But there are alternatives. In later chapters I will be outlining more natural approaches which actually help to free a woman of her self ignorance and assist her to feel good about everything that womanhood entails.
Social scientists are constantly examining human behaviour and discovering nothing other than what generations of lay people have already known! These "findings" soon become the property of their discoverers, not because they are any more correct than commonsense, but because of the respect afforded to the science faculties and the media which promote them. As a result, even if you do have a trusting relation-ship with your mother, do you fully believe what she knows is right, unless it has been confirmed by the latest "studies"?
The voice of the wise woman has been silenced, especially in the patriarchal birthing industry. These days, real experience counts for very little. Only those who are "qualified" may speak, and so our own mothers' knowledge has been usurped by science, sociology, medicine and peer group fashion. Having trouble with period pain? Don't ask your mother, ask the pharmacist for the latest drug. Boy trouble? Turn to the glossy magazines.
Eventually, when the challenging phase of child rearing comes into our lives, to whom do we turn? Do we choose our nearest and dearest, a truly wise and knowledgeable person, someone carrying the well-trodden traditions of our (female) lineage? Most frequently we do not. The surrounding choices are so loud and so many, that such a mass of popular opinion cannot help but drown out our own intuition.
Oh Mother - Me
Your hands, my hands
Ancient memory of doing
Your belly, my belly
Ancient memory of fullness
Your hips, my hips
Ancient memory of sway and dance
Your yoni-, my yoni
Ancient memory of worship
Your heart, my heart
Ancient memory of loving
Your breasts, my breasts
Ancient memory of milk
Your voice, my voice
Ancient memory of singing
Your blood, my blood
Ancient memory of birthing
You dwell within me, mother - me
Each part of me a memory
To all who came before
My hands light
with the story of creation
My belly round from children within
My hips alive to the rhythm of life
My yoni open to the lover of ages
My heart limitless in love
My breasts full
My voice strong
My blood awash.
Blaming our mothers, fathers, educators or society for anything found lacking in our own lives is of no value at all, but acknowledging that there may be elements of our upbringing which hold us back from fully experiencing our womanhood is vital. This requires reflection on our past as well as honesty with ourselves about who we are. It also requires us to consider our own part in the relationship we had with our mothers.
As to "what is a woman" and "what is a mother" there is no absolute or objective measure. Such things can only ever be measured against your own conscience. But, according to yoga, our conscience, or level of consciousness, is always evolving, so therefore our understanding of what is woman, what is mother, is evolving for us too. Each person will, over the course of their life, discover for themselves what seems to be missing and what seems to be imbalanced. Your life will clearly show you what is wrong.
Any elements realised as missing, can be rectified by a mature adult who firstly perceives their own shortcomings and then, with determination and a suitable set of circum-stances, works hard to transform even their deepest fears, neuroses or imbalances of personality. My approach to self transformation has been to use an integration of physical and psychological yoga methods. I believe the greatest benefit of yoga "therapy" over many others is that it is grounding, holistic and not just a "head trip".
Very often in my classes, students come with problems and symptoms they cannot exactly explain - let alone identify the causes. They just want relief. During their course of self awareness, they gradually come to see what they are, and why they are in those situations. Simultaneously, the yoga "therapy" has been working on their condition such that there is both a healing and an understanding. This was exactly my own situation.