My mother had been diagnosed with cancer when I was two years old. Even though she had gone into remission for several years, all my life I had been warned that I better behave because my mother had been very sick and could become sick again. Of course, being a child, this made me feel that if my misbehaving could make my mother sick again, it must have been my behavior that made her sick in the first place.
So, I never felt free to go to my mother for comfort or emotional support. And although my father adored me, I always felt that I had to earn his love through achievement… And he refused to give me emotional support because he thought that doing so would make me weak.
Joan & her partner George during one of their visits to Mayan Lands: vows renewal with Mary.
So I learned to be tough, independent and take care of myself. I learned to stuff my emotions and never, ever ask for help. I never allowed myself to feel vulnerable and regarded my emotions as weakness. Whenever I felt physical, emotional or spiritual pain I just toughened up even more.
Even when I learned to connect with my emotional side, to awaken the goddess within, it was my Warrior Goddess side that I embraced. I was able to be proud, confident, assertive and powerful. But I still never developed the side that just wanted to be soothed, nurtured or “mothered”. I never allowed the side of me that wanted to be loved without having to earn it through performance. Unconditional love – what was that?
Above, after cacao ceremony with Sara. Below, after a prehispanic dance lesson with Luz and Roberto.
Then I participated in several ceremonies with Sara, Mary and other female shaman and celebrants of Spirituality Riviera Maya. The altars were always beautifully arranged with flowers and fruits. I sat in a temazcal (sweatlodge) listening to chants of, “Mother I feel you under my feet, mother I feel you heart is beating”. I participated in cacao ceremonies where my eyes were covered by a blind fold so that my other senses could come forward. I sat there listening to the hauntingly beautiful pre-hispanic music, smelled the scents that were waved under my nose, then touched by a feather.
Participating in these ancient Mayan rituals allowed me to trascend the mundane world and experience, even if briefly, the magical mystical world of the Maya. All the celebrants exhibited such a love for and appreciation of Mother Nature. I could truly experience what is means to walk in beauty.
Perhaps even more importantly, I was able to experience the love and power of the mother side of the Divine Feminine – the tender, nurturing, compassion, and accepting side, I realized that because my mother had been sick for my entire life, I associated the comforting, nurturing supportive side of the feminine to be weak. I did not want to be anything like my mother. After all – look what happened to her. So, I banished this side of myself from my consciousness.
But during these ceremonies I was able to feel the power of the mother side of the Divine Feminine. I could feel a sense of unconditional love that doesn’t require achievement. All that I could, for the moment, let go of my need to be productive and allow myself to open to the healing and comforting power of the Divine Feminine.