Mother of Healing
I didn’t name Ayurveda the Mother of Healing. I wasn’t even on this planet when Ayurveda began. I didn’t discover Chinese medicine until I was 16, visiting China. I didn’t know about Ayurveda until I was 19, living in India. I didn’t see with my own eyes how the facts unfolded, and who influenced whom.
Scholars and historians refer to Ayurveda as the “mother of medicine.” Archaeologists and anthropologists suggest that Ayurveda was the earliest codified system of medicine, and that it gave rise to early Chinese, Unnani and Greek medical approaches.
But what is more important–truly valuable now–is how Ayurveda keeps the MOTHERING of medicine alive into this generation.
When I was ill, injured or out-of-sorts as a young girl, my mother never made me feel like a patient. She cared for me always as her daughter–who she loved, respected, and who simply happened to not be feeling well. She tended to my care with a wise mix of affection, surrender, and faith in my innate ability to heal.
She stayed with me through the nights, supported my process, and never interfered. Even in dangerous moments, she kept her fears far from my experience.
Though just a child, I learned this resonance and rhythm of healing through my mother’s care.
When I, too, became a mother and my health became a struggle, I recognized my mothers’ way in the ways of Ayurveda.
A mother doesn’t bring her child a single tablet or injection. She doesn’t spoon in just one dose of cure.
She sets the stage for healing with good cheer and flowers. She stirs up bowl after bowl of nourishing broth. She rubs your back when you’re falling apart. She holds you in the steamy shower, hour after hour, so your lungs can clear. She tucks you between fresh sheets when you’ve awakened damp with sweat. She wrings a cloth–over and over–cooling your forehead to bring your fever down.
She sets the stage for healing with good cheer and flowers. She stirs up bowl after bowl of nourishing broth. She rubs your back when you’re falling apart. She holds you in the steamy shower, hour after hour, so your lungs can clear.
She tucks you between fresh sheets when you’ve awakened damp with sweat. She wrings a cloth–over and over–cooling your forehead to bring your fever down.
She listens when you’re cranky, smiles when you’re weary. She sings you her lullabies, in whatever key she can.
However imperfect, this rhythm of care– while ill or well–banishes doubt and invites your wholeness to remember itself. Time and presence bring the healing power. Awareness protects against side-effects.
Ayurveda works this way, too. Through your mind and all your senses, the balancing tastes, sights, touch, aromas and sounds are delivered, over and over, absorbed more deeply into your being with every repetition.
Like a watchful, aware mother, intelligent care responds to the arch of your imbalance. As you regain strength and function, remedies naturally ease. And it when they do, you sense you’ve accomplished something real, arrived on a higher plateau than you were before your challenging journey began. You’ve been somewhere and you’ve arrived someplace brighter and new.
“I work with little children. I wanted to understand if they knew the word sacred.
So I asked them:
“What does ‘sacred’ mean to you?
What do you know in your life that is sacred?”
And most of them said, “My mother.”
~ Audrey Shenandoah, elder of the Onondaga Nation
In a time when we’ve come to expect a touch to a screen to solve any problem, I’m grateful my mother suggested that I study Ayurveda. She knew my love of Nature, and could see how tired I was of being “a patient.” From years of mothering, she knew how gradual healing can bring better healing. Her respect and faith opened up a spacious avenue I could walk along to heal, learn and grow.
Like a caring mother, Ayurveda can guide you to recognize, align and track along with Nature’s rhythms–the best medicine of all.
I owe my love of life, my care for women, my closeness to Nature, my study of Ayurveda–and my ultimate faith in Life’s intelligence–to my first guide and healer, my mother.
May you know your healing potential, through the Mother who is everywhere.
“She cared for me always as her daughter–who she loved, respected, and who simply happened to not be feeling well.” I love this sentence because it captures a special quality of perception that my mother also has for me. I could not have had the strength and courage to complete my healing process (again and again and AGAIN!) without the foundational support of my mother, an intuitive being that did not see my illness as a burden or a mess to be kept out of sight. She never implied I brought weakness into my body through ignorance or punishment for some wrong-doing. She consistently held her gaze on me with the belief that my body was never at war with me, but was always fighting for me as my best friend. The consistency is key, as my own faith in myself would waver. She threw out a rope to me over and over until I learned to latch on and be pulled back to shore. Thank you, mothers!!!