Mother’s Day is set aside to honor our mothers. It is a commercially successful day spawning mother day cards, gifts, and specials at restaurants.
What you may not know is that activist Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) is considered by many the originator of Mothers Day. Julia’s vision was not to have individual mothers recognized, but rather to gather women to speak up for peace. In 1870 she composed a powerful appeal which is generally considered to be the original Mothers’ Day proclamation. In 1872, she went to London to promote an international Woman’s Peace Congress. She worked towards creating a “Mother’s Day for Peace” to be celebrated on June 2, honoring peace, motherhood and womanhood. The celebrations eventually died off as Julia put her energy and efforts into other ways of promoting her goal of peace. She was not successful in getting a formal Mothers Day for Peace recognized as a national holiday.
Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker was influenced by Julia Ward Howe’s activism. In 1878 Ann Marie created a “Mother’s Friendship Day”. It was her attempt to organize women to extend their influence out of their homes and into the world by assisting the healing of the nation after the Civil War. Her goal was to reconcile her Union and Confederate neighbors, friends and family by helping women work for better sanitary conditions for both sides through nursing training.
It was the efforts of Anne Marie’s daughter Anna which finally culminated in President Woodrow Wilson declaring the first national Mother’s Day in 1914. This day was to honor the mothers who had lost sons in war.
We have a rich history of women taking action towards peace. It is an ongoing vision today with an “army” of women working tirelessly for peace. Marianne Williamson is one of the more recognizable faces crusading for a Department of Peace. The vision is to create a cabinet position in our government for Peace alongside the existing Department of War.
So what does the history of Mothers Day have to do with the Self-Love Diet?
The Self-Love Diet is about stopping our personal wars with ourselves and our bodies. The definition of the word diet is changed from “behaviors used to lose weight” to “things regularly offered” such as a diet of loving thoughts and actions.
The same fierce mother energy that Julia Ward Howe, Anne Marie Jarvis and her daughter Anna called upon to confront the devastation of past wars is needed today.
We need to be Love Warriors if we are to fight for world peace or inner peace. Both are important and I don’t believe you can have one without the other.
For the month of May, I invite you to look for that “mothering energy” everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter if your mother is dead or alive. It doesn’t matter if she was loving or hateful. What matters is that today you can tap into the energy of the powerful feminine whether you are a female or a male. This loving energy is all around you. It’s in someone’s smile, tender touch, quite listening. It’s also in an impassioned speech or someone standing up for what they believe in. It’s in the sunshine; in the trees that gently sway and the flowers that bloom. This creative, life giving, loving energy is all around you. Let it in this month and see what you notice.
Michelle Minero is a licensed marriage family therapist who specializes in eating disorder recovery. She created an intensive outpatient eating disorder program in 2000, brought ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.) to Petaluma shortly after and founded EDRS (Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.), a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005. In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Love Warrior Community with her daughter, Emelina, an online community that helps people cultivate self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance through creative expression. Michelle is finishing her book, Self-Love: The Only Diet That Works, and her dream is to see a world filled with people who love themselves and their bodies. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter and help spread the Self-Love Movement!