Thursday, August 10, 2017
Yesterday, Rose signed us up for an Infant Massage class at Aditi Yoga. She also scheduled a massage for herself following the class. I was a little concerned that 3 hours in a row would be a lot for a 12 day old baby, but Rose figured she could time Taylor’s feeding well enough to buy her some solid massage time on the table.
The plan was for me to put Taylor in the wrap (or stroller) and walk around with her for 90 minutes (or as many minutes as she would allow). I decided to go with the wrap, but because it was really warm outside, and the air quality was still poor due to the smoke from the fires in B.C., I chose to do all of my walking in the yoga studio. It was midday, and there were no classes, so it seemed like a good option. Besides, it was way bigger than our small living room, where I usually do my indoor walking with her.
On my second trip around the room I really started to settle in. The room, and energy held within it, was the perfect setting to turn it all in to a walking meditation; something that I hadn’t done in years.
I have spent many, many hours of my life in studios and in rooms like this. Yoga, meditation, martial arts, qigong, satsang, movement classes, etc.. It has been awhile, however, and on my second trip around the room, some inner bell sounded and it all came rushing back.
I grew up “solidly Lutheran,” where religion and living a “spiritual life” were a large part of my upbringing. Like many, I had more questions than my particular belief system could answer, so I started seeking out other sources of information. I don’t know how many hundreds of books I own, but at least half of them are on the topics of early Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism (I don’t love that term, by the way), Sufism, Native American religions, and the like.
In-depth study typically involves both reading and practice, and for me, much of that practice took place in rooms much like the one I was currently walking in.
About 25 minutes in to walking big circles around the room, being mindful of each and every step, a deep sense fell over me as I slowly paced around with my baby daughter. A reminder.
“This is all a gift.”
All of it. Not just the surviving of cancer, and the birth of my daughter less than two years later, but all of it. Everything.
The ups, the downs, the freedom, the opportunities, and even the anxiety and crushing tediousness of daily life with a newborn.
It is funny how easy it is to get caught up in everything in our lives, especially our hopes and desires, and overlook the profoundness of such a simple thing; that regardless of our circumstances, the fact that we are alive and conscious is a pretty incredible and precious thing.
Whether you choose to define this in spiritual terms or in statistical terms is up to you. The fact remains that being here is absurdly unique. We are on this planet for a short time and then we are gone; shorter than a flash of lightening, relative to the history of “live-ness.”
I don’t know that this deep understanding needs to soften our desires, even though some religions seem to suggest so. If anything, I say let it enhance those desires, but with less anxiety and more gratitude. Let it be the ground that you stand on as you reach for everything that you want. You are starting from a place of “gift.”
Tonight, there is a good chance that my daughter will cry, and that I will get caught up in that crying. In that moment, it is not likely that I will be able to hold on to the thought of this being a unique and precious life, but if I can, if only for a few seconds, how much richer might my life be?