Mother, Nurture & Wild
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<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 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

© 2022 Lisa Mabberley
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