Mothering the WorldApr 29, 2022 ● By Marlaina Donato
All that is brought to fruition has someone behind the scenes tending to its innate potential. The quality of nurturing permeates both the human and the natural world and goes much deeper than raising beloved offspring. Whether it be a well-balanced child, a verdant backyard garden or the premiere performance of a symphony, tending to what we love can yield great things. Equally rewarding, nourishing what we find challenging or uncomfortable can deepen our human experience.
“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow,’” states the Talmud, and we, too, can be angels. Whether or not we are inborn nourishers, every day we have simple opportunities to refine this beautiful impulse. We flex the “mother muscle” whenever we acknowledge someone else’s accomplishments, welcome a new neighbor or heat a bowl of soup for a loved one after a long day. We can nourish community when we pick up trash along a hiking trail, whip up a sweet treat for the local bake sale, invite friends for a potluck supper or offer a helping hand at a local food pantry. The smallest gestures—smiling at a stranger, giving or asking someone for a hug or saying “I’m sorry”—don’t require time, money or effort, yet exemplify spiritual generosity which is the nucleus of all nurturing.
We also cannot forget ourselves. Too often, we place our most fervent callings last, shuffling our sources of joy to the back of the line because there aren’t enough hours in the day. When we starve our talents and interests, lock down our emotions and neglect our spiritual needs, we become energetically malnourished, and from this famished core, have little from which to draw. Sometimes we are so invested in mothering the well-being of others that we forget to do the same for ourselves. It is not selfish to tend to our own potential to thrive. It is a beautiful necessity, and we are worth it.
Marlaina Donato is a mind-body-spirit author, composer and artist.