| Eanáir – In the Womb of the Womb

2023 opened with a return to Source. I spent the tail end of 2022 in Monte Sahaja – a modern-day monastery in the interlocking Cork Oak valleys in Alentejo, Portugal where my Mum is based. It had been an illuminating and deeply content time. Also: the first Christmas that ‘Christ’ has had any bearing whatsoever. Normally (and generating a distinct distaste for if I’m honest) Christmas is characterised by consumption, materialism and hyper-inflated expectations that usually end up crashing and burning. Since the childhood wonder and shine of this festive season has worn off, I have found myself unable to meet it with anything more than a Mimosa seed – burn the husk down and then it will sprout. I was seeded in my Grandmother’s womb.

Auspicious to return to the original home, and spend 3 weeks sleeping in my Grandmother’s bed. An extended sleepover, with her and my Mum (who joined a week later). For 3 nights, my Aunt also joined. It was the most concentrated time we’ve ever all had under the same roof, just in the collective female-familial energy field. When I was young, my Grandmother did a significant amount of rearing of me. Lioness’ share. My Mum was finishing secondary school and then attending a university in Dublin so my Granny became my Other Mother.

She used to have an amazing array of cardigans. I distinctly remember the comfort of being swooped up into the cradle of her lap, and being swaddled into her with the cardigan. I called it the ‘nest’. There were usually myriad items stored in the various fabric folds. Tissue, a crochet needle, the remote, back-up tissue. That was my safe space.

Old patterns re-emerged (classic), more so toward the end of the time together (also – classic) but we navigated it far more adeptly. When reactionary habits seeped out, and then it was as if we caught ourselves and were able to observe that it was just an old, typically maladapted, kneejerk responses. We had mini-extremely-surmountable-molehills. As opposed to disfigured, mounting and gargantuan mountains.

Do you ever catch yourself – in a moment, where things are kind of the same but kind of different and wonder ‘what’s changed?’ Is it me? Or is it the environment or Other player in this scene? Or is it the relational code between us that has updated? I had a cascade of those moments in the crisp January back in the nest of Victoria Terrace, Ennistymon.

Just like the fish can’t recognise the water that it inhabits, because I spent the vast swathe of my early informative years in predominantly female family structures, it doesn’t strike me just how one-sided it is. I come from an extremely matriarchal familia. I am part, parcel and product of that. No value judgment, I just often forget that it’s not standard and has definitely impacted how my family/relationship blueprint.