As a yogi, I have been on the eternal adventure of finding the present. I get the intellectual process and understanding about living in the present, but till now, the real tangible living experience of The Present was elusive.
It took pregnancy, birth, and meeting Oliver to catch my breath and my attention.
During pregnancy, I realised the lesson of selflessness 101. Birth was 201 and Oliver is an eternal masters course in being here, now.
Pregnancy began a process of realising that every thought and action had a consequence on another being (the reality of what all sages teach us is that every thought and action has a consequence on everyone and everything around us as the energy moves…but that is too far removed for our minds to take seriously so that has been awakened by this). As Oliver grew in my belly, he absorbed the nutrients I fed my body (good and bad), the thoughts I had about my body and him growing within, and the emotions and reactions I had to every moment of my life and how those manifested as hormonal or systemic reactions.
This accountability started a day by day awareness of what I was doing, what I was thinking about doing, and thinking about thinking about doing…and so on. It was a beginners crash course in noticing everything and taking it seriously – without losing my sense of humour. (ok, I will admit, I did lose my sense of humour in the second trimester…I could excuse it or justify it, but regardless of the where and how and why this experience arose, it arose, and that is what Oliver absorbed…not the wordy story behind it, but my visceral feelings about that time…and how that has formed his personality or his belief systems or his weaknesses or strengths, only time will tell. And will I blame myself or congratulate myself for everything he becomes, well, I have been advised not to)
The birth was 12 hours of labour and 12 hours of consistent, repeated fire in my bones that left me no room than to be well, … present. I wished I could escape my body. I even bargained with the Gods to get me out of the intense pain. I wanted to jump ship with each and every onset of contraction…fear and dread arising like bile and breath and support releasing it back down again – perhaps to be burnt by the fire in my opening releasing changing pelvis…only to arise again. I am sure a phoenix surfaced atleast once.
And then, a teeny tiny incy wincy baby climbed into my heart. And everything I do and say and think and feel, he knows as fast as I do, and probably sometimes before I do (because my ‘stuff’ won’t let me near it). And suddenly I find myself living with a ferocious intensity I never expected. I will fight battles for him. And when I forget and take the complacent acquiescing route, I am very quickly reminded that my choices aren’t about me alone anymore. And around this intensity is a mushy squishy squeaky silliness (but that is another story!)
So, the accountability of pregnancy matures into motherhood where I will eat gluten because it won’t hurt Oliver though it will hurt me, but I won’t eat garlic which is fine for me and quite frankly I would give some teeth for a delicious meal made of all my favourites including garlic and chilli and green vegetables like o-i-miss-you-broccoli! But garlic sends Oliver into a state and so I just won’t do it. For him first, but also for me because I am the one who has to clean up the mess!
Living in the present is not so hard. And when I spend time with Oliver, but really want to be replying to that email or feeding the dogs, or just quickly tidying up the mess on the lounge floor so internaly I can try to mimic a degree of external order, he makes it known that he is not satisfied with the second rate attention I am giving him. Not to mention that there is no more ‘just quickly’ whatsoever at all anywhere in my life.
Wanting to or needing to be present has to be important enough to make the sacrifice of dizzying distraction. It is a shame that it had to be ‘another’ person who would make me accountable…why was accountability to myself not enough? Perhaps it was…but then also, I would get busy, time would pass, I would forget and bad habits would resume, and before I knew it, being present would be the hour on a yoga mat in asana and breath instead of off the yoga mat in life, with breath.
Joy! To be a mother. To be expansively present. Now. and Now. and Now. without an off button or a just wait or come back again another day. Just Now.