I lay next to a sleeping angel, our baby girl Zia Qoya… precious being resting into deep peace, stillness, returning to source. She stirs, rubs her sweet little eyes, opens them wide, legs kicking up and around, exploring being in this body, this new day! She looks, she listens, she waits and then rolls over to find us…her mama and papa sleeping beside her. I drink in these last moments of silence before our girls bring in the day with full force…with laughter, with intensity, with loud shrieking exploratory shrills. And our 6 year old Munay jumps into bed with us, sliding over my sleepy form with no awareness of her long, lanky strong body…eager to meet her little baby sister and roll around with her, calling for her laughter and joy. The first light of sun shines in and the forest begins to awaken…the monkeys howl, amidst the layers of bird song…the heat of the day begins to rise…it is a precious moment…to greet the day with our beautiful girls and the innocence that they carry, and yet…we, the parents are tired…exhausted even…and we smile at each other across the chaos of this precious moment.
The path of parenting has been one of the most potent teachings of selflessness, surrender, letting go of control, and opening to the mystery in trust and receptivity. Through this melting with motherhood, deep insight about the ”practice” unfolds…a new level of sight widens as the openings and understanding of the daily practice weave into the fullness of life.
These precious children reveal the beauty of life…the hope of a new time and a new way of relating, and they also reveal my deepest wounds, my insecurities and fears, my attempt to control reality and hold onto what I think I know. Being a mother is the most rewarding and most humbling of tasks that I have encountered.
As a seeker and long time yogini, I have explored the safe haven of spiritual practice as a space to rest, integrate, heal, and settle into the simplicity of living in this body. I dove inside to know myself, to explore the possibility of uprooting the layers of conditioning that creates suffering, and to stalk the divine beast of silence and stillness beneath the continuous movement of mind…opening to receive a glimpse of truth and embodied wholeness. Yes I have understood the concept of allowing that quality of meditation to permeate the life flow and yet difficulty arises as one attempts to truly embody that knowing.
Something in the experience of mothering and its raw human-ness has helped to bridge the gap between the “practice” and the life walk. We “practice” in order to live in more awareness. We move through asana or sit in stillness, or embrace many other spiritual practices in order to witness and know ourselves more deeply, to move beyond the stories, to touch that space of purity and alignment…but can we invite that clarity received from the practice to leap out into our life? Can we allow it to saturate the fabric of our reality so that there is no separation between those high states of meditation and the moment of washing the dishes? In so many places “being spiritual” or practicing yoga or any other spiritual discipline has somehow become glamorous…a beautiful cloak that we wear as an identity, an idea of self that we attach to…laced with goals to achieve and become. I know that trap myself, and somehow the deepening journey of motherhood has stripped that cloak away more forcefully, with fierce love and truth, uprooting the urge to hide the more unflattering layers of self. And the questions that arise are…in the face of washing poopy diapers and navigating a temper tantrum, can I breathe, feel my feet, soften my belly and receive the moment? Can I accept the very un-glamorous moments of collapsing on the floor with exhaustion and confusion and embrace the fullness of the moment as it is? Without judgement or shame?
Mothering has anchored the willingness to truly live the gifts of understanding, the widened sight…to embrace a new level of selflessness and continually shed the layers of self. Wild and free, these children guide me to weave the spiritual practices into the chaos.
This is a blessed moment of grace, whether we are a parent or not… when there is no longer a gap between the “practice” and life lived in fullness and in presence…where the fragmented pieces of self are collected and the wholeness is lived, the prayer is lived…and like that the peaks and the valleys, the ecstatic and the mundane reveal the same face of divinity.