Linda Jackson II
What do mothers make?
Dinner, clean houses, homes, boo boo’s feel better — both little & large hurts, time for children’s schedules, time to read stories, more stories and even more stories, bath’s for children with an occasional one for self, plans for holidays, birthdays and other events, time for overseeing play at playgrounds and parks, time for singing songs, dancing, and games, boxes filled with dress-up clothes, shoes and coats, Halloween costumes, rules, set boundaries, make lunches, breakfasts, snacks and the shopping lists that assure the presence of materials needed for any occasion. Most mothers I know also learn to make things out of either necessity or for the fun of it, or for the project of school, an event, or just for an afternoon’s entertainment.
I remember the long days of endless to do lists, work and having a toddler, then school girl, then adolescent with needs that never seemed to end. Overwhelm was a familiar experience. I would look forward to bedtimes and early mornings while she slept — this was my time, my sacred space of quiet for writing, reading, creating and, often, just staring into space from my exhaustion and weariness that seemed to permeate my body, mind and emotions. I’d crawl into bed with a good book and most mornings wake up with the open book on my chest — another night on the same page. I’d wonder if I’d ever get to turn the page and find a coherent theme in the book. I imagined my brain cells dying off one by one from lack of use and fatigue.
Then I remember a rock bottom day. Sitting down desperate for a change, teetering on regret of being a mother, missing my spiritual practices, my learning, my running and my quiet time to myself with nothing pulling my apron strings to fulfill, yet another need.
I was embarrassed at my bubbling urge to throw things in a helpless rage and then to run out the door and simply keep running to the life I once knew. I cried from that helpless place. I wept from my own fear. I curled up on the floor in a fetal position hoping to disappear into myself and to wake from this dream of motherhood that was so unlike all my dreams I held dear of the idyllic life playing happily with my child and being blissfully content and satisfied.
I cried and I cried. From despair something inside cracked open and a sliver of light touched my inner eyes. On that stream of light was a question, “What if, even this, was my time?.”
I felt a deep pause inside as I listened and considered the question, “What if, even this, was my time?.” Slowly, I uncurled and heard myself respond, “Yes, what if, even this, and this, and this were my time?.” All of it — every moment of every day. The fatigue, the exhaustion, the hours spent with my daughter playing imaginary games, reading The Runaway Bunny or Goodnight Moon for the millionth time, the sleepless nights, the hours working, cleaning and cooking in between. What if it was all my time? I chose motherhood, just as I chose yoga, reading and quiet time. This was all my choice. This was all my time.
I heard myself repeating, “Even this is my time.” as I looked around the room. Slowly, I got up and began walking from room to room pausing to take in each and every toy, book, clean or dirty dish, pot and pan, the wood stacked for warmth, cleaning supplies, my massage room, the cats, my daughter, my room, her room, my craft room. With each pause, I repeated, “Even this is my time, my choice, my sacred space.”
Finally, I even placed my hands on myself repeating, “Even this is my time, my choice, my sacred space.” I felt a deep breath of fresh air fill me inside and out. “Yes, even this is my time, my choice, my sacred space.”
I felt a new possibility to my life. I found myself enjoying more, engaging more, and grateful for every part of my day. I laughed more, played more and was inspired more.
“Even this, is my time, my choice, my sacred space.” became my mantra, my affirmation. I used it for years, each time I found myself overwhelmed, frustrated, afraid and helpless. I found joy in life and tapped into a creative self that was no longer separate. The compartmentalization I’d done for so long began to relax. Creativity became playing with my daughter, reading stories and preparing meals. Even doing dishes became creative. Sacred time became part of my life — I found so much to be grateful for in every moment instead of waiting until late at night or early morning to turn on my creativity or sacred practices.
What do mother’s make? Motherhood became less about what I made and more about how motherhood made me. Being a mother and reaching rock bottom allowed me to find an integrated whole to my life with a mantra that guided me to open myself to a new perspective each time I repeated it, “Even this is my time, my choice, my sacred space, and my creative moment.”
I am a licensed acupuncturist with Master’s Degrees in both Education and Oriental Medicine. At The Centre for Acupuncture in Great Barrington, I offer services in acupuncture, massage, and herbal medicine to both people and their dogs. I also offer lifestyle coaching in exercise such as yoga and Qi Gong, meditation, breath and nutrition according to Oriental Medicine principles. My lifestyle coaching work has expanded to working with those wanting to make changes in their lives or find the desire or need to reinvent themselves whether it is a new career or a move.
I have been in the holistic health field for over 35 years with an extensive background in holistic health, including a 14 year residency at Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA where, as a founding member, I developed and taught programs in yoga, massage, meditation, and health to hundreds.
I am an author of a popular book, A Dog Lover’s Guide to Canine Massage. This book is a thorough workbook manual for dog lover’s to learn massage and stretching for their canine companions to keep them healthy and stress free. This book is a must for every dog owner and dog lover. I also have a companion CD, “Giving Back”, that guides you through a relaxing full body massage for your dog.
My schedule is busy both at my clinic and with my teaching schedule throughout the year at Berkshire Community College and workshops throughout New England.
In my personal life, I continue my regular practice of meditation, yoga, and healthy lifestyle practices in order to continue to offer my services from personal experience. On any given day, I am likely to be pursuing and enjoying my favorite interests away from work which include writing, photography, fiber arts, and being outdoors as much as possible. I enjoy kayaking, hiking, scuba diving and exploring nature with my dogs.