Discussion Questions, Storytelling, Sharing

  • Talk about what you learned about this spiritual practice when you were growing up. You might share a story about taking care of a pet or younger brothers and sisters. Were you encouraged to nurture yourself?
  • What are some of the blocks and hindrances that keep you from taking time to care for your soul and your spirit?
  • Who has been most influential in helping you develop an ethic of caring and tenderness?

Imagery Exercise

The movie The Bear follows a bear cub, orphaned when his mother is killed in an avalanche, who meets a wounded male grizzly bear. As they both recover from their losses, they have numerous adventures. The intention of this exercise is to experience being nurtured and nurturing.

Breathe out three times. See yourself as a bear cub enjoying a summer day with your mother. You are eating honey from a hive found in the rocks on the mountain. You and your mother are licking excess off of each other's mouths.

Breathe out one time. You are the cub scampering down the mountainside looking for company. You see a very large grizzly bear. Coming closer, you see that he is injured. While he rests, you are cleaning out his wound with your tongue.

Breathe out one time. Hear the splash splash of water as the big bear catches fish in a stream. Sense the fish he tosses to you.

Breathe out one time. Traveling with your mentor, know what it means to be a bear.

Breathe out one time. With your friend, find a quiet place to rest. When you have become silent, open your eyes.

Journal Exercises

The most common word association with nurturing is mothering. All of us, male and female, single or married, old or young have the potential to give birth and raise something in the world. In a prayer written for Mother's Day, Pamela Spence Bakker used the following images. Choose those you most identify with and reflect upon them in your journal.

Some of us give birth to: children, ideas, art, music. Some of us raise: animals, flowers or vegetables, our friends, our parents, our brothers and sisters, interest in a cause, money for charity, concerns, our voices against injustice, our eyebrows, Cain.