Mother(ing) as Meditation Book
In the early months of the covid pandemic, artist Sarah Paulsen started making small paintings of precious, quotidian moments to share on social media as a way to connect across social distance. The period’s isolation forced Paulsen, then a still-new mother, to confront herself – and her emotional history – in a new way. These images became the seeds for Mother(ing) as Meditation, a chronicle of how motherhood and mindfulness became a doorway to personal liberation and consciousness awakening. An illustrated book created for a busy adult audience, it’s designed to be either flipped through and read at random or read straight through as a story.
Weaving together words with richly colored illustration, Paulsen documents the strangeness of early pandemic life, the struggles of parenting a toddler, and her expanding communion with nature. Experiencing parenthood as an emotional tidal wave, she realizes she must process past traumas and cultivate grounding practices in order to ride out each swell. We travel backwards in time with her as she revisits past selves – her high school, college, and young adult selves – to bare witness to their struggles and resilience. We encounter spiritual teachers and artists, like Alice Coltrane and Thích Nhất Hạnh, whose lives and wisdom provide tools and inspiration as she finds her way. Through this journey, Paulsen develops meditation practices that help her cultivate self-compassion and reclaim her erotic innocence.
Paulsen’s fearless honesty about the unexpected emotional challenges she faced as a new mother is a generous guide through grief, pain and healing that will resonate with anyone moving through trauma and grief, regardless of parental status.
-Liz Wolfson, editor.
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