This post is mostly a reminder to myself, that I share with you all as it may be of help. I’m on holidays with my family visiting my sister and her family, and Theo seems to be uninterested to see more than our rented house. He’s been I’ll for half of the trip and now that he got well, his mood swings remind me of teething times since he only wants to be in my arms and carried, otherwise he cries (he also does it all the time in my arms though). I came to understand again that it is transitions that make him anxious, all transitions (night-day, awake-asleep, inside-outside, eating-playing, mama-papa)
Children will repeatedly test your resistance, patience, love-ability and compassion. All moments when you think “I can’t handle this anymore” they will challenge you for more. The test is to lose all hope, not to become hopeless but to stop hoping and wishing and dreaming and come back to the present. That is where life with children is lived, one day at a time, one moment, whether precious or challenging, you decide the outcome. It’s all about how strong your nervous system is -not to ignore all cries!- but to be strong enough so you keep yourself anchored and centered through all cries. Because that’s the only way to help a child in whatever need they might have. Stay centered and focused. Remain you. Do not go into the mind’s game. Stay and breathe. Be you. Do not collapse, explode, burn or melt. You are his anchor, you must remain anchored. Keep up. Sa ta na ma.
(I’ll probably take some words from this and put them up the wall back at home)
I am happy to announce that my long-planned project and wishes of teaching Conscious Parenting have started to crystallize. Together with my dear colleague, mother and kundalini yoga teacher trainer, Bachitar Kaur from Germany (living in the Netherlands), we have set up a series of workshops to start the project running. All information is found from our joint website on Conscious Parenting: http://www.consciousparenting.eu/
The first one of these workshops is this weekend here in Estonia, at the Haapsalu Yoga Festival. The workshop will be held in English and translated into Estonian. We will see what parenting is from the yogic perspective and I will guide through a meditation to connect with this life flow as parents. Full description of this workshop and the Haapsalu Yoga Festival you can find here: http://www.joogafestival.ee/en/program/tootoad/tootuba-kuidas-olla-teadlik-lapsevanem/
Theo has this fantastic ability to find my breast at night. He is half asleep, it is dark and he doesn’t even open his eyes -and yet without much effort, he knows where to turn his head to.
When we are born, we humans have a great sensitivity in all levels and spheres. You have probably seen how dogs and other animals sense things with their nose, well humans we also have this (as Theo shows me every night) but as grown ups we have lost this (and all the others) sensitivity.
In this Aquarian age, children are born with a fantastically evolved and subtle sensitivity. This is why we must – as parents and guides – learn to tune into that sensitivity and remain stable and calm, being conscious in his to guide them (this is first of all a reminder to myself).
For this thank god we have Yogi Bhajans teachings, he gave us a meditation to cope with our children. You can find it in Bachitar’s and my new website dealing with Conscious Parenting: http://www.consciousparenting.eu
Reporting with gratitude from the mothers lap,
Many times I have left unwritten blog entries since I tend to think they must be completely perfect and clear in order to be posted. Numerologically I have 9s and 10s, which lead this tendency to be over perfectionist, aim high (sometimes too high) and want to see the whole picture. Well, today I decide to just write some thoughts in their raw form, and quickly after join Theo in his nap…
Breastfeeding. Been doing it on demand for over a year. Love it and hate it, 99% of the times love it, and sometimes I feel trapped. It’s all ok.
I remember the very first moment Theo took my breast was like a moment of ecstasy. I expressed colostrum the first day at the hospital since he was too weak to breastfeed (longer story) and when I did take him to the breast, it was absolutely ecstatic, I could feel my pituitary having a feast, all blood and nerves joining the party.
After all this time, the party feeling is not so present always, but the implications breastfeeding has on the mothers psyche are still there (note that not all are only at the moment baby -or toddler- is at the breast, some are just 24/7!)
– pituitary releases oxytocin, the hormone of love, which makes you feel calm, happy (and sleepy!)
– you are constantly in a dream-like state, not really fully out there or outgoing, which can irritate others or productivity at work or rational matters (just ask my husband…)
– your sadhana (spiritual discipline) is there with your child, all those hours he is at the breast, instead of trying to escape (by visiting Facebook, for the 10th time…) you can focus on being, then and there, just being, not doing (ironically, I’m writing this on my phone while theo falls asleep at the breast 🙂
– all previous practice you have done, chanting mantras, etc, comes useful at the time of breastfeeding. I don’t know what it would be of me if I didn’t know japji, sopurkh, poota mata, kirtan soheela by heart… I do them while my other sadhana (the taking a shower, making breakfast, cleaning, cleaning, and tidying up the house again and again).. Any mantra that comes to mind is useful.
– being emotional.. Comes with the package. And we must remember that breastfeeding releases the lactocin (did I remember correctly?) which is the hormone of empathy. So besides being overly sensitive to the environment (ladies- no war movies or bloody stories!) your sense of empathy is much higher… So you will feel for the other in a very personal and deep way.
– be patient with others. Not everybody has such a sweet cocktail sunning in their circulation (thanks to Teet for reminding me of this one… Often…)
– if you feel you need to crack down and cry, let go and find a strong shoulder (again husband comes in handy. Or good girlfriend, or your sister or mother if they are on te same continent…)
– breathe and eat as healthy as possible. The breath can actually save you if you have a diet like mine, no time to prepare fancy things… If you breathe and expand your lungs enough (try 1-minute breath, inhale during 20 sec, hold 20 sec, exhale during 20 sec) you will have the prana needed to keep up with your baby or toddler. As for the food, I found the solution to include as many superfoods as I can to my diet (and lots of vitamins, eg B group for the nervous system, D for the bones, and include something for the immune system such as grapeseed extract!)
– keep up! If you feel like you are alone and no one supports you (everyone wants things from you but nobody recharges you), find a fountain of blessings which will always recharge you, a touchstone which you can bow to and give away all your worries, an altar in which to deposit everything and let god and guru take care of it.
Now, I join Theo in the land of dreams… If he doesn’t wake up when I cocoon around him 🙂
Love and blessings!
(yes, he prefers the strawberry flavor of my left breast..)
Becoming a mother is an act of surrendering. During the first months of the pregnancy, the psyche experiences a partition, an energetic and pranic division when the “I” no longer exists as it has been before, and it gives into the “you” or “we”. When the mother focuses her consciousness and can lovingly and humbly give her prayer to the child, that partition becomes a “thou”. During birth, the first and most physical separation between mother and child begins, leading into the second division of spiritual bodies and marks a path into the consciousness of the woman and child. If the mother is meditating, conscious and they experience a loving birthing process, the sacrifice of giving up the “I” into the “Thou” is smooth and conscious. The bond is created and reinforced by closeness, complete peace and a calm and elevating, loving environment (supported by father and other loved ones) in which mother and baby can totally be skin to skin, with the mother’s milk being the new physical link between mother and child, uninterrupted and without scheduling.
The first months of life are laying the fundament for a lifetime. They shall not pass lightly. Specially for first time mothers, the act of surrendering becomes strong during this time. Lack of sleep, complete dedication into the child’s needs, giving up the ego-self and the life she had before are a big challenge which needs to be faced in a conscious and loving embrace.
In the contemporary society, the act of surrendering has got a negative connotation, usually related to history where we were imposed a sacrifice by a regime, a ruling party or religious authority. True sacrifice and surrendering comes from the wish of the soul to merge with the divine, and is an act of love and compassion.
There are many ways of describing this state of surrendering: Sacrificing the ego for the light in the soul, surrendering to the higher self, obeying the truth in all, trusting one’s destiny, humbly accepting and agreeing to what the universe brings us, and seeing them all as gifts in our spiritual growth.
Guru Nanak wrote a very beautiful description of this surrendering in four paurees or stanzas of the JapJi Sahib (12-15):
Your state of consciousness cannot be described when you surrender and agree with your path and destiny. Anyone who tries to describe this will be sorry he tried. There is no paper, no pen, no writer who can sit and reflect on this. Such is the Naam, it makes you pure. If you surrender and agree, you gain experience and align your mind with your soul. (12)
When you surrender, you gain the power to listen and intuition comes. When you surrender, you gain all the wisdom of the universes and realms. When you surrender, you will not be slapped on the face and you will be respected. When you surrender, you will not die into this world. Such is the Naam, it makes you pure. If you surrender and agree, you gain experience and align your mind with your soul. (13)
When you surrender, no obstacles will come your way. When you surrender, you will go home with honor and radiance. When you surrender, you will not wander in worldly paths. When you surrender, you embrace the Dharma. Such is the Naam, it makes you pure. If you surrender and agree, you gain experience and align your mind with your soul. (14)
When you surrender, you find the door to liberation (your 10th gate opens) When you surrender, your family is liberated and goes across with you. When you surrender, you cross over the world ocean taking the Guru’s Sikhs with you. Oh Nanak! When you surrender, you do not wander as a beggar. Such is the Naam, it makes you pure. If you surrender and agree, you gain experience and align your mind with your soul. (15)
My experience during the first six months of Theo’s life in this earth was the most intense surrendering. It was an act of love, and a conscious decision to surrender and become his guide. It was not an easy task, specially to let go of what I was, what I am and what I will be, as an individual, as a professional and as a teacher, in order to gain a new level of experience in the consciousness towards the divine. Sometimes, when I thought that this job as a mother was “useless”, e.g. holding sleeping Theo in my arms (for endless hours!) when I could be doing something more “useful”, I brought myself back into consciousness and inner focus, to let go of these thoughts (let them be) and find the bliss in obeying my destiny and lesson in the moment. On this last pauree (15) of surrendering, Guru Nanak gives the key to it all: you are liberated, not in your fantasy of escaping the reality, but it is a full liberation of your soul.
If motherhood (and babyhood) seems sometimes as a prison, that condition is a gift, since it is challenging the ego, which always wants to run away, to do and do and do, and escape the present moment. It is a gift given to connect with the soul and the real meaning of life. Nanak gave us the path of the householder, and it is while being a householder, a housewife, a mother, whatever you want to call it, that we can be liberated from our attachments to this worldly illusions and be deathless in our soul, touch others with this light of consciousness and radiate.
25. märtsil külastame Tartut ja hommikul õpetan rasedate jooga mis ettevalmistab sünnituseks. Partnerid on ka teretulnud viimaseks tunniks.
Kursus algab kl 9:00 ja lõpeb 13:00.
“Laps õpib sinu kõhus. Kõik jõud, julgus, vaimsus ja inspiratsioon mis sa tahad temale anda, tee seda enne sünnitust. Kui laps on sinu kõhust väljunud, mäng on läbi. Pärast seda, ema on juht, põetaja, hooldaja. Ema roll algab kui laps on tema kõhus.” -Yogi Bhajan
Teemad mis me puudutame:
– Kuidas joogaga saad nautida oma rasedust ja sünnitust. Igapäevase harjutused, meditatsioonid ja mantrad. – Muutused psüühikas raseduse ajal, sünnitusel ning imetamisel. – Kuidas keskenduda ja saada selget meelt – Pranayam (hingamine) mis aitab sünnitusel ja pärast sünnitust. Hingamistehnika mis annab jõud. – Emotsioonid, hirmud, väljakutsed. – Ema ja naine, erinevad rollid – Sünnitus: avades beebiväravat, emotsionaalne väljakutse, koostöö beebiga. Komplikatsioonid ja kui asjad ei lähe nii nagu oli plaanis. Alistumine beebi eluteele. – Teadlik lapsevanem ja kuidas jooga saab aidata.
Kursusele on teretulnud rasedaid ja kõik naised kellel huvi on teada rohkem teadlikust rasedusest. Eelnev kogemus joogaga pole vajalik. Kursusel teeme jooga harjutused, mis tugevdavad keha ja närvisüsteem ja ettevalmistavad keha sünnituseks, hingamisharjutused, meditatsiionid ja räägime teadlikust rasedusest.
Kursus maksab 25 eur (20 eur etteregistreerimisel enne 23.03 makstes 10 eur Urban Dharma OÜ arvele 10220090076018 selgitus “Tartu rasedate jooga”). Partnerid on teretulnud kl 12ks ja jääda lõpuni.
Aadress: Küütri 14, sissepääs on hoovist ja 2. korrus.
Palun võta kaasa mugavad riided, matt või vaip/lambanahk et istuda põrandal, ühe patja ning tekk lõdvestamise ajaks, veepudel, kui vajad midagi näksida ja kirjutamisvahendid.
A few nights ago I got a virus. Nothing extraordinary, but I was weaker than usual so I put Theo to breastfeed before going to sleep on the bed (he usually only eats and falls asleep in arms, even now at 9-months). That day I asked him kindly to understand that I couldnt carry him, and although it took longer than usual, he was patient enough and finally did fall asleep.
Next day when I was already feeling better, I tried the same thing. It was of course not the same situation and he knew it, it took us quite long and at the end he didn’t fall asleep, he got very tired and frustrated and he didn’t understand why now we had to do it like this. It had been my intention to see he difference, and I learnt quite a lot about how the reason behind makes all the difference.
He wants to fall asleep in arms. He wants me to be next to him when he is sleeping. That’s not too much to ask is it? I provide him as much as I can, and do it with gratitude. One day will come when he won’t want me there and won’t need me to fall asleep. That day will come probably sooner than I will want, so why push it?
Children understand more than we adults think. We sometimes dont realize that they are fully conscious beings with need and right for respect just as all others. If we want to instill in them values, let’s then go for the ultimate values of respecting others just as we would like to be respected.
Being a parent is a sacrifice and it is a big one. It is not Fair for the children that you “get away with it” by trying to teach them something they don’t want to learn. There are also times when I would like to fall asleep in my husbands arms, or when I need some comfort. We are all humans, day and night, and children also need us during the night, with the same love and understanding as during the day. That is part of the sacrifice, the difference lies in my attitude: do I do it because I have to, with a face and rolling my eyes? Or do I do it from my heart, with love and compassion and voluntarily, because I want to? (all things in life indeed can be dramatically changed by asking ourselves these questions). And even if it is something that I do not want to do (like going again for the 7th time in two hours to get him to sleep), my attitude makes the difference. After all here is absolutely nothing in this world that I HAVE to do, all is free choice.
A small note: when I lost my first daughter I noticed some of my friends with toddlers that the mother often rolled her eyes to certain behaviors like tantrums. I promised myself I would never ever do that to my children.
In love for the divine in all,
Very often I go into a sleepy state of consciousness, where I only realize what is going on in the moment and become overwhelmed by the situation. Last week, it was the sleep issue. Thanks to my dear friend and sister Guru Jagat Kaur that I realized Theo was not sleeping because he was hungry… So all those children who are put to sleep by crying might just after all be hungry, and then denied even more food by not giving them the breast… Karmic and cruel… So listening is the best thing we can do, and love our little ones.
Soon they will be grown ups and won’t need our caresses, love and arms to sleep. So let’s take the chance!
I discussed it already a few months ago, how as humans we are playing among the 1 and the 10, among the individual and the vastness. It is a habit to stay In the individual and get so frustrated and drown in our little bubbles that we forget being part of the big 10. It is our birthright and our blessing as humans to live and experience that vastness as part of our nature. Sometimes, hints like an accident put us in perspective. These accidents are blessings to remind us to come out of our bubbles and be with our souls.
The best gift I have ever had is gratitude. It is what takes me beyond the bubble and to realize all the gifts I have. Even if I haven’t slept, or even if Theo is ill… Instead of “why me?” an attitude of gratitude transforms it all into “thank god it happened to me”. My greatest gift in that realization was my daughter Vida. She came to give me that attitude, and left quickly back the way she came. This week we are celebrating her passing through this earth and through our lives two years ago — time actually goes fast.
So better enjoy the moment, serve all those who we need to serve with gratitude, and go back home in peace. No regrets, no whys, no criticism, no questioning. Pure gratitude. For the good and the bad. For life and death. For the ups and the downs. For the breath of life.
Sat nam dear family,
I have been lately so concerned on getting Theo to sleep well, trying to analyse different methods for baby sleep (cry it out, no-cry sleep solution, all kinds of advice..) without really feeling that any of these is the one that works for us (didnt even feel like trying out any). It has been really hard to get him to sleep lately, taking over an hour and he’s whining, eventually crying… Today I found the key.
He is sound asleep after 20 minutes of pure pleasure.
What I did?
I breathed differently, and it all changed. I didnt feel anymore like I wanted to escape from there, I was present with Theo and enjoyed putting him to sleep, and I was there voluntarily instead of feeling like dragged in to do it. And I felt intuitive and creative enough to make up a new fun sleep routine which we both enjoyed.
This new routine was: go to bed, dim the lights, sing our lullaby (while continuing with the rest until he sleeps) change diapers, massage with lavender oil, put pijamas on, (allow him to be and move while doing all this, all this time I was consciously expanding and coming down into my grounds mentally and physically), breastfeed, after a while he didnt want to breastfeed anymore, sat up and played a little bit (and I allowed it calmly which was something I didnt do before, and it was great – he actually always sees and tries to reach the water bottle so I decided we “put the bottle to sleep” together), then I laid him on the bed and pat him from head down to his toes while singing for a good 3 minutes (not just 5 times… to let his energy down, and I saw him start to calm down), and breastfeed again, this time after a bit of kicking and moving around he settled down calmly and sound asleep after a few minutes.
It was all a combination of what I did physically and mostly what I did energetically. I changed my feeling of “wanting to be somewhere else” (having 10s other things to do waiting for me: emails, work, dinner…) into choosing to be in the moment with him and enjoy it. That was it. That was the golden key which I had been looking for!
Your baby wants you to be present. All babies need physical contact and all are fighting to get it, thats why they wake up at night, want to be carried and held, play with you, sleep close to you. Since our minds are somewhere else, we are not fully present with our children they get our presence only partially, and they keep yearning for more. The moment you start giving (constantly) full presence, the less your baby will be needy for you and the less you will feel dragged into the parenthood and everyday duties. When we give only partial presence to our babies (and also to husband, even to ourselves!) they become needy, whiny and grumpy. We are actually teaching them that in life, you can only give partial attention and presence to others, so they start acting the same way. The challenge lies in accepting and living the full presence of oneself, which at the beginning can be scary (am I really that great and divine? can I really just be and not do-do-do all the time?), and as we start expanding that awareness more and more into every day, into each breath, the simpler all gets.
As easy as a baby sleeping (parents will recognise the paradox in this)
The breath that helped me was to inhale while expanding into myself (if visualizing my lungs and chest grow sideways, not vertically), and exhaling coming back inside (like a reverse fountain, downwards and into my core/ground, not exhaling my soul out and up away from my body). Hard the first few times, but I started to enjoy it more and more and Im sure this is something that will stick to me for the rest of my life.
The hardest practice is not to run away.Can you BE while doing all the things you do? Can you dedicate your life to being present, regardless of where, what or how you are?
Such is my prayer that you and I live in constant applied awareness
In humble service,