Eva Maria Smith, soulful mama of two, writer and Our Seva Motherhood Circle community member takes us down the path of contemplative motherhood through anecdotes of surrendering, grounding and returning to loving awareness in all that we do. The way Eva shares her transformation process offers a welcomed perspective on grace and ease, inspires intuitive action, and honors those simple strategies for tuning into to the wisdom within. I hope Eva’s interview anchors you into the present moment…because there is no better place to be <3
Q: You’re writing a book – How exciting! There is so much to talk about here, but what are you writing about and how has the writing process been a practice of “unraveling” and returning to the wisdom within?
Oh, writing this book, just like motherhood itself has been the best of days and the worst of days. I’m continuously traveling to the perimeters of what I thought I was capable of – both raveling in loving awareness within my own creativity and facing the devil that is resistance. I am learning to be patient and forgiving with myself in this process, another parallel to mothering.
In essence the book is about how we actually live this mothering experience, this human experience. Am I awake? Am I aware? Am I rooted in joy? Am I truly alive in this existence? I am exploring how the journey of motherhood can be a more peaceful one, for myself and for the reader. Explorations on how I can step out of fatigue and arrive at contentment.
It will be short essays of memoiric musings, but also inspiration and practical advice on well-being in motherhood. Some pieces are more philosophical, while others provide meditation, ritual and useful guidance. Truthfully, it is the piece I needed to read a few years ago, when I found myself lonely, depleted and caught in negative thoughts after I had my second child. I drew from inspiring mothers around me and on the internet and let their bright light spark the torch that led me through to the other side. In truth, this book is about me trying to pass on this light to others.
As a mother, this idea of finding stillness amongst the chaos feels like a moment-by-moment challenge. It’s a spiritual practice of sorts, right? Do you have any practical tips for settling the mind, hopefully allowing you to squeeze the nectar of life available to us within the mundane?
It truly is a moment-by-moment challenge. It also feels like balancing an advanced yoga pose, just when I think I got it, I lose my balance. Stillness is the most difficult and most rewarding thing to master. To settle my mind, I ground my feet. When I feel into the soles of my feet and bring awareness to the connectedness to mother earth, the upward current of energy revitalizes me. It only takes a moment to root, but when I do connect the energy of my body through the feet with the earth I am tapping into an infinite supply of lively, paradisiacal energy.
In my book I write
“…, isn’t motherhood itself aerial? These beautiful, ethereal beings are born through us from the heavens, causing us to swirl in a vortex of emotions ranging from the highest exhilaration to the utmost despair and leaving us like leaves drifting in the winds, sometimes gliding at ease and sometimes spinning in the storms. Nothing is ever certain in child raising. Everything is up in the air. So isn’t putting our feet on the ground, letting our energetic roots sink down and get anchored and affirmed by mother earth the sweetest equilibrium we can feel?”
To build on the last question – For you, what does it mean to be embodied in full presence? As a mother, have you found your child to be the greatest teacher of presence?
As an adult I often don’t even notice when I have completely stepped out of presence. I’m constantly “in my head”, which is really just the feeling of being in constant thought, right? Most of our thoughts are about the past or the future, neither of which we can control. That is why it is so emotionally draining and even physically exerting to be in constant thinking mode. Often it takes a shift in the energy in the house for me to realize that I’ve lost my embodiment of the present moment. I ask myself “why are the kids so wild all of a sudden?” or “what is it with the whining and screaming?”, but really it is them reflecting the swirl of madness going on in my head. It takes me to calm my mind first, so we can all float back into calmer waters. The lesson is to be in the flow with them, rather than getting crushed by the waves in my head. When I am embodied in full presence, my mind is a calm sea, my body is light and afloat, my soul is free of suffering.
As transforming women, we often live within the spaces of who we are and who we are becoming. This “in between” state brings about a lot of agitation, fear of the unknown, and distrust of the natural unfolding of things. How has your personal practice allowed you to settle into the unknown with more ease?
Oh yes, this “in between” is quite unnerving. It all comes down to trust. I trust that life is inherently good. I trust that life is here to support me. I trust that the impermanence of life works out in my favor. I trust that if I put in the work, if I keep watering and tending to my inner garden, my soul will start to bloom. Personally, meditation helped me a lot to regain this trust. I’ve become a vedic meditator last year and my twice a day practice has caused a huge shift for me.
Three ways to nourish your mind, body and soul if you only have 5 minutes…go!
A glass of water! I have to constantly remind myself to drink clear, filtered, replenishing water, but my body will immediately punish me with irritability, loss of energy and tiredness if I don’t. I have finally realized the power that is in a glass of water for me.
A few pages of a good book! It took me a few years after becoming a mother to identify this sense of “missing” in my life until I realized I had missed heart-filling books. I’ve neglected making time to read and if I did I only read about birth and child-raising. As a mother I reframed how I read books. I’m not so stringent anymore. I allow myself to stop reading a book, if I don’t enjoy it rather than powering through to the end and I usually have a non-fiction, an easy read and a beautiful coffee table book ready to go. 5 minutes of reading, or even flicking through a cookbook is tremendously inspiring and nourishing for my soul. It also helps me overcome that mind-numbing sensation of only answering toddler questions, which are enriching and curiosity driven for sure, but honestly can be draining over time, when you are the only adult in the house all day long.
Pranayama! Five minutes is more than enough to calm the mind and body with some intentional breathing exercise. I love breathing in imaginary white and yellow rays of light and let it circle it through my whole body on the exhale. It is an instant mood booster.
Any go-to resources you’d like to share to inspire continued personal transformation for those on the path of motherhood?
Lately, I have really enjoyed following the works of Miriam Adler (@miriamadler) and the healing exercises she has provided for free during COVID. Laura Poole (@laura_poole) and Natalie Martinot (@spacetoflow) have first inspired me on my meditation journey, which I’m grateful for. Lastly, I humbly want to mention to keep following along with me (@eva.maria.smith) as I continue to write and work on the release of my first book, which I hope will be a great inspiration for many.
Part 1: Birthing Babies, Yourself and Creative Projects with Eva-Maria Smith
Part 2: 5 Minute Sacral Meditation for The Art of Mothering
Join Our Seva Motherhood Circle
In the Our Seva Motherhood Circle private Facebook group, we support one another as women and mothers in the midst of really important work; returning home to our sacred centers. We are on a mission to help shift the cultural narrative around the unspoken spaces of motherhood and womanhood, no matter what stage you find yourself in. We focus our efforts with weekly themed discussions around shifting identities, inner and ancient wisdom, mental health, cultural narratives, and our sacred service to motherhood/womanhood. I’d love it if you would join us!