The Sacred Ceremony of Motherhood
As mothers, we pour our creativity into each act of motherhood, leaving little time or energy for other creative endeavors. At times we even forget about our creativity, because it often masquerades as duty or the doing of a mundane daily task. We must remember that, as mothers, this is our super power: We bring our creativity into everything we do, and ritual hides in our daily routines. Children are the ultimate teachers in ritual and they are leaders of daily ceremony: their tiny chants, the careful way they line up their toys, the way they place their small hands on our hearts.
Once, in a moment of worry that I needed to bring more ritual and intention into my child’s life, the universe reminded me that I needed only to watch my toddler’s actions to learn how much ritual was truly at hand. I looked at my golden-haired babe sitting on top of an antique trunk, and a slice of sunshine fell across him in his cotton pajamas. He slowly turned the pages of his book, rhythmically reciting the colors of the rainbow.
If that is not ceremony, I don’t know what is.
One thing that I hear so many mothers discuss is that sense of frantic determination to bring peace, love, joy, and enlightenment to our babies and children. We want to feed them the best food and nourish them perfectly. We want to use the best organic soaps and purest, raw nut butters and buy clothing with low-impact dyes for them. We are determined to buy the best products, the best food, the best diapers, the best strollers. Every purchase should be according to their highest good. In this way, we will create for them a perfect world (this is what we tell ourselves; this is what we are told from many outside sources).
In this battle for perfection, we run the risk of losing ourselves. In losing ourselves, we subsequently run the risk of losing connection to our children. Rather than sitting on the floor with them creating a magical world of play, we get caught between classes and errands, deliveries and phone calls—all in our grand scheme to make the world a better place for these precious babies.
Let us rest. We must not sacrifice the sacred ceremony of motherhood to the wild pursuit of perfection.
Where is the balance? How do we cultivate more play, more ceremony, more ritual? Because isn’t it play, really, that nurtures our children (and potentially our selves) the most? Isn’t it play that is the heartbeat of creative ceremony with these beings?
It is here that we teach (and learn) the language of love; it is here that we become privy to our children’s dreams, their stories, the particular threads of their imaginations. In playtime we create trust, and we through trust, we begin to build the delicate container of communication between parent and child.
Another mother once told me that play-time is an art form, literally. It is the time to break out the costumes, the dress-up bins, the crayons and paper. It is time to abandon ship, let the kitchen be dirty, let the laundry be in the basket. It is time to forgive yourself for a messy house, and make it even messier as you bring out the finger paints, the oil pastels, the tools of your own childhood that will now revive your spirit and be passed along to the tiny hands of your child.
This is the ceremony. These are the rituals. It is through this medium that we will create our masterpiece.
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