Spiritual motherhood: Great love as a lesson in letting go

I live in Bermuda. It’s no fault or cause of my doing. Life blew me here.

Yesterday I stood with my face to the wind and my family at my back on a little beach near our house. I offered my life to the universe to do with it as it sees best.

When I didn’t have a child, I found it easy to give my life to god. Ok. Not easy. But the courage has come to me more than once to truly mean, “blow me to whoever or wherever you [god] wish in creation; take my life if it serves the greater good.”

And let go.

But with a little baby, things are different. Giving up my life is tough when I am attached to seeing my child grow up. What if that isn’t the grand plan?

Ironically, my son is my teacher in the art of detachment. Every moment is an opportunity to surrender, or struggle. He eats as much as he wants. Sleep cannot be forced. He gets his molars a year early. I can guide us through a routine or a schedule, but with this child, no day is the same. A tactic for sleep may work one day and not the next. A food that was gorged upon yesterday is ejected with a foul look today.

As his teachings improve my ability to let go, I become more aware of how attached I am to life looking a certain way.

Pema Chodrin, a well-known Buddhist nun, left her teenage children to join a nunnery (photo top left). Some might think that god wouldn’t make such a request, but I don’t believe this. Completely surrendering includes all possibilities. Death, loss of limbs, nunneries.

Handing over my life to god requires courage, invokes fear, and results in relief. But there is a reason to work for this: Life is a big job to do alone.

Today, my husband came home and told me about a woman he met whose baby is undergoing a third major surgery since birth: his lung, then his hand, now his bowels.

Sometimes I think my life is so challenging; it’s not, but it could be.

To trust we are taken care of completely is to let go of the control our ego imagines we have. Giving into god’s grace is true freedom, and my ego finds it terrifying. It should.

Letting go to god completely means the death of the ego. We are so attached to our egos that we believe the death of the ego means the death of ourselves. The ego is that part of us that helps separate us from everything around us. The ego allows you to look in the mirror and see you, not me. It is god’s creative construct without which, we would simply know our true nature, instead of being sent here to figure it out from scratch. Where’s the fun in that?

My mind protects my ego by imagining if I let go, my baby will end up in the hospital, I will die, I will succumb to an overwhelming calling to (yup) become a nun. These are stories. The truth is that it doesn’t matter. 

Every experience available to humanity will be felt because that is what we are here for. We are here not to only experience joy, but to experience the depths of sadness. The realm of pain and suffering. Bliss. Terror. Love. Our higher self knows no preference—we are just thrilled to experience.

Motherhood is one long enlightenment intensive. I am pulled between attempts to control life as a parent, and letting go to the moment and the fierce love that exists here. When I look at my son, I notice I stop myself from loving him completely. A feeling of fear comes over me when I start to let the big love in—like it will tear me in two. This too is a story. An open heart naturally encourages complete surrender and spells an end to the ego. Fear is the ego’s last and first line of defence.

Bodhi is my son’s name. It means the heart’s yearning for enlightenment or god. That is what he is. Everyday he calls me with his sweet little form. He calls me to open again and again to love and to risk that which is most terrifying, but also most impossible: a broken heart.

One Response to “Spiritual motherhood: Great love as a lesson in letting go”
  1. Theresa Gerritsen says:

    Moments after posting this blog my son flushed a toy down the toilet for the first time. I have to say I am not looking very “nun” like at the moment. Growl.

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