Reverence for Mothers & Caretakers: A Gratitude Reflection on Mothering & Being Mothered

Blog

May 10, 2021

Last month, and hopefully all of the days since then (!), we took time to celebrate and cherish Mother Earth and her boundless offerings. 

This month, you’re invited to consider the array of mothers in your life who nourish and protect you, even if they’re not mothers in the traditional sense. Whether it’s a mother who feeds and clothes you, a friend who offers wise counsel, or Great Mother Earth herself, the time is ripe to pause and reflect on the countless ways mothers and caretakers have been there for you over the years:  

Who are the mothers you’ve been positively impacted by – past, present, or future? 

Was there someone in your childhood who was always there – a steady presence before or after school? Maybe it wasn’t your own mother, but a neighbor or best friend’s mother? Or, perhaps it was a big willow tree that offered a shady place to sit and feel safe in your backyard. Family pets can serve as important mother figures as well!

Taking a Moment to Recall Being Mothered

Start by allowing your mind and heart to connect with a person or being you felt mothered by. Maybe an image comes to mind of a time you were served a delicious plate of food, driven to meet a best friend, or the recipient of a back rub at the end of a long day. 

Without trying too hard, allow yourself to connect with a feeling of care, connection, or appreciation. Notice and enjoy any pleasant feelings that arise.   

You might let your imagination wander and roam, remembering the many ways you’ve been supported and cared for by this mother – and any other carers that come to mind. 

If thoughts arise of how you weren’t cared for, or how you wish you’d have received a different quality of care, that’s okay.  For now, let’s just kindly and gently set those thoughts aside, and promise to come back to them (if needed), and be with what was good – or, at least, good enough, about the support you received from a mother or caretaker. 

What are the ways you felt nourished, supported or inspired by this mother or mother figure? Feel free to linger with this inquiry a bit longer. 

Before we close, you’re welcome to offer an expression of gratitude. 

Thank you for the delicious meals… 

Thank you for teaching me how to play the violin… 

Thank you for taking me home from dozens of sporting events…

Thank you for understanding me when no one else did. 

Now, let the eyes open and come back to where you are. Look around, reconnect with your environment through any, or all, of the senses. 

Let’s shift the focus now to noticing the way you’ve mothered or cared for countless others. 

Without too much effort, simply acknowledge the way your presence and care have supported, validated, or motivated others.   

Whether you’ve listened generously, tended the natural world, or been a steady presence with someone else’s children. 

Imagine what it’s like to be in the recipient’s shoes, accepting your beautiful gifts. Appreciate what you’re able to about yourself, offering a gesture of self-thanks if the impulse arises. 

Then, open the senses once again to the world around you, taking in the environment that supports you in this moment.

Making Gratitude a Way of Life

Holidays like Earth Day and Mother’s Day remind us to appreciate the multitude of gifts we give and receive each day. Usually without asking, or being asked, a fluid exchange occurs. Humans are meant to live in reciprocal relationships with one another as well as the land that readily supports and surrounds us. 

Becoming more mindful of the ways you contribute to others’ lives and how they contribute to yours may sound like too simple of a remedy for thriving, but the more grateful and connected our hearts become, the more we heal and thrive, both personally and collectively. 

We don’t need to wait for a holiday to practice being mindful of the ways we inherently support each other. In fact, we can do better by recognizing that living interdependently is our birthright. This runs counter to placing so much of our attention and efforts on being fiercely independent and autonomous.  Both can be possible, right?

How about making a daily practice of recalling what was made possible through someone else’s attention or actions? Similarly, what did you help to make possible for someone else? 

A simple expression of thanks, whether it’s something you feel in your heart, write down, or say out loud, can go a long way for cheering up a wary heart.   

As Meister Ekhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” 

Thank you to all of the mothers and caretakers of the world, the way you endlessly support, nourish and connect us. The world is a better place because of you.

Written by Breon Michel