Saturday, May 10, 2014

Three Ways to Show your Power, your Shakti, on Mother's Day

Three Ways to Show your Power, your Shakti, on Mother's Day

A long time ago, maybe years ago now, I asked my mom why she did not often tell me that she loved me or was proud of me. We were in the car, she was driving. Her hands were on the steering wheel and her eyes on the road. I turned down the radio to hear her.

She said, “I didn’t think it mattered what I thought. You do so many big, important things. I didn’t think it mattered what I thought of them.”


Mom kept driving. Hands on the steering wheel. Eyes on the road, radio too quiet to hear. The sounds of cars on the road, the sound of our car cutting through the air, tires on the road, engine moving under the hood. Our breath and silence.

“It matters mom. It matters a lot.”

And so went the car and mom said, “Okay.”

I was preparing for Yoga class tomorrow, Mother’s Day. I searched the terms mother, yoga, and deity, searching for the yogic incarnation of motherhood within the traditional of yoga.

Shakti emerged.

It is said that Shakti is the feminine spirit, the embodiment of mother. It means power, or empower. This is just part of it. There is much to Shakti and to the understanding of Shakti. There are many variations across traditions.

It was those two words that struck me, power and empower.

That is what Mother’s Day is. It is a day to remember your power. To remember those that need you to say, “I love you,” and  “I see you.”

You, me, us, we are much more powerful than we think we are. In this blog, I write of Zuri, a little girl whose mother does not know her power. With this lack, Zuri is lost.

When we do not embrace our power, it does not fade, it does not go away. I believe it is misdirected, processed in a way it was not intended. My mother did not know her power and in her not saying, I was hurting. It was more than an absence of power. It left a vacuum. I knew, in my heart, she loved me. Still, the effect was there.

It is a responsibility that none of us asked for- but it is ours none-the-less, with children or not- we have our roles as the holder of Shakti-- to use it, to form it, to manifest it for the growth and development of others. It is a responsibility that comes with birth.

Think about people in your life. The people you touch. Do you see your power? Do you see the possibility of empowerment? And have you manifested, brought forth, given, seen, and expressed this power? Or is there a vacuum? Unspoken truths?

Do these three things- in honor of Mother’s Day, of Shakti, of your power-- do these three things:

1.     Step back, breathe, and see, really see, the people in your life. Acknowledge that these beings need you to show your love to them.
2.     Give voice to what you see. Tell them that you see their trying. Tell them that you see their kindness. Tell them that you see their heartache. Tell them.
3.     Nurture and Love. Do this a lot. There are many ways to do this.  One of my favorites is to kiss the ones you love on the forehead and whisper, “I love you.” Yeah, do that.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you powerful people. Know your power and use it well!


Catherine Cook-Cottone


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Letter Template for You- Use Your Voice- #bingbackourgirls

I have written a letter and emailed it to Attention: President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan. Please use this letter as a template and email the Nigerian Government. I attempted to log onto the government page to send the letter that way- the page is shut down.

Use your voice- you matter.

May 7, 2014

Dear President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan:

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the abduction and mistreatment of more than 200 girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria. News reports indicate that Boko Haram has threatened to sell the abducted girls as slaves and that some of these girls may have already been sold into child marriages.

According to a letter written by the 20 women U. S. Senators on May 6, 2014 to President Barack Obama, these girls were targeted by Boko Haram simply because they wanted to go to school and pursue knowledge. It is confusing to me that Boko Haram finds the pursuit of knowledge dangerous and harmful, yet readily sells girls to slavery and child marriages seeing this as right action.

I plead with you to continue and intensify your actions to find these girls and return them to safety. I look forward to a world in which girls, boys, and all people and pursue knowledge without fear.


Catherine Cook-Cottone, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Licensed Psychologist
Certified/Registered Yoga Instructor

Letter from Women Senators regarding Abduction of over 200 Girls in Nigeria

Letter from Women Senators regarding Abduction of over 200 Girls in Nigeria

Thank You to:

Barabra A. Mikulski and
Susan M. Collins