Mothering in the Moment:
Lessons on Mothering Learned from Mother Nature
by Jennifer Niedzielski
Mother Nature’s Life Lessons
As mothers, we have a profound teacher on the art of mothering available to us at all times. That teacher is Mother Nature. She has so much to teach us if we are ready and willing to listen. There is one lesson she has been waiting for me to learn for a very long time-- the Law of Least Effort. Now that I am a mother, it’s become essential that I learn it!
The Law of Least Effort is one of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. “Do less and accomplish more,” is its mantra. Now, I've just got to say, this is so not intuitive to me. I am (err-- was) the type of person who believes that struggle, stress, and strain are essential for doing anything of importance well. Thus, I pursed mothering with the same rigor I did everything else in life; I was hard on myself, demanded perfection, worked tirelessly without breaks, and sought control of every situation.
But my theory wasn’t effective in mothering (nor in life, I’m finally able to see). The harder I pushed myself in my mothering, the harder it pushed right back. I was constantly overwhelmed and stressed. I was anxious. I fell prey to perfectionist thinking. I was angry, tired, and reactive-- all the time! That’s when I started to realize that stress, strain, and working really, really hard to be successful was actually counter-productive. Perhaps there was something to the idea of doing less to accomplish more. What did I have to lose in testing it out?
The Effortless Ease of Mother Nature
The Law of Least Effort reminds us that Mother Nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease and grace. There is no resistance. “Grass doesn’t try to grow, it just grows…Flowers don’t try to bloom, they bloom…Birds don’t try to fly, they fly” (Chopra). In essence, the Law of Least Effort is all about just “being.” It’s all about letting go, accepting the present moment, and not thinking so darn much.
To really grasp this concept of doing less, consider how a flower grows. It doesn’t stress or strain in order to “accomplish” its true nature and beauty. It simply does exactly what it is destined to do without expending any more effort or energy than absolutely necessary. It doesn’t think, “I wonder if I’m doing this right. Am I growing fast enough? Am I as pretty as the other flowers around me? Perhaps I should try to be tulip and not a rose. I really got to get going here. I better hurry up!”
Silly example, I know. But when I consider how everything in nature displays this effortless ease and grace (sans thought), I begin to realize just how much our thinking is our primary problem. As I see it, struggle, strife, and stress all come into play as a result of our “extra” thoughts about the thing we are doing, not the doing of the thing itself. Yes, we are intelligent human beings blessed with the ability to think, but we are also infinitely intelligent human beings blessed with the ability to control our thinking so to access the sacred space of non-thinking whenever we wish.
The principle of the Law of Least Effort and doing less to accomplish more might not initially seem realistic in mothering. More times than not, we feel we have to expend as much effort as possible to accomplish the countless things that must be done every single day. There is no denying that mothering is, at times, chaotic, challenging, and all-consuming.
But what would happen if we thought “less” in these moments? What would happen if we didn’t mentally judge these moments as stressful, bad, boring, or unacceptable? What would happen if we intentionally breathed in and out in the situations that stressed us out and focused our attention on our breath and not on our negative thoughts?
I know what happens. I’ve experienced it. I mother from a sacred place. Every time I surrender to all the mothering moments in my life by releasing my judgment of them (e.g., doing less thinking), I accomplish peace of mind. When I accomplish peace of mind, I tap into my infinite font of pure love. When I mother from this place, I respond to my children and all my mothering moments with effortless grace and ease-- just like Mother Nature intended.
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Photo Credit: David Castillo
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