Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Rome – Motherers

I am in Paris, but writing of Rome. Last night, reading a loud from Cixous’ book “Hemlock,” in coincidence I am reading a section where the narrator dreams a dream of being in Rome,

“to find myself in those streets, around noon, especially because underfoot my sandals recognized the density of the cobbles, the unevenness of those beautiful blocks of stone one beside the other, joined and disjointed in their intervals by that red earth that mixes the beginning of life with what will be ruins, in other words, survival.” (p. 101, 2011/2008)

In Rome, I felt how notable those old, old square black cobblestones are. How remarkable in their appearances, and in the ways they focused me, my feet, in walking on the ground, step-by-step. Being in Rome, and especially leading a grounding meditation for people in the Nap-in/Dream scroll workshop that Barbara and I led, I felt the density of so many, many layers under our feet. How far down into time, and into our own histories, our own stories, can we travel?

The message coming from below was to travel through the layers. 
Travel through the layers.

Rome was a rich time of dwelling with mothers – scholar-mothers, artist-mothers, writer-mothers, thinking-mothers, healing-mothers, being-mothers. 

In this way, MIRCI (http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/) has been deeply connected to my academic journey over all the years of raising small children alongside graduate studies and work, and into my life as a working academic. Having motherhood-studies and dialogues in my life, being part of this motherhood-inquiring feminist community over these many years, keeps me truer to my work, as I travel through the layers. A beacon and reminder of what needs to be integrated and acknowledged.

After our Nap-in practice:

and stitching our dreams onto the dream scroll, we released the dreams by the Tiber River. A group of scholar-mothers, or “motherers” as Genevieve Vaughan named as such, in her talk on Gift economy philosophy (http://gift-economy.com/). The “Gift” is the unrecognized other-side (under-side) of the exchange economy. The exchange economy feeds, fuels, grows rich and makes poor from the Gift, without which it cannot function (e.g. the earth’s resources, the bodies and minds of people themselves). Gifts are what circulates freely among us (yes, the best things in life are “free”). As in the way a mother cares for her child, the ways she feeds, bathes, talks, guides, and communicates with the child. Gestation and birth is itself a gift, as is the ongoing work of mother-labour, without which we cannot go on in human lives. Yes, there are mothers, but there also are many others who mother children, and those who mother not only children, but projects of social justice, education and care. Thus, the term “motherers,” as we give gifts of our time, patience, care, dialogue, and presence.

The gift of healing was the final theme in Rome! Vicki Noble (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicki_Noble) led a healing ritual on our last night there. We sang an ongoing chorus, and as drummers beat a steady rythme, people took turns sitting in the middle of two circles to receive hands-on-healing. Most everyone had a turn, feeling the gentle touch of healing hands. I spent much of the night as a healer. During my turn to sit and receive, I closed my eyes and felt the light touch of nurturing hands on my shoulders. I wept in this gentleness, this love. A healer shook her rattle over my chest and held my knees and feet as I sobbed some more. My head released fear and tension, as I made ready for my Ireland experience. I would soon pass through layers of an old trauma, finally understanding it wasn’t my own. I had carried it far enough and could lay it down. Ease and relief were my reward.

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