I’m very excited to share this lovely lady’s fascinating work today and also very keen to attend one of her “The Mother Within” healing retreats with horses!
Christine Erickson believes in reflective learning through connecting with nature and works with horses as teaching partners for executive education and individual development and healing. She is the founder of One Legacy Coaching, LLC and The Mother Within initiative. Christine has facilitated learning programs for incredibly diverse individuals, executive leadership teams and social businesses internationally.
As a coach and entrepreneur she enjoys working with clients who want to practice and embody intentional and creative living, self-leadership that inspires, and the heart space to serve others. It is her intention to connect with and serve other women through The Mother Within initiative in order to create an expressive and representative space for women without children and to breach cultural and social conversations that ultimately affect all women.
Christine considers that for her, not having a child was circumstantial. At a time when having a child may have been possible, she was in an unhealthy marital relationship and didn’t feel it would be right to bring a child into that situation.
By the time she had healed and moved on, her next partner already had children and did not want more. By this time, she was in her 40’s and had come to terms with the fact that having a child was not going to happen. It was a gradual realisation for herself and her life. A time of acceptance came slowly and with deep awareness.
What helped Christine feel clearer about not having a child, was getting quiet and observing the pain and the process of going through it. This is the point in time when she wrote her book The Mother Within.
She used many coaching tools and mindset work, but what really helped her heal was being quiet. She realised that she is a maternal Being. Owning and accepting this allowed her maternal sense to show itself in her relationships with others. She realises that this will be within her in various ways in different stages of her life.
In her relationships with family and friends, Christine didn’t feel particularly supported about this issue, mainly because she wasn’t completely open about it. Her experience was more about the silence around the issue of not having a child. Once she became more comfortable about responding to things it opened up a gateway for communication with others.
There has been awkwardness around the issue. Some people in our society have been not been conditioned to accept the possibility of not having children. In the US, almost 50% of women of a childbearing age do not have children at all. This number is much larger when you consider men who are also childfree.
One point that Christine discusses in her book: if you look at things systemically, taxation or different regulations in our society; they feed the need to have children or get married. This is a paradigm that needs to shift and consider what we are and who we are right now. We are a rapidly ageing population and increasingly more are without children. There needs to be much more open conversation around this topic.
With her work with women and the horses, Christine has integrated the work of women as coaches and healing professionals. This allows people to move out of the verbal mind space and to get back into their bodies in the sensing and knowing/feeling space with horses. Some of the positives:
- Horses are non-judgmental;
- A horse’s energy is clean;
- They are so present that it draws people into that presence;
- There’s a harmonic exchange between the person and the horse;
- Being around horses allows our minds to release energy in different ways;
- Everyone has a horse story;
- We don’t have to be perfect around a horse (it’s about being authentic);
- Horses are very sensitive.
Many people have had a fearful experience with a horse. When someone has a lot of energy emanating, the response from the horse is basically trying to meet that energy. How to distill those fears, which is not necessarily negative, (it’s just information) can become a damaging experience. The facilitator needs to feel the honour of helping others come away with a positive experience. Acknowledging people’s fears is important. It’s better than trying to pretend that you’re fine, when you’re petrified inside. When you acknowledge your fears and accept them, the horse will be more relaxed around you.
Christine has been doing this work since 2009. She has had a coaching practice for many years before she started incorporating work with horses. Everyone is at a different space within their journey. This is a great way of leaving a legacy. The one thing she wanted people who are in her situation to be conscious of, “We don’t have to leave or create a profound legacy just because we do not have a genetic legacy.”
Her definition of legacy is more around people tapping into what is authentic for them, what they love to do, how they interact with and impact people or their own lives. If you can share that with others or serve other people, that’s a legacy. It can be creating a vibration of words every day intentionally that you send out to building a non-profit that serves girls and leadership. We’re all here to leave a legacy with or without children. Name it and do it consciously.
There are many myths about not having a child such as “You can’t experience real love if you don’t have a child or can’t relate until you’ve experienced that type of love.” This is part of what drove Christine to write her book.
- Reclaim the real space – “Whatever our greatest experience of love is, IS our greatest experience of love.”
- Myths (proposed fact) are there to support social construct and not necessarily what’s real.
- Myths divide the notion of what real parenting is – it traps women in two different directions
- When the language is absolute, “There is no love in the world like…” “No one except your mother…” – reinforces all those social constructs.
- It forces competitiveness when there’s no right or wrong in this area of life.
The reality of parenthood is something you can’t imagine until you’re experiencing it. We should never claim or define someone else’s experience. We may be losing our womanhood to motherhood. Some women that Christine admires as mothers are so conscious and work really hard at being themselves, at the same time as being conscious mothers. They’re living in such a keen awareness. Christine believes that at times the social definitions of motherhood or women without children, keeps us in a space of judgment and separation and also takes our energy and contribution as women collectively.
In creating or producing meaning for your life – through the grief and acceptance of not having a child when you wanted one, this is the space we should re-acknowledge women and to be able to not only heal but compassionately witness each other and honour and celebrate each other. The Mother Within – what we are doing and who we are being is the expression. As for her greatest work, Christine feels that is “who are we being and what we are becoming in life”. She is working to continuously live a very conscientious life.
As for role models, Christine doesn’t look at someone or would name anyone based on whether they have a child or not, what she considers as someone she’s inspired by is Jody Day, of Gateway Women. It’s the people who are becoming visible to create a conversation for a more feasible, creative and spiritual life for those who are maternal Beings and acknowledgment for women as a whole. Be our best selves…no matter what it looks like.
I do hope you have enjoyed this episode and would love if you could share with anyone you feel would benefit. Also happy to hear any guest suggestions in the comments box below. Thank you!