Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Mama Mind

The Mama Mind is a big mind and a state of being. It took over for me as soon as I realized there was a little human growing in my body. For months after my son was born I would stop in the middle of something and giggle thinking, "Holy shit, I am a parent." The Mama Mind has so much love and so much worry. B-I-G emotions come with the Mama Mind.

Yesterday I took my seven year old boy on a great and beautiful hike. We had a fabulous time, barefoot, skirting over rocks, wading in water pools, feeling the splash of waterfalls on our hot bodies. It was delicious, but not free. Before I possessed the Mama Mind I would have been giddy on this hike, challenging myself to push further, being daring, and relishing the freedom and possibilities of what I could do. Not worrying that I could go crashing down a 50 foot waterfall all broken and battered and dead. But now I have the Mama Mind. My boy and I had fun, but there is always this part of me that holds back a little bit. Talking it over with my mama neighbor yesterday I realized it is the Mama Mind that curbs that freedom. It is caution, it is fear, it is responsibility for another living being.

On the hike my boy was pushing higher and higher up the mountain, off the path, no shoes, water and rocks as our guide. The Mama Mind held back, surveying all potential dangers, assessing the risks, and finding the right path. There were many times I had to tell Mama Mind to hush, let the boy climb that rock, let him find his path, feel the freedom. Mama Mind closed her mouth but shot me mean looks the whole time that said, "If that boy falls you'll never forgive yourself." Mama Mind is overly protective. She keeps my feet firmly grounded, and has a hard time letting my kids soar. "What if their wings don't work and they fall to the ground?" she says. "What did we do to ruin their wings?" she asks.

Mama Mind is good, but also over the top. She makes sure that my kids are safe, but she has a hard time letting them wander and find their own way. Mama Mind weighs heavy some days as she plans healthy meals and tries to solve all the world's problems so my kids don't suffer one bit. Mama Mind is the monkey on all mamas' backs pulling our hair when we don't listen to her practical advice.

I'm working on balance with my Mama Mind today. I'm trying to worry less and laugh more with my beasties. Buddhism reminds me again and again that karma directs me and my kids' lives, not the Mama Mind. She thinks she is the conductor of all things in our world but in truth, we are not in control of everything. Life happens, death happens, suffering happens. Finding the joy right in this moment is what sweetens the deal, its not about making it out unscathed.

Yesterday I caught my boy in moments of pure joy and freedom, being daring, pushing himself to his limits. I took a breath, with my feet firmly planted, and offered that beauty up to the Buddhas savoring seconds of pure joy, and then I told my boy to get down off that rock before he cracks his head open.

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