A while back I had a flash of recognition and inspiration when I saw an image of an eight-armed Hindu goddess, serene and strong, with a meditative smile that seemed to say “bring it on” to the universe.
I’m not Hindu but the image of this strong woman with her arc of eight arms arrested me with an unexpected sense of recognition. Replace her sword with a smart phone, her bow and arrow with a set of car keys, her staff with a binder of IEPs and medical records, and she resembled me, the flailing multi-tasking mom. What special needs mother these days wouldn’t recognize her own self in this image of an ancient Hindu over-caffeinated, over-achieving righteous mama?
Examining this self-assured glowing goddess riding astride a fierce tiger while conquering a demon that threatened to unravel the universe, I quickly realized I had found a role model, an inspiration, my patron saint.
Here’s a bit of her story:
Durga is a mother goddess who can redeem in situations of utmost distress. She is an embodiment of creative feminine force, existing in a state of svatantrya (total independence) and fierce compassion. Durga manifests fearlessness and patience, and never loses her sense of humor, even during spiritual battles of epic proportion. (Thanks, Wikipedia.)
Since then, I’ve found myself fantasizing about my ultimate eight (or 10) weapons that I couldn’t live without. I quickly realized that because I’m a lover not a fighter, (as I described in another earlier post about my anti-Mamma Bear status), I was inspired to conjure up a list not of weapons, but of tools.
Like many parents of kids with special needs, I have a kick-ass toolbox filled with tools honed and sharp, ready to be wielded at a moment’s notice, so that in any given situation — whether the demon is fear, exhaustion, lack of cash, bureaucrats, gatekeepers, odd-ball comments from strangers or five extra pounds weighing me down — I have a huge selection of highly specialized implements available to get the job done. Some tools are universal, some are personal. Some are physical objects, some are virtues. Some I’ve mastered, and let’s consider others to be on my wish list.
Durga’s toolbox has come to be a theme of my blog, though not every entry contains one. Other posts are simply reflections, a chance to think long and deep about one particular slice of my experience, hopefully long enough to get unstuck from it and take what lessons there are, if any.
I’m curious about your tools too. I want to hear about what tools you have up your eight (or 10 or 327) sleeves to keep you strong, courageous, joyful and compassionate. Please share!