Tag Archives: toddlerhood

Ripening

When the self becomes mature enough to the point of ripening, the flower blooms and produces a fruit. This is the beautiful process of life. I have felt it come and go in certain stages of life, every time happening with a more powerful strength and carrying me across the world ocean. Before this ripening happens, I have no idea this is about to come. Usually this ripening is preceded by a dark age – sometimes short, sometimes long and exhausting – where the foundation of the self has to be prepared and the ground needs to be worked upon so that the spring can rise, the flower can bloom. There is no other purpose in life than to reach this maturity, over and over again. This is a state which, like air, can flicker away in an instant, yet its strong presence must be extended by consciousness. This is the jewel of life, this is what all of us seek in our unconscious, subconscious, semiconscious lives. Love is the ultimate state of being in which the self lives out of doubt and in clarity. Perpetual clarity is a state of being, a crystallization which gives us purpose. Frustration can and must trigger this process, the same way as boredom, anger and grief. These are precious gifts given to us so that we can refocus ourselves in our journey. To some they might be obstacles or resistances, but in the true sense of reality they are blessings and stepping stones. They are the wind and the current which will empower our boat to greater distances and wonderful lands that we cannot even dare to imagine. The self has a sense of this yet the mind is too limited to consider this. The mind gets stuck in the problem-solving aspects and forgets the vastness of the self. Only by learning how to use each of these resistances in order to come out of doubt and stabilize the self within those turmoils and dark times we can transcend those limitations and for once and for real live in reality in the true sense of the word. In the vast reality and quiet shores that we have come here into life to achieve. All adversities are to our advantages. We just need to tame the dragon, calm down the flow of emotions and commotions of an unsettled, frustrated heart. Become aware of the freedom in stillness, where freedom means opening that space inside the dungeon of the ribcage.

This is my prayer, that we all learn to live in this bliss. I have been waiting for three years for this moment again. A new stage arises and a new maturity has reached my lands. I welcome this stage with gratitude and an open heart.

“If you set your heart on something, your head will give in. That is why it is the most powerful center and extremely dangerous. On the other hand, this is the only center worth living with. […]

If you ever want to be compassionate, first be compassionate to yourself. You shall not understand another person’s feelings and behaviors accurately, intuitively, if you are not compassionate to yourself.” – Yogi Bhajan. July 17, 1988

The cleaning lady from my kindergarten

Today I am sharing a personal childhood memory. I’m doing this because it is very vivid, since I have experienced the same through Theo and other children at the daycare center.

Lets go back to Mexico in the 1980s.
Kindergarten. A very beautiful blue building, two actually, surrounding a big playground which had two carrousels, animals you could climb, lots of slides, rings, even a pool. Dreamland. Lots of children who were very happy. And I remember the fence. That metal fence where mama would walk out and sit in the car for hours peeking if I was ok. I don’t remember much of inside of the buildings because I was probably very rarely there. I cried all the time. I didn’t want to go there. I wanted mami. I cried so much, teachers couldn’t take care of me while holding the group. So a very kind lady, the cleaning lady, would spend the mornings holding me and riding the carrousel. I remember her kindness, her compassion, and I don’t remember any of the other teachers, nor much other than that putter playground.
The kindergarten itself was very posh and on the edge of new technologies. That was on the early 80s. I do remember the English classroom. It was on the farther building, on the first floor. There were these big headphones hanging from the ceiling, ones over each chair, and children would put those and listen to (a tape?) the English lessons. It was scary to say the least. But it was high end technology.
Back to the playground. The carrousel. The kind cleaning lady. My sadness, I missed my mami. And she was heartbroken herself she left me there. And I was not a small child, I must have been 4 or 5 years old.
I must say though that my mother was the most caring and loving person I could have asked for. She never left us alone. She was practicing mostly attachment parenting without that term even existing back then. She left her professional life, her whole career behind to stay home with us kids. No blame or guilt intended here whatsoever.

Fast forward to 2013, and my feelings come alive when we are trying out a daycare center with Theo. I stayed with him all morning (we were there for two hours actually), and all this time a little boy, about 2.5 years old, was crying for his mommy. My heart went out to him. Of course, the care takers were in a hard situation, having to deal with him and at the same time take care of all children. And having parents around. The poor boy kept crying until we left, and we left early mostly because my nervous system was so tired from hearing that boy cry. We came home and I slept so deep rejuvenating sleep I needed to heal that inside me.
All te time I felt like reaching out for that boy. Of course he didn’t want that, he wanted mommy. (And I didn’t try, who knows who might feel I’m exceeding the boundaries by hugging a boy). He was clinging into one caretaker, but mostly she was urging him to play or ignoring his cries. And all the other children were looking at him now and then. It was pretty intense.
As a mother, maybe I am too sensitive. Because of how I am, probably influenced also by the fact that I lost my first child. I am extremely compassionate and in any situation I feel the impulse to reach out to those in need.
So I was holding myself today. It was, after all, not my issue. But I did reflect on the fact of how that whole situation is affecting the psyche of that child, the other children, the caretakers and all. It felt to me that that boy, same as me 30 years ago, was not ready to take that step. At the same time, my heart goes to the mother, who was probably in a situation that had to put her child there. And to the caretakers, in such a difficult task.
I do believe strongly that I can express all what I feel. I felt that child’s feelings being neglected, everybody pretending he was not in a deep state of grief. And I don’t want my child to learn such rudeness. Also a little more love from the caretakers could have changed the whole situation. Of a lot more love, which was what the boy needed. A group hug, having all the other children acknowledge what was going on instead of ignoring it, having all children sing to him so he could heal. I thought of making those suggestions but felt it was not my place, as I’m an observer. (Probably I should have). I feel we need a lot more kindness, understanding, reaching out to others in this world. Love, treating others as they are worth, as respected human beings, evermore when they are desperately crying it out for help. They communicate, but we ignore it. They learn that speaking out is useless. So they submit, learn to ignore their emotions, dig them down deep and keep them for themselves. And yes, at some point that child will give up his cries, and prove that we won the battle, but aren’t we the ones who must give up our ideas of how a child must behave? Of how much love or kindness he needs? Aren’t we te ones who are not understanding the signals, when he uses all his might to communicate as a complete human being worth of being listened to? Aren’t we the ones who should stop pretending to ignore and deal creatively and lovingly with every challenging situation?
Instead of telling him “don’t cry, mama will come” (and him waiting for mama for one second, and asking again- *small children don’t have the sense if time as adults do), showing him lovingly “yes, mama is not here, it is very sad, but we are all here for you!”. Maybe it doesn’t work and I’m just stupid, but trying it (for 100 times, not less) doesn’t hurt anyone. In fact it may teach the other children to reach out. And make the day lighter and brighter for everyone.

At the end I listened to my intuition (after all, I am teaching about intuition right!) and have had such a wonderful time together with Theo with no need of daycare or playrooms. At this age, what a child most needs is attention from the close circle (mother and father) and yes, occasionally a babysitter or another playmate who has a fully loaded battery. (That is, beside other kids of course)

Blessings and kindness to every soul,
Sukhdev Kaur

Parent’s ongoing tests

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)

So..

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)

Blessings from Canada
Sukhdev Kaur

Your child wants you to be present

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,
Sukhdev K

8 months… into the ocean

A thought has been haunting me lately about the next step in our family life. Theo is already 8 months and although it sounds funny or strange, as a mother I feel him as still that tiny baby. My mother says that even 30 years from now, to her eyes we are still the same. Many others might agree.

Yet our relationship has been evolving and changing, routine slightly evolved and grown. He acts and does more things and is now more ‘human’ like… I had Always the feeling that as a baby he was more living the life of an angel (some call them fetuses..) not really human, not really here in this world.
What is stronger is now the change of energy and in a lack if better word, what astrologers might refer to as ‘ruling house’.

When Theo was a small baby, I experienced strongly the effects of the number 1: humility, need for developing patience and endurance (those long endless nights and days which were no different from each other, wakings and crying without any possibility to do anything), the surrendering when realizing that now he is outside (it may sound logical but as experience it was (still is) quite challenging and slow to realise), the timelessness of those sleepless moments and never ending arm carrying, the infinite and ageless wisdom from his eyes, the strong foundation to be formed by the first 40 days and 3.5 months, the love and headless heart needed for the journey, confusion and overwhelmedness of my new role as a mother, the ‘mysteries’ of motherhood and parenthood (as an unreachabley high standard), the need to focus on the one and only task in front (baby), the seed implanted in our relationship, in his life and karma; the need to set up a clear intention of my task as a mother (protection, love, patience), clarity of vision for choices of breast feeding with no bottle, no pacifier, no distractions nor ‘easy routes’, the determinism to keep up with those decisions and keep them clear despite the constant reminders by others of the ‘easy way out’ commodities (like pacifiers or medicine), the patience to carry him as much as possible (99% of the time) next to my body to remind both of us of the oneness in all, the breast feeding on demand as a reminder to my surrendering to his essential inner wisdom, the leaving all external influences out as much as possible to focus and con-centrate on the inner world, honoring his sleep, rest and quietness, listening and tuning into his world and experiences.

Slowly these experiences have given way to a stronger influence of the number 2, after approximately 6 months after birth: me being dreamy and off concentration, feeling of being dragged by the everyday routine (being out of hands), establishing more the role of me as the nurturer, the keeping up with breast feeding on demand while including solids, the need for moving on into a more structured life (2 as a link to 3), being a mother and remaining also a woman, keeping the obedience to the intention and to listen to my intuition and soul inspire of the fuzziness, starting to set up needed limits to our relationship and to Theos behaviour (like no biting the breast, no scratching my face, unavoidability to put on winter clothes on..), to recognize my own personal needs parallel to his (when in 1 I would retract and completely bow to his needs first and only, which sometimes meant no toilet breaks or no food for a while), his becoming more emotional and reactive as part of a natural evolution of his character, and my need for structure and force (need for 3 and routine, structure and my own space and time, the timing of everything and in general experiencing time, the letting go of unconscious fears, the realisation of the organic and biological relation between us and our processes, the drowsiness and dreaminess of a breast feeding life informed by the return to work (teaching yoga) experienced as a polarity, and the journey of separation of us as two entities in two bodies and the growing gap between us (which in this second stage is healthy and in the first stage seemed completely impossible), having the devotion to continue with the dedication and intention set up in our relationship as mother-son and also in the cosmic play of teacher-student (at the same time I am and he is my student and teacher)
I’m blessed to have the consciousness to go through this process accompanied by these teachings and also to share it with others through this writing.

Keep tuned!

In love and devotion,
Sukhdev Kaur