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026 – Gifts of Reciprocity

Reflections on finding personal balance and the art of deep listening:

In the “between-worlds” state of meditation or a lingering early morning dream, I often find myself in the middle of an expansive field of wildflowers with my bare feet firmly rooted on the ground beneath me. From where I stand, feelings of appreciation and reverence flood my body, leaving a deep intuitive understanding of why I’m here and what purpose I hold. Feeling held on solid ground, Mother Nature reassures with windy whispers, “I tend to you, you tend to me”. Nodding in agreement, I wake from the distant memory, reminded of and reconnected with my role in keeping some sort of balance in the scales. The beautiful interplay of giving and receiving, shared gifts of reciprocity.


As mothers and caregivers, it’s easy to feel as though the scales are never balanced and as if there is always more giving than receiving. This imbalance can have negative effects on our experience as a whole, leaving us feeling resentful, depleted and grasping for more depth. After all, we live in sacred service to our role, blinded by necessity and importance, and more times than not surrendering personal desires for the smooth sailing of the larger cosmic orchestra. But could there be a more balanced exchange? How would it look and feel to serve, to mother from a full cup versus from a place of depletion? What gifts would you be able to share more fully…or receive more fully? What would this do to our unrealistic expectations? It’s my personal belief that serving and mothering from this place of balanced giving and receiving, is the secret ingredient to living motherhood EMBODIED.


Unfortunately, knowing there is an imbalance and course correcting requires a daily practice of attunement and a heavy dose of trial, and then error…and then grace. As we move towards more sustainable self care structures, we are learning to live within the natural flow of things, as Mother Nature intended. We are experimenting with less resistance and more heart-centered, intuitive guidance. We have to be students of mindfulness, creating a heightened awareness that allows us to feel into any given moment and be brave enough to pivot if needed. More importantly, we must give ourselves permission to pivot. Logistically, this might look like setting stronger boundaries, being conscious of where you’re outpouring and when you’re receiving. Or this might look like creating a new personal definition of service and finding honor and reverence in that role. Ultimately, it’s in our ability to listen deeply to the subtleties of our experience, sensing the exchange. “I tend to you. You tend to me.”


When we find ourselves navigating our dreamscapes, we are connected to the subconscious part of our Self that remembers all things worth remembering. It’s a beautiful union and manifestation of desires and guidance, both tethered and emanating from the heart. When we listen deeply and intuitively, we are activating a communication exchange with messages in the undercurrent, allowing for the path of least resistance to present itself and the necessary support structures to follow suit. We live from a place that feels more integrated, no longer getting lost in our own narratives or unsupportive and often selfish desires. When we transport ourselves back to the intuitive dreamlike state – nature speaks, day effortlessly gives way to night, rest leads to restoration, and the motherhood experience blooms embodied.


I write this as a gentle reminder that striking a balance IS the personal practice of motherhood. It’s also a reminder that perfect balance should never be the goal. We are going to be constantly challenged by opposing forces of nature that require us to tap into our heart center and guide ourselves and our children down the path that feels secure and supported. We will test out new boundaries, redefine our personal definition of surrender and service, and more times than not – we will pivot. As a community and together in a beautiful harmony, you’ll tend to me and I’ll tend to you. 


With Love & Gratitude,

“We are showered everyday with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep. Their life is in their movement, the inhale and exhale of our shared breath. Our work and our joy is to pass along the gift and to trust that what we put out into the universe will always come back.”

– Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass


This week’s journal prompt: How can I be more mindful of the reciprocal exchange of nature in a way that ensures I’m serving from a place of less depletion and more steadiness in my heart?

Resources for your practice: Robin Wall Kimmerer’s magical accounts of nature’s reciprocity in her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Amanda Watter’s gift of presence without social media on the Homesong Blog and Jess Osie’s “Parenting From The Present” Q&A interview on the Our Seva Blog.


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Cover photo cred: @lisa.sorgini

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