For thousands of years, women passed on the wisdom they had learned in life to their daughters. They passed on old stories, sacred gifts, words of wisdom, skills and dreams. While they sat together weaving baskets, the mother shared old stories that her mother had told her from long ago.
But in recent years, this passing of wisdom has been lost. Most women do not receive warm baskets of wisdom, knowledge and inspiration.
In my work with women, I find that the vast majority of women on the spiritual path are mending an old wound, a wound from the Lost Mother.
I understand this wound, because I have carried it around with me too, for many, many years.
Most of us had mothers growing up, ones who were alive and present, but who lacked the ability to share with us wisdom or words to keep us safe throughout our lives. As young women, many of us were left trying to navigate this world with eyes half closed, not aware or willing to acknowledge the intensity of life or dangers lurking.
Blame is not the right emotion to feel regarding our mothers. They too did not have warm arms to run into that filled them with knowledge and inspiration. The line of women who walked before us have been detached and forgotten for so long that it is nearly impossible to trace back how and when the sacred woman inside died.
She was muzzled.
And the women that came after her learned to wear this muzzle too.
And so all of these generations later, here we are. Feeling starved for wisdom, insight and purpose. We naturally feel a draw to our mothers and hope they will appreciate us and stroke our backs when we have done well. But for many of us, that did not happen.
Healing the Lost Mother is more than moving past the old childhood wounds, it in fact requires us to replay those wounds.
Many of us can think back to our childhood and see parts that really shaped us, good or bad. Maybe you learned that the world is an unsafe place, consciously or subconsciously, and created a strong outside demeanor to survive. Maybe you learned that your needs are not important and so you turned to alcohol or drugs to numb you. All things have a root cause and so as you begin to peer into your childhood and notice the parts of it that really shaped who you are now, is important.
Healing the Lost Mother requires a few steps, and here they are-
1. Your Mother is not your Only Mother
Perhaps the most significant, this is the first step in healing the Lost Mother. Traditionally many years ago, young women were around many older women and each woman taught us something unique. One woman was an expert cook and taught you how to warm and boil different plants. One woman was an expert in herbal medicine and taught you what plants to pick for a wound. One woman was an expert in basket weaving and showed you where to find the best fibers. As a young woman, they absorbed knowledge and had many "mothers", women who were there for them and taught them what they needed to learn. In our modern culture, we have learned that our mother is only the woman who birthed us, but I do not think that needs to be true. A mother can be any woman who is inspiring and cares for us. Yes, you will always have your biological mother, but maybe we need to respect where your birth mother is at in her journey. Maybe she will never fully understand this realm or your passion for it - we should respect that. Her journey is different than yours. And maybe there is another woman or women in the world who will happily sit in that spot and pour old stories into your soul. Your birth mother is not your only mother in the world.
2. Let go of your story
This is the hardest step to complete in healing the Lost Mother. It requires us to let go of the story we have been living our entire life. "My mother does not love me", "No one cares about me", "I am alone." These are all stories that we tell ourselves that ultimately shape our life experience. Tell yourself you are unloved and alone enough times and you will stop attracting caring people. Letting go of our story surrounding our mothers is important because it takes a lot of wisdom to do so. It is easy to harbor resentment, anger, fear, hatred... but it requires a lot of wisdom to live in a state of gratitude. When a woman can look back on her past and see only blessings, she is a wise woman. When she cannot, she simply has more work to do. Why is this? When we realize that everything that has ever happened to us has happened for a specific reason, how can we judge those experiences? These events and moments shaped who we are and so if we cast them away as bad or undesirable, then we are casting away our most sacred life lessons.
Looking back, my mother tried her best to be a mother. I think she just lacked the right tools to really be able to support me the way I needed. As a teen, however, this wasn't my perspective. I thought she was ridiculous and cruel and impossible to live with. But then, year later, I realized: had I not had the exact childhood that I had, had I not had a family that didn't know how to support me, had I not had a difficult start - would I have ever left to find myself and discover this beautiful path? If life had been easy and simple and care free, would I have craved something different?
3. Rediscover gratitude
Can you begin to live in a state of gratitude where you can appreciate all of the life moments you have witnessed? Can you let go of the anger or resentment and instead begin to see it all and beautiful and perfect? Letting go of the negative feelings and emotions and turning to gratitude allows us to change the direction of our story. In a place of gratitude, we can begin to attract more empowering women on our journeys who can hold the space of Mother. Living gratitude helps us heal the Lost Mother wound inside and frees us from living as the victim.
You have the power to redirect your story and find a place of grace and ease. If you and your mother are on separate journeys and do find a lot of harmony together, simply love her. Send love. She is on her own journey too, also navigating this giant labyrinth we call life.
And so it is.