Why I started Mothers’ Circles

May 13, 2014

Consider the following words from Rumi:

You were born with potential
You were born with goodness and trust
You were born with ideals and dreams
You were born with greatness
You were born with wings
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings
Learn to use them, and fly
.

And these from Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us . . .
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to manifest the power* that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

[*note: I replaced “glory of god” with “power,” which suits me better.]

 

When I first came upon these poems many years ago, my response was, “But of course . . . and just HOW might I go about that!?”

I don’t assume that these two poems speak to all young mothers. In MY particular case, they have long motivated me to focus on personal growth and development, and yet on my own I just didn’t have the tools to really get and stay in touch with my inner power. Throughout much of my life and especially in my early mothering years, I excelled in keeping myself small, so how to allow myself to become anything close to “powerful beyond measure”?

I was quite scared to even become a mother, and once I did (10 years ago), I felt terribly alone. Yes, I had a partner and friends all around me . . . but I was so very busy trying to be the perfect caring-breastfeeding-playful-calm-healthy-working mother – YET I WAS SOOOOO FAR FROM PERFECT – and was desperate for others to not find out I was a fraud. So I didn’t share my troubles, my deep fears, my insecurities about motherhood. I just struggled with my self-judgments, and suffered a lot on my own.

Since then, I’ve gained many new skills, particularly within the world of nonviolent communication (NVC). The strategy that is working best for me is to come and stay in connection with my personal feelings and needs. I now know how to shine a bright beautiful light on them, see them as super important, to be caressed like a baby – not hidden and ignored for the sake of serving others. I’ve found that by doing this work with loads of compassion, I not only serve myself, but can with far more ease and calmness serve others – out of a true desire to connect rather than out of obligation.

Focusing on myself is something I once thought of as self-indulgent, even selfish. However, now I experience it as a necessary gift that I give to myself. I no longer go through long periods of time NOT paying attention to what my body knows is going on inside me . . . to what is critically important to my authentic self.

I’m not 100% there by any means – I remain very human in my setbacks and struggles. Now that I’ve learned the true value of sharing vulnerably, I feel so much less alone, enjoy learning from others’ experiences, and feel genuinely connected.

Now, as a coach, mediator, and trainer, I help others re-discover their authentic selves, primarily through deep listening and skill-building around self-connection and compassionate communication. I facilitate Mothers’ Circles in order to create the very safe, open, non-judgmental setting I wish I had had 7+ years ago – when I didn’t live in a foreign country. Now that I do, I can really imagine the difficulties young mothers go through, far from family and all things familiar. I look forward to each session, as they give me so much energy and a sense of “coming full circle” in my own life.

For more information about Mothers’ Circles or my other offerings, click the “for international mothers” tab, and please feel free to contact me directly.

Cara Crisler
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