It was my love for my daughter, which consecrated me as a channel to call each of us back to our true nature as strong, powerful women. This is the new legacy we’re creating together.
This journey to become our self occurs in the world of relationships.
We all need those who can hold the space for us and call us back when we lose ourselves. We need those who can reflect our true nature, receive our innate gifts and unique expressions. It’s through their reflections we can remember the truth of who we are.
But sometimes we begin life without a circle, or even one person, who can see us clearly. Or we’re surrounded by others who call us to divorce or disown key pieces of who we are. Or we have relationships or experiences in our lives, which shake our foundation and profoundly disconnect us from our essential self.
Thirteen years ago today I was in labor with my daughter. As it was a very long labor her birthday doesn’t arrive until tomorrow.
A year ago this month, after a short summer with Leukemia, my mother died.
These two relationships, with my mother and my daughter, have provided the most fundamental reflections in my personal journey of becoming myself.
Over the years, I’ve heard stories of native tribes who call members back to themselves when they’ve lost their connection to their true self. Sometimes it’s done through a unique song, name or ceremony.
Recently, I was inspired by these stories to create such a touchstone for my daughter as she crosses this significant threshold to become a young woman. Like so many of us in the journey to become ourselves she’s begun to face heartbreak and disillusionment.
I reached out to the important women in her life – those who have seen her clearly and held a space for her for these last 13 years. I asked each of them to write her a letter both about what they know of her and their wisdom as she steps into the next phase of becoming her young adult self.
My prayer for her is she always have access to true reflections of her Essence from those who can seen her clearly.
Last year the priest who officiated my mother’s funeral asked me to provide him with notes for his sermon. I spoke with my mom’s twin sister and took some time to reflect on Mom’s life. For the first time in my life I began to see her strength. I realized the ways she was a natural leader – in her religious community, growing up in her family, as a young woman in school and even in my own family. I began to recognize all the ways she had been the backbone of our family and my parent’s relationship.
Frankly, it was a surprising realization. If you had asked me years ago if my mother was a strong woman or a leader I would have said absolutely not. If you had asked her that about herself I’m certain she would’ve said no.
The fact is, my mother learned well to disown her power and relate with the world from a one down position throughout her life.
Her true power was completely in the shadow. While some could see it over the years she could not own it outright.
Like any of us in that position, she came by it honestly. She had many experiences and messages in her life that reinforced her belief that she was powerless and worth less. She also received this legacy of disempowerment from her own mother and in turn unconsciously passed it on to me.
While none of us – my mother, grandmother or I – were completely powerless we believed we were, which disconnected us from our source of power. This was further exacerbated by familial, religious and cultural belief that women were worth less. Subsequently, we each experienced a sense of profound lack – the ever-present feeling of not enough – self-worth, confidence, support, or money.
Even though I couldn’t fully see it for what it was I had a deep yearning to break this legacy when I became pregnant with my daughter. I was fiercely committed to her being valued, honored and seen.
In creating that for her I began to claim and receive it for myself by calling in a loving circle of women who could reflect it for me. Initially, I could only see her innate value but with support began to fully perceive my own. At the same time, I also began to realize the constraints I had been living in.
My love for my daughter catalyzed the transformation of this legacy of disempowerment in my mother line. It enabled me to recognize the profound challenges my mother and grandmother faced as well as appreciate their innate strength. It allowed me to step more fully into my power and support my daughter in doing the same.