Making Magic from Darkness
I’ve been working with an amazing Business Coach who is helping me work out what’s next. In just a few sessions, I’m on fire!
Oh the magic of coaching – I’m getting closer to what is next. It’s really uncomfortable for me to be in this dark place of not knowing and to trust that it will all turn out the way it’s meant to.
It’s not the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m experienced in this dark to light transformation.
Transmuting fiery frustration into passionate purpose
I soothe my frustration with tea, my journal and cards – 2 of my 5 go tos when I’ve lost my way. It’s also when I start taking note of the little nods and signs the Universe sends me to show me I am on track. Have a listen to this episode of Truly Madly Smiley if you’re a doubter to find out how I do that.
My passion is the kids, but the power is with the mother
I’m crystal clear I love working with young people. They show me in their sweet ways, the suppressed and hidden pain in their families. Sometimes I can reach the mother with gentle feedback but often I can’t, and I send the child back after coaching without changing the home environment. That’s what’s in real need of attention, and yet, it’s not the catalyst that brings the child to coaching.
It frustrates me. It feels incomplete. The cycle continues.
That’s why I started family coaching because the family is a system and the wounds are often generational. They go deep and they affect every family member differently.
Getting to the root cause instead of papering over the cracks
I was sitting after my coaching session further contemplating mothering. I observed that I had become angry and animated. Not just because the mother wound runs through my family – I have a very difficult relationship with my mother and she sadly never properly knew her own mother – but I’m angry for all the women who feel this pain. I don’t think I’m alone in that.
It shouldn’t be taboo to talk honestly about mothers in that way.
We carry their shame and they carry the shame of their parents. The buck stops where?
Honour thy mother + father
Deeply traumatised by my childhood (my book explains more), my strong thirst for knowledge and my desire to learn, I was led down another path that made me want to smash the generational mother wounds in my family to pieces. Wow, I was truly angry, that’s really no way to treat yourself when you’re hurting.
I didn’t have children so that in itself wouldn’t allow the shit show to continue. I honoured all my ancestors and thanked them for getting me this far, then I said ‘Right I’m getting off here!‘ and off I trundled to therapy in search of my powerful self. At the time, I didn’t realise how lost I was, or indeed that it was myself I was searching for.
You don’t need fixing, you aren’t broken, you just haven’t met yourself fully yet
‘What are you searching for?‘ my therapist would frequently ask and I would shrug saying something like ‘I don’t know but I feel like something is missing, I am wrong and I need to make it right!’ The voice of shame right there.
Sadly, my mother (or father) didn’t choose to follow me to this new world where women are sensitive, strong, empowered leaders. There’s nothing I would like more than for my mother to step into her power too. I sometimes think when we’re too afraid, too defended, too committed to being right and shamed out of our true selves, we do not have the humility to go within.
Forever, hopeful, I hold a light and trust that one day she will find the strength within to step out of her darkness. I continue to honour my own path. She may never do that in this lifetime. And yet, I cannot sacrifice who I am or betray myself for her. Love doesn’t make you choose.
It does take strength – the strength of a woman is vulnerability
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Brene Brown
I wrongly believed that strength was physical + controlling until I found my power.
I also wrongly assumed that if I stepped into my mothering power, I would destroy my own children. That rage within my mother that I had violently felt and witnessed, I had it in me too and it terrified me. It rendered me small, afraid and helpless. I locked it away and pushed it down with food. Nice girls don’t get mad. Power is bad and unkind. Stay kind. Be Good.
So, I settled for being ‘perfect‘ and ‘good‘ and if you are prone to doing the same you’ll know that it’s exhausting and impossible. It’s the ultimate self-betrayal and whilst you’d think it’s much easier to be who you are, how can you be ‘her’ when you’ve never known who she really is? She’s covered in shame and armouring up her vulnerability, least anybody finds her ‘weaknesses’ and exerts control over her.
That’s how powerless she feels.
I can understand her plight AND have self-compassion
I hadn’t been taught how to harness my inner power and use it wisely. I had no healthy blueprint for a good enough mother. I wasn’t able to be vulnerable – all my defences were up. I was angry and hateful. My Mum was angry and hateful too. And I understood why. She had every right to be. However, I can still have compassion for the little girl inside of me that felt alone, angry and bad too.
Anger blocks vulnerability. Underneath it is so much grief. It’s the deep pain of not having the love that you deserve, the family you wanted and the mother that never was. It’s incredibly painful. She never had that and so she couldn’t give it to me.
Hurt people do not hurt people
That’s a myth. I was in pain and I chose a different path. You can too.
I was a hurt person who was hurting myself. Drinking, smoking too much, not eating properly – sometimes starving myself and other times stuffing myself full until I felt sick. Betraying myself and shrinking myself to fit into relationships that were toxic, jobs that were not right for me and living a life where I came last.
That said, it wasn’t an easy path because when you’re the one that accepts the challenge – or is in so much pain you cannot go on, you’re doing it for all the women in your family lineage.
History repeats itself – what’s your legacy?
I continually talk about how when trauma goes untreated in families, it repeats the same pattern. In the case of the mother wound, relational trauma impacts how you see yourself, how you form relationships with others, how you express yourself and how you make sense of your place in the world. It’s everything.
I think many women may have repressed and suppressed rage (grief) due to society’s false depiction of motherhood. I personally find it so effing offensive. The myth that a mother is balanced in her feminine energy and yet can hold down a job, be a domesticated goddess, practice good self-care, be a wife, daughter, sister etc. is BS.
No wonder we don’t feel good enough.
It’s making us all feel like we have to be perfect, but life is messy!
“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimise the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame. Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.” Brene Brown
Not all mothers are loving + kind
The myth – hurt people, hurt people is also offensive to the daughters of mothers who have hurt them (unintentionally or not) because not all mothers are loving and that’s a harsh reality to accept if you’ve been blessed with a kind mother.
Some of us had mothers who physically hurt us, psychologically tortured us or who exerted control over us in a way that kept us afraid and small. Some of us had mothers who were jealous and competed with us or who brutally criticised us. Some of us had mothers who were ignoring and disregarded our needs – it was always about them.
And that myth is also offensive to mothers who continually feel inadequate, guilty and ill-equipped on a daily basis. There is no mothering handbook, only those that have gone before us, or if we are lucky enough, we may have one or more strong female role models growing up to plug the gaps.
What does a ‘good enough’ mother look like?
Mothering doesn’t come naturally to everybody. How do we know what good enough mothering looks like if we haven’t had a good enough role model or a mother who is physically present, but emotionally absent in our life? There are no perfect mothers and no perfect kids.
There are no bad mothers and no bad kids.
I say that because in spite of it all, I am still quite protective over my mother. There are really only hurt people who long for love and acceptance. That’s what a good enough mother would give them.
A good enough mother knows herself well enough to see, hear and love her children just as they are.
I see so many mothers ‘going to work’ on their kids’ problems, when more often than not the ‘problem‘ their child has and that they are desperately trying to fix is something in them that is hurting and unacknowledged. That’s the shadow part of us.
When we shine a light on the shadow (hidden) and we accept it, it miraculously disappears in our kids! What a gift.
Powerful mothers lift their children up + cheerlead them on!
I believe it is truly a privilege to be a mother and to know your power as a woman. When you are given such great power, it is your responsibility to bring your child into the world, not to have more than you, but for them to become more than you were allowed to be – their true authentic selves.
By healing ourselves and learning to know and love all parts of us (dark and light), we don’t push parts of ourselves away or feel ashamed of who we are. We don’t abuse or misuse our power! Instead, we reclaim it and we empower our kids to follow their hearts and be all that they are capable of being.
Kids can only do this if we light the way!
I know I am on the right path – the angels literally showed me the way
As I sat contemplating my coaching session and all that I have been through to transcend my own mother wound and my own darkness, my thoughts were interrupted by a loud bang behind me. One of the three little angels on my bookcase had crashed to the floor. She fell under the reading light and both her feet broke off. She literally came out of the shadows and even with no feet, she was still carrying a heart (the second angel carries a star and the third one is sitting pretty).
Can you see the symbolism? Even being born in darkness without grounded mother roots constantly holding me safely and securely, I’m still flying through the air by the seat of my pants carrying love and wanting to share it with you. I don’t think I could have done that had I not done the work in therapy (shone a light on it).
That is the only way to transcend pain. To see it, to show it the light, love it and set it free.
Set you + your child free!
What is a mother to you? Finding balance
I think mothering is more about the relationship you have with yourself. How you parent yourself (take care of, love, accept, guide, listen to, protect and nurture yourself) is indicative of the type of mother that you are.
Look for the clues
Your child will let you know if you’re not paying attention. And remember, not all children are the same, so we have to take their temperament and needs into consideration. But you have more of a chance of letting them be their unique selves when you are not projecting your shadow parts all over them (not on purpose, of course, I know you don’t mean to!).
Don’t make your job harder than it already is!
If power was misused or your power was crushed, you’re mothering blindfolded (from darkness) because there are parts of you that you cannot see that are silently hurting your child. Your mother map is skewed and it’s very likely that you’re either copying what you were taught or swinging the complete opposite way and overcompensating.
The best way to strengthen that relationship with yourself and with your child is to listen to the podcast. It’s gentle and it drip feeds what your soul is longing to hear (so there’s no overwhelm and you can’t get it wrong!). You’ll be re-parenting your inner child and you’ll be giving your child solid foundations and life skills that will set them up for success.