I don’t know when Mother’s Day is this year. I know it’s in May, but my mom is gone, so I kind of avoid it. If you’ve lost your mom, maybe you can relate. But loving my mom and loving the Jizos I have created moved me to contemplate Mother’s Day. Motherhood. Jizo.
My mom was a gardener, she loved to grow things. She grew me up, saw me travel the world. But she didn’t see me find Jizo Bodhisattva, a discovery that has changed my life. She loved Quan Yin, another bodhisattva, and had a statue of her in the foyer of our home ever since when we moved back from Japan in 1968. She loved Japan — the gardens, the culture, ikebana class (flower arranging).
I wish I could give her a Jizo for Mother’s Day. Instead, I gave one to my aunt, her youngest sister, and she is wears it on a tiny gold chain around her wrist. I like that idea.
Why Jizo for moms? Jizo Boddhisatva is the protector of women, children and travelers. His name means Earth Womb and he promised to hold us all safely, staying here on earth until everyone is finished suffering.
If there is a group of people in America who could come to love Jizo, it is moms. They hold dear the idea of that there is a protector of children and, just as importantly, though seldom spoken of, they need to be held safely themselves. They need a strong ground beneath them as they face the kind of anxiety that comes from being a protector of children with uncertainly at every turn. I have spent hundreds of hours in therapy sessions with moms who need a little mirroring, a little mothering, too. Otherwise, how can they give from a full cup?
If you know a mom, even a mom who looks perfect on the outside, I can promise you she has her moments when she could use Jizo for a little soothing, a moment of quiet meditation, a talisman to bring her into the Now. Worrying is a very special country many moms visit often and they need protection on the journey. This week, I sent a Middle Way Jizo to a mom whose first baby is due next week. She wanted Jizo to help both herself and her baby feel safe on the journey from the day they meet, face to face.
So, whenever Mother’s Day is, it is in my heart every day. Honor a mom whenever you get the chance. And if you are stuck on what to give her, maybe Jizo is the answer.