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Moment Of Clarity

The Wisdom of Life Handed Down By Women

I overheard some young women talking about life as if it was an inconvenience or punishment. While that was a bit disappointing, I understood where it came from – youth and inexperience.

One of the women looked at me and asked me what I thought about her dilemma.

What came out of my mouth was surprising to say the least; I had imparted “mother wit.”

For as long as I can remember, I grew up looking towards women who experienced (and survived) life and could impart its lessons on me. I figured it could save me some time and spare me unnecessary heartache. Their wisdom was called “mother wit.”

And, it helped.

So, what is mother wit? Simply put, it’s common sense. The common sense of mother wit can be given as advice, a story, or in the form of a paradox.

A lot of young women and men including myself, saw, and continue to see, older women as resources. These women helped us gracefully navigate the nuances of life and relationships while minimizing the pain, shame, and confusion of learning mandatory life lessons. Their wisdom came from their life lessons and their ability to guide others on their journey.

So, when those young ladies asked my opinion about their dilemma, I realized that my generation of women was now the bearer of mother wit and it was scary because I don’t have all of the answers. Then I realized that the wise women of my youth didn’t know all of the answers either. They cried, suffered, and experienced their pain just like everyone else. Their power rested in them only speaking to matters they deeply understood.

Regardless our age, everyone still needs wise women to impart their mother wit. We need mother wit not because we are stupid people, but because when we are in certain situations, it can be hard to see and think clearly.

I recently came across an amazing book of mother wit and couldn’t believe the memories that came flooding back. The stories, poems, and words of wisdom for nearly every female experience resonated with me and the women I know. While, I don’t have as many “big mommas” as I used to growing up, this book reminded me of the love and wisdom passed down through the ages.

Burma Thomas’ Raw from the Heart is one of my favorite recommended readings for my clients and friends. Below is an exerpt from “Time’s Up,” one of the 54 stories of marital conflict, betrayal, jealousy, hypocrisy, adultery, love, happiness, and more:

“We split up. He went his way, and I went mine. I gave up our apartment (big mistake)! He went to his parent’s home in Michigan. Shortly after two months, he asked me to join him. Reluctantly, I moved. Clearly, it was a mistake but I believed the change of scenery would be good.” 

My husband was full of promises and hope. He promised we would be at the in-laws just a short while. The short while grew into two years. I was at my wits end. I had no one to blame except me. Out from nowhere, I realized that I was in charge of my happiness, Change was up to me.”

If you are looking to read and experience some touching mother wit shared by numerous women, then you might enjoy Raw from the Heart.

With love and light, I wish you pleasant journeys.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at digitalpitches@ebony.com. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in clinical and spiritual psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, Yhandi and RoHun.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter, join her on Facebook and Twitter, or view her self-help books!