses with my business in the first half of the year during the most challenging part of my postpartum recovery.  I wrestled through the angst and discomfort of postpartum depression.  I have been sleep deprived, still, since my third trimester.  My mental health has been rocky, at best.  I have been traumatized and have finally, I think, moved on from the PTSD of a birth plan gone wrong.  I have been physically injured and will probably never regain normal movement in my right hip.  I struggled through my ninth wine harvest.  And still the expectation was for me to tread on, move forward, keep on.

I never felt so weak – physically and emotionally.  I found a practice that worked for me.  An anthropology based practice on the sacred feminine archetypes.  I know it sounds “woo woo”.  For some it is totally woo woo.  It’s something that I related to in a way that religion or spirituality just could not deliver when I need to transfer negativity into positivity through action.  There are many ways to succeed at this – and I found a way that worked for me.

I leaned into the workshop on “awakening the warrior goddess”.  It was energy work, it was meditation, it was the one thing that helped me to shift.  Seriously.  It isn’t the kind of practice that delivered immediate results.  It has a ripple effect that is palpable and powerful for transformation.  I could not shift into my new mother role without digging deep inward to find myself, to reclaim myself.  I had been lost.  I needed to step into the fulness of myself.  I needed to feel something big.

The feminine archetype practice is all about sacred women’s space.  Warrior goddess awakening is about moving big energy.   She is “high love, high wisdom and authentically connected to sacred heart”.  There are so many warrior goddess archetypes to connect with – Athena or Nike (Greek); Anut, Bast or Bellona (Egypt), Morrigan (Irish), Durga or Kali (Hindu), Pele (Hawaiian) or Freya (Nordic).  In my practice, I connected with Freya and in my meditation I was with her in a Nordic winter landscape of fjords and falling snow.  Sacred warrior goddess helps us to connect to our heart, to guide your warrior actions in the world, it’s pure power, life force and always heart-aligned.  Completing the practice opens your power chakras and sends you forward more able to trust the unfolding of the practice, more able to see how things will shift in an alchemical way, more able to experience that ripple effect in the physical world from these deep practices.

All of this was taken from the powerful Rewilding For Women workshops presented by founder Sabrina Lynn.

And what a ripple effect!  By January I was no longer trapped and stuck in a hamster wheel of being unproductive, frustrated, ineffective, exhausted, depleted, and so on.  I wasn’t in the midst of an identity crisis.  I found a life coach for mothers – Mother Nurture.  Finally!  I was creating tangible goals for myself!  I was a more positive version of myself.  I was figuring out work-life balance that had so recently been a painful struggle.  I had my amazing therapist to help me through the emotional and mental blockages that were finally coming down.  I had a dream team to help me grow and fearlessly move forward in my physical and emotional world.

Then the pandemic happened.

We did our best to navigate the uncertainty and sudden change.  My husband still worked but worked from home for a couple weeks until that work was done, and then used vacation time.  My business crashed.  The shelter in place mandate and public space closures flatlined my sales channels.  I lost 80% of my business in distribution sales.  I had to pivot and luckily found myself busy processing online orders.  While this was very helpful it wasn’t enough to save my business – not even close.

I applied for SBA emergency loans.  I applied for small business grants.  For weeks… crickets.

Warrior goddess archetype work prepared me to deal with this battle.  I put on my warrior helmut, but on my armor, strapped my sword across my chest and charged on as best I could.  I need to stay focused, aware, positive and I needed to be productive.

I also gleaned wisdom from favorite podcast personalities warning not to let this sacred time go to waste.  So often we complain that we don’t have enough time to do what we want or need to do.  I used this time wisely.

We dealt with the emotional chaos of stay-at-home quarantine by exploring the world as if we were still able to travel.  We traveled to places also hit by the coronavirus and reported live on Instagram what those places were going through.  It made the world smaller, it made the experience less isolating.  We cooked our dinners with recipes from our virtual travels and we read poetry by poets from the nations and cities we visited.  We called it our #shelterinplaceworldtour and it was really therapeutic.

Eventually, we tired of the work it took to put on our stay-at-home-tour each night.

My husband and I had wanted to set up a comedic podcast for months.  We launched that!  It’s based on a goofy conversation – one of many we have.  We’re both writers.  He’s a legit actor.  I’ve done some acting.  Together, we created this goof-ball “fraudcast” about a fellow who takes us on his misguided adventures – The Uninformed Bon Vivant.

These things have helped.

But then my husband’s job was furloughed.  Once again we found ourselves having to shift.  And the shifting has been uncomfortable and painful at times.  It’s challenging raising a toddler in this pandemic.  I try to remind myself what those sage podcast hosts warned – if you don’t pivot now when you have all the time in the world, you will go back to the life or the aspects of your life that you don’t want as soon as things return to operational.  You must take action!

Something in me was hurting.  Rightfully so.  This pandemic has touched everyone in some profound way – either through job loss, business loss, illness or death.  There is a mourning process to life in the covid-19 pandemic.  And like all loss, one must process the natural grieving milestones of shock/disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and acceptance/hope.

I was somewhere between anger and depression when I found myself in such great struggle.  I was preparing myself for setting the course to close my business once and for all.  I was coping with the struggles of parenting while trying to keep my business afloat. I was angry with politicians.  I was angry with people ignoring the “shelter in place” mandate, risking others lives.  I was exhausted and emotionally drained.  I was frustrated with my partner who seemed, to me, oblivious to my time management needs to keep my business afloat (I’m a one woman show trying to sell, market and make 1600+ cases of wine) along with nursing, putting our little one down for his naps, stopping my work flow to make lunch, etc.  This pandemic has been challenging for families and marriages, and communication can be tricky when everyone is treading through life  with a “deer in headlights” lens to an unusual new normal.

I found my way back to “Rewilding for Women”.

Intuitively, I selected the “Mother Love” deepening practices for my second workshop.  Mother Love addresses our innate creation, mothering and nurturing – the innate knowing in our bones, the deep, wise woman knowing.  The practice connects us to Great Mother – an archetype known as Gaia, Mother Earth, Hera, Mother Mary, etc.  She is a beautiful, wise, loving woman.

This work allows us to pull from our circle of women – aunties, grandmothers, medicine women – the keepers of feminine mysteries and deep, sacred, ancient energies.  Working with Mother Love connects us to the earth below us, connecting us to the wisdom of the seasons, cycles, birth and death.  It starts at our base chakra (womb energy) and works its way up to our heart chakra.  Great Mother is always there.  All of this aids in nurturing your highest self, allows you to tap into “womb wisdom” – the wiring our bodies have to create life, to get pregnant, to make milk – doesn’t matter if you are a mother or not, or if you never plan to have children.  It’s about our wiring, our deep wisdom, our creative life force.  It’s not about our relationships with our own mothers.  This is not personal or material.  It’s big, unconditional love.  Mother Love is always there to help bring big, unconditional love into your body through healing, awakening, opening and “de-armoring” the heart.  Great Mother removes blocks and obstacles.  The practice invites you to lean into her big open arms so she can give you her big love.  This work then invites you to clear and heal your mother lines, healing ancestral wounds.  This is quite powerful work!

Again, with ripple effects!  When you clear your personal line energetically and dissolve chords that cannot hold highest good, the light, the unconditional love – we are very “potent creative beings”.

I printed out Sabrina’s suggested follow up word to deepen the practice.  The most helpful practices were getting out in nature, laying down on the ground to connect with Great Mother for 21 days, and writing a letter to my mother/grandmother/children from the energy of the workshop.

This kind of work isn’t for everyone but it really can be.  It has been essential for me.  I am still in the energetic cycle of my “Mother Love” work and calling on my mother line (both grandmothers and then all sets of my parents grandmothers, and so on) for guidance and support, spiritually.  I am leaning into what I am to learn from this sacred practice.  And I am open with curiosity about which feminine archetype I will be drawn to workshop next – the Dark Goddess, the Sacred Lover, the Medicine Woman or the Feminine Mystic/Priestess.  These, along with Warrior Goddess and Mother Love, are the six traditional faces of the feminine.  You can find these archetypes in religion, mythology, history and so on.  They have been with us forever, they are always with us, and they are all a part of us.

I think Sabrina Lynn is a genius.  She is so articulate, so wise, so generous.  She is a teacher and even embodies Great Mother for us all to lean on for guidance and love.

 

The New Mama Re-Set: Managing the major life transition after baby

Tired woman sleeping on the table in the kitchen at breakfast. Trying to drink morning coffee

My therapist once told me there’s a difference between failure and fear of failure.

Before baby my professional life was challenging, yet rewarding.  But now with baby in tow, being a mompreneur of a wine brand feels like I’m a failure with a capital F.  I dropped the ball on my business for the entire first half of last year.   I just couldn’t…

By the fourth quarter  I was barely getting through my company’s wine grape harvest, let alone running the business operations.  It didn’t seem right bringing a baby to a wine production facility with busy forklifts, loud machinery,  CO2 and SO2 in the mix.  It was crazy difficult for me each day I arrived at the winery with my baby.  Even with my entourage of nanny, mother, and trusty hired cellar hand I was overwhelmed and anxious.

My anxiety ran the gamut from caring for my baby; [not] caring for myself; failing my child; failing by business; experiencing an identity crisis; not caring about my work anymore; contemplating a business shut down; and feeling exhausted, depleted and incapable of the work I accomplished before I was a mother.

I knew I needed to address these feelings.  I wanted to feel like I was in control again.  I wanted to feel like I got this!  I wanted to feel motivated, inspired and excited by my
work again.  I just didn’t know how to be me anymore.

So I leaned into a bunch of books and resources.  I literally had an Amazon Prime binge and Google overdose.  But here’s what I initially found in my search for the answers to my new mama problems:

Breathe Mama Breathe:  5 Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms by Shonda Moralis, MSW, LCSW

The Empowered Mama:  How to Reclaim Your Time and Yourself While Raising a Happy, Healthy Family by Lisa Druxman, Founder of Fit4Mom

Self-Care for Moms:  150+ Real Ways to Care for Yourself While Caring for Everyone Else by Sara Robinson, MA

Warrior Goddess Training:  Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be  by Heatherash Amara

Motherly.com

Parents Magazine, especially the Special Edition “Balancing Your Life:  Family. Career. Love. You.”

It seemed like a good start.  I pride myself in being able to reframe relatively easily.  And yet I wasn’t able to shake these feelings of inadequacy, exhaustion and anxiety.  I didn’t recognize my old badass self.  She was left behind in the delivery room – hiding from a traumatic birth.  The new me was barely getting by – a doe in headlights.

Everything I learned from my research to understand my new mama self came to the conclusion that I’m a different person now.  So, now what?

On one particularly dark wintry Pacific Northwest afternoon, just after my January birthday, I ran another Google Search about finding a life coach for new moms who work.  I came across a Motherly article entitled “If I had my way, every working mom would have a life coach” by Katelyn Denning, a regular contributor.

I cried my way through the article and followed a link to Katelyn’s website:  Mother Nurture.

“Don’t just survive motherhood.  Thrive.”

I decided it was time to commit to something bigger than a mini library of self help books for new mamas.  While I appreciated the books I selected and read – and they all helped me in some way or another – I just felt that I still couldn’t…

Until I picked up the phone with a professional.

After my initial phone consultation with Katelyn I knew that I had a real support person available to me who I would pay for three months to see me through this challenge.  This meant I would be accountable for doing the work my coach assigned.

It was time to shift from this major upset to a RESET.

I agree with Katelyn.  If I had my way, every working mom would have a life coach.