This post has been brewing in my mind for a long time, fed by a news story here, something someone said over there, and my own experiences over the course of the last year. For some reason though, I never could quite connect the dots into something that made sense to type out. Until now, and let me tell you why.
Every week I pull a card from a Tarot deck that's very dear to me. I use it as a road sign of sorts to guide me through the week, or at the very least give me a dose of positive inspiration. Anyhow, the last 2 weeks I happened to pick the same card twice, which isn't the most unbelievable thing to ever happen to me. But this morning I was thinking deeply about this website and all of you readers and wanting to understand the true purpose and soul of Rhythms of the Moon, so I asked the deck and pulled a card.
And guys, it was the same card. Again. For the 3rd time in a row.
Suddenly all those little dots in my head collided and this post became clear. Hopefully anyhow. I should write it out first before I make that claim. By the way, before I get into the card and what it means and all that, I want you to know that I use a Native American deck called Sacred Path Cards, so it's very different from a more traditional deck.
The card I drew a stunning 3 times in a row is the Give-Away Ceremony, which is about sharing gifts and releasing things that don't serve us. That's good stuff on its own but I want to talk about the alchemy that happened between this card and my brain and all of those dots that I'd been mulling over for a while. I want to explain what that card means to me in the context of this community and all of you moms reading my words here. So here goes.
From the chapter on the Give-Away Ceremony:
"In this ritual (the give-away ceremony), giving away useful or loved possessions is a form of sharing with others. It is also a sign that the giver is willing to make a sacrifice and surrender a gift to another person without attachment or regret. The Native understanding of sacrifice originally meant "to make sacred." To make any act or any gift sacred, one has to complete that action with a joyful heart and a humble attitude. Giving is only one step of the process and allows the giver to look within so that he or she many examine the growth potential associated with the Give-Away."
Motherhood is obviously a selfless role for most of us, I would say the most selfless one I've ever experienced. Before R was conceived, I was a very millennial Millennial, which was both good and bad. My focus was directed on my lifestyle and being happy, and I followed whatever perked my interests on any given day. I worked hard 3 days a week so that I could spend the other 4 strolling to coffee shops for my morning mocha, laying in bed for half the day reading, taking evening bike rides with Chris through Boulder, and eating dinner at hip sushi joints on Pearl Street.
It was leisurely, lovely, and wonderful. And at the very same time, it was all surface and no depth. It was self-serving in all the best and most meaningless ways, because gosh- isn't it just so boring to be the star of your own show after a while? Chasing fun, crafting, endless DIY’s, rescuing animals, taking road trips, and trying to create the best life possible becomes quite old when that’s all that you’re doing.
And then Chris, and then R, and then now. I'm a mom with a guy and kid and my animals, and I've traded in my days of leisure for days of chasing the squirming chub of a baby around our home and folding what is literally a never-ending stream of laundry (because Chris has not crossed over to minimalism. yet). I still drink my daily mochas, but I've traded out the trendy coffee shops for my kitchen and a mason jar. I still read, but in bits and pieces throughout the day and before bed if I can. And I still craft, but with a different purpose and a much longer time-frame on any given project.
And I couldn't be happier or more fulfilled. While I've had my dips into postpartum depression and experience some extremely tired days, my life is infinitely more whole than it ever was before. I wouldn't swap my worst days now for my best days then.
Because of this stark contrast I've experienced, I can't help but look at society, and my Millennial generation in particular, and feel sad about the lie we've been told. No, we can't have everything, at least in the way that our culture says you can. And for all those putting off kids for now or always because their lives are cooler and more important than offspring with needs of their own, generally speaking, it's not a choice that leads to great happiness.
We are happiest when we are giving, when we love others, and when we quit thinking so much about ourselves. Motherhood gives us the best place to practice these things. The Sikh religion refers to it as the spiritual path of the homemaker. There's a reason why work and service have been cornerstones of Monastic traditions throughout history. They are the surprising portals to a deeper experience of life.
This is why motherhood is the ultimate Give-Away Ceremony. Giving is the work of motherhood, it’s how we spend our moments alive and awake. Yes, it can be tiring, and yes, without care it can be overwhelming, but ultimately it is the privilege of a lifetime. We just have to choose to how we to look at it. We can either be the overworked victim, or we can be our own versions of Mother Theresa. That’s the magic spot. That’s the place where motherhood can empower and energize us rather than drag us down. It’s our choice.
Our culture is becoming increasingly self-centered with no end in sight. The interesting and ironic thing is that the more we focus on ourselves and our own comfort, the more uncomfortable we become. We need a certain level of stress. We’re made for challenge and grit-that’s what makes us resilient and strong. This is never more true than in motherhood.
What I’m saying is that we need to go towards discomfort. We aren't becoming martyrs, just leaning into the sharp points in life. This is a very Buddhist idea, something that Pema Chodron and Chogyam Trungpa write a lot about. We give even when we don’t feel like giving. We replace thoughts of of ourselves with thoughts of our families. We give our all to our kids, and then someday we give them away to the world and their unique paths and their cosmic purposes. And this is why motherhood is the ultimate Give-Away Ceremony. There’s nothing greater.
In closing, I pulled this card 3 times because giving away underlies everything I do here. I want to give everything I can to my own little one and also to you, and I hope that you will give everything you can to your families. If we all try together, we can raise an amazing and powerful generation that one day we can give to the world, knowing that we did our best and that they will take care of the rest.
As always, let’s continue the discussion in the comments below, so let me know what your thoughts are :)