Monday, March 05, 2007

Rites and Rituals of Mothering

A few years ago I did a mama writing workshop and just found the notes-
Here they are:

Mama Writes: Journaling Through the Rites and Rituals of Mothering

With Linda Pruitt

The rites of mothering begin with pregnancy and birth. The rituals of mothering begin as you lift your baby to your breast, as you startle awake for the very first time to your tiny infant’s cry and they continue into grandmotherhood.

Opening Rites for this workshop: The Matrilineal Map

Start with the sentence, “I am (name here), daughter of (your mother’s name), daughter of (your grandmother’s name), daughter of (your great grandmother’s name). Go back as far as you can. Use only the first and middle names of these women. When you have finished, and have read through slowly, jot down your first emotions and thoughts about the list. How far back were you able to trace? How do you feel about that?

Why write?

Free writing allows us to get a deeper perspective, a reflective flow going. Free writing is about constant motion, chaos almost, but this motion is where spirit and thought take tangible form. My guess is that as a mama you freewrite in your head all day long. Without the space of the page our thoughts get lost, pushed aside. Persistent ones resurface sometimes getting the attention they deserve, often not. Whenever you are “stuck “ in a freewriting exercise I want you to repeatedly write the word “mama” or “mother”. Use it as a mantra and scrawl it so many times, so quickly that it loses shape and meaning. Then let your pen re create that meaning.

If you hit a place in your writing that is hard to work through take a deep breath, straighten your spine, feel the energy rising up from the base of your back through your shoulders and down into your arm and writing hand. Look at that hand and tell it that it is alright to continue, that it is helping you gain access to a place you may be reluctant to go, but that you trust your hand and heart to lead on.

Here are some freewriting prompts to get you going:

Write about the Rites and Rituals of your mothering experience.

Write your response to the following passage:

The mother-daughter relationship is at the headwaters of every woman’s health.” Dr. Christiane Northrup

What were the conscious/spoken and unconscious/unspoken messages you received from your mother about being a mother?

What do you remember most about your mother from your childhood? What do you think your child will remember about you? What do you hope they will remember?

Two Questions From Hip Mama Founder Ariel Gore:

What do I feel I have “Sacrificed” for my current work/family/lifestyle?

In what way do I feel like I am juggling dissonant parts of my life? Which of these balls can I set down?

Write a Mother’s Prayer.

Write a letter (to remain unsent or to shared) to any of the following: yourself in five years, your mother, your grandmother, or your child.

What are the cultural, social, creative, spiritual, sexual, political aspects of my mama identity?

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