This is #5 in our Guest Blogger series by Athena Grace:
Five months into the heaven-drenched trenches of motherhood, and I dare you to guess the number one most popular “sage” comment that I hear from fellow parents…
If you guessed “Enjoy it, it goes by FAST,”… You nailed it!!
And frankly, I am sick of hearing it. The first few times, it seemed sound and possibly even wise… But as America’s parent population keeps beating this poor, innocent notion to a messy pulp, I’m starting to get suspicious. Are we all merely on autopilot, regurgitating the same exhausted phrases, in hope of sounding like credible experts? I’m not arguing… I bet the journey of parenthood DOES go by fast. But honestly, when you look backwards, so does LIFE… I mean where have the first thirty six years of my life gone? And what of the delicious sip of tea I just took? It’s over now, and the best I can do, is bring my mug to my lips again, and open my senses to the warm euphoria once more. It’s called impermanence, and it’s what makes this game of differentiated divinity possible. Does time really speed up when we are savoring each moment? Or does it cease all together, until you suddenly look over your figurative shoulder and realize an invisible beast called “Time” has quietly devoured your entire existence into its insatiable, bottomless belly?
It’s strange that Serena has only been in my life for five months, (At least in the flesh. She was certainly in my life as I gave my body and my life over to growing her from holy scratch! And before that, she pervaded my heart with a fierce fire of relentless longing.) but I somehow feel like she has been a part of my life Forever. Time is an unsolvable puzzle. I mean, jeeze, WE were babies once too… The all-consuming center of our mothers’ universe (hopefully…). Somehow even THAT notion occurs to me like a Zen Koan! It’s five thirty six am, as I sit on my couch in a dim living room, staring into space, trying to get my head around the unsurmountable construct of time… A minute just passed! Was it a short minute… or a long minute? Was it frittered or soundly invested? Ha!
Back when I was a “baby adult” (in my very early twenties), I participated in a profoundly enriching (Landmark) course called “The Wisdom Course.” One of the foundational ideas of this nine month transformational adventure was that we are each a network of conversations. Every so often, the illuminated, enthusiastic leader, Joan Bordow would exclaim with fierce passion, “If you want a new life, SAY NEW THINGS!!!!” I love this, because how often are we truly *awake* in what is dribbling from our oracular lips? If we’re not careful, we just regurgitate the same slovenly material for years, and often generations! There’s safety and comfort in joining “the club” and becoming yet another armchair expert on the quicksilver nature of parenthood. This subtle joining provides camaraderie with an entire tribal lump of self-proclaimed experts on the subject. As humans, we long to belong. But must we sell out the vast wildness of the Mystery that is Life, in order to do so? It could be isolating to assert that the journey of raising a child is neither intrinsically long or short… to explore with genuine curiosity and openness, the infinite nature of presence and the miraculous, enigmatic and ultimately useful existence of Time.
Haha, I just had a flash of Janice Joplin saying “It’s all the same #*%@-ing day, man.”
I’m not even gonna expound on that. I was planning to, but then Serena cried out from the bedroom, and in an instant, the fragile grace of my “me time” was shattered. And I was pissed. Because it wasn’t even six am yet. (She usually gives me at least until six thirty. Sometimes even seven…) Welcome to the humble heart of my fractured mind. Make yourself at home. May I take your coat? Can I serve you a steaming cup of soul-stirring, alphabet tea?
But despite the scorching sparks of resentment that sprayed inside me when I heard my tiny buddha’s premature call, it was actually perfect… because the scenario drew me right into the heart of the matter at hand. My hypothesis is that the nature of time is dictated by one’s presence, or lack thereof. As I nursed Serena in our dim, shyly dawning bedroom, my mind was agitated and snagged on a ribbon of lust to finish my thoughts here on the page. This made my belly tense and my breath shallow. I often catch myself in this state of clenched agenda as I am nursing my warm bundle of breathing heaven. Since the “biggest of bangs,” otherwise known as childbirth, it has become a primary “spiritual practice” to let go of whatever ambitions are seducing me, and consciously return to feeeeling the holy nuances of the moment. I deepen my breath. I let my belly and my heart soften (I usually need to repeat this a handful of times before it “sticks”). And suddenly I feel the rhythmic, pleasurable tug of her darling little mouth on my nipple. I feel her weight, her radiant warmth infusing my lap. I feel the soft, subtle conversation of our energies mingling, and I am delivered from tension to whispering ecstasy.
And THIS, my friends is “IT.” I believe that the quality of our experience of life is directly dependent on our willingness to FEEL. Even the “yuckies.” Like the frustration or anger that surges through me when my agendas are aborted. It all passes. It all just wants to be felt. And yes, time keeps spilling forth, no matter whether our feeling bodies are soft or constricted… But somehow, this willingness to have an intimate, embodied experience of the moment changes the texture of the inevitable passage of time. In feeling, in breath, in connection, life is neither “fast” nor “slow.” It is a kaleidoscopic frolic through sensation. It is a brave, riveting pilgrimage about God’s own endlessly sprawling contours. And sharing this with a child, or children is one of the most natural and rewarding paths of the heart. Because we are here to love. We are here to dynamite open our notions of “Self,” until it encompasses all of Creation, while still expressing the miraculous individuation of our unique divine genius.
I let my own beloved mother have a sneak preview of this “word-venture,” before I shared it with you… and she offered a few succulent drops of wisdom and insight she has cultivated along her journey. She said all that people *really* mean when they say “It goes by fast,” is that they are nostalgic for the evaporated days when they had their own precious “Boozle” to hold and nurse and fawn over… Thanks Ma, for shining a light of patiently cultivated compassion and understanding on this matter for me. I get it. And I will say that there are so many things in life I already miss and pine for — The incredibly powerful, mysterious and enlightened journey of pregnancy. The free-wheeling, innocent, endlessly creative and joy-full landscapes of childhood. The frivolous, thrilling days of all night dance parties and consciousness altering escapades. Luxurious, sensually rich honeymoons with my Man at the now burned-to-the-ground soul sanctuary, Harbin Hot Springs. Sipping red wine and nibbling on a decadent array of trendy tapas with my late Beloved, Dan, as we talked (and heartfully listened) with passion about Life and Love. If you let life all the way in, it’s fleeting nature will break your heart!!!! And then, like that bouquet of flowers your beloved bestowed upon you to celebrate your presence in his/her heart, you wilt and die and return to the earth and the heavens from whence you sprung. All poems must end…
If you are a parent, or even just a person who thrives in impassioned, continuous creation and experience of this gift we call “Life,” I invite you to ask yourself…. Does it *really* go by fast? Are those the words that I CHOOSE to swaddle this ambiguous, malleable romp through a single-serving of Infinity in? Why not relax your body, open your mind and allow intimacy with All Of It to consume you, and draw you into the heart of this outrageous, intricate incarnation of miraculous love!