At the time, I had been trying unsuccessfully for about six years to have a baby, so I asked him; “When will my baby be born?” After a moment, he shook his head, looked a bit bewildered and said; “Well, it’s not for me to question the information I’m getting, but I’m being told your baby will be born in January.” I said, “Really? January? As in two months from now?” He looked as perplexed as I felt and he nodded and said; “Yes. I’ve checked it several times. Yes, in two months from now.” Clearly, I was not seven months pregnant. We both would have noticed that!
Posts tagged ‘enlightenment’
But sometimes, with engines full throttle, I simply let go of the rope and gently sink down into the heart of the deep, silent weightlessness of being fully present in the here and now.
I was frightened by the things I could see. I wanted to explain them away. I felt reassured when my thoughts about them faded with time. No more. Today I fully embrace the mystery that is spirit. The possibility that we are all a part of something larger than this earthly existence. The clues are all around us and I am no longer afraid to see them, to claim them as the miracles they are, to write them down here so I never forget.
There is a sweet little drawing of a smiling face scribbled on the wall next to my bed. The artist is my youngest child when she was about three years old. At the time I calmly told her that walls are not for drawing, and then complimented her on her artwork. I left her original graffiti there on my wall because it is beautiful, and because it reminds me of the lessons I’ve learned since being a new mother of one child, to a seasoned mother of five children–a span of 19 years between the oldest and youngest.
When my oldest daughter first drew on a wall, first cut her own hair, first filled the toilet with non-toilet items, first lied to me, I did not yet know that all children do these things (or some facsimile). I did not realize then, as I do now, it’s part of growing up; of curiosity, testing, exploring, imitating or avoiding. I was harder on her because I was young and didn’t know better. Her actions were not personal, but in my own immaturity as a parent I perceived them as direct affronts. I would overreact and make a big deal out of ‘bad’ behavior by shaming or lecturing her at length for what I perceived as big infractions. By the second, third, fourth and now fifth child I know better as a mother. I don’t claim to know best, it’s just that I know better the mother I choose to be.
As I sat on the edge of my bed looking at the smiling graffiti, I was thinking how much I wished I could change the parent I sometimes was to my oldest child. Then the phone rang and there she was, on the other end of the line.
I shared with her all I had been thinking about. I told her I was sorry that when I was raising her I wasn’t as calm or as mature or as wise as I am now. I told her I wished I could talk to the mother I was then and tell myself all that I have learned so I could do better. I apologized. She laughed and acknowledged having to “pave the way” for her siblings and she told me I was forgiven. In turn she apologized to me for her teen years. We laughed together about pay-back. I loved her for the grace of absolution she blessed me with so easily.
I can’t go back in time and give myself the wisdom of mothering that I have now, but I can share it with you. (Lucky you!)
First: It’s not always about us. Our children are growing, stretching, testing. We can love, guide, offer reasonable consequences and did I mention; love, love, love them? But there is no need to bully, shame or just generally freak-out. Second: If we do freak-out or overreact (because we all do) it’s okay to forgive ourselves and do better when we know better. Third: It’s less okay when we know better, and we don’t do better. That’s when we rationalize, make excuses for ourselves or place the blame on our children for how we choose to react. We’ve all been there, let’s just choose not to live there.
And lastly: There is great courage and love in risking vulnerability and humility. There is no shame in admitting fault. Fallibility is an inherent quality of the human condition, especially in parenting. Instead of defending our less flattering behavior to suit our need to see ourselves in a better light, admitting our mistakes as parents is important in validating what our children experience, of honoring their truth.
A close friend said to me after I told her this story, “Do you know how many adults would love to hear; ‘I’m sorry,’ from a parent? It would heal so much for them.”
Wise words from another seasoned mother.
There is so much divinity in the everyday.
And then she told me her story. She told me about preparing for the very real possibility of her death as she fought Cancer. Of meeting a man at a laundromat where she had to use the cart to steady her frail and weak body. He asked her to coffee. Later, she explained to him her dire situation and the futility of new beginnings in the face of a life ending. He told her it was not the end. He told her she would live and they would marry and have a daughter. Against all odds, he was right.
I have tiptoed across a dark courtyard at 2AM to spy on Greek Orthodox monks floating in black wool cassocks and high hats through a fragrant fog of amber incense. Chanting Vespers in the candlelit chapel of an Arizona oasis, voices carried to God on white smoke through a starry desert sky. My own soul seeming to rise closer to heaven on every note.
My sister Karen is a healer. She is a licensed Massage Therapist and Healing Touch practitioner who works out of a small office in the suburbs. In a recent phone conversation Karen told me about working with a client, Tim, who passed from Cancer. He was the husband of her dear friend, and the experience of his difficult death shook Karen to her core. “It’s been five months,” she says tearfully, “and I can’t move past it.” She is struggling with doubt about her practice she tells me, and she is questioning her ability to offer any real comfort to clients who suffer as Tim did.
As she is speaking, I suddenly remember something that happened to me while she was giving me a massage a long time ago. I had dozed off and dreamt I was being given a message about one of her clients. When I described it to her at the time, she said she did not have any clients by that name. We joked that I was a terrible psychic secretary and dismissed it at that. Now, while still listening to her on the phone, I rummage through my bookshelf to find the small journal I used to keep in my purse. Flipping through the meager number of pages that have any writing on them, I quickly find my scribbled note. I interrupt her to read aloud what is written under the date 4/29/06 (five years earlier). It says; “Message for Karen. “Tim” Your healing is making a difference-it is touching him, changing him. He has the hand of God upon him.” On the other end of the phone line, Karen is crying now, telling me this is what she needed to hear.
Our lives are filled with miracles and mysteries, folded and tucked lovingly into the everyday moments we so often miss, or, dismiss. In the past year, I have written about them often. They are not always the hair-raising, skin tingling events like the message for my sister was, but they are all equally sacred:
“Many years ago during my darkest hour, I held a small grain of hope that there would be days like today. A still, clear, quiet, sun-dappled morning, children sleeping in upstairs rooms, an old dog curled at my feet–a populated solitude. I am alone, but not lonely. A day, extraordinary in its utter ordinariness. I had faith, and I am here and I am grateful.”
They often whisper to us:
“Returning to bed at 4:30am after letting the dogs out, I slip gingerly into the space between husband and child that still holds my shape. I whisper a complaint about my cold hands as I fold them over my middle. Two warm hands reach out from sleep and cover mine. One large, one small.”
They are small, precious gems, easily overlooked if we are not paying attention:
“I walk past the home of a woman I do not yet know and I am deeply and inexplicably moved to tears by the spring bulbs blooming outside her picture window. Little blue Scilla flowers spell out the word “ALIVE.” Years later, after we’ve become friends, I learn she had endured surgery for breast Cancer and, facing chemo treatment, she had planted this beautiful message of hope the previous fall to celebrate spring’s arrival and her survival.”
They are holy moments, all:
“I wake up to a 7-year-old stowaway in my bed. She is cuddled next to me, gazing straight into my blinking, bleary eyes. ‘I think heaven is different for everyone,’ she says to me, ‘like Candy Land or a beautiful meadow. For me it would be just like my life now, here, with my family.’ I nod, smile and pull her close.”
These experiences do not happen to me because there is anything special about me, my life, or my children. They are there in your life too, all around you. I promise you this is true. You just need to be present and aware. It takes practice to quiet your thoughts enough to really hear, see, and feel these glimpses of divinity, but I know they are everywhere. I believe that you feel it too.
Divinity in the Everyday
I have consciously resisted “The Secret” ever since it was released many years ago. Not that I knew that much about it. It just seemed, I don’t know, hokey. But recently, on the cusp of starting my new business, MAMMASTE™, I’ve been filled with fear, doubt and anxiety. So I thought, “What have I got to lose by checking out the book’s message regarding the law of attraction?” I borrowed the book on CD from the library and threw it into my car so I could listen to it while driving.
A few days later, I was late for a breakfast meeting and I was rushing, driving faster than I should on the snowy, slippery Minnesota roads. The Secret CD was playing and the narrator was talking about how, if our inner dialogue is “I’m going to be late,” or “There’s never enough time,” we are creating our own chronic lateness. The trick was, the voice on my CD was telling me, to start telling yourself, “I have more than enough time, I have all the time I need.”
I smiled at the coincidence and decided to slow down and change my inner dialogue. As I came around a curve in the road, a child darted out from behind a snow bank in front of my car. I hit the brakes and skidded to a stop in front of the child who froze, wide-eyed, just inches from my front bumper. He then turned and ran on. I sat there, my heart pounding, realizing that if I hadn’t slowed down a moment before, I would have hit him! “What a fortunate coincidence,” I thought.
Later that same day I was heading out to a lunch meeting for my new business. The Secret CD was again playing and the topic was; “You are a creator.” The narrator was talking about how if we think about what we want to create in a way that feels like we have already received what we want, we can create whatever it is we desire. The essence of the message being, “You create what you want in three steps: Ask, Believe and Receive.” I was thinking, “Okay, yes, it feels a little hokey, but I will apply this to creating Mammaste,” and then I looked up at the truck merging into the lane in front of me, and this is what I saw. My hand to God, this is a true story.
And that is all I have to say about that.
There is so much divinity in the everyday.
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