Affirmation Quilt Ministry – Mother Energy

Photo: Eileen MeliaPhoto: Toni MarshallPhoto: Elly Brosius

Portraits from a July 2007 visit to an open house of The Gilbert Clinic in Maryland:
Eileen Melia, Toni Marshall, and Elly Brosius, a rare instance of same time, same place.

by Elly Brosius, MS

Intersecting Stories about Affirmation Ministry Quilts and Meditations by Eileen Melia usually feature the quilts and writings with colorful photos and quotes. This one is more about the quilt maker and meditation writer, Eileen, and two leaders of a support group she joined to whom she gave quilts and writings. It brought to you by the letters M and E.

Eileen, Toni, Me, and ME

Eileen, Toni, and I have an uncommon condition in common. Much of the world refers to it simply as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME. Here in the USA, you see more ME/CFS. We each have our own expressions for it and of it. The myriad of names and the seemingly infinite ways it can affect a person are an ever evolving story for another day or blog.

We came to know one other mostly by phone, a few times in person, and some by e-mail. Each of us was too ill usually for the upright posture and stamina required by in person visits. With our heightened nervous system responses and sensitivities to lights, sounds, smells, foods, uprightness and stress, physical meeting was too risky to our precarious functioning. Read Chronic Fatigue Syndrome isn’t what you think it is – it’s much worse by Stephanie Land in a HuffPost Healthly Living blog for a March 2016 view on ME/CFS.

In ME, energy feels either non-existent, inaccessible, or unable to flow constructively, to varying degrees. That’s what it feels like to me. When some of us in the smaller support group using gratitude for healing committed to techniques and attitudes to support energy instead of depleting it, our lives got less scrappy, some symptoms even lessened. We are grateful for any miracles of relief like those. Many folks with our conditions only experience getting worse over time or being stuck.

If I were to design an art project for Eileen, Toni, and me, it would have an ME in the title to honor the ME condition in our journeys. Additionally I would highlight another ME, one that stands for Mother Energy. Noticing, nurturing, and celebrating the healing aspects of more unconditional mother energy is a key to ever ascending quality of lives.

“Dear Elly,” wrote Eileen starting the cover letter accompanying my In The Garden of Life quilt.

“This quilt is made with heartfelt admiration and appreciation for your staunch spirit which belies the multitude of physical challenges that CFS/ME, FM and OI presents. Your spirit is a testimony of your care and nurturance of others who are similarity afflicted.”

Mother Energy

Not all mother energy is in an uncorrupted, able to help heal something state. Some mother energy smothers or otherwise creates new upsets or activates old wounds. Being at the ready point to heal our own mother energy and share the most whole version of it with others, Eileen, Toni, and I practice the ways of being more unconditional with each other. As we welcome more divine versions of Mother Energy in and through, our conditioning and our conditions have eased.

While I was blessed with a loving mother, an awesome godmother, supportive, fabulous aunts and friend of the family “aunts,” Eileen is a mother and godmother figure I accept into my life consciously as an adult. Toni offers me experienced mother wisdom and a person with whom to work out godmother and Mother God issues.

Eileen has more life experience than I, more job experience, more people experience, experience with kids and grandchildren. When she worked, she was a nurse, as my mother’s mother was. I feel a feminine, maternal, medicinally nurturing vibe with her. She doesn’t judge me. And, as she wasn’t responsible for physically raising me, we didn’t have to go through the tensions of testing boundaries.

Toni has an offspring just younger than I. Toni has more job and life experience. She shares and listens and laughs. We can laugh, cry, shout, cuss, and be honest about things never said aloud be. We can talk of things we never knew as motherly or sisterly in our experiences on the earth plane.

Eileen and Toni honor and support the mother figuring I do in phone calls and in the support group setting. They let me know how important it was for them to experience my watching over them and out for them when they joined the group.

Eileen sends childless me a Mother’s Day card every year and it just feels right, not ironic. She encourages me and thanks the mother in me. She sees beyond traditional definitions and she senses the motherly archetypes in play. Her greeting cards are an important piece of the affirmation ministry to me. When quilting is too demanding, we remind her the gifts of her cards are special and enough!

Doubled Over and Lifted Up

Frequently doubled over ill and dysfunctional though most don’t see or acknowledge it, we homebound women are taking the time and energy to value ourselves and each other as is and to value and our own and each other’s present gifts. That’s pretty special in the ME world. We notice how our gifts might not have been expressed the same way had we not had set-backs and must-sit-downs, need-to-lie-flats or else. The same sensitivities that kept us away from sounds, flickering lights, and perfumed parts of the world have unusual upsides critically needed in an often insensitive world. We’re doubled over, and we’re lifted up by what what down there and who we found who was also down and out.

For shifting a painful or high pressure symptom, one technique I came up with is saying “I welcome you” to it with panache. People roll their eyes until I explain how just like they like being heard, so do their symptoms. Symptoms are the body’s communication they have been played them down or ignored them completely. Even when complained about loudly and acknowledging something is wrong, a push through mentality and reality has been necessary.

Something is going on that needs observation and different attention. To coax out the information to change things, a big gesture or olive branch to the body might be required. What gets people to try it is when I give them permission to make the hurting sounds that go with the symptoms and use swear words if that helps. For example, “Iiiiiieee owwwww bleeping welllllcommmmmmme you.” Eileen reminds me my vocal demonstration on an Elly’s Gratitude Group (EGG) conference call was quite memorable and helped her do it and through it to eventual release and benefit.

Blanket Acceptance

In the EGG, we attempt to value acceptance of self and whatever’s happened. We are practicing living that acceptance, with gratitude. Physical weakness is an extraordinary fertile place for many kinds of strength to grow. Having to be more and more passive and accommodating to the body’s growing list of what feels like inadequacies can birth new creativity in coping.

When the mind’s ideas and the medical field’s, too, fall short on fixing, one has the option to learn more about heart, feeling, and healing. Receiving and accepting more of what is, as is, especially if one has been an over doer, an over helper, an over giver is vital for recovering energy. Receiving and accepting compliments and gifts in a wholesome way instead of in pieces, instead of with deflection can fill one enough to straighten up after being doubled over from pain or grief.

Eileen’s cards and quilts with meditations inform the chosen recipients about their capacity to receive. Can we accept her blanket approval with our blanket acceptance? Can we handle unconditional Mother Energy? Toni’s affirmation quilt is full of Serendipitous Graces; In the Garden of Life is where we find mine. Both have provided us rich material in answering those questions for ourselves thereby improving our ways of helping ourselves and others receive more. We give information for coping now, we give compliments for what has been managed so far, and we give encouragement that more relief is possible. Receivers take what they can or will. Eileen is playing an important part in Toni’s and my watching over others in the ways that we can, with ME, and with our particular Mother Energy.

©Elly Brosius, 2016. All rights reserved. Excerpting is allowed with credit and direction to original content. For full reprint permission, Photos by Elly Brosius and Toni Marshall.

First Story – A Mother’s Obituary

My first story is about my mother. Many first stories, if we could know them, remember them, would have to be about our mothers. Mom probably has the first and most often heard voice one hears from the womb. She likely has the voice many still hear in their heads long after they’ve moved out of her nest.

I wrote this story months ago. It’s Mom’s obituary. I couldn’t get the writing done (or started) as fast as the funeral home and the official newspaper obit departments wanted, so those obits turned out to be about 3 sentences short and there were name spelling errors – an unfitting tribute for a remarkable woman who so many have amazing stories about. I collected some stories, dug deep, and when I could handle it – you know, while still handling so much else that also had to be handled – I wrote something I thought she’d like and be pleased about. It was, after all, a gift to her and for those who love her.

The tears through the typing and all that that goes with writing were a gift to me. Nothing reveals more about the state of things than figuring out what to say, how to summarize in writing what is known and felt. Nothing reveals how stuck one might be more than trying to write, and almost nothing in my experience tends to change things more than becoming the intense observer writing demands.

I took out an ad in the county paper Mom liked. She had introduced me to its upbeat editor a couple years ago. From what I sent, he suggested a full page piece inside with two b/w photos, a color photo and caption on the front page. In the interesting and intersecting ways that things occur, the large front page headline left of her inset said “Live Nativity lacks Wise Man, ‘God will provide’ organizers say.”  “Tribute to Joan Blair” follows right with her sparkly, smiling picture from Celebrity’s cruise ship, Infinity.

As an ad, the obituary doesn’t appear on the paper’s website. And while many locals where Mom and Dad retired to in Pamlico County, North Carolina, saw it and found it helpful to process their grief and shock, it didn’t have a befitting reach to their many friends and family flung far and wide. Obituary image for Joan W. Blair 1930-2014There needed to be something to find on Google or Facebook or something to click through to as she would have done on her iPad if someone sent a link. was created, firstly, to get her story a place to live online. Her life touched many lives in grand and encouraging ways.  It will continue to do so, and help folks hold on and let go simultaneously.

Writing and sharing her story helps me keep finding my story. No matter what the mother story, it pushes the child along in the world somehow.

My impeding birthday is giving me some kind of sacred shove to get this story out, now. I have had the technology to do so before, not the wherewithal. This will be the first birthday without my mom’s voice on the phone or in the flesh.

Birthday celebrations and birth date anniversaries have their way of nudging us, inviting us, sometimes forcing us, to notice new things about our intersections with other people’s stories, other people’s lives. Maybe we shall read more first stories here inspired by mothers, birthdays, birth dates, and birthday gifts given and received. Maybe we shall read more stories of tributes that become possible after a death.

The rose photo anchoring this site at its birth is from Mom’s rose bush in 2015. She didn’t live to see it flower this year, but there will be blooms from things she planted for years to come.

Civic-minded, Adventurous, Compassionate
A Tribute to Joan Worzel Blair
A Remembrance by Elly Brosius, Friends and Family
, an
obituary in PDF for Joan W. Blair, 1930-2014 (2.3 MB), or an
obituary in HTML for Joan W. Blair, 1930-2014, which loads faster and adapts to your screen size.

©Elly Brosius, 2015. All rights reserved. Excerpting is allowed with credit and direction to original content. For full reprint permission, Photos by Elly Brosius.