A Ritual for Mothers of Lost Children

Ceremony and Ritual

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other’s Day for all of the Hallmark-esque marketing and posturing, does celebrate a vital and often looked over presence — that of the Mother, Mom, Momma, Ma. For many women, the holiday marks a special day when they get to take a break and relax, and it gives their children and partners a chance to honor them in extra special ways. These are all very good things. However, a group that is often looked over not just on Mother’s Day but in general, is the group of women and men who have lost children.

One can be a mother of lost children regardless of gender, and the stories span the spectrum…from children who are missing, who have died in all numbers of ways, who are present in body but disconnected from hearth and kin. One can be a mother of lost children too if one wished to have children but was unable for so many reasons not to conceive or carry to term. Some mothers of lost children had to walk away from their child, not wanting to but not having, or seeing, any other choice. Other mothers of lost children made a conscious decision not to bring children into the world…but the decision was not simple or easy and it is not ever forgotten. Many mothers of lost children live in a hellish limbo, in countries around the world torn to pieces by war and poverty, by avarice and cruelty – in many cases these mothers watched as their children were forcibly removed, or worse, in front of their very eyes.

We tend to disregard or look beyond these mothers of lost children generally, for how does one speak, sit, listen to, comfort someone who has faced this greatest of all losses? It often feels too much to bear and that one’s lack of experience will show all too plainly — that we will do or say, think or act in the wrong way. Maybe so. Our attempts to comfort, to heal, and to bless are not always elegant, they can be clumsy for sure, but simply to decide to act in kindness towards someone, especially someone who has known such loss, is an act of healing in and of itself.

So for those of you who wish to celebrate Mother’s Day this year I have a ritual for you. It does not involve candles, incantations, or a beautifully decorated altar. You need only three things: a phone, the name of someone you know who is a mother of a lost child, and a phone number.

The ritual is simple: call up this person and let them know that you love them, let them know that you see them, talk with them on this day about whatever they want to talk about. Take a few minutes to do this. If appropriate let them know how they have been a mother to you or to ones you love. Thank them. Love them. Bless them in the ways you can. It matters more than you think and it makes a difference more than you know.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

This is how we heal

Lunar Letter

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o sooner did I start pondering this month’s lunar letter, than it occurred to me that healing would have to be its theme. For the Full Moon shines down on us from Pisces, and the Fish is the healer of the zodiac, ruling over the 12th house of our charts, the area where we confront once and for all the beliefs, traumas, ideas, and habits that cut, wound, and tie us down, leaving us feeling broken, scarred, and scared.

Healing is a word we bandy about with the best of intentions. How many times have we heard it said that we need to heal, or that we need to be open to healing, or that what is needed now is healing? All of that is fine and good, but we may wonder, after years of healing, and perhaps even after little or no results: is it even possible to heal? What does it mean to heal?

We might turn to the icon of the Sacred Heart for help. Here we have the familiar heart symbol, but there is a fountain of fire pluming from within the heart’s division, and the heart is encircled with lines of radiance, or sometimes wings. When we see it in its radiant glory, we may easily forget that the shine and radiance is that of a heart and spirit that has been to hell and back.

In image and imagination, every possible wound has been inflicted on the Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart speaks to the scarred heart — pierced by a thousand swords, cut by a thousand pieces of glass, wrapped in rusty barbed wire and a crown of thorns — and sometimes, at first, we think that those scars are something to hide from the world, something to keep quiet, keep covered up.

The Sacred Heart speaks also the scared heart, afraid because we know we can be harmed, frightened of our worst dreams coming true, scared that the wounds Pisces asks us to face cannot ever, really, be healed. Experiencing the traumas to body and spirit that cut so deep, the ideas that bind us to a limited view of life and love, the habits that keep us from not just living life, but living life well, we are afraid that we will only ever be broken.

Fleeing from our pain, we will reach out for healing far away from the scars and brokenness, to cover it up, to be free of it. But to flee from our condition in this way is to flee from what makes us sensitive and alive, from what transcends and supports our own mortality. To the Sacred Heart, those salves and remedies for which we reach are a mirage: the greatest healing power comes from within the very darkness and brokenness of our condition, just as a lily flower blossoms from out of the muck. To the Sacred Heart, what we call broken shards and scars are for it the crown jewels which bedeck and bedazzle.

The Sacred Heart will not be covered up nor will it be silenced. Like a phoenix rising up out of the ashes, it shines through fear and a forest of scars and the clothing that we wear and the protections that we weave about ourselves. None of these matter to Sacred Heart for it is made to shine. And so it does. It shines out in radiant splendor, saying:

My blessedness is in and among the broken, ever, and always.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

10 Ways to Heal (and deal with) a Broken Heart

Right Relationship

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ear Miracles:

Being brokenhearted sucks.

Even with a broken heart, most of us know intuitively that we are better off, we’ll learn a powerful lesson, and we’ll know better next time. But in the deep night when our chest feels like it has a huge, gaping wound and our guts are tied in knots–all of that knowledge is a sorry source of comfort. Much of my work deals with love and romance and I have seen my share of broken hearts personally and professionally.

One of the worst things about being brokenhearted is feeling like there is NOTHING you can do to help yourself. But there is!

I offer you a hand-picked list of ten ideas to help light your way through that darkness:

 

1.) Sit with it and feel it.

Breneé Brown has two terrific TED talks on vulnerability and shame. Go listen to them. I’ll wait. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make and I’ve made it myself is to run away from feelings and thoughts that are not pleasant; feelings that might be a little scary or even a lot painful. Don’t run. Heartbreak will only follow you. Before you heal, you’ve got to deal.

 

2.) Stop the blame train.

If I hadn’t done that; if he had said this.” On a superficial level, does it matter who has the lion’s share of blame? Maybe.

On a soul level, does it matter?  No.

If you start hopping on the blame train try rephrasing it this way, “The next time I am going to focus more on,__________” or, “Right now I want to feel_________.” These are petitions that can actually help you.

 

3.) You are not an island.

Heartbreak is an underworld adventure for your soul.  In our times of heartbreak it may look on the surface like everything is fine while inside we feel dead like a zombie, checked out, departed, and alone. Your journey is yours but you are not an island. Our lives are constantly touching and rubbing against each other. Call on your friends and family for support.  Do not make every conversation with them an opportunity to figure out what went wrong or slam your ex.  They have lives, too.  Ask about them and what they’re dealing with.

 

4.) Invest in kindness to yourself and others.

Book a massage, get a heart-healing anointing oil, volunteer at a soup kitchen, help a kid learn to read. Heartbreak rides on the fear that you have nothing left to give. Oh yes, you do.

 

5.) Embrace Beauty

Read good poetry and/or make a space for something beautiful. Fresh flowers, the art museum, your local Waldorf School’s Gift shop. Beauty heals.

 

6.) Get pissed.

Feeling wronged? Swallowing anger makes us sick. Wallowing in anger is the basis for many Greek tragedies. The trick is to focus your anger. Make it a ritual.

Think: prescribed time, place, opening and closing and then create an activity to help you purge. Burning all your pictures of him, kick-boxing a bag with her face on it, putting an entire garden bed in, just letting yourself yell for half an hour. Let it out so you can let it go.

 

7.) Admit that it is not all OK

Understand that everything will not be all right for awhile. This is not a failing. This means that you are a living, thinking, breathing creature who gives a damn. Never feel bad for giving a damn.

 

8.) Revenge = no bueno.

Revenge is motivated by a desire for justice and fairness. The problem is that revenge also blocks out justice and fairness. You are better than that. Do something crafty, like making a salt jar instead.

 

9.) Treat it like trauma (because it is).

If you had a head injury you would be careful with yourself.  You would learn about what might heal and help you.  You would not expect too much too soon.  Heartbreak is a trauma. Treat it as such.  Learn about healing emotional trauma and also about spiritual cleansing.

 

10.) Accept help.

One time I went hunting with my uncle. It was right after Christmas, about 4:00 in the morning, very dark and very cold. My uncle does not hunt from a blind. He picks a spot and beds down with his dogs. As anyone who has seriously hunted for meat knows, most of hunting is waiting and watching. I saw lots of things in that cold, dark morning. Some were real and some were imagined.

This terrain is similar to what we travel when we experience heartbreak. Dark, a bit alien, unfamiliar but presences make themselves known to us sometimes because we are open in a unique way. Pay attention to what appears. If you need assistance in thinking about that contact a spiritual worker.

Heartbreak is hard, but in a broken heart there is room…for grace.

 

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.