Goddesses Share Their Secrets - Vanessa Pinkham

We asked a number of incredible goddesses about their views on love, magic, mothering and the world. Here are their responses. 

What is success to you?
"Success is living a life with meaning, my meaning, as that is ultimately all that matters. It is not in attaining material wealth, the acceptance of others or grand acknowledgment, as so often we can be lead or encouraged down a line that is praised, rewarded, and supported by society/our family/friends/mentors but ultimately, is empty for our souls. I've never wanted that for myself (or for others), I have to first feed my soul, so I know that by fierce determination, integrity and honesty in how I lead my life personally and conduct my work, I am most successful. By living this way, I know that I am contributing to the empowerment and betterment of individuals and my community (both near and far)."

What is magic to you?
 "I love this question. Magic, to me, is the physical manifestation of my persistent imaginings.

Using my mind to design my world, and then (with action to support it!) watching it all unfold before me again and again. It's the animating force in life, by my definition. If there is one thing living around the world has taught me, it is that we are all magical, every one of us, and our power increases and multiplies the more we design our world and impinge our designs upon our reality, versus accepting "what-is", because what-is is simply whatever someone else thought up before us. I've found meditation, visualisations, mantras and maintaining a sense of wonder toward our incredible Earth and Universe heighten the experience of magic in my life."

What is love for you?
"Love is the purest energy we can experience and create in this life, and  the greatest gift we can give ourselves and others. At this point in my life, motherhood is the most incredible expression of love I've ever experienced."

What is your beauty /health practice?
"I move my body every single day. No matter how I feel, what I'm going through, I challenge and charge myself with movement. As a Pilates instructor by training for over 13 years, I teach movement 5-6 hours a day, but my own personal needs are only met when I move my own body with intention.

I make my own skincare, and keep it VERY simple; after struggling with atrocious, introverting facial acne for 10 years, I've tried it all, and can say with confidence what you eat makes your skin. Nourishing it, not scrubbing, peeling, stripping its oils, is how it heals. I use coconut oil to remove make up, if I wear any, and also cleanse with it, then I moisturise daily with the highest quality oils on my face and body, and heighten them with essential oils.

Lastly, I eat beautifully. Fresh, organic, as local as I can find, I make a total game out of finding and enjoying the best food I can for myself and my family.

I have lost two close relatives to cancer and diabetes, both my parents families suffer from type 1 and 2 diabetes, inflammatory diseases, cognitive diseases related to inflammation, and heart attacks. I was not raised eating this way, so I do not mess around with my health now. I value it so deeply."

What makes your spirit glow?
"I love traveling in every way, and my heart sings in South Africa, where I lived most of my adult life and where my husband is from. I adore meeting passionate, intense, brilliant people... I seem to attract them and I feel very fortunate for that. Being in nature, near running spring water, in mountains, in forests, and feeling the Earth breathe from me and into me sets me on fire. Since February 2014, my spirit sings when I see, hold, and play with my daughter."

How do you stay centered in the middle of chaos?
"If you think about it, people typically only say "relax!" or, "chill out!" to others when they're stressed already, never when they're calm, so few people truly know how to "get there" on their own. They associate the words with times of stress. While I am exercising and intentionally taxing my body, I think incredibly positive words to myself, about how calm I am, how strong, how focused, how in control I am of my own physical experience. I'm a pretty fiery personality, so this part of training is fairly important for me. When I'm then in a seemingly stressful situation, I can go back to that trained state of mind and truly relax. Whatever is happening can remain outside of me."

What causes /organizations are you passionate about?
"I have always been vocal about the importance in feeding children food they can grow on, but motherhood lit a fire in me that I did not expect. I am so passionate about breastfeeding, and I regularly attend support groups for moms starting out to show them that they can do it successfully (16 months and counting). I volunteer my time to other mothers who are embarkig on their breastfeeding journeys, and I will be pursuing my education in lactation consulting next year, which I will use when I am back in S Africa.

Organic Consumers is a great organization fighting for the protection of our food, which is a not-so-silent battle that we are winning. Consumers are realising they are being slowly poisoned through pesticide accumulation in their bodies and their children's, and the tides are turning, but a lot more needs to be done.

Every Mother Counts does AMAZING work worldwide to make pregnancy and childbirth safer for mothers. Their efforts have brought down mortality rates, educated governments, and their grassroots campaigns have saved the lives of thousands of women and babies. They are doing beautiful work."

if you could say one thing to the world what would you say?
"You have lifetimes of wisdom hidden deep in your mind and body; listen to it, feel it, trust it. It speaks in a whisper, and this world screams to distract you. Listen. You are far more powerful than you have ever been told."

How has being a mother changed your life and what has been the greatest lesson? And what advice would you give a new mother?
"I always knew it was important to care for my body; eat salads, healthy proteins, fats, keep the sugar low. I discovered fermented foods around 21 years old, and that helped a great deal, but I always went back and forth on how well I cared for myself. I was flippant about it, like most early 20 year olds. Motherhood, however, flipped a switch and I can't turn it off. I crave, really demand proper nourishment for my mind, body and soul. Good food, supportive people, a beautiful environment. Love, honour and respect. Motherhood turned me from a cub to a lioness in so many ways, and I did not realise how much I needed that strength, my Mother Heart.

The greatest lesson so far for me in the journey of motherhood is a very personal one. I have learned that so much of my own sadness from my childhood that I could never heal - not through traveling, not through books, not through relationships, that pain that stayed with me, was waiting to be healed by loving my daughter. I have learned more about love in these short few months than I ever learned in the 28 years prior. I needed to become a mother. It was a deep, thick and powerful root of my being I needed to grow to reach the deeper nourishment in my soul, and now that I have, no storm can uproot me. I am grounded.

The best advice I could give to new mothers, is that this time is so precious. Our babies heal and grow US just as much as we grow them. Draw into your children. Every day with your child is full of Lasts, but you don't always know it. Each time you nurse your baby is one time closer to your very last time. The last time they'll wake you up at night. The last time they'll struggle to get up on all fours. The last time they'll say mama 25 times in a row.

Hold them close, kiss them, love them. Babies hold a magic of floating between the realms of Human Existence and Spiritual Existence that only we as mothers get to experience, so don't let anyone diminish it. It is the most sacred, beautiful thing in the world.

If a new mother is reading this and struggling, reach out to me or someone else you feel a connection with. I am always here to help, and there are millions of other mothers with me."


Yours with love,
Vanessa Pinkham