Mother, Nurture & Wild
Offerings from the heart to meet you exactly where you are
<a href='https://mothernurtureandwild.co.uk/mama-take-a-moment-for-yourself-this-winter-solstice/'>Mama, take a moment for yourself this... Winter Solstice</a>

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These long nights and short days are not for everyone. I used to find the lack of daylight almost suffocating. But over the past handful of years I’ve found a deep love for the darkest days of the year. I wonder now how I got there...
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I wonder if you ever find yourself searching for your sense of self.  Feeling around for where your edges are. As mothers we are often the centre of our family's universe, needed for so much, integral to all of it. But when you go to look for your Self in the midst of it all, it's hard to discern the essence of you from everything else. It's as though you've been swallowed up by your role.

Loss of sense of self in motherhood is something that’s so often present for women I coach with.

It's no wonder...

~ When the process of matrescence – a word that describes the multi-layered journey of becoming a mother – sees so much change take place within us.  Not only in our body, our hormones, our emotions, our home, our day-to-day lives.  But also, along the way, becoming a mother literally re-wires our brain.

~ When it’s generally still the case (in heteronormative relationships) that women carry the heavier load and are expected to do the most adapting around their family.

~ When societal conditioning would have us mothers running to keep up, second guessing ourselves, self doubting and forever over-giving.

~ When there’s barely a moment to go to the loo let alone tend to the things that make you feel you.

If you don’t have the sense of self that you used to, here’s what I want you to know…

(and what many of my clients have found)

You're still in there

You are. Maybe under some layers and the edges of where you end and they begin are blurred but you ARE in there and you are WONDROUS even if you don’t feel it.

It's ok to grieve

It’s ok to grieve what you’re missing in yourself. Sometimes the grieving opens up space to reconnect with buried parts of you.  Sometimes experiencing the emotions around that give rise to a tiny shift that makes a difference.

It's a process

Re-connecting with your Self is a process.  Begin with noticing your needs that are met or are going un-met.  Notice your emotions.  Notice the daily promises to yourself you keep and those you find harder to keep.

It can be bumpy

Not everyone benefits from you regaining your sense of self if you’ve been over-giving for some time, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong for needing to.  You are never wrong for needing to feel like you.

You're not alone

You are not alone in this. If I could show you all the mamas who’ve shared with me, in different ways, the sense that they’ve lost their edges you would see just how NOT ALONE you are.

(I won’t show you of course because confidentiality is everything in my work, but if I could... you’d see a big and beautiful group of women who also never thought they’d lose their sense of self and yet still somehow did).

It's not bad or wrong

It’s not. Changing, evolving, losing and re-finding are all part of being a growing human.  Matrescence and the ever-changing seasons of motherhood are ripe with growth periods in which we re-form who we are.  It makes complete sense that at various points we need to go on a journey to meet ourselves again.

It's not impossible

It may feel hard but it isn’t impossible – overwhelm, self doubt, mum guilt, shame might have you believing you’re a lost cause but you are absolutely not.

You're in there

You are.  Even if under a few layers. I know you don’t know how to unearth yourself yet, but there will be a way. And those layers you’re under make for rich compost.

You are worth unearthing, lovely one x

*

If you’d like to come on a supportive journey with me to find what’s been missing, I’d love to chat with you. I have 1:1 spaces available to begin in July and Sept and we can reserve one of those for you.

Contact me here or book in a virtual cuppa here to find out more.

The Summer Solstice falls on Tuesday 21st June this year and marks the Celtic festival of Litha.  It’s the longest day and shortest night of the year – and us parents know all about that!

In my head, the Summer Solstice is a day for embracing the light, inviting a few friends over for a feast – maybe even donning flower crowns and holding a circle together.  That’s the Pinterest-board-in-my-head version.

In reality, I find this pinnacle of the light energetically a bit intense – and my kids do too.  For a week we’ve all be waking earlier than we like to and not managing to fall back asleep.  Finding it harder to drop off in the evenings because it’s not dark enough (yep, in spite of black-out lined curtains), feeling tired and restless.  Headaches don’t really happen around here but we’ve all had them this past week, plus less patience and bandwidth to boot.

I so want to love the energy of this apex but every year it rolls around and I kind of don’t. I’d just love the energy of it all to calm down a bit. Compassionately eye-rolling myself here as I type this because it's my balance-loving introvert showing up loud and clear.

Needless to say, when it comes to celebrating Litha I’ll be keeping it low key.

How we celebrate

My sons are at a Steiner school and there, instead of marking the Solstice on Tuesday, they’ll be celebrating Midsummer’s Day / St John’s on Friday.  Essentially a version of the same thing.  So as a family we’ll likely tag onto that with an outside dinner around the firepit on Friday night.  No doubt there’ll be ‘Smores (which won't help the getting to sleep thing one bit!).

The Celtic festivals, for me, are a beautiful reminder to invite moment of self care, self love and self connection so I often use them for that – and Litha has some particularly nourishing themes to draw upon.

Take a look…

Litha

The obvious anchor for this festival is the celebration of the Sun at it’s apex.  Thanks to the warmth of the Sun the earth is in bloom and we don’t need to look far to find the beauty of it.

Traditionally, Litha is one of the fire festivals.  Celebrated with the lighting of fires mirroring the heat of the Sun.  In northern countries where it barely gets dark at this time of year it was common for people to stay up all night with the fire.

As well as a celebration of the Sun at it’s peak, Litha arrives with the reminder that nothing stays the same.  After a few days pause at this apex we’ll begin the slow and gradual slide of shortening days as we continue our journey around the Wheel towards the shortest day.  The only constant is change.

And as we accept that we must begin to let the light go, it can be a good time to think about what else we want to let go.  What do we need to mark as finished or complete so we can move forward.

3 invitations

If the cycle of these festivals call to you, it can be a lovely thing to use them as regular reminders to pause and do something lovely with or for yourself.

I’ve drawn on the themes of Litha to make three simple invitations for you.  See if there’s one that speaks to you…

Sun

Let’s use the sun as a mirror to reflect a light on the ways you see yourself.  Take a quiet moment - perhaps with a journal - to think about how you shine.  Hold yourself in gratitiude with your hand over your heart for all those ways.  Notice the wonder of your light.

Wonder for a moment… are there other ways I’d like to be shining?  And ask – what would make me feel lighter and brighter in my days?

Bloom

When was the last time you gave yourself flowers?  I wonder if you could pick or buy yourself a posy of blooms and put them somewhere you’ll see them often during the day.  If you could use them as an anchor, to remind yourself how much you matter.  If you could let them gently ask you to wonder what would help you to bloom this Summer.

Small gestures of honouring yourself when you’re feeling less than wonderful can bring such a welcome lift.

Fire

I’m always a big fan of a Phoenix Ceremony and Litha is a wonderful time for one.  Drawing on the themes of fire and of letting go, a Phoenix Ceremony is a beautiful way to draw a line under something you need to.  Here’s how:

- Light yourself a small contained fire (safety first, of course!). 

- As you watch the flames, consider what it is you want to let go.  What you are done with and what no longer serves you.  A habit, a fear, a perspective, your attachment to a situation, something that doesn’t feel you anymore or that you want to feel free of.

- You may not know how you’ll let it go at this point.  Let go of the how for now.  It’s the intention that we’re working with here.

- Write it down on a scrap of paper.  Allow it to be whatever it is from one thing to a long list.

- Give it over to the flames and imagine what you’re letting go being burnt away, leaving room for life, transformation and growth to move into the space you’ve created by letting it go.

Whenever I share these posts I always say – allow whatever you do with these invitations to feel easeful.

Kids and life don’t pay any attention to these festivals and you might not read this until days after the event.  They’re still available to you.

There’s no expiry dates with this stuff.  No ticking clock or urgency.  The perfect time to take a moment for yourself and do something that feels nourishing is the very next window you can find, regardless of the date.

Go gently, make it easeful and bring all the self compassion.

I love to hear what you do with these invitations.  Feel free to let me know over on Insta how they panned out for you.

Solstice / Litha blessings, dear one x

The more I lean into the direction I’m taking my work, the more I see the possible places and depths I can take it to. It’s exciting and enticing to see the roads I can travel to better understand what’s going on for the people I work with and master the ability to help them makes the shifts they need. A vision is forming from all these lovely possibilities. The potential of a big body of fascinating work that’ll take me 10 years or more to create.

But shit, 10 years or more? I’m only just getting started!

The thing with possibilities, potential and big visions is that awesome though they might be in one sense, they have a shadow side. Standing where I am with mine at the moment, I feel like there are a few different ways this can play out.

Scenario 1

(not desirable)

I can let my perfectionism run amok and spend 10 years feeling crappy and lacking because I haven’t yet created entire said body of fascinating work. I can feed my self doubt with endless looping stories of not enough, never enough, not me, ‘may as well quit because you’re so not ahead’. And even if I can overcome my internal warning system that wants me to give up before I get hurt, these perfectionism-driven stories could continue to be a demoralising soundtrack keeping me company on the journey. Completely hampering my ability to pursue any of it with clear focus and stealing the joy from the process entirely.

This one feels really bleak and spirit-sapping.

Scenario 2

(even less desirable)

I can bust a gut, run myself ragged and squeeze 10 years of work into 5 years just so I can get the big tick in the box that says ‘finished’. Missing the various opportunities for growth a longer period gives, many interesting and rich twists and turns, much of the rest of the my children’s childhood and all of life’s daily pleasures. Creating stress. Choosing overwork over all else. Feeding my self doubt with the lie that I am only my achievements and since I haven’t achieved the entire thing yet I haven’t achieved anything.

This one makes me feel like I’ll burst into hives.

Scenario 3

(I choose this one)

I can see and accept my wonderful reality. That I’m working on something I love. That inspiration is calling. That there are many possibilities and the journey will be so fun. That it feels like I’m just getting started and I get to be in the process of creating this body of work. Learning and growing as I move along the path at whatever speed feels right, following my interest as I go. Whilst not running myself ragged. Being in these precious days with my children where they are right now. Being with myself where.I.am with my needs mostly met and a regulated nervous system. Soaking up the daily pleasures (and frustrations) of life. And who knows what it’ll look like at the end of it. Maybe – surprise! - there is no end point. So maybe I give over to the process and allow myself to be here. Inside it. Instead of standing outside of me judging all the bloody time.

Doesn’t that sound like a relief? And yet, so often we find ourselves wrapped up in our stories of perfectionism, heading down scenario one or two.

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a sneaky form of self doubt that can masquerade as high standards, ambition and beautiful compelling visions. It sometimes gets tangled up so closely with inspiration that we can’t quite separate the two all that easily.

It whispers enticing stories of how ‘perfect’ it will all be when it’s ‘finished’.

Think about your house

As anybody who has ever decorated a house knows, there is never a ‘finished’ and there is no ‘perfect’.

With house renovation (as in life) there’s a lot more ‘close enough’, ‘did the best we could with what we had’, ‘changed direction’, ‘found something better’ and ‘shit, that plug socket right in my eye line is going to forever incense me but I cannot face another wall being ripped up so I’ll live with it’.

And there’s a whole heap of messy and imperfect along the journey plus the deep satisfaction that it’s YOUR journey. Your home.

It doesn’t look completely like the Pinterest board, it took an AGE and you’re going to re-do that part at some point but you love it anyway.

Not forgetting - thank god you couldn’t get it all finished within a week of moving in because you’d never have realised how the light falls so beautifully just in that spot there and you’d never have had that idea to do that thing that made it all so much more awesome.

It's the same in life

House, big life vision, body of fascinating work… we can get so hung up on the finished article that we forget to allow ourselves to be in progress.

I hear a lot from Mamas I work with that they can’t begin because it’s too big. They feel they’re failing because they’re nowhere near finished yet. They’ve started but berate themselves for not being further along. Their self doubt has rocketed because they compared themselves to someone years further along a similar journey and made the perceived gap mean something about their worth or ability. They can’t really see how far they’ve come because they’re disappointed to not be ‘there’.

the Antidote

I want to offer that whatever this speaks to in you - it’s ok not to be finished. You likely won’t ever feel finished and that is ok.

It can be so freeing to allow yourself to be IN THE PROCESS.

Instead of berating yourself for not being there yet, what if you allowed yourself the experience of being just exactly where you are on the journey.

This kind of self acceptance invites ease, perhaps opens you to the joy of where you are and allows you to be more present to the experience.

Trust that you are in progress. Even when it feels slower than you imagined it would be.

Allow yourself to absorb yourself in the next part without the incompletion hanging over you and enjoy it for what it is.

It’s safe to be in the process.

You and your story are still unfolding.

You’re not meant to be finished.

Photo with grateful thanks - Annie Spratt via Unsplash

This is an article I wrote for the Winter 2020 magazine produced by Robin and Rose as part of their nature subscription box. This thread of inspiration continues to enchant me and I have a lot more I could add to this now so maybe there's a part two in the offing.

When I sit in the woods, dwarfed by towering giants, I’m reminded we have a lot to learn from our tree-friends.  We’ve long known the benefits of a mood-lifting leaf canopy, of arms snaked round a trunk for a restoring tree-hug, but what goes on underground - where the human eye can’t see – is where the real learning for us lies.

When I moved the Mother Wild Retreat from a meadow in Kent, where I used to live, to a beautiful Herefordshire woodland, I knew instinctively there was a lot we could take from our surroundings.  The wood itself has magic in the air, but it was when I was researching that I learned about the magic below ground.

Diving into an earthy rabbit hole of new information, I learned that trees within a woodland are all connected by a thread-like fungus called mycelium.  A mycorrhizal network used to pass nutrients and information between themselves, to nourish and support each other.

Professor Suzanna Simard from the University of British Columbia identified that woodlands have ‘mother trees’.  These larger, older trees – like the elders of the tribe – act as central hubs for these vast mycorrhizal networks.  Trees of all species will be connected to the mother trees and to each other on this way and this network will reach across the entire woodland.  Trees use it to pass water, carbon, nitrogen and other nutrients and minerals to those who need it.  Nourishment on demand.

We know from recent studies that trees actually communicate their needs with each other.  Sending out distress signals through the network and asking for what they need.  The trees around them, along with the larger mother trees who have access to deeper water and greater stores of nutrients, respond; sending over exactly what’s needed.

To a woman who runs retreats for Mothers to come rest their tired bones, re-fill themselves and seek out what they need to feel more whole, this new information about the awesomeness of a community of trees was like poetry.  That we were to gather under the branches of trees who have all of this self-nurture stuff nailed, learning how to tend to and nourish ourselves a little better while underneath our feet this process naturally unfolded – well, suddenly retreating to the woods took on a whole new level of beauty.

We live in a culture where rest and self-nurture are not valued.  Where nourishing our minds, bodies and souls is often labelled indulgent or selfish.  Whether we’re parents or not, we’re often over-stretched, overwhelmed and depleted.  Our bodies and minds send out distress signals that we don’t hear or recognise, above the noise all around us.  We have tons of networks but not one with the express purpose of hearing our needs and fulfilling them before we miss a beat.

When my groups of tired Mums arrive for our weekend retreat, I invite them to live like the trees that surround us for the few days they’re here in the woods.  To imagine their roots could spread deep into the earth and intertwine with the miles and miles of mycorrhizal network beneath us.  What would their body ask for?  Their heart?  If they could plug in and ask for all they needed and have it delivered by the surrounding tribe without hesitance, judgement or it meaning anything, what would they ask for?  What are all the things that would nourish, strengthen and support them right now?

Some of this – rest, sunlight, time, space, quiet, movement, wonder, support, nourishing food – they will find here at the retreat.  In my experience, nobody gets into a hammock underneath the tree canopy and comes out quite the same.  Some of the whispers of the body and heart are taken away as intentions.  Promises to themselves.  To seek what they need, more of the time.  And like the trees, to never question their right to do that.

Lisa Mabberley runs Mother, Nurture & Wild and hosts retreats in the wild, in and around beautiful Herefordshire.  Lisa is coach who works with Mums on themes of self-nurture, carving out space and finding our lost parts - find out more here

Photo credit: Hannah at Pip & Wolf Photography

The festivals from the Celtic wheel of the year are beautiful markers within the year through which you can connect to nature and ground into the present moment. Becoming aware of this moment, this very point of the season - and what it symbolises - and soaking it up.

I love also using them as a way to connect to myself. And the fact they're spaced so evenly throughout the year means that if you follow them, you're never too far from that moment of reconnection.

Beltane

Beltane - falling on May 1st - is a rich Celtic festival with many themes. A celebration of the fertility of the Earth and of life in all it’s forms - plants, animals and humans. Mothers were especially celebrated at Beltane as the bringers of life.

A favourite book I reach for at each turn of the wheel - Circle Round by Starhawk, Baker & Hill - talks of raising up motherhood during this festival, in all it's forms - adoptive, biological, step, foster, guardianship and fathers fulfilling the traditional role of mothering. They write "When mothering is truly valued as the most priceless gift we can give to a child, and when women are truly honoured and supported for all the work they do in raising children, we may see a great shifting of priorities in the world."

The book also offers this prayer for Beltane:

"Mother of all, hear our prayer this day for the protection and blessing of all the mothers! You who hold seed in warmth and darkness till it knows to seek the sunlight; You whose winds carry the rain across the vast, arching sky, spilling it down on the thirsting soil;

You in whose arms we rest at the end of the day, in comfort and peace; we call you!

Hear our words of praise for the mothers of the world!

We call you blessings down tot he women in our circle who are raising children. Speak through their hearts and hands as they guide the growth of their children. Help them feel your love, help them replenish their stores from your endless well of strength and energy. Help remind them even when they don't think they need it, that we are all grateful for their work in raising the next generation.

For all these children are our children, and they bring great joy into the world. We know that what happens to the smallest of us also affects the largest. What befalls one child soon befalls the nation. And so, Mother of Creation, while we bless the mothers here, let us also bless ourselves with open hearts and open hands so that no child in this circle shall go wanting. By our love and by our efforts, may we be known as a people who honour mothers; as a people who give their children what they need to thrive; as a people thrice blessed by happy children, healthy families, and the boundless outpouring of your love into our lives. Mother of the World, with your blessing may we all grown in our capacity to love unconditionally, to nurture where there is need, and to tend well the fruits of our creation. Blessed be the mothers! So mote it be."

Circle Round - Starhawk, Baker & Hill

One of the fire festivals, Beltane is also a magical time when it’s said the veil between our world and the fairy realm is thin. So many threads within Beltane to draw upon to create your own moment of connection to yourself, the Earth and this festival. Choose something that calls to you. 

Soak up the morning

Beltane is a very feminine festival and a celebration of life. As the bringers of life women and mothers were particularly honoured. A Celtic ritual saw women gather together at daybreak to wash their faces in the morning dew - a ritual said to connect them together, to the Earth and thought to preserve their beauty for the year ahead. 

Take a moment for yourself amongst the morning dew, alone or with a friend. A walk, a sit with a cuppa, earth yourself barefoot on the grass, try out the dewy face-wash - whatever calls to you

Invite pleasure

Beltane is a time for celebrating the joy of being alive and giving thanks for all the different kinds of pleasure our bodies give us. A wholly easier thing to access than happiness or joy, pleasure is a felt sense in the body and there are lots of ways to invite it in. 

Have a pleasure-seeking day and seek out some simple pleasures that feel good for you. All the things that delight the senses and make it feel good to be alive - from fire to food to dancing and from wildflowers to orgasms, anything goes. 

Self Care rituals

Since Beltane celebrates mothers and coincides this weekend with the Taurus new moon whose theme is deep self care and tending, do we need any more reason to pile on the self love?

Carve out a moment for the self care you need. Take some time, tune in and listen. Get curious about what will nourish you and if it’s not immediately possible to do that make a plan for when you will and be sure to honour it. You are important.

Hold it lightly

I hope something within these invitations speaks to you and you feel inspired to carve out a moment for yourself around Beltane.

As with anything like this, keep it light. Zero pressure, bring self compassion, choose nourishing over perfect. And do it on any day you have the space, time or energy. There are no expiry dates and the wheel turns very slowly so there's time to seek out that moment.

Beltane blessings, love x

I've noticed that as social media gets noisier with it's reels and video, I'm seeking out the quieter online spaces for visual and mental exhale. I do love the connection and (entirely free) visibility of Insta but I also love the restfulness of sinking into stills and words that don't move.

I've had a couple of sporadic blogging adventures in the past and never quite got into the plentiful flow of posts I'd hoped for. Might have had something to do with having small ones around me always or madly attempting it during the first year of a pandemic!

These days I have a bit more of what I lacked then: child-free time and headspace. And with where my work has taken me there's a lot I want to share.

So you find me at the beginning of an experiment, loves.

I'm calling it a journal because it feels like journaling out loud. I'm excited to write more long form pieces to explore thoughts that interest me and you, share the themes of my work with Mums navigating self doubt and reclaiming space for themselves, show you some behind-the-scenes stuff in my own life and business and have a permanent home (which can't be erased overnight by insta account hackers) for the things I think might help Mums at different points of this crazy journey of mothering and living.

If there's anything you've seen me talking about on here or social media that you want me to expand on, you're always drop me a note. Or if you have any questions you want me to answer, I'm here for that.

Let's see where this experiment takes us. I hope you'll follow along x

© 2022 Lisa Mabberley
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