With Mothering Sunday approaching, I would like to reflect on what mother represents to us in Shiatsu and in Chinese medicine, and how that energy can be affected in all of us, regardless of who we are, and what our relationship with our mother is.
Mothering Sunday can be a difficult time for many, it can be hard for some to see everyone out with bunches of daffodils apparently happily celebrating with their mother with a big Sunday roast.
Not everyone has a mother still with them, or perhaps is struggling to become a parent themselves. Or perhaps their mother was not someone who was able to provide what was needed as a child and growing up, and the relationship is a troubled or painful one.
If we for a moment consider the archetypal mother, and what she represents – can you see how this might manifest in your own personal life, and how sometimes we can take these qualities to extreme….
For example, the mother represents unconditional love, nourishment, safety, care and support. But so often, when out of balance, these qualities can be tipped into negative and unsupportive behaviours such as a lack of ability to stop and look after ourselves., or a neediness. Nourishment for our Soul can be sought through overeating, or compulsive shopping, and at the extreme end; addictions, where we try to fill a place where we don’t feel loved, safe and secure, or where shame exists.
In Shiatsu we work with a system called the five elements, and the mother energy is represented by the Earth element. There often can be a deep routed source of destructive behavioural patterns, when this energy is out of balance.
Worry is a key indicator we identify with an earth imbalance, someone who is constantly overthinking or worrying, imagining the worst case scenarios, or just getting stuck in destructive thought patterns, with a disconnect from our bodies, being “stuck in our head”
When our earth energy has not been met fully, we learn to seek out other ways to get what we need in terms of nourishment or support. If you think of a mother – she will always do things for her children first and put herself second, but this can be take to extremes, and it can be detrimental to the wellbeing of the mother.
Often we will see people in caring professions who will work to excess to support or help others, but at a high cost to their own health and wellbeing. I’m sure you can think of a friend or relative who will do anything for anyone, but is resistant to accepting anything for themselves or creating space to look after and nurture themselves. Many of us do this to a greater or lesser degree, and I know this is something I have been working on in my life. Learning to say no, or graciously accepting gifts and acts of kindness from others can be a powerful way to start practicing finding a balance in our earth energy. A strong mother can hold the boundaries, as well as administer love care and support.
If a child growing up does not experience a healthy relationship with their mother for whatever reason, this can create difficulties in later life, where that person seeks out other ways to find security, a sense of belonging or nourishment, which can be damaging to our physical or emotional wellbeing.
In Shiatsu the power of touch can provide some of that at a very primal level. We seek out areas where the body can feel a sense of lack, and bring the quality of the Mother touch, of nourishment and support and safety, so then that does not need to be sought out in other ways. When we feel grounded, deeply nourished and supported, we can act from a place of power and choice, rather than from a place of lack or a sense of need.
5 simple ways to improve your life!
The following steps have been researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation. This evidence has been developed by a number of different organisations to help promote better ways to mental health and wellbeing. It is something I have used with clients to look at aspects of their lives where they might be able to make some simple changes, to increase their sense of happiness and wellbeing. You can look at each of these 5 aspects in your life, and see if you can add to or change what you are doing, and see if it makes any difference! Let me know how you get on!
CONNECT: BE ACTIVE: TAKE NOTICE: LEARN: GIVE
(The following breakdown and suggestions was taken from the Mind website)
There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.
It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.
With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection.
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.
Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being.But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise. Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:
Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness.
Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.
Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.
Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression.
The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.
Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:
Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research.
Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.
Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.
Author: Hannah Currant
Hannah is a Shiatsu and EFT Practitioner based in Bristol.
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