Nature Made Me A Better Mom
Model, actor, activist and author Lisa Ray recounts how she sought companionship and gained guidance from nature, applying these lessons in her motherhood journeyBy Lisa Ray |
I am an only child, but I did not grow up lonely. Whenever I sought out companionship, I found it in nature. And my mother nurtured this relationship. Our family ritual was driving out of the city into the forest every weekend. Other families went to church or temple on Sunday, but for my family, nature was our place of worship and my playground. I first learned to swim in a pond with my mother, and every weekend she patiently taught me the names of trees and the breath of life issuing from leaves and petals, pointed out different patterns in all creatures that inspired my creativity and helped me form a bond with the natural environment. It was my father who taught me about the forest-dwelling sages of ancient India and how it was in primeval forests that subcontinental civilization had its birth, but it was my mother who unlocked the miracles of Mother Nature, cultivating my inner spirit and strength like a natural diamond. Watching how the forests adapted to seasonal changes was a masterclass in understanding resilience. She taught me I was a seed destined to become a forest and that I could become my own sparkling hero- like a natural diamond emerging from the womb of the earth. It was the way of both nature and motherhood to love and care for their creations.
“My mother unlocked the miracles of Mother Nature for me”
Over the years I travelled far and wide, and everywhere I went I looked for forests even in concrete. But even as I experienced highs and lows, the testing times and the fun ones, I carried an invisible force field strong and impenetrable like a rough diamond, from my childhood. After I recovered from cancer I understood that it had been my earliest brushes with nature that planted in me the resilience to survive. I couldn’t help but see a parallel with natural diamonds, which are formed deep within the earth’s crust, moulded and formed through intense heat and pressure to produce one of nature’s miracles. And like a natural diamond, I emerged from my fight, stronger, more beautiful and with a new sparkle.
“It had been my earliest brushes with nature that planted in me the resilience to survive cancer”
When I became a mother after emerging from a particularly difficult phase of my life, it reconnected me to my own mother, who had passed away by then, and the lessons I imbibed through her, about how to care for others with reverence and a healing touch. Motherhood made me think of the divine feminine, and how it manifests in nature. After all, it is Mother Nature who protects us and asks nothing in return. Who cradles in her embrace miracles, and similarly, my babies are as precious as the most coveted natural diamonds, born from the deepest, most mysterious caverns of our bodies and hearts, as well as from abiding love and strength. I was utterly overwhelmed with new emotions when my twin girls were born.
I craved guidance and after years of travel and movement, a place to know as a home for me and my daughters. So when they were just three weeks old, I bundled them into a car and drove into the mountains. When I set their tiny bodies down in the grass to gaze at the sky, I felt a sense of homecoming. We belong to each other, my girls and I, but Mother Nature has taught me we also belong in her arms. I want my girls to treasure their connection with the wild, with powdery white sand and an aching blue sea and to be at home in the world, like natural diamonds shimmering in the earth and across the sky in starlight. And I know, if I nurture my girls like tender saplings, if I expose them to the universal lessons of nature that sings in every mother’s blood- love, harmony, generosity and resilience- they will in turn nurture more harmonious communities, revive joy and hope and promote a healthier, more sustainable, more loving world.
“I felt a sense of homecoming”
They say life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother. Motherhood is an exciting journey but also scary. But as I continue on this incredible journey, I find myself turning to Mother Nature for inspiration, for the patience and natural rhythm it takes to care for all her creations, whether animals, or insects, birds or trees, as a cue in my journey forward with my daughters. Her care takes so many forms as she protects and cradles everything she creates – like Natural Diamonds that are made resilient just like every mother. This gives me strength to look at my own unique, sparkling specimens, Sufi and Soleil and I encourage them to embrace all the qualities of clarity, fire, strength and dazzle naturally available to them. And I can surrender to the wisdom of motherhood, knowing I am guided and sheltered by the acumen of all mothers and safe in the arms of this miraculous, at times challenging, always magical brilliant, prized and precious world.