Learning about Heavenly Mother and trusting my body, feelings, and intuition.
A friend told me about Rachel Hunt Steenblik’s lovely book of poems Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother at the beginning of this year. I had spent much time considering my feminism and progressivism, but was still learning about what these things meant within the context of my faith.
Reading Mother’s Milk was like finding water in the desert. It provided so much comfort and information about what Heavenly Mother is like. It was so powerful. Since reading those poems for the first time, I’ve considered how I think of her in my own experience, and the ways we as her children tap into and embody her traits and who she is.
These are some of the traits, behaviors, and functions I think Heavenly Mother embodies:
First and foremost, Heavenly Mother is intuitive. She acts directly from knowledge about herself and about us as her children. She knows what is needed, and does it with confidence and self-assurance.
Heavenly Mother identifies with and honors pain and fear. She responds with safety, protection, softness, and directiveness. She doesn’t sit on her hands or ignore pain; she engages with it directly, knowing the source of our pain is often not ourselves, but the actions of others and a willful society that continues to place the needs, safety, and care of certain groups above others.
She is both powerful, forceful, strong, and fierce, and soft, gentle, and kind – all at the same time.
In my own experience, a lot of the time I think of Heavenly Mother as being far away from me. I want her by me, and I want to know she’s there, but sometimes I feel so far from that comfort, safety, and protection. However, the more I work on myself, the more I realize that Heavenly Mother is also in me. I have her divinity, intuition, power, and creativity, and I carry it with me all of the time. In these ways, she is always with me, in every place and every situation I go. This is so powerful and comforting.
As women, I think we are often taught not to listen to our own bodies, feelings, and intuition. From the time we are young, women and girls especially are taught to defer to others (e.g., parents, spouses, church leaders), often at the expense of what we feel in our bodies and our own self-knowledge. This guidance from others can be so helpful and comforting at times. However, not everyone has equal desire for or access to those helping resources. For example, in my situation, a lot of the time, I don’t have access to that help and support, and as a result, I have to rely primarily on myself and the information I have to manage my situation. I am still learning to become more gentle and acquainted with the most intuitive and vulnerable and parts of myself. This is profoundly difficult but powerful work.
I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) and work very hard to understand myself and learn how to manage my symptoms and pain. I had a particularly difficult session with my therapist recently. We discussed a part of myself that is young and that holds a lot of my trauma. We used a visualization to think about how the part of myself that was in pain would be attended to by the adult version of me (what we refer to as the compassionate presence) and the other parts of myself. Immediately, I was able to identify how I would relate to that part of myself and comfort her, and how she would respond to me and the other parts of myself comforting her. I was speaking directly from a place of self-knowledge, intuition, assertiveness, and directiveness. I knew what the parts of myself needed, and I was able to immediately identify what to do. I didn’t realize until after the fact how powerful that was.
This process is not perfect. There are times I am so overwhelmed, overstimulated, tired, upset, and anxious, I have no idea what to do or how to respond to myself or others. That’s okay, and so, so human. When it happens, sometimes I’m able to pause, ground myself in my body, and then I’m better able to understand what’s going on. Other times, I just have to do the best I can to use the information and resources I have and make the best decisions possible with what is available to me. I have to remind myself I simultaneously embody my humanity and humanness and also what is beyond me. All of that is divine and powerful.
This process of learning about Heavenly Mother and trusting my body, feelings, and intuition is ongoing. When I feel alone, it is so comforting to think of her nearby, even though I do not always feel her. It is also profoundly comforting to know that I have her in me. I know what is right for me. I know what to do with my pain and my anger. I know how to take care of myself. I know who and what provides me safety, comfort, softness, support, and care.
These are two things I know:
We have a Heavenly Mother who embodies power, intuition, safety, comfort, care, and divinity.
Heavenly Mother is in us.
LMA is PhD-holding boss lady that teaches child development to university students. She cares deeply about issues that affect women inside and outside of our Church.