I had a very difficult day with my baby yesterday. I mean, really difficult. I was at the end of my rope and not quite sure how to go forward. I wasn’t feeling attached, gentle, intuitive or any of the nice things I wish to be as a mother. I couldn’t mother the baby because this mother needed mothering of her own!
We had been cooped up all day. It was rainy, windy and cold outside. It was dull for us both to sit around, with me trying to feed him, entertain him, distract him or lull him off to sleep. Or just get him to stop crying…
So at about 8pm, after a meltdown of my own, I put Sesam in the hug a bub, wore enough layers to keep us both warm and went outside for a turn around the roundabout by our bus stop. Sesam loves being outside in the hug a bub. He calmed down, looking up at the swirling, grey sky, gulping down gusts of wind as they blew in our direction. We didn’t stay out for long but those ten minutes revived us both.
When we got back inside and when none of his usual bits and bobs interested him, I got him ready for bed, leaving the bedroom window slightly open and lighting the candles by my bedside table. Then I reclined on some pillows, bent my knees and placed Sesam on the tops of my thighs, so that he was facing me.
And after the trying, irritating day we had had, my little baby and I made real, direct contact for the first time that day. Our disharmony dissolved back from where it had sprung. Little Sesam, with candle light reflecting in his eyes, with the wind offering us its natural lullaby through the leaves and treetops, looked at me. It must have been the right distance between our faces for him to really be able to see me. I am not sure if I have ever maintained eye contact with a baby in this sort of state before. I wasn’t trying to get a response out of him, he wasn’t trying to give me one. I wasn’t cooing or speaking baby. We weren’t doing much of anything really. We just sat together, in easy silence, being present with each other.
It’s pretty wild meeting unbridled consciousness like this face to face. Even with my yoga practice and experience within me, it still felt a bit unsettling. I felt my own presence being mirrored back to me. That is, my own unadulterated presence once we’ve removed all the years of conditioning, learned behaviour, affectations of personality, and the projections, habits and memories that have accumulated.
Looking into this small child’s eyes felt like a stripping away, an unveiling, of my own pure presence, without any of the trimmings and caked-on aspects of what it means to be a contributing adult in society.
The dishes still needed to be the done, the laundry folded. I still craved diving into the current book, into my own world of ideas, felt pulled to check my facebook page…and yet…
…despite myself, despite the exhaustion and frustration, this three-month old being, this son of a folk healer, pulled me right back in, to the very present, the here and now. Into that place where peace dwells.
And that, my friends, is called the practice of yoga, as it’s been taught to me; as I am understanding it to be.