The question that arose for me was, "would I jump in to the sewer to save myself?"
The Rinpoche explained that the sewer is Samsara which is synonymous with suffering in Buddhism. His examples of Samsara included ignorance, anger, hatred, jealousy, depression and anxiety. I add shame, guilt and fear to the list. These are feelings and emotions we all experience, they are part of being human.
In the recent past I have experienced, intensely, forms of Samsara in myself. I have wanted to run from myself because what I was feeling was too hard, too ugly, or too messy. I have been asked to abide with myself offering myself the patience, love and compassion that I would automatically offer to my daughter, without question. I have received the help, support and nurturing from others that I needed to stay with myself, to rebuild trust, and avoid abandonment. I find it my new daily practice to offer myself "motherly love" whenever I can. By this I mean being kind to myself through my thoughts, moods, emotions, or feelings, allowing them to move and change as they will, withholding as much judgment as possible and offering firmness when it is needed. I have practiced this type of love for some time now, years before my daughter was born, but it has become essential and mandatory now that she is here. If I do not attend to my own needs, I cannot attend to hers in the way I want.
Listening to the Rinpoche's talk helped me interpret my own recent experience of "Motherly love": the state of being with myself (with lots of help) through all forms of suffering, and in that way being able to be there for my child and others. So I leave you with the question to ponder: would you and/or do you jump in to that sewer to save yourself? And if not the sewer, perhaps a storm drain"or maybe a small puddle?