Mothers on My Heart

Mothers are much on my heart this weekend: young mothers holding their babies for the first time; mothers of children with chronic care issues; mothers of children who feel different, who feel lost; mothers who are watching their children struggle; mothers who are rejoicing in their children’s successes; elder mothers who are less active and still a presence to their family; mothers who nurture the differing natures of each of their children.

I have been privileged to work with mothers who look deeply into the Big Picture of family, saints and skeletons; mothers who are letting their children be exactly where they are, though it breaks their hearts.

I know mothers who are dying; mothers in the sandwich years, pressed between care of older parents and the desire to be there for their children and grandchildren; mothers who are burying children; mothers who are caring for grandchildren; mothers who mother whatever is available, plants, animals, abandoned whatevers, because nurture is their nature.

Opening to all the ways that mothering can look, I am touched to the heart. I am in awe.

Blessing on all who mother.

And travel lightly,

Jaylene

Stay with me/Set me free

Fellow Travellers,

My dad’s been dead three years ago today. I recall clearly thinking as I knew he was dying, that I could be there with him for as long as it took, but I could not ask him to try to hang on.

The thought that kept repeating in my heart was “we live our own Life, we die our own Death.” Over and over, those words echoed. I hear them still.

Part of me is still in that hospital room where the most intense experience of Life took place. It’s imprinted in my memory, the way the room was arranged, the silenced tv, the monitors, his profile that I knew so well, the knowing that his Spirit was separating from his body with each exhalation….and everything in his Life and our family’s was soon going to change in ways I couldn’t forsee.

It’s a sacred thing to see a beloved, anyone really, to the last breath, the last heartbeat. There is nothing more intimate.  Nothing more holy.

It’s enough to hope for the paradox that someone dear will stay with me and at the same time set me free in peace….

Travel lightly,

Jaylene

It’s all a What-ness.

Dear Fellow Travellers,

The scent of honeysuckle and coffee whirl around me this morning. Seems a tad early in the season for honeysuckle in my corner of Mississippi, but there it is, unexpected and a bit out of time, and undeniably real, nonetheless, evidence of our mild winter.

My heart is full of …of….of…..I don’t have any words for what all is in there. Yet.

And my head is full of unformed sentences that haven’t gelled yet either. Threads hanging free on one end, yet on the other end they’re attached to a “something” that matters to me. They flutter loosely —questions and wonderings and ponderings about grief, complexity of relationships, gray areas, brokenness, co-creating, legacy, addiction,grand-parenting, death, intimacy, breaking rules, the outsider/rebel role, shadows, attachment to what doesn’t work (and to what does….hmmmm, what’s that about?), sorrow, bliss, the ineffable…..all those open ends flutter on the honeysuckle-scented breeze.

Yet, all those flapping threads come from the same place and, I am pretty sure, are intertwined into a whole. I hear my grandmother’s voice speak in my own voice: It’s all a “what-ness” she’d say, with that pragmatic shake of her head, and a barely there wry grin.

A What-ness. A What-ness???? It seemed to be an entity, the way she said it. My younger self always meant to ask her, “Mama Hazel, what in the world is a ‘what-ness’?”

But, if I’d asked, I couldn’t have understood then. Even if she’d wrapped up a “what-ness” up in gift paper and tied a bow on it, it was beyond me.

This NOW is a WHAT-NESS. Reality. The whole paradoxical agony/bliss of Life that defies explaining and asks simply to be Lived into.

And Living into it, the mere act of writing this blog this morning, fills in the blank:
My heart is full of …of….of…..A What-ness. It’s a reality as real as the lightness of honeysuckle and the depth of death coming out of their expected season.

Thanks for the wisdom, Mama Hazel. It’s all a What-ness.

There it is.

Travel lightly,

Jaylene

Nesting in Barbed Wire

Fellow Travellers, this is my experience: LIFE IS.

There’s no blank to fill in after the “IS.” That’s it. Period. It is.

My Life’s less about being in the moment than it is being the moment.

A fair percentage of my moments are messy, and often enough, they’re glorious. And most often, they are quietly glorious in their messiness. 😉

And that’s not a bad thing.  As itchy-scratchy as it may be, to be honest with myself, I’ve never had any kind of emotional growth spurt when Life was all pristene and serene.

I’m a bit amazed (but not totally) to find myself nesting in barbed wire.

Turn the Tapestry Over in Life’s Big Picture

For my first blog post I dusted off an old Facebook note that first appeared last September … I hope you enjoy “Turn the Tapestry Over….”

It touches my “healing-heart” deeply when we do what it takes to truly know spouse and children, friends and community, because in doing that we come to know our OWN nooks and crannies. Poking around in these nooks and crannies of Life is a curious business, for beyond the cobwebs and dust layers, what we’ll find is pure mystery.

Could be glorious, terrifying, or (worse than those!) BORING! LOL

To be here for LIFE, we awake and present ourselves front and center, reporting for our own lives. We awake to this glorious messy bit of Life that we each are. And we awake to the same glorious mess in others. In being present we go beyond “knowing about” each other. We enter into the sacred space where the illusion of boundaries break down and where we see the backside of the life tapestry, showing the overall pattern, with its subtle knots and connections, each of us a speck of color linked in Life’s Big Picture.

It’s a curious person with courage who makes himself vulnerable, vulnerable to turn the tapestry over and run fingers over the tiny, but oh-so-holding knots.  Vulnerable to see the connections to designs we don’t prefer. The backside of the tapestry is where “Who am I? Who can I be?” is woven.

May we all live in the truth that in encountering our vulnerability, we also encounter our courage.

May we turn the tapestry over.