The title of this blog, A Good Root, is a humourous attempt at changing the meaning of a known crude phrase into an analogy that represents nurturing strong principled foundations for pursuing a life of mindful, continuous growth. I desire and try to live a well-considered life of balanced needs and wants, creativity (thinking laterally and adapting willingly to desired or unwanted changes), critical thinking, resilience, gratitude, and care, all while keeping the fire in my belly stoked to energise my passions and power my loves.
I am foremost a mother. My experience of mothering my children informs the way I relate to others and my environment through nurturing as a practice. During years of searching for writings on the nature of mothering as an empowering experience, I came across the concept of Motherism. I have found the concept of Motherism (Acholonu, CO 1995, Motherism: The Afrocentric Alternative to Feminism, Afa Publications, Nigeria) has provided a theoretical representation of my mothering and the way I try to relate to others and my environments:
“The motherist leader is a servant in every sense of the word, not a ruler or a lord. The motherist does not dominate nature, the ecosystem, his fellow man; rather he observes, seeks to understand, and cooperates. A motherist is courageous, yet humble, powerful yet down to earth, fatherly yet a mother to the core; a motherist is a man or woman with a sense of history and continuity, ever poised to question the status quo, ever ready to promote reforms, ever ready to make personal sacrifices for the good of others like any mother would, for no matter his/her age or sex the motherist is essentially a mother”.
Motherism has become a key concept for me in creating a personal theoretical approach to living because it positions a person in a nurturing position of leadership and servitude with humility, compassion and respect regarding another’s needs. Why mothering, which appears to disregard fathering, when ‘parenting’ would be an inclusive concept. It may be because of the sacrificial requirements of gestation – carrying an unborn child as it develops is surrendering oneself to the needs of that child. Nurturing ultimately starts with this stage of ‘becoming’ under the care of the mother.
All the while, I recently realised that I will always be a student. I learn as I write and my ideas will inevitably evolve as I ponder new and old ones. While my curiosity persists, my learning continues. I am sharing my thoughts because of this unabounding curiosity. I am a mother and a wife who wonders much about what is most important when one wants to live and pursue a life that considers the well-being of oneself, one’s family, one’s community, and of one’s home – our Earth.
My critical thinking is often supported, motivated and calmed by the writings of others, and the following poem by Wendell Berry is a prime, brief example of such writing.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
The Peace of Wild Things implies searching for well-being, a sense of hope & secular faith, and finding comfort in the existing grace of natural order. The poem creatively covers what concerns and soothes me.