Time sure does fly when you’re a mama! Most likely, whether you’re a mother or not, you experience time moving very quickly lately. It really is! I just realized it has been 3 months since I’ve written in this blog! Really?! I thought to myself, That Long?! Wow! I must really be having fun!
I can honestly say that I have been having a tremendously wonderful time. My baby boy is now 4 and 1/2 months old, and a constant delight. Even when he’s upset about something, which recently happens due to his enthusiasm to put things into his mouth faster than he can get his body to put said things into his mouth, he’s always a joy. Each day, each moment brings new expressions, new developments in body, motions and emotions, new horizons to discover together.
I am reminded in this moment that one of the most amazing gifts a child brings is the gift of presence. To be with a child, to spend every moment of every day (or almost every moment:) can be a challenge if we are not willing to practice presence. Each day with my baby flows differently and is comprised of a series of events all centered around either eating, sleeping, playing, or transitioning into or out of one of these activities. Although life is simple in this baby rhythm, it is not always easy to support the ever growing needs of a little one. I have to be very in tune with him in order to discern when he is hungry, when he is just tired, or when his cries are related to wanting more mental or physical stimulation, needing a new thing or area to explore or observe. I’m sure all mothers can relate to this. It’s a beautiful dance, really, to connect with our little ones non-verbally, to pick up their cues and stay present enough to know what is needed each moment.
Parents must practice presence not only to remain aware of the needs and wants of their child, but of themselves as well. In order to be a good parent, ready and able to provide for whatever physical, emotional, mental or spiritual need that arises, we must have first been taking good care of ourselves. If a parent has not been able to receive adequate rest, nutrition, social time or alone time, how can they stay fully present for their child? They will be too distracted by their own needs. I have really appreciated this aspect of motherhood actually: the opportunity to give to myself because I must in order to be the best parent I can be. It is a gift that comes with having children, but is not always recognized as such.
The gift of presence comes with each child. They call us to be more aware of everything. In order to understand and communicate with infants we must be aware of the subtle levels of communication, non-verbal and spiritual communication. In order to support ourselves and our children through life’s challenges and changes, and stay connected on a heart level, we must develop and strengthen our emotional awareness. In order to take care of our bodies so that they stay strong and capable of holding, carrying, lifting and walking through life with our growing babies, we must have somatic awareness, sensing where we are holding tension in the body or where there are imbalances that may lead to illness. The various levels of awareness that caring for children requires invites us to practice and master the art of presence. Being right here, right now, being with whatever is in this moment and being able to respond, that is true responsibility. And it is the power that our children call forth from within us as they look into our eyes with their deep loving presence and acceptance.
What a joy to have children as our teachers of presence. We cannot truly be with them if we are preoccupied with our thoughts, stuck in the past ruminating about this or that “coulda-woulda-shoulda,” or projecting in to the future with all of the what-if’s, worries, fears and doubts. To truly be with a child, we must be present, in the present, in the eternal now of beingness, where we are the most able to respond (to be response-able) to any and every need that arises. When we are present, we are able to respond effectively, with peace, grace, ease, Love and certainty. And when we respond with this energy, we are giving back what our children offer/teach us: Love, Presence and acceptance. We are teaching ourselves and our children to be the peace we want to have in the world. Through our presence, we change the world.
Parents are powerful agents of change through our presence. May each of us, parent or not, practice great presence and celebrate our ability to bring peace to our selves, our families, our communities and the world.