Search for Mother Journaling

Search for Mother Journaling

by Valerie Albrecht

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452501666
Publisher: Balboa Press Australia
Publication date: 01/22/2015
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.23(d)

Read an Excerpt

Search for Mother Journaling


By Valerie Albrecht

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2015 Valerie Albrecht
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4525-0166-6



CHAPTER 1

The Way Forward Emerges


Search for Mother Journaling


When I look back on my time as a new mother I remember an overabundance of feelings and thoughts, the beauty and innocence on my babies' faces and being exhausted from breast feeding nights. I recall falling in unconditional love with my babies along with falling into despair over mothering expectations, mine and others'. Some days, I did not understand my ways of mothering, or my reactions to my children and my mother. Other days, I understood with both grateful and alarming revelation. Time and again my positive, joyful experiences of mothering and being mothered were overwhelmed by conflicting, confusing emotions and a longing to make sense of "mother".

My first book Search for Mother addressed this longing by relating my natural therapy birthing work in Australia, India and North America. It also unearthed profound questions about mother, her forms, her essences and her dualities. Additionally it was an impetus for both men and women readers to share with me fulfilling and heartbreaking searches, connections and disconnections. Search for Mother also had the wonderful, unexpected outcome of birthing practitioners and organizations incorporating its' tools into their practices. From this, Search for Mother developed its' own momentum and became Honored Birth, a Natural Therapies in Birthing Program, credited with the Australian College of Midwifery.

But what to do, where to go, with the unearthed "mother" questions, sentiments, beliefs and expectations? How to "puzzle out" the persistent emergence of her complexities and the apparent dichotomies of her - all of which birthing people, non-birthing people and practitioners continued to voice? It was clear that "fathoming mother" faced many. The way forward care-fully wrote itself into this companion Search for Mother Journaling.

Search for Mother Journaling offers a structure and a process for "fathoming mother". The structure is through organizing her into Mothers of Origin, the forms in which we encounter her in our lives; and into Mothers of Power, the intrinsic natures and essences of her which we have come into contact with, or not. Mothers of Origin and Mothers of Power are inter-dependent, each with wisdoms and frailties. The process is through reflecting, diarizing, accounting for and updating thinking and attitudes about mother.

I believe that linking with our Mothers of Origin, our Mothers of Power and their polarity deepens both our knowledge of her and our awareness of the resources we carry within to mother ourselves and others.

It is my hope that Search for Mother Journaling will bring an embrace for all your mother experiences both positive and negative; will enhance and inspire your innate mother-ness; and will embolden you and your children to know mothering from many.

Dedicated to and acknowledging all who taught me about mother and mothering: The Mother within me acknowledges the Mother within you.

CHAPTER 2

Mothers of Origin


Usually, when we see the word mother, what comes to mind is biological mother: the woman who gave birth to us. However, as we live our lives we come to realize that we experience mother and mothering from many: adopting mothers, surrogate mothers, significant family and friends, inspirational work mentors, health healers and mother-nature. There are also biblical, spiritual and mythological mothers who might inspire us, such as Mother Mary, Mother Teresa, and in Greek mythos, Demeter, mother of Persephone. Then there are cultural mothers personified in the Mother Country concept. In due course I came to know the presence of one more: the Inside Mother.

I'd like to present the following mothers of origin and invite you to journal with them.

Biological Mother
Significant Mothers
Community and Organization Mothers
Cultural Mothers
Mythological, Spiritual, Biblical, Divine, Church Mothers
Earth Mother
Inside Mother


Biological Mother

Biological mother is she who conceived and birthed us, she who gave us our origin and our beginning. This role has become a little blurred with the reality of the surrogate mother, who has taken on producing a child who arrives through her body as a result of another's desire to conceive, birth, and provide origin for a child. If this is the case for you, for the purpose of simplifying your journaling, please consider biological mother as the woman who desired to conceive, to give birth to, and to provide origin for you.


Journaling with Biological Mother:

1. Write the attributes of your biological mother in the areas of:

Physical
Name, Age, Place of Birth
Appearance
Voice, language, "sayings"
Occupation
Hobbies
Passions
Other
Mental
Education
Career
Employment
Intellectual Interests – books,
culture, music, theatre,
movies
Other
Social
Activities
People
Organizations
Other
Emotional
Disposition
Positive
Negative
Quirkiness
Other
Spiritual
Beliefs
Influences
Attitudes
Other


2. From this character sketch write what you have taken, consciously and unconsciously into who you are:

3. Write what you have decided not to take into who you are:

4. Now list the attributes you have decided to maintain and next to each write a practical way you could bring this to your mothering:

These attributes and ways of bringing them to your mothering are your mother powers from your Biological Mother of Origin.


My Journaling with Biological Mother.

As I reflect on my time with my biological mother, fifty-four years, I remember with poignancy, these words I said at her funeral: "We are who we are because of who you were". However, I didn't know I carried so much of who she was until life events raised the question, "How did I survive that?" The answer is because of my mother's resilience. Whether it was genetic or experientially learnt is not the point here. My mother was monumentally resilient, I am, and now I heart-fully watch my daughters being so in their challenging young lives. Resilience or strength is a mother Power we explore more in the second section.

Conversely, I would have to say, a lot of who I am is because of who my mother wasn't and who I wanted her to be. For example, my mothers' interests and decisions revolved around my father. Although I know that this was a cultural and era norm, its impact is that I purposefully create my life with what I enjoy and am passionate about, both within and outside my family, and have urged my children to do the same.

The mother powers of strength and creation were gifted to me by my biological mother of origin from her arena of wisdoms and frailties.


Significant Mothers

The meaning of significant as important, critical, momentous and vital, and of mother as having many essences, powers and forms directs us to significant people who have been mother in our lives - be it adopted mother, foster mother, grandmother, godmother, aunt, sister, cousin, friend, a friend's mother, a neighbor, or a mentor; be it a male or a female; be it for extended or brief periods of our lives. Whether from conscious or unconscious words or actions, significant mothers have shaped who we are in our inner and outer worlds.


Journaling with a Significant Mother:

1. Write the attributes of a significant mother in the areas of:

Physical
Name, Age, Place of Birth
Appearance
Voice, language, "sayings"
Occupation
Hobbies
Passions
Other
Mental
Education
Career
Employment
Intellectual Interests – books,
culture, music, theatre,
movies
Other
Social
Activities
People
Organizations
Other
Emotional
Disposition
Positive
Negative
Quirkiness
Other
Spiritual
Beliefs
Influences
Attitudes
Other

2. From this character sketch write what you have taken consciously and unconsciously into who you are:

3. Write what you have decided not to take into who you are:

4. Now list the attributes you have decided on and next to each write a practical way to bring this to your mothering. For example, one of my significant mothers showed me the treasure of empathetic listening. To bring this into my mothering I mindfully decided, that when my children are talking, I will listen without interrupting, acknowledge, and then ask if they want a suggestion. I'm still practicing!

These attributes and ways of bringing them to your mothering are your mother powers from your significant mother of origin.


My Journaling with a Significant Mother.

Here I will choose an aunt. From her, I learnt unconditional acceptance and what it feels like to be listened to, no matter what my experiences and choices had been. I learnt there is always something in everyone's story that can be positively acknowledged, that judgment can be left out and that advice and "fixing" are not needed in order to feel listened to. She taught these things by showering me with them.

This aunt also exposed the substance required to honor personal boundaries and the imperative place of compassionate self-love and self-care in one's life. She did this by struggling to have her own boundaries and by not having adequate compassionate self-love and self-care.

Of course we must recognize our own predispositions and external influences in these matters. For her and for me, these are our generous natures and our strict, righteous, "others first" Baptist upbringings.

Now, as my aunt's sunset beckons, I listen to her and apply the gentle acceptance and acknowledgement with which she equipped me. We have become significant mothers for each other through the acceptance mother power.


Community and Organization Mothers

Community: society in a city, town or village

Organization: a body of people united with collective purpose

We are all part of, have been part of, and have had experiences with communities and organizations. Hopefully, some delivered "mothering" through nurturing, providing, teaching, loyalty, connection, and other mother powers. For example, the organizations, clubs and youth movements we may have belonged to in our childhoods, such as the scouting, YWCA, drama, music and public-speaking clubs were "mothers" through being teachers of skills. At school fetes, Rotary and Lion Clubs were "mother providers" through supplying food stalls which gave us nourishment and jumping castles and merry-go-rounds which gave us fun. Our councils and community committees also effect the mother essence of provider through implementing safe structures in parks, footpaths and shopping centres.

In theory, the organizations we work for are "mother providers" by disbursing salaries which bring sustenance. Generally, employers offer skill enhancement, mentoring, and professional development, thus taking on the mother role of teacher. Through organizing team and social activities, they extend the mother power of belonging and connection. In recent times protection procedures have been established through Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, and loyalty shown by provision of maternal and paternal leave and child care in workplaces. All these are mother traits. The organizations and committees we choose to be part of in our adult lives "mother" by bonding us to our community. And finally, our health care system and its workers, in principle, provide "mothering" care and comfort.


Journaling with Community & Organization Mothers:

1. Reflect on and list from childhood to the present the communities and organizations you have been part of:

2. Reflect on and list what skills you gained from these communities and organizations. Then write a practical way to bring each skill into your mothering:

3. Reflect on and list what attributes and attitudes you gained from these communities and organizations and then a practical way to bring each into your mothering:


These skills, attributes, attitudes and ways to bring them to your mothering are your mother powers from your community and organization mothers of origin. They not only assist you to mother your own, but also nurture work, colleague, neighbourhood, and community relationships.


My Mother Journaling with Community and Organization:

One "mother" health organization I have had the privilege of being associated with is Mercy Gilbert Hospital in Arizona. Here, the commitment to whole- patient experience and excellence is realized through the Radical Loving Care Philosophy which espouses creating a healing culture to nurture both personnel and patients. This philosophy is based on the ancient tradition that love is at the centre of healing. At Mercy Gilbert Hospital this is put into practice, by, for example, employees being invited to have their hands blessed before their shifts. Further, at the entrance to each room is a hand plaque with the words "pause, reflect, heal" reminding staff of the healing in their hands and the purpose of their profession. The hospital gardens are designed into walking paths in the shape of infinity symbols, evoking in patients, visitors, and the workforce, that loving care is infinite. It's no wonder Mercy Gilbert Hospital has an employment waiting list! This is an exceptional example of an organization – a mother of origin, extending nurture – a mother of power. My short time at Mercy Gilbert Hospital has enthused me to propose the Radical Loving Care philosophy to Australian employers and organizations.

Another remarkable example of an organization "mothering" was through the nurse unit manager of midwifery at Mona Vale Hospital in Sydney. She invited me to teach birthing yoga within her unit and became my ardent mentor and supporter. The program grew to include endorsement by the whole unit, hospital, and the Northern New South Wales Health Area, and then further, to include birthing massage, yoga and massage therapy for staff, natural therapy education, retreats, post-natal yoga, women's groups for mothers and babies, a research project, and my book Search for Mother. This woman was a nurturing visionary, who facilitated my passion for equality and holistic health care. After her recent passing the unit was re-named and dedicated to her.

I will always be humbled by and grateful to these organizations for the mothering they poured into my work.

To conclude this section, I want to share this profound story which began at Mona Vale Hospital. It concerns a group of four women who attended my pre-natal yoga classes during their first, second and third pregnancies. These women have maintained their friendship, supported each other, and met (with their children) over the ensuing ten years as well as generously giving interviews in Search for Mother. One is now a yoga teacher and another has her own natural therapy business. When I'm in Sydney we all get together, including children, and mothering goes around our little community.


Cultural Mother Country

Culture: Humanism, a civilization involving upbringing, education, and learning.

Cultural mother country can be defined as the country of our ancestral language. The label personifies culture and country into an icon of what it means to be a mother to society and to a nation. Mother culture represents an ideology which affords the mother powers of connection, protection and security. We generally choose to live in such a country and/or culture.

It's easy, in western, relatively peaceful, democratic situations, to take our cultural mother country lightly, that is, until we move into mothering and begin to consider the life we hope for, for our children.


Journaling with Cultural Mother:

1. What is your mother culture country?

2. Why have you chosen, or chosen to stay in this mother culture country?

3. Take one reason you have chosen your mother culture country and write a practical way you could bring this to your mothering. For example, one reason I believe Australia is a good choice for my children is because of the opportunities to live and work in environments where integrity and equality are core values. It's always been fundamental to me that my children, myself, and in fact, all peoples, experience fair-ness and equality. This has played out, for example, in our scrabble and monopoly games from childhood right through to adulthood where we all ensure that everyone has equal turns.

The reasons you have identified above are your mother powers to provide a cultural mother country for your children.


My Journaling with Cultural Mother Country – Australia.

My parents emigrated from Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, in 1956, as it loosened itself from the Commonwealth. They did so for protection, security and to build an abundant life in which to raise a family. They arrived with two metal trunks, one hundred pounds, one friend already here, and me on the way. Eventually, both my mothers' and my fathers' families emigrated and an abundant life was made for my three brothers and myself. However, along the way to this abundant life, my parents felt understandable loss and sadness at the disintegration of the mother country, culture, and society in which they grew up. Additionally, they were faced with the challenges of creating connection in their new mother country. Of course there was also gratitude and relief for the profusion of prospects available here. Unhappily, I inherited this range of feelings which were compounded by the following: I was dark skinned and had curries for lunch at school while others had vegemite and peanut butter sandwiches; my home was full of artifacts and pictures from Sri Lanka and we were constantly visited by other dark skinned people who spoke another language. These feelings of difference and disconnection from where I was being brought up, persisted well into my adult life and resulted in my travelling, living and working in many countries around the world. Perhaps I was unconsciously seeking connection, home and belonging. As my children arrived and grew, I could clearly see that the opportunities and freedoms Australia has, would proffer an abundant life for them, so there was no impetus to relocate.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Search for Mother Journaling by Valerie Albrecht. Copyright © 2015 Valerie Albrecht. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

The Way Forward Emerges, 1,
Search for Mother Journaling, 3,
Mothers of Origin, 5,
Biological Mother, 8,
Significant Mothers, 12,
Community and Organization Mothers, 16,
Cultural Mother Country, 21,
Mythological Biblical Spiritual Mothers, 25,
Mother Earth, 30,
The Inside Mother, 34,
Mothers of Power, 39,
Unconditional Love, 43,
Acceptance, 49,
Strength, 56,
Forgiveness, 62,
Loyalty, 67,
Connection, 72,
Creation, 79,
Nurture, 85,
Protection, 91,
Wisdom Teaching, 97,

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