When I started my work with The Joyful Mother, it was inspired by a yearning within me to parent from joy. It was my strong instinct that my joy was my children’s birthright and that I was a stronger and better parent when parenting from love and joy. I knew that love was strength, insight, clarity, acceptance, patience and it empowered me to be the best version of myself as a parent. Parenting from love and joy did not turn me into a weak, apathetic or “door-mat” kind of parent with no backbone, on the contrary, when I was connected to that strength of love, I was present, connected to my children, connected to myself, my wisdom, my power, my clarity. I was everything my children needed…their rock, their safe place to fall, their everything.
And although I am still of the strong belief that parenting from love and joy is the very best for my children, I am only now realizing that that was only part of the picture of “success” for me as a parent and as a human being. The intention was there, and a natural loving nature, but I had to start looking at why parenting from joy was hard sometimes…
You see, the striving for a constant loving mindset, a joyful heart, constant peace, clarity, etc…set me up. Because I wasn’t always joyful, always loving. I didn’t always act from peace, I wasn’t always their rock. Sometimes I lost it, said things I couldn’t take back, wallowed in confusion, frustration, exhaustion, depletion. That is a part of life and a big part of parenting, everyday, for most of us. But, for me, my mistakes were not just mistakes but were deep emotional wounds that I inflicted upon myself. The mistake was one thing (I could learn from that and did) but, on top of it would be piles, mounds of self punishment. The expectation to be a PERFECTLY joyful parent all the frigging time was a drain at best, a sickness at worst. I was black and blue on the inside and smiling on the outside. And worst of all, this inner conflict took me away from love. Love that is this energy of connection that is only available in the present moment. The focus on my self-hate filled mind chatter was a constant distraction from the now moment, from life.
And truth be told (why hold back now right?!), it wasn’t just in my relationship with my kids where I strove for perfection…it was in all of my relationships, it was in life. This striving for perfection I realized was my attempt to secure love. If I could just BE who people wanted me to be (i.e. perfect), they would love me forever, I would be safe, I could relax. But no where, not in any one of my relationships, not in any aspect of my life, was I able to stay in that constant state of joy in order to be in service of everyone else’s joy, in order to feel peace and love that I so craved. Does that crazy cycle make sense to you? It started to feel like the house of cards that my relationships were built upon – the conditions and expectations that held each one up were collapsing.
Because the truth is it was ALWAYS unsustainable. All of the expectations, identities, attachments, assumptions and stories I had been telling myself about WHO I WAS began to crumble. This conditioned self, the false me, I could not carry anymore. Everything began to unravel. Because it had to. My instinct to parent from love and joy could NOT be fulfilled with my mind, my body, my heart full of illusions, untruths. They had to be emptied, drained, the impurities purged to make space for LOVE and the light of my True Being to rush in and take over. This is not a pleasant experience, I must warn you. And it has JUST BEGUN for me. This dumping out process HURTS! But it is like child birth somehow. The pain does not define this process, it is only a part of it. And it is truly the birthing of my Real Self.
So with this dedication and readiness, a few months ago, both my husband and I began, our journey towards transformation, a full conscious commitment to this dumping out process and the birthing of our True Selves and our birthright…true FREEDOM. Our teacher, our guide, our sister, Ingerid Esme Ferrer, took us under her wing…
Ingerid Esme Ferrer is a midwife to the song of freedom that is birthing on the planet: she coaxes the melody of beauty and the cadences of grief from the hidden shadows of the psyche and invites a total free fall into the arms of love. Esme authentically embodies the love that changes everything: the love that embraces the dark and the light, the pain and the beauty, the lies and the truth. She is the Great Mother and the Destroyer Goddess Kali, cutting through the illusion to deliver the gifts of surrender and sweet release from the traps of the ego and the delusions of the mind.
–Pamela Gerrand ~ Singer, composer and sound healer
Ingerid is teaching us, guiding us, ushering us into an understanding of who we really are. As a parent, as a woman, I had denied my darkness and I was ashamed of my aliveness. I had resisted embracing my mistakes, missteps, weaknesses, innocent ignorances like the plague. How could I allow what wasn’t perfect, what wasn’t going to guarantee me love? I couldn’t take that chance! But my GOD! How wrong I was….The resistance only made me more separate from my True Being, my Divine Self, from love, wisdom and power of my this unique ME. By including, allowing, unconditionally LOVING every flaw, every emotion I never wanted to feel, I am becoming whole. With each loving embrace, peace, love and clarity rush in. It is the doorway to the NOW, the ticket to true connection with myself, my children, every other person and God.
Each day Ingerid holds our hands. She takes us deep into what is uncomfortable, painful, the fears, doubts, insecurities and MAKES ME breathe and FEEL every last one of them. Feeling it all fully, in the light of day is the transformation from a life lead by illusion and conditions to one lead by Truth and love. Feeling it all fully transforms the pain. Our pain and suffering WANT to be felt, need to be felt in order for us live and breath authentically. We are all conditioned to be something, someone we are NOT, living in our self imposed prisons, denying the most magnificent Truth…we are whole, we are free already, perfect in our imperfection, powerful beyond belief, we are all unique manifestations of the One, we are God.
My joyful mother journey went beyond joy and into FREEDOM. Because my children don’t need or want their father or I to be perfect, happy all the time, masking our true selves, they want us to be FREE so that they can maintain their natural freedom. Being a mother is turning out to be the greatest catalyst to true FREEDOM I could have ever asked for. My children have shown me that underneath IT ALL, all of the identities, expectations, attachments of my false self is love and freedom. Always. It was always there! Underneath it all is God. God is LOVE. The thing that I was striving for, yearning for, was there the WHOLE TIME! The key was not to avoid the bad, the painful, but to include it, to become whole, fresh in every moment, brutally honest, and unconditionally loving to myself.
We are encouraging and cultivating the habit of emotional honesty in our home now where ALL emotions are allowed, nothing is off the table, nothing is shameful, not anger, fear, shame. We try not to lash out with these heavy emotions, but instead, we talk about them, put words on them, FEEL them and listen to each other…deeply. We are teaching our children to welcome their emotions in the moment, put words on them, feel the release of that pure loving honesty which helps them find their way back to their Real Selves more and more consistently. As we allow our emotions to be, to flow, they move through us and OUT and what we are left with is Truth. The sacred, unique Truth of the average everyday moment. And the illusions are a sacred part of us too! That has been one of the greatest things I have realized. That everything I am NOT is just as beautiful a part of me as the Truth of who I AM! I hated the imperfect me, the angry me, the sad me, the confused me. Now I am learning to love, accept and embrace my WHOLE Self! Our family dialogue no longer judges or punishes BIG emotions. We make space for them, make space for our whole selves.
Ingerid taught us that an honest relationship with our feelings is the all time greatest act of self love, because it takes us directly into the arms of our True Self and there is no other place my husband and I would rather be. It is with great urgency and love that we transform, that we embrace our FREEDOM so that both of us and our children can consciously navigate from the Truth of who we really are. We want to be REAL, no matter what and it isn’t just trying to do better, it is an honest transformation of self, of our beingness that is needed, no, required.
I will continue to post about our journey with the hope that sharing our life inspires you in yours. And please stop by Ingerid’s blog ~ a visual inspiration for women transforming into their own divine sensitivity and beauty and love for all things beautiful.