“I have discovered nothing more stunning, nothing more emotionally stirring, nothing more intriguing than a woman as she creates life.” –Patrick Stull (in Evolve)
From the Celebrating Motherhood book I’ve been using for an intermittent series of posts, comes this thought about creativity from Meinrad Craighead:
Images are like children. Children come out of our bodies as distinct creatures with their own life form…They have come out of us, but they have their own energy separate from us.
Women create—we all create—out of our bodies…The creativity in women’s bodies, the potential in our bodies for making children from our many eggs is, I think, no different from the potential for making imagery from our many eggs…It is very important for we women to understand that whether we are creating biologically or metaphysically from those eggs, it is all the fruit of our body, the fruit of our creativity.
–Meinrad Craighead, from Sacred Stories quoted in Celebrating Motherhood (p. 43).
After quoting Craighead, I remembered I’ve quoted her previously and so I went looking for that quote, which was:
“Come into my lap and sit in the center of your soul. Drink the living waters of memory and give birth to yourself. What you unearth with stun you. You will paint the walls of this cave in thanksgiving.”
This quote was used in the context of a post I wrote about my last computer-off week and “defragmenting” my brain, in which I eventually came to the conclusion:
I always have “too much to do,” technology or not. It is kind of how I’m built. I am packed with ideas and plans and goals all the time, so are my kids, so are my parents. I think it is genetic. Also, this makes us interesting people albeit perhaps not Zen enough for some as well as for my imaginary conception of how my life “should” be.
This post led me to another one musing about the “distractions” of technology:
I have to say that when I read content decrying technology as negative and lamenting the abundance of children on their “devices,” part of me hears: “these new-fangled kids driving cars instead of good old horses and buggies!” This is reality. In my specific family, technology and screen-time built my family’s financial security and our literal home. My husband made a living for years off of screens—eight hours a day in front of one in fact. I use one now to support my family and to, get this, be with my children. Using a computer (ipad, etc.) is how I teach, how I write, how I communicate, how I interact, how I earn money, how I sell my creations. My mom was on the phone a lot when I was a kid. I’m on the computer a lot. Maybe Idealized Mythical Past Mom was in the cotton field a lot, or washing laundry for others, or working in a lace factory, or milking cows, or shelling peanuts or making paper flowers, or keeping up the house, or taking care of younger children, or, or, or. Moms have never “not worked.” And, they’ve never been non-“distracted,” just the mode and texture of this “distraction” shifts with times, contexts, roles, activities, and availability of whatever. Perhaps it is all just life and living?! I am as interested by mindfulness and present moment awareness as the next person and yet I always wonder: “can’t I be typing this blog post in the present moment?!” Can’t I be thinking about my to-do list in the present moment? Can’t I be smelling this rose in the present moment? AND, can’t I also be sending this text in the present moment? Why does “present moment” have to be synonymous with no to-do list and no technology? I can very presently us both…right?!
And, I’ve been thinking about the snappy feeling I have this week and how I can be both controlling and flexible, good-humored and humorless, happy Mom reading books aloud and crabby Mom saying, “get that out of my face,” on edge and content, often within the same day and same hour. This reminded me of a post I wrote quite a while ago about “dualism” and how we are received, perceived, and experienced by people can all be true:
And, I started to reflect that I guess I am all these things and how people experience me and my writing is in part up to me and in part up to them. Just like in real life. I can be gentle, kind, and nurturing. I can be critical, judgmental, and harsh. I can be helpful and I can be selfish. I can be patient and impatient. I can be friendly, I can be preoccupied. I can be energetic and enthusiastic and upbeat and I can be exhausted and defeated. I can be a fabulous, fun mother and I can be a distracted and grouchy mother. I can be funny and I can take myself too seriously. Different people, relationships, and environments bring out different expressions of who I am. Sometimes I really like myself a lot. I like who I am, I like how I move through the world, and I’m impressed with my own capacities. I have great ideas and solid values and principles and the ability to articulate those in writing. Sometimes I actually hate myself. I see only the bad parts and I wish I could just be better. I feel hypocritical and over aware of inconsistencies in my own thoughts/beliefs and my expression of my values in the world. I often want to be better than I am, but in rare moments of grace and self-compassion, I realize that I’m pretty good already. And, in some moments of self-righteousness and superiority, I actually feel better than some people in some areas/some ways!
I hope I can remember to extend enough compassion and grace to others to realize they are the same way and not write someone off based on one experience or encounter!
(Isn’t it convenient that I’ve already had all these thoughts already and can just go back to my blog to mine for them, rather than starting from scratch all the time? ;) )
Returning to creation and motherhood though, I think this etsy shop (Shaping Spirit) has the most amazing and best driftwood sculptures of all time:
I thought of her as I read a beautiful article about why grieving for birth is selfless and not selfish (shared via Summer Birth Services):
Women grieve stolen birth experiences very deeply, but their grief often remains private because modern birth culture maintains that a healthy baby is the one and only goal. The roots of “the healthy baby lie” are found in the reality of birth, that the outcome is unknown and one potential outcome is, quite undeniably, death. But to women, birth means a great deal more than being alive afterwards. Birth is the introduction to their baby, it matters a great deal.
Mothers spend many months imagining birth, sometimes many years. They imagine feeling more love than they ever imagined when they set eyes on their new baby. The reality is that sometimes things go awry – women are not so stupid that they can’t grasp that – but when they reach out to tell their stories they are often told one of two things; that they should focus on their healthy baby; and that they had unrealistic expectations of birth. But it is not unrealistic to expect that you will feel joyful when you give birth…
“These are her endless years, woman and child, in dream molded and wet, a bowl growing on a wheel, no mud, not bowl, not clay, but this becoming, winter and split of darkness, years of wish.”
–Muriel Rukeyser (quoted in Celebrating Motherhood, p. 47)