Bethany Webster

On navigating the triggers of parenting...


(My latest blog has been featured on the Women's Network. I'm super excited to be included as one of their storytellers! Click on the READ MORE link below for the entire story). It has taken me a while to accept that life is a journey of ups and downs. Mainly because I hate being down. But whilst I would love to feel eternally connected, centred and serene, I have come to appreciate that the triggers that cause the downs in life, are actually gifts. I have learnt to see them as opportunities to restore the spiritual imbalance which is presenting itself for attention (when I am willing, that is).

Somehow though, these potential lessons always seem to catch me unawares, despite being the parent of three small kids who provide me with perfect trigger-fodder on an almost daily basis. After all, they know exactly which buttons to press, they don’t ever let up, and I’m kind of stuck with them.

Last week was a particularly bad example. I’d had enough of being greeted at the school gate with a sulk. I was really fed up with restoring the living room to its normal state after daily ‘den-building’ exercises and I was finding them particularly boisterous, demanding and ungrateful. I was also premenstrual. And as a rule, the more stressed I am, the less present I am as a parent, so I was not being particularly patient, kind nor nurturing. Which made me feel even worse.


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So profound, so simple, so painful, so awesome, so true. If the journey of life and its ups and downs could be reduced to just one thing, this, for me, is it: "Awakening to our full power is a process of subtraction—subtracting out the toxic messages and beliefs that we’ve acquired and replacing them with beliefs that reflect our authentic and undiluted truth." Bethany Webster

Artwork by Christian Schloe

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On acceptance...

Today was my younger daughter’s Nativity play. This is her first year at school and she turned four only the week before term started so she is still little. Only the first two years of the school perform a nativity play and it is considered one of the highlights of the calendar. Not for her. And as a result, not for me. Whilst very gregarious at any other time, when told to “perform”, she freezes. Not just out of shyness (her explanation) but also I think because of the sheer weight of expectation being placed on her little shoulders. Since performances began at nursery – concerts, singalongs, plays – we have been the only parents waving and giving the thumbs up encouraging her to join in, grinning demonically in order to get her to copy but to no avail. We are greeted with a sulky bottom lip, a glare and a frown. Other parents usually think it is funny. Not me. So to avoid this today, I thought I would entice her with the idea of a meal out – a treat to celebrate her saying her one line out loud and joining in with the others. I thought I’d nailed it – she was excited about the two theoretical balls of strawberry ice cream that would materialise for pudding. But no. Sadly, today was no exception. I will add the photos of one silent, sulking angel surrounded by a host of beatific ones to the family album.

At first I felt angry. That this should have happened, again, despite my incentive. I’d failed. And I also felt embarrassed. Why my child when all the others seemed to be in their element on stage, giggling and showing off for their proud parents? But then I realised my reaction was far more about my awkwardness than about her: I was ashamed that my child had stood out for the wrong reasons; I was resentful that my proud parent moment had been snatched. So I channelled my inner empath and put on a “I’m so proud of you” face. After all, parenting is no different to most other walks of life: you fake it until you feel it. She was happy and so was I.

When I got home, I read the latest email sent from Bethany Webster on Welcoming the Divine Child Within You. Serendipidously (of course), the very first paragraph struck a chord: “There is power and nourishment in simply being and resting. This is what healthy bonding looks like between a mom and her child: to be welcomed, to be cherished not for what we do and what we produce, but by fully being who we are, in all our complexity... Often the most powerful need of all is to have your existence seen as good; to be welcomed and honoured as you are.” It resonated so deeply because it revealed that I had just felt the opposite: by being angry at my daughter for not fitting in, I was telling her it was not ok to be who she is. I was offering only conditional love: for what I wanted her to do instead of cherishing her for who she was. I felt very humbled.

This lesson can of course be applied to us all: there are parts to each of us that either we or others feel do not conform. To the current demands of our society, our culture, our upbringing or to our own impossibly high standards. But these parts need to be loved equally along with those that do fit in, not judged and pushed out. If we can accept ourselves and others IN ALL OUR COMPLEXITY we allow ourselves the freedom to flourish. From that, flows the energy and happiness that comes from being truly authentic. That may not create the perfect school nativity cast but it will allow for a magnificent diversity of thriving personalities.

As for my daughter, her next challenge (and therefore mine) will be class assembly, performed in front of the whole school and parents. I have decided that I will let go of any expectations: I will be in the background smiling whether she delivers or not; accepting her for whoever she decides to be on that day. And in the meantime, I’m off to organise those two balls of strawberry ice cream....

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On women and their mothers...

The “mother wound”. It’s kind of taboo to even write that let alone admit that it resonates. Because the bond between a woman and her mother is often considered sacrosanct – too important to be interfered with. But it is precisely because it is so important that it must be interfered with. Or at least looked at, to see whether it is allowing both parties to live lives according to their fullest potential or whether it is holding both parties back in an unconscious contract that requires them to hide their light and act ‘small’ to fit in or be accepted by each other. I have been exploring this concept having come across the amazing work of Bethany Webster who has made the mother wound the core part of her offering. It is both fascinating and challenging work which I hope to learn more about soon by following her online course. As a mother myself, I want to make sure that I can clear as much generational baggage as I can so that my children are in the best position they can be to become authentic, happy people. I believe this is the cornerstone to all female innerwork.

Generational baggage is even stronger for women because it is passed on physically as well as through the usual unconscious patterns of behaviour we inherit as children learning to navigate the world. It always amazes me when I reflect that I was already present in my grandmother’s womb. Yes, physically! As women we are born with a fully functioning set of ovaries and all the eggs we will ever produce throughout our lives. Thus I was already fully immersed into the matriarchal line as an egg in my mother’s womb as my grandmother was pregnant with her. Crazy, eh?!

And where does the wound come from? In a nutshell, historically women and feminine energies in both men and women have been oppressed. This has traditionally caused women to segregate and compete for available resources. The degree to which our female ancestors felt “less than” has dictated the depth of the wound that is unconsciously passed on through the generations. There is no blame in this because they simply did not have the tools to release the trauma this created. We do.

As part of a larger female collective awakening we are in a unique position to use our feminine energies and means of connection: movement, song, touch as well as meditation and reflection to clear this baggage. But it must start with the very difficult admission that on some level there IS a wound: our mothers may not have been there for us in all the ways we wanted her to be. Probably because they simply couldn’t be.

This acknowledgement alone allows us to free up the energy that was spent trying to fill the void in unconstructive ways – either through addictions, inappropriate relationships or work – and begin to give ourselves what we felt was lacking. Through parenting ourselves, we are free to become our authentic selves. We can begin to live our lives according to our own, unique set of beliefs rather than according to a book of beliefs we were handed as children by our parents, our culture, society as a whole.

This is necessary work. Because without a healthy relationship to our female ancestral line (however independent and modern we think we are!) we cannot have a healthy relationship to ourselves or to our children. We are the generation who can take an honest look at our inherited beliefs and take unprecedented steps to clear generational baggage by rejecting those that do not truly belong to us.

I therefore challenge you to ask yourself the following questions: Are you carrying negative stories passed down from before that are not truly yours to pass on? Are you caretaking inherited beliefs that do not actually resonate with your authentic self? Is the bond with your mother one that allows you both to flourish?

This is deep and scary work that goes to the core of how we see ourselves. But it is exciting too because it is liberating. It requires courage. I’m going to summon my Warrior to dive in – will you?

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