The Well – Feb 2014

Personally, I am not a fan of mythologizing religious concepts – even of the kind ‘the earth is my mother’. In fact, this makes me cringe, and I want to ask: who told you that?
However, that is not to say I am denying the damage patriarchal capitalist society is doing to the earth, nor am I looking away when I see a woman with an empty heart, longing to love ‘mother’ – in whatever form.
I just feel, and I know this is partly because religion has been lost on me since I was 9, – reality itself offers a wider horizon:

How long do you have to shout down a bottomless well to hear the truth echoed:
‘I never had a mother’, as Emily Dickinson did? (quoted by Adrienne rich, Of Woman Born, Virago, 1995, p.229)

As infant, so ready to bond – yet, you look as if in a mirror sideways, a distorted self responding: Where is the echo of this early betrayal stored?

In your teens you heard her reassuring herself of her beauty – bare of any real self-confidence, as you now know. Your ability to doubt did serve you well already.

In puberty we all turn away from what we see as childish loves. You, unloved, turned away from what was most precious within you. And, while you always held the forgotten memory in your bones, it was not until your late twenties that you began to hear its echo again, as if from far away.

When you gave birth to your shrivelled self, reviving it, you had long left her – to pick up the pieces of your own life – the only possible answer, yet also echo of earlier abandonment.

You had also, some say, abandoned your son, to discover what your own life might be. Yes, he had a better life with his dad, but your loss, your failure, your abandonment remain, together with his growing pains, part of you.

In your mid-thirties, a hypnotic dream-like realisation came to you: she had been disgusted at the point of your conception. How long will you carry the echo of disgust?

How long do you have to listen to the echo from a bottomless well to understand the alienation of women from their lives?

Yet, while still encrusted in scars, you had broken free, deeply – creating a new cultural prototype: the broken-free woman.

And when did you first hear Life’s Echo resonating from those broken – like you?

You found, deep within you, the resonance of spirituality from those who gave up the crusade to settle on the mountain, listening to Silence: Turning wounds into growth – your paradigm.
There was also Teresa, a wounded strong woman in 17-th century Spain, catholic nun influenced by Islam and Judaism, who had renewed their echo.
For you, a calling beyond the mythological cultural baggage, a prototype of womanhood that fitted – the Solitary.

In a silent, huge echo wave, you first found your inner freedom – bearing witness in the dark chambers of a concentration camp memorial site exhibition: From Nothing, your own drive brought forth Something new, the echo of a greater freedom, now for millennia, vibrating in your body’s cells.

In everyday, your little cheap alarm clock even, on your bed side table, ticking second by second, can be your reminder, theme and rhythm of meditation: A second measure of time eternal, and maybe, for you, a reminder of mother’s heart beat – before she reluctantly gave birth to you; now resonating with you, in a new world.


~ by Barbara S on February 26, 2014.

One Response to “The Well – Feb 2014”

  1. Simone Weil: “I was poisoned by my mother’s milk, that is why I am such a failure – “. It was, in her case, a medical fact (her mother continued breast-feeding while she suffered blood-poisoning), yet I can’t help wondering whether a philosophical mind such as Simone Weil’s would not also have been aware of the undercurrent of her statement…

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