Oh so many heartbreaks in a human life. How do we do it? How do we keep living with broken hearts? How do we ever resolve them? Forgiveness? Strength? Moving on?
Honestly, I've learned so much about tending to heartbreak lately. Certainly the current state of the world gives us all fodder for heartbreak work. It returns us to our smallest selves, our vulnerable and soft places. These places are not aligned with the "just do it" mantra of our society... the encouragement to just keep going... to not pay attention to the stuff that bothers us. But, one thing I do know, is that if we don't tend to our heartbreaks, they accumulate.
Tending opens a soft space for being... like laying on the couch with a million blankets, wrapping up in a comforting gentleness, a bit like being held like a small child. Yes, to tend is to hold gently. It is to be with, to sit down next to something or someone and hold their hand. It is not to fix, or to advise. The wisdom of tending gives space to the heartbreak to do its work. To lead the heartbroken through the landscapes of grief and anger... arriving at a hill with a bit of a view... a place that provides context.
It takes time to make this journey, and tending is the attention we give that liminal space so that we can find our way through. This is deeply important work. the tending of heartbreak.
I have always struggled with the concept of forgiveness. And, I can tell you that I've only every found genuine forgiveness (or anything that could look like it) on the other side of tending to heartbreak.
Tending takes showing up again and again, for things that feel like nothing... sitting under the tree, lighting the candle, or sorting stones. Tending is being with a process at the particular place that it is, and allowing it to run its course on its own time. This is hard. It takes longer than you think it will. It moves at the pace of the natural world. And it cannot be rushed.
Tending is also one of the biggest gifts we can give to one another. It builds relationship because it moves slowly and is done one small bit at a time. It creates reliability because it requires us to come back over and over. And tending creates connection because it is based in care and devotion.
The Ocean Mother is an archetypal landscape mother. In general, landscape mothers help us locate ourselves on the diverse landscape of what it is to be a mother. The Ocean Mother, in particular, can be of assistance when we are wondering how we can be with the unknown, unknowable, mystical aspects of parenting. She can help us explore our own depths and find our own hidden potential through the things we are already grappling with in our role of mother.
The Ocean Mother naturally carries the expansive possibility of life, it is where life originated. She contains all of the potential... and so she can inform our process of looking forward and thinking about what kind of parenting legacy we want to leave.
What kind of characteristics do we want our adult children to have? How do you want them to relate to others? What kinds of things do you want them to value? How do you want them to think about themselves as humans... partners... citizens?
And, in light of all of that, what does it mean you need to teach, provide examples of, hold as valuable in your life? This is the real spiritual teaching of being a parent... that it's not what we say, it's what we do. They know when we're saying one thing but acting differently... and it compromises trust.
So, the spiritual practice that is nurtured by The Ocean Mother is the depth... the ability to shift directions toward increasing alignment with what we really believe in and hold dear. So, if we tell our children we value open time to be creative, are we giving that to ourselves? Or are we running around trying to do all of the things and just saying that we want THEM to spend creative time?
Author: Jill clifton
Hi, I'm Jill. My intention with this space is to share how exploring the archetypes of motherhood can make room for us to be whole people within our roles of nurturing our children.