Honoring the wisdom of many mothers
As a child, Mother’s Day meant a gorgeous, ever-fragrant, single gardenia corsage for my mom—a tradition I frequently continued as an adult for my late mother. In more recent years, in addition to honoring the mothers in my life, I’ve expanded my appreciation to include Mother Earth, Mother Nature, and even the mother of invention. Like my mother, they’ve taught me a lot over the years for which I am very grateful.
My mother didn’t tell me what to do very often. Rather, she would say, “Use wisdom, Cheryl.” Looking back, that is the wisest guidance she could have given me, however, as a young adult, I didn’t understand the depth to which she spoke. During the “middle years” I recognized wisdom in others and wondered if I would ever really feel wise. At this point in my life, it’s rewarding to feel a sense of wisdom that guides my choices about what really matters to me and the motivation to live by those truths.
Mother Nature in her infinite ways is a visible reminder for me to keep it simple and eliminate baggage from the stuff in my house to the stuff I think, say and do. In Shirley MacLaine’s book, Out On a Limb,she talks about how a bird flies unencumbered for thousands of miles carrying only one piece of baggage—a twig. “He could carry the twig in his beak and when he got tired, he could float on it, fish from it, eat and sleep from the twig. Who needed the Queen Mary?” Those are my sentiments exactly especially when I lived in less than 200 square feet at the beach for twelve years and loved every inch of it.
Mother Earth demonstrates the importance of balance within her ecosystems such as plants, animals and organisms interacting with weather, sun, soil and climate. To achieve our inner balance, two suggestions come to mind—first, never leave home without a smile and two, keep an attitude of gratitude regardless of the circumstances.
As for the mother of invention, the well-known quote claims that necessity inspires change. While it’s unclear who first made the statement, its message speaks volumes: if it becomes imperative for something to change, the need inspires a new and creative solution.
What I’ve described here in part characterizes what mothers are all about—they are creative, they strive for balance and simplicity, and they seem to have an innate sense of wisdom that children of all ages sooner or later appreciate. Wishing all mothers a well-deserved happy day.
Originally published May 11, 2017, Orange County Register