Mothering Yourself into Mastery: The Sovereign Feminine and Your Inner Wealth

Rolf Armstrong

Consistently mothering yourself eventually allows you to release the need to be small or play small in life.

When we mother the child within ourselves, we are cultivating an inner environment of safety and unconditional love that we did not experience in our childhoods. This heals the frozen energy of early trauma and brings our inner child into the present moment where her purity, innocence, vitality and creativity can be brought into our daily lives.

With commitment and consistency, we eventually cross a border where our inner child feels safe enough to sense her inherent abundance that comes from Being itself. There dawns within you full permission to be ALL that you are.

In doing so we can experience that sense of inner wealth and abundance; our bigness and fullness of BEING. 

Waldemar Strempler

Over time we develop a stable baseline of increased inner safety, which leads to an abiding and sacred sense of overflowing. There emerges a felt sense of the infinite love, support and space to be who you are. This extends to a feeling of infinite love and support from the universe and from life itself. We begin to see that our very essence is abundance.

The world teaches us to make the outer world primary and the inner world secondary. But the opposite is true; the inner must be primary for us to step into our mastery. Mastery means living from the luminous core within, committing to loving ourselves unconditionally, being transparent to lesser energies and sustaining a high vibration. A time arrives when we will not accept anything less than this.

Fernand Khnopff

How do we embody the sovereign feminine?

To step into our mastery, we must be increasingly sovereign over ourselves and our own energy. This means fiercely protecting your inner child and thus, allowing your inner life to be your priority. Your sovereignty is what allows you to fully flower and emerge into your full potential. Everything flows from this commitment. What society sees as selfish (self-care) is actually an act of great service. Over time, a powerful self-reinforcing cycle gains momentum from your increased self-respect, integrity and alignment between your inner values and your outer life.

We mother ourselves into mastery.

Many women find themselves vacillating between patterns of deprivation and binging. The message of deprivation is “If I’m my real, big self, I’ll be rejected. I must stay small.” And the message of binging is “I can’t help that I am big! I need soothing from the pain of denying who I am.” The inner mother is the “middle way” and as we consistently soothe ourselves through our fears and do the necessary grieving, we stop needing to vacillate between deprivation and binging in terms of food, spending or other substances/activities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Recently I was in London and visited Westminster Abbey. During my visit, I saw an image of the Madonna and Child which struck me with its simplicity and power.The image conveyed a deeper meaning to me than ever before. I saw Mary as a symbol of the Sovereign Feminine in men and women who courageously nurtures the inner child, thereby transforming the “illegitimate child” within us into the “light of the world.” The thought appeared in my mind: “This is what gives birth to worlds.”  The integration of the healed inner child and the conscious, wise adult self culminates as a new way of Being, a bridge of form and matter, the new earth itself. (See the image below: The Holy Mother and Divine Child are situated between two candles; symbolizing the ‘middle way’ in between the polarities.)

Feast-of-Our-Lady-of-Pew

We embody the Goddess when we mother the traumatized child within ourselves.

As we mother ourselves, a great sense of peace and freedom pervades and we increasingly release the need for others to change in order to feel “OK.” We can increasingly let others be who they are and release attachment to being seen accurately by them. This becomes possible when we’ve reached a certain point when we can accurately see and appreciate ourselves enough to let go. We do this by mothering our traumatized inner children into the safety of the present moment.

We re-parent ourselves in real-time–by feeling the pain of the past trauma AND any pain of a current situation….by mothering ourselves on both levels simultaneously. 

Sarah Jarrett

It is a point of great power to live with awareness of many levels at the same time; to be aware as the adult in present time and as the inner child, and also as the formless, divine presence that we are at the deepest level. Living this way, we operate from a high vibration and positively affect our environment.

The best use of an imperfect childhood is to use your family’s shortcomings to birth your greatness. Your greatness is simply being more of who you TRULY are at your core. This is the deeper gift available in the pain of our abuse. This is the true resurrection.

When we discover the light in our deepest pain, we become capable of seeing it everywhere and in everything. Unity consciousness and existential belonging become a felt reality. 

Being the sovereign feminine is being both tender and fierce.

Joyce %22The Bronze Bombshell%22 Bryant, NYC, 1954 by Philippe Halsman.

Allow yourself to be large.  Allow yourself to take up space. 

Over time, we reach a point where our inner child feels safe enough to start to let go of the early beliefs that tell us we must be small in order to be loved. And in doing so, we are increasingly able to experience increased levels of vitality, wonder, creativity, joy, bliss, excitement, comfort and the ability to receive more good things in your life.

The inner bond allows you to emotionally separate from the toxic messages of “less-than” and “stay small” that women receive from the wider culture. 

  • The need for other people to understand us in order to feel OK
  • The need to change or modify others to feel loved by them
  • Tolerating poor treatment from others and blaming ourselves
  • Feeling guilty for our true desires and feelings

Forgiveness is the felt realization that their behavior was never about you. 

Akseli Gallen-Kallela

By healing the mother wound and mothering ourselves, it’s possible to genuinely forgive our mothers (and other people) for how they may have pressured you to stay small.  What makes genuine forgiveness possible is that you begin to realize on a very deep, somatic level that that their inability to see you had nothing whatsoever to do with you. This is not just on the conceptual level, but deep in your bones it becomes very obvious that their hurtful behavior was just a reflection of their own fears and wounds, which were never your responsibility to fix. A massive weight is lifted with this realization.

When you realize that your bigness is part of your gifts and part of your power, you are free to claim it and live it fully!

Your “largeness” is not a liability; it is your inner wealth. It’s yours to claim!

Valeria Kotsareva

Some affirmations:

  • I now love and accept my bigness
  • I lovingly accept my big energy and intensity
  • I lovingly accept my big ability to love
  • I lovingly accept my big dreams and desires
  • I lovingly accept my big ability to feel deeply
  • I lovingly accept my big commitment to truth and authenticity.
  • I lovingly accept who I am right now.

Accept that your “bigness” is not a rejection of others, nor is it being superior to others.

Your bigness is simply claiming what you already are, owning it with joy and bringing it into the world. 

Anahata Katkin 2

The message in the mother wound is that if you claim your bigness, that you’re depriving or abandoning your mother. This belief is a symptom of enmeshment between mothers and daughters that is so deep in our culture we’re often unaware of it. Stepping out of this enmeshment is what allows you to claim your power without guilt or apology. You can feel your right as an individual to live your life on your own terms and know deep within, that your happiness is not depriving others in any way. This is honoring your true nature as abundance. 

Accept that any defensive attempts of others to “knock you down to size” are reflections of how small they feel in their own life. (You can feel compassion for them and let it go.) Accept that how others feel in your presence is none of your business. This realization is real when you can feel the visceral relief in your body. It’s a huge shift that liberates you on many levels.

Your “bigness” does not mean that others are “small.” And their inability to understand that is not your responsibility. Give yourself permission to stop explaining and apologizing for being your Full Self. 

Jane DesRosier

Wow, what freedom! You don’t need to take that onl! And you don’t need to disparage others for not seeing you accurately. It’s simply where they are at. You can allow them to be as they are and rest in your center with integrity and an open heart.

There’s a diamond that’s always been in your pocket. Claim it now. It’s possible to live your bigness with joy and gratitude! The more your treasure and cherish yourself, living fully from your inner light, the more it gives others permission to do the same. What a gift!

Mother yourself until you can feel the exuberant energy of pure joy that emerges in your daily life when your inner child feels safe enough within you to bring her sense of PLAY into your daily life! 

“I now allow myself to be all that I am and all that I am meant to be.”

Tamara Natalie Madden 2

Allow yourself to embody the full breadth and scope of all that you are:

  • To give big
  • To receive big
  • To love big
  • To be loved big
  • To achieve big
  • To live big
  • To serve big

As you claim your inner wealth and overflowing bounty of being, you will likely experience it’s natural byproduct: increased opportunities, loving relationships, outer wealth and success.

What does it mean to be your full, overflowing self in your daily life?

Salvador Dali

Examples:

  • Giving yourself space to be who you are and loving yourself in this moment
  • Knowing that the universe is ultimately friendly no matter the present, external conditions
  • Not allowing your inner space to be cluttered with negativity, struggle or scarcity
  • Coming from a high level in everything you do. Maintaining a high vibration.
  • Remembering that Being is primary. Make coming from that pure place of Being a priority in your daily life.
  • Comforting and nurturing yourself (and your inner child) whenever you need it. Not putting it off. Keeping yourself feeling loved and supported always.
  • Valuing yourself and valuing those you serve in your work. Offering huge value to others.
  • Having impeccable boundaries that support you in being your Highest Self.
  • Having fun and a bringing a sense of play into your work!
  • Communicating with clarity and integrity.
  • Taking care of your body.
  • Ask for support when you need it and delegate when possible.
  • Surrendering all doubts and concerns and trusting that all is well.

Please leave a comment below: What are some ways you are embodying more of the fullness of who you are? What have been your challenges and breakthroughs with this?

Does this article resonate with you?  Sign up here for a free 30-minute “Healing the Mother Wound Clarity Session” with Bethany to learn about her private coaching on healing the mother wound. 

Ways to work with Bethany: 

Click here to download my FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother” and sign up for my newsletter.

Art credits in order of appearance: Rolf Armstrong, Waldemar Strempler, Fernand Klnopff, Keith Mallett, Our Lady of Pew at Westminster Abbey, Sarah Jarrett, Actress Joyce Bryant photographed by Phillippe Halsman in 1954, Akseli Gallen- Kallela, Valeria Kotsareva, Anahata Katkin, Jane Desrosler, Tamara Natalie Madden, Salvador Dali

© Bethany Webster 2014

The Healing the Mother Wound “Holiday Toolkit”

The holiday season can be a challenging time as we re-enter the family system for a brief time during family events and gatherings. Because we have so much shared history with our family members, old patterns have much more momentum in their presence than with other people. Thus, holiday gatherings can require a higher degree presence so as not to get pulled into old, unconscious patterns.

Approaching the holidays mindfully is a gift to yourself. You can set you up to have an empowering experience, not something that brings you down. 

Family gatherings around the holidays offer incredible opportunities because they are a barometer of our growth; we can see how much we have grown AND where we still have more work to do. It’s also a reminder of the things that are within our power to change and those things that we just have to let go.

As the holidays approach I hear from many women feeling anxious on how to navigate contact with their mothers with whom they have a challenging relationship. The question usually revolves around how much contact to have. It usually boils down to “How much contact do I need to have, while avoiding unnecessary conflict, but while also remaining true to myself?” This is an important question that requires some reflection.

Tips on navigating the holidays with the mother wound: 

  • Don’t expect yourself to be perfect. Expect uncomfortable moments.
  • Approach it with the spirit of experimentation and curiosity. Don’t take it too seriously.
  • Commit to loving yourself no matter what happens.

Holidays as Opportunities for Integration

During the holiday gatherings we can observe ourselves with a sense of curiosity as we behave more authentically and in alignment with our truth around our families. It can be very healing and profound to feel our own commitment to ourselves around some degree of dysfunctional family dynamics. And it may also stimulate grief around family members who may be avoiding their own healing or with whom we have had an impasse. All of it is a cauldron of immense growth!

We may see family members that have triggered us in the past or still in the present. I encourage you to not see triggers not as failures, but as major opportunities for healing.

An emotional trigger is not a signal of how un-healed you are. A trigger is a signal that you are ready for a new level of healing. 

If you feel an emotional trigger with your mother or another family member, it means that the wound is ready to be healed on a deeper level. It offers the chance to heal in a powerful way, both on the level of the past (the old wound that was stimulated) AND on the level of the present (the current situation).

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Does this article resonate with you?  Sign up here for a free 30-minute “Healing the Mother Wound Clarity Session” with Bethany to learn about her private coaching on healing the mother wound. 

Ways to work with Bethany: 

Click here to download my FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother” and sign up for my newsletter.

© Bethany Webster 2014

Embrace Accountability for Meaningful Change

When it comes to childhood wounds, the sobering truth is that love is not enough. Love for our children is not enough to prevent us from unconsciously wounding them. And love for our parents is not enough to make our childhood wounds go away.

“My mother tried her best.” I hear this from many women suffering from the mother wound. The reason their pain continues to persist is because this is only HALF of the picture. It is not sufficient to heal from childhood wounds. Until we address the other half we remain stuck.

The full picture is “My mother tried her best AND I suffered as a child.” I see some unconsciously trying to bypass this second part. But it is precisely this second half that allows one to mourn, heal and ultimately move on and thrive as the woman you’re meant to be.

Experts are now saying that emotional presence is what children need from caregivers above and beyond everything else. In generations past, however, it was thought that food, shelter and clothing was sufficient for children to develop successfully. Emotional presence and attunement were actually considered secondary.

It’s nearly impossible to be emotionally present to our children if we have not sufficiently healed our own inner child. In other words, we can be attuned and empathic to our own children to the degree that we have empathized with what we went through ourselves as children. The better we can care for our inner child, the better we can care for our outer child.

There is no blame. Ultimately, both parents and children are victims in a patriarchal society. Both are victims of the mandate of silence; silence about our feelings and about our true experiences. However, it is only accountability that will bring greater awareness to the plight of children in our society and thus affect change for future generations. The only people that can be held accountable are the adults. The accountability that is needed is that adults heal their inner children. That is the only hope for future generations. Otherwise, we’ll continue to look at the problems of the world without truly seeing them for what they are: symptoms of the unhealed, disowned pain that that lies within us.

All children are innocent. The child within us is innocent and our children are innocent. It can be heart-wrenching to see how we’ve harmed our children and how we’ve been harmed as children. But this willingness to SEE the painful truth of how we have been harmed is what heals. This willingness to be aware, this willingness to endure the pain of this awareness is KEY.

Accountability is essential for our healing. It has three parts:

  1. Take into account the ways you suffered as a child
  2. Hold accountable those who were the responsible adults in the situation
  3. Be accountable yourself for your own healing and resultant actions

I see a major turning point happen when women begin to come into a place of accountability, which is the second half of the picture. When we come to a place of accountability our healing takes on a powerful momentum.

Below is the process in more detail:

  • Account for the truth of exactly what you went through as a child and empathize with your inner child. Be sad and angry on her behalf. (In this way you become the enlightened witness that she needed in the past.)
  • See how those painful experiences have impacted your life as a child and how you’ve had to compensate for them as an adult.
  • Take into account that as a child, you had no power over the situation. The responsible people at the time were the adults. Whatever happened to you as a child was not your fault.
  • Finally be able to fully grieve, feel the reality of your own incorruptible goodness and step into personal power.

Ken Orvidas

The most powerful form of accountability is within yourself to yourself, about the facts of what you went through. It’s most important for you to see that as a child you were powerless to change the painful situations in your family and the only people who were able to affect change were the adults in the situation, usually your parents.  Whatever happened to you as a child was not your fault. This is the liberating insight that allows you to shed the shame and redeem the child within you. But it has to be a felt insight, not just on an intellectual level. You must feel it in your body. This is precisely what re-connects you to the REAL within you; your real instincts, your real feelings, your real observations.

It was not your fault. This simple and profound insight takes our power back from the wound and puts our center of gravity back into ourselves. It is the antidote to the unconscious belief that acceptance by one’s family is contingent upon your willingness to accept their pain and shame as your own.

Elizabeth Catlett,

To a child, painful feelings seem to have the power to kill. They have a threatening power so they must be suppressed. As children, we have to split in two in order to NOT feel so that we can survive. As adults, we can heal the split by giving ourselves the experience of feeling the feelings fully and realizing that the painful feelings do NOT have the power to kill us. We can discover that we are more powerful and spacious than any painful feeling. We can discover that the painful feeling does not mean we are “bad.” In fact, we see that feeling the truth of our pain is part of our goodness, our realness and our truth.

The spiritual opportunity here is to see that we are not the pain itself, but the eternal, loving presence that is alongside and untouched throughout the pain.

It’s a personal choice to hold your parents accountable by actually speaking to them directly. It can be very transformative and healing but timing is critical and to be considered carefully. In some situations, it’s a wise choice to NOT confront directly. What is primary is that you, in your heart, have put down the burden of blaming yourself for the pain you experienced as a child. The ability of your mother/parents to see or understand you is secondary and not necessary to you moving forward.

Megan Mcisaac

In a patriarchal system, loyalty to parents is demonstrated by not being aware of how they’ve harmed us (intentionally or unintentionally). In other words, loyalty to parents is demonstrated by not questioning their power. This keeps us in perpetual childhood and society under a veil of silent shame and unconscious blindness to the causes of the atrocities we see around us. In the patriarchal paradigm, parents are considered to be responsible for the upbringing of children, but not accountable. In patriarchal cultures, parental accountability is seen as a threat to the power status of parents.

“Patriarchy’s chief institution is the family.” ~Kate Millett

What allows the wound to get passed down with ceaseless momentum? No accountability. In patriarchy, generally speaking, parents are assumed innocent and children are assumed to be guilty. Ultimately both are victims of the mandate: “Thou Shalt Not Be Aware.” (See book by Alice Miller)

No matter how much we may try, we cannot escape the formative power our early childhood experiences had on shaping who we become. There are countless ways to avoid this fact, including escape into spirituality and intellectual pursuits. But the body does not forget, no matter how much we convince ourselves that we’re “over it” or “there is no need to dwell on the past.” If we continue to avoid accounting for our childhood wounds, we risk living our lives indefinitely in some form of illness or addiction. Our bodies will never give up showing us the truth no matter how long we try to escape from it.

We cannot heal from the wounds we refuse to acknowledge.

There is a high cost of not accounting for childhood wounds. Due to it’s developmental cognitive limitations, an abused child cannot help but see itself as the as the cause of it’s own wounding. This lack of awareness and lack of accountability prevents the necessary grieving that is only possible after honest reflection on the sobering facts of childhood experiences that caused pain. Without this grieving, the unhealed child will continue to live in the adult body, projecting it’s pain on others and reenacting the painful situations over and over, while blaming itself.

Why do we fear accountability? 

Many fear accounting for what they’ve been through because they see it as equivalent to blaming our parents; they see them as one and the same. This erroneous conflation is a symptom of the dysfunctional enmeshment that patriarchy has fostered. We must un-couple the two. This belief permits abuse to run rampant through generations. As more and more adults grieve their childhood wounds fully, the more our society will no longer see accountability as a threat to the power status of the parent. Instead, parents (who have done the necessary grieving for their own childhood wounding) will see their accountability as a source of honor and pride as parents.

Accountability brings the greater awareness that creates meaningful change

More people need to grieve fully and come full circle to the child within. As more and more individuals do this, the attitude toward the child in society will shift.

Olga Volkova Tuponogova

We have the potential to really see and mourn the tragedy of how our unconscious, unhealed pain can cause us to blindly harm others without knowing it. We can finally see clearly how we have been harmed by the unhealed pain of others and how our unhealed pain has caused us to harm others. Seen together, this recognition is the birth of compassion, forgiveness and meaningful change. This recognition is the product of grieving our own pain sufficiently to see that the behavior of others really has nothing much to do with us. How others treat us is the culmination of their own inner state. This creates a spaciousness where we no longer feel compelled to respond with reactivity or hostility to others who act out of pain. However, until we grieve our own personal childhood wounds, we will take the behavior of others personally because this is the limited perspective of an unhealed child who cannot help but see itself as the cause of events. Until we grieve sufficiently, we will be compelled to repeat the pain.

Mourning childhood wounds fully is a powerful act of maturity that opens the way for a new world.

Why is accountability necessary?

When we’ve grieved enough we can come full circle—to see the whole truth: “She tried her best AND I suffered.” BOTH are true and the second part is no longer felt as threatening. This gives way for a new life that is truly your own; a life in which you do not fear loss of love if you own your power. And a life in which being a separate individual is not viewed as an assault on your mother (or parents).

Grieving is impossible without accounting for the truth of what we’ve been through. And grieving is precisely what re-connects us to our deeper selves.

Healing the Inner Split

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When we do this accounting, we validate the inner child who was forced to suppress her feelings, see herself with suspicion, deny her instincts and reject her core. This splitting is what helped it survive the unbearable truth and yet this split is at the heart of all wounds, especially the mother wound. When we do this accounting we become ‘real’ again.

The truth was unbearable and we had to suppress it as children. But we must find that truth as adults in order to truly live.

We must legitimize what patriarchy has forced us to pathologize in ourselves.

The answer to personal and societal change is in empathizing with the abused child within each of us. 

In order for women to stand fully revealed in their power, we need to create a world where a child does not have to choose between her personal power and the love of her mother.

The highest act of accountability is mothering ourselves. In doing so, we cease asking others to mother us. We stop asking our children, partners and friends to give us what they cannot. The compulsion to unconsciously re-enact the pain gradually dissolves. There’s no way to effectively mother ourselves without first empathizing with the truth of what we’ve been through. In order to do this, we have to connect with our inner child, listen to her, allow her to grieve and bring her joy and indestructible goodness into everything we do.

Romualdas Rakauskas

Related article: “The Most Insidious Forms of Patriarchy Are Passed Through the Mother” _________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for reading! I invite you to comment below: How has accountability (or lack thereof) impacted your healing journey?

Does this article resonate with you?  Sign up here for a free 30-minute “Healing the Mother Wound Clarity Session” with Bethany to learn about her private coaching on healing the mother wound. 

Ways to work with Bethany: 

Click here to download my FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother” and sign up for my newsletter.

(Art credits in order of appearance: Ken Orvidas, Elizabeth Catlett, Megan McIsaac, Holly Irwin, Weronica Izdebeska, Olga Volkova Tuponogova, George Frederic Watts, Romuldas Rakauskas)

© Bethany Webster 2014