A big barometer of self-love is how well we are able to parent ourselves through difficult times, mistakes, disappointments, grief and other challenging emotions.
All too often, this is where our wounds are triggered and we enact ways of being that perpetuate the cycle of wounding within our psyches. If we keep treating ourselves and our inner worlds the way we internalized, the way we learned to treat ourselves, then we continue the cycles of pain in our lives without realizing it.
This is the realm of the death mother and one I see most common in clients and my own soul life.
Grief is a very common reaction not only to loss but heartbreak or rejection or disappointment. We make mistakes. We are human. Life has its ups and downs. Things happen. We feel things in response to it.
The death mother sits on the shadow-y end of the Mother archetype. Archetypes are energies that represent certain patterns that contain the totality from shadow to light. Every archetype has this journey, including parental archetypes. The shadow resides within the death mother/father, negative parents, absent parent, to the good enough mother, nurturing mother, present mother and the great, divine mother. herself. One pulls us away from life. The other connects us more deeply into life-affirming principles that give freedom to the soul.
The way we parent ourselves is the backdrop of everything as we move through our lives. It is the way we treat ourselves emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. It is the way we nurture ourselves. It is the way we hold ourselves when we are experiencing difficulties, struggling with dark or challenging emotions, facing addictions or relationship patterns or our human condition. It seems so common that in emotional struggle and life difficulties, we have the hardest time loving ourselves. This is the inner parent at work.
What this looks like is a desire to get rid of the pain, criticizing ourselves, judging ourselves, numbing out the pain rather than seeking soothing, a hatred towards our own inner wounding, bypassing our wounding with spiritual affirmations, using our thoughts to control our deep pain, fear of turning inwards towards ourselves, a feeling of choking when wanting to express truth, a draw to things that on the surface appear soothing but are actually toxic, or seeking for something outside of ourselves to be our source of love.
Living in a world that values what image we project over who we really are, what we can produce over what we express, how we look over how we feel is a culture that is emotionally and spiritually neglectful. It is a culture that values the external to such a degree that we have become codependent this culture, a death mother, in an attempt to receive the nourishment our psyche is so deeply craving and getting ourselves lost in the process.
We have been split in two...our inner nature and our rational nature. Animal and divine has become animal OR divine. The splitting creates a deep chasm in the in-between, a place that rests in our hearts...where we are actually meant to embody the in-between...to be both instinctual and divine, logical and filled with the creative loving energy of eros; to hold a safe container, respect knowledge and wisdom equally and to navigate through the world fully alive in our cells with feeling, wisdom and grace. We should feel safe to be whole. Yet most of us do not.
This is the essence of the soul wound, the split between our two sides; logos and eros, masculine and feminine, animal or spirit, spiritual or science, dark or light, love or hate, good or bad...and on and on.
When I stopped drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, I had an intuition that a lot of my addiction was related to mothering. It was then I began to explore not only my relationship to my own personal mother but what it is to cultivate a conscious relationship with myself. This is when I first encountered the archetype of the death mother, a representation of the oppression/abuse of the healthy feminine. She is also the shadow side of the Great Mother archetype.
Archetypes are universal energy patterns that humans have experienced through out time. It is also expressed within cultures, as well as personally in each of our lives. This forms the foundation of our internal mother, a combination of universal energetics, cultural expressions and our personal lineage.
The death mother archetype appears in other cultures as an archetype of the soul stealer; the soul ultimately being the feminine, embodied expression of the divine.
No matter how weird, awkward or flawed you feel, love loves you.
No matter the depths of the suffering you are managing, love loves you.
No matter if you speak when you want to be quiet, love loves you.
No matter if you listen to your intuition or not, love loves you.
No matter your frequency or human level of consciousness, love loves you.
No matter how free you feel, love loves you.
No matter how much "work" you do on yourself to gain your own love, love loves you.
No matter your sensitivity or foolishness, love loves you.
No matter your ability to feel connected to love, love loves you.
No matter how embodied or not you are, love loves you.
No matter how much you judge or fear or mistrust others/life, love loves you.
No matter your wounds, love loves you.
No matter how afraid you are or where you misstep, love loves you.
No matter your mistakes and the amends you make, love loves you.
No matter whether good things are happening or bad, love loves you.
No matter how much joy or grief you feel, love loves you.
No matter your level of awakening, love loves you.
No matter your unmetabolized shadow, love loves you.
No matter the height of your light and genius, love loves you.
Your body knows how to love.
She knows the sensations and freedom of wholeness.
There is a divine intelligence embedded in every cell.
Your body also holds all of the fragments of unmetabolized experiences from repressed suffering piled on through a life where we are taught to deny the impact that life has on us. Forced positivity violates her truth. Our bodies wait for us to turn towards her. She longs to offer up her dreams, visions, fears, longings and emotions as guides back home.
When we live inside our mental body, our thoughts are always responding to these fragments that live just outside of our consciousness awareness. Just because we are conscious in mind does not mean we are aware of everything.
We get stuck in struggle, scarcity and suffering because we think that it is the mind that can solve the riddle.
Mind as king cannot ever replace the role of the body as our queen.
Unworthiness does not exist in nature. There are no trees, flowers, plants, insects, elements or animals that worry that they are less than creation or better than all the others around them. Everything exists together in delicate balance, one that is necessary for the benefit and survival of all.
Worth has nothing to do with being human.
It has been created via a culture that is based on economics rather heart. It has more to do with giving value to what can be monetized and capitalized on as a resource. If there is no added value, ability to monetize something or use it as a resource to build more "worth," than it isn't seen as worthy.
This is a very sad thing. The very things that deeply nourish the soul of a human being are often not seen to be very valuable in an economics based culture.
Worthiness dehumanizes the soul, stripping away the in-between nature of what it is to be a whole human being. We begin to treat the earth and other animals in this way.
It has absolutely nothing to do with the truth of who we are. Nothing. No matter how much you charge your "worth" or know your "value," it will never quite satisfy the heart or quench the soul because you are not a commodity item available for sale, debate, opinion, forming, reducing, judging or dismissing.
Because worth has nothing to do with you.
The "patriarchy” doesn’t have to just do with men or the masculine principle. Everything is a part of the wholeness and the wholeness lives within all things. There is also very much a feminine counterpart to the patriarchy, a system designed to function through domination, control and power.
This is a system that rose from the transition of worshipping mother nature to seeking to domination not only over mother earth but over our own feminine nature deeply tied to the earth body itself.
The death mother is the counterpart to the death father. These are archetypal energies that exist in the collective psyche. If they did not, there wouldn’t be the kind of situations we are dealing with on the earth at this time.
These archetypal energies influence each of us and are confounded even more if they’ve also arrived into the blueprint of our nervous systems via our actual parents.
The death mother is the shadow part of the feminine who seeks to express herself through power, domination and control of the elemental feminine, of the soul of both men and women. She represents the "cultural subjugation of the wild and unruly feminine (Toko-pa)" and to survive she's become like the death father in order to thrive. Her soul was stolen and now she steals to feel like she has one.
There's a saying about resentment that goes something like resentment is like drinking a poisonous substance and expecting the other person to die from it.
It's anger and hurt wrapped up in a frustration that our mind projects onto others but an energy we attack ourselves with. It's painful living inside the trance of resentment, a trance we get so used to that we don't even realize how much we are punishing ourselves and attacking life on a very deep, subconscious level.
Beneath resentment is often trauma or grief over needs that were never met.
Trauma means disconnection. It is a broken form of trust in life, love, others and in our ability to meet our innermost emotional and spiritual needs.
Where we have resentment, there is an inner wounded one that didn't get needs met, has a hurt that was never expressed/acknowledged, or there is simply grief over what never was. These kinds of disappointments are real and not to be glossed over.
In order to truly individuate into our true sovereign adulthood and move into our highest potential, we must soothe the inflammation of resentment through watering it with our tears of grief.
Tenderness is strength.
It is this tremendous capacity to meet ourselves with raw love drawn from the deepest knowing that every part of us is worthy of love and compassion. It is the space where our beingness meets with the love that life longs to offer us, reminding us that eros connects us to the very heart beat of life itself.
Tenderness has the capacity to soften the heart open and expand our ability to feel trust in the intelligent nature of life. Tenderness shows us that power is not in force but in meeting what arises with fierce softness and that loving presence is the elemental nature of the feminine that naturally brings change when we make contact with her.
Tenderness heals us.
She cracks us open and brings healing relief to tension in the body. She kisses our grief and joy in equal measure. She roots for us to wrap our fear in her loving arms to transform it into courage. She builds the bridges between the shadow and the light.
Tenderness is power.
It is the reclamation of the great mother within our own hearts. We can no longer afford to feed the belief that tenderness is weak. Our hearts (and this world) are deeply in need of more tenderness, not less.
How can you find some tenderness for you today?