Once again, it’s Mother’s Day. As we celebrate motherhood, our own mothers, our mothers’ mothers, mothering, being a mom, having a mom, being in relationship with a mom – all things mother – my message is short and sweet this year.
Don’t eat your mother.
Don’t eat anyone else’s mother.
Don’t eat or harm anyone who has a mother.
Don’t take babies away from mothers.
Don’t injure or take anything that belongs to your mother.
Don’t injure or take anything that belongs to any mother.
I know, it’s generally considered not nice to say, “don’t.” “Don’t” statements can shut people down. None of us like being told what we can’t do. But there are times when “don’t” is the best – maybe the only – way to effectively and accurately convey a message.
When I was a little girl and my mom said, “Don’t touch the stove,” right as my hand was about to touch said stove, it was actually helpful. It made me see something I hadn’t seen before. It stopped me from doing harm to myself. She didn’t take the time to lay out all the things I could touch without getting hurt. Had she done that, we might still be there, and my hand would have been burned. I would have suffered. “Don’t let a boy convince you to [fill in the blank]” was also very helpful advice to a young girl, as was “Don’t lie to people,” “Don’t cheat,” and “Don’t hurt others.” These were boundaries that didn't carry judgment, but when honored yielded a satisfying and self-possessed life, and when not, yielded suffering.
“Don’t” statements provide clarity. The kinder and gentler ”do” statements are vulnerable to interpretation and rationalization – activities of the mind that we humans excel at. I’ve sat around thousands of tables where people (including me) celebrated Love, Family and Motherhood while the bodies of babies and excretions of mothers were passed around and apportioned to plates without thought. I’ve participated in thousands of conversations about the importance of Freedom and Family, while the flesh served up on the table was there only through the denial of another's Freedom and the breaking up of another's family. We unconsciously draw lines that cause enormous harm to others – harm that we simply do not want to see. “Don’t” statements help us see those things. They help us grow and as a result, mitigate suffering. How much I wish someone had said to me when I was a child, “Don’t eat your mother or anyone else’s.” I would have been stunned into awakening much earlier, caused much less harm to other beings and suffered much less myself. Because when I bring harm to others, I'm out of alignment. And when I'm out of alignment, I suffer.
Turkeys are born without mothers to care for them and are slaughtered at just 4 months old. Dairy cows are slaughtered when their milk production is economically insufficient, around 6 years old (after giving birth and being separated from their babies multiple times), Mother pigs are confined in gestation crates, unable to comfortably move, and are slaughtered at 3-5 years old. Her babies are slaughtered at just 6 months.
As we celebrate mothers today, let us genuinely celebrate all moms. Let us take an honest look and appreciate the wonder of the body that nurtures an unborn baby and labors for hours to give birth. Let us revere the spirit of the one who commits her life to the life of a being who comes through her! Moms literally make the world go ‘round. Moms are everything. No one can do what a mom does. Any mom. ALL moms.
And that is something to celebrate.
So, this Mother’s Day, don’t eat your mother…or anyone else’s mother...or anyone who has a mother. Because we choose to lift all moms up in every way.
Happy Mother’s Day.
© carol saunders 2019
Rev. Carol Saunders
I am an ordained minister, speaker, writer and lover of all life. In 2010 I founded a spiritual community in Deerfield, IL, a suburb of Chicago, and have recently transitioned it to a weekly interactive gathering and podcast called The Spiritual Forum. Being a voice for the animals and a light for the spiritually-inclined who are willing to seriously examine the self and begin to awaken, are what Spirit has called me to be. I am here to support anyone who wants to move toward living in closer alignment with their deeply held spiritual values. Our world needs more Love, Peace and Kindness. We can make that happen. But we won't be able to until we transform some of the violent and unkind ways of living we inherited from our culture. Be Love. Be Peace. Be Kind. Today.