Last week I was teaching a slow, meditative, non-flow yoga class and I heard myself say, “It is my goal as a yoga teacher for you to not need a yoga teacher. My goal for you is to feel so connected to and empowered by your own knowledge of Self, your body and the path that you are on that you can stay home and trust your own intuitive movement and meditation.”
I was both shocked and pleased with this sentiment. I quickly followed it up with, “I realize this is bad for business (they laughed quietly at this), but please try to tap into and honor all the knowledge you already possess and be lead by the curiosity that is always present.”
I’ve continued to think about this all week. It occurred to me this morning during my shower meditation (yeah, I often get my meditation in the quiet of my bathroom, under hot water), that this is just yet another way my Matriarch archetype has entered the space. Again. She’s not just a Mother, she is like the KoolAid man kicking down the wall and screaming her message.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this Mothering energy. Possibly due to a string of childhood trauma and life in general, as a kid I quickly found peace and strength at being a helper. If I was a helper, I couldn’t be a victim. Of course, helpers often have shit boundaries. I know I did, but that’s a whole other conversation for another time. It took a lot of time and growing and experiences to my find my strength at both Mothering and boundary making.
When I became an actual Mother, I remember my brother asking me if I were afraid I was going to “mess up” my child. I looked at my tiny, new daughter and said, “Well, I don’t know quite what I’m doing, that’s true. But I know deep in my bones the things I DO NOT want to do as her Mother. I guess that’s a good start.”
I’ve carried that sentiment with me in all my roles as an adult. As a Mother, I want my kids to feel loved and supported. I want them to be kind human beings. I want them to find success by their own happiness meter and not some social construct of “success”.
As a midwife, I wanted the families I served to have evidence-based care and informed consent throughout their time with me. I wanted people in labor and giving birth to feel autonomous in their bodies as they did the incredibly physically and emotionally challenging work of bringing a child into the world.
As a yoga teacher, I want the practitioners who come to my classes to feel welcome, supported and to understand they have autonomy to do as they please and need to during their yoga practice. I use language that invites them to explore a posture as opposed to holding it the one way that I’ve deemed the only “correct” way.
I’m constantly challenging myself to critically think about the things I do, say, teach and live. This results in me having to fess up and explain myself sometimes. “I know I used to say/teach/do this, but I have decided to stop because X, Y, Z.” These statements can be a little tasking to the Ego sometimes, but whatever. Growth keeps our time on earth interesting.
The down-side to the Mother archetype is that I have had to learn to temper my inner Over-Protective Mother. For me, this isn’t a hand-wringing, simpering, “Be careful, honey!” Not at all. The OP Mom in me is fierce and jumps in to defend my babies before giving it much thought. This can lead to serious inner rage and potentially over-the-top venting that is never productive.
Injustice, unkindness and power plays enrage me. When I hear that someone has treated my kid poorly, it’s not good. When I’d have a birth client transfer for care to a hospital and a smug OB would make a shitty comment, it could get ugly. When a yoga practitioner tells me another yoga studio or teacher told them their practice was terrible and that they don’t know enough, well… all of these situations transform me into a very angry KoolAid Man. This is the OP Mom who wants to put a choke hold on those who’ve threatened her babies. This level of self-awareness begs that I simmer down and see these threats as potential for the babies to grow. They don’t need me to fight for them. They need me to be present and remind them of their innate strengths and where they can find ways to course-correct to see themselves through the bullshit.
While the Mother in me is ever-present, I’m starting to edge into the age of the Crone- or, as another writer coins her, The Seer. I feel more grounded in my mind and soul. I feel more secure in my voice. The need for outside validation has steadily decreased over the years (and I’ve always been one to flip the bird at that concept anyhow). I’ve realized that the job of the Mother is to get the child/student to feel strong and empowered on their own, so they do not need to come back home as often. And if they do visit, it’s for love and community.
If a Mother has done her job well, one will have accessed the inner tools and the outer skills to see oneself through loving oneself first before seeking love from others, the ability to cook a decent meal, to keep a plant alive, and to move, live, and breathe in one’s body as they see fit.
I’ll be here if you need me.
I’ll remind you of how strong you are.