I wrote this letter as an email to my daughter when she was six months old, hoping she will read it when she is old enough to understand.
I read it again nearly four years later and it touches me and the serene of my striving to be a yogi and mom…
This week I put your crib mattress on the floor. I was wrestling with the decision, wondering what was best for you, concerning sleep, comfort, personality development, and overall growth. You kept getting stuck in the crib slats, and well, that was a good reason to align myself with the montessori style of placing your bed on the floor.
You have slept the past two nights as good as any, I suppose, which isn’t saying much yet, since you are so little and figuring out your rhythms in this earthly world with all it’s chaos, harmony, and dynamism.
Tonight you were having a rough time. I bathed you (you love bath time fun!), nursed you and laid you down gently to sleep. You awakened within the hour, hysterical. I was having a hard time soothing you. Was it your rash bothering you? Did you eat enough yum yum? Were you simply over-tired and therefore restless? Were you too cold? too hot? A dirty diaper? A burp? Mad about sleeping alone?
I laid with you, held you, rocked you, walked with you, danced with you, tried to nurse you, sang to you, talked to you, caressed your face, rubbed your back, cuddled you….sometimes you responded but then you would cry again….You have spit up on your bed, pooped on your bed and wept on your bed. This time, I couldn’t help but let some tears flow. They were not just for you, though, Nalia. They were for me, and they were for all little ones. For all of us, to be at peace, and not suffer too much.
I have been struggling lately to re-ignite my devotion to enlightening- a path of Buddhism, if it must be labeled. We’ve been sitting at my altar together, me, hoping to be altered I suppose…to offer devotion to the Buddha, the Guru, the Dharma, the Sangha. You help me sound the singing bowl, which we do three times to purify ourselves and the atmosphere, to bring sweet sound to all beings. This sitting, even for one moment, reminds me to breathe, to be loving, and pause to remember what matters. What matters is your happiness Nalia, and I hope I am a good mother to you, or at least good enough so that you feel loved so you may love easily.
They say the deepest and truest love is wanting happiness for the other. But this happiness is not just being comfortable, well-fed, entertained, etc. It is knowing and living the truth, the highest truth of Being.
Anyway, I’m on a tangent. What I want to explain is what I realized as my tears flowed. This is a world overflowing with suffering. But we do not have to suffer. I don’t want you to suffer a single moment, but you will, and I can’t protect you from this. It is your path to travel. But I hope that if I teach you only one thing, it is that you must travel with pure heart and mind, and devote your life to being in the moment, free of suffering, and living with a buoyant and blissful nature. This requires discipline, determination, patience, loving kindness, and joy. I struggle to ‘be’ this each day, and it is through loving relationships (especially to your Daddy) that I stay conscious of this.
You finally fell asleep with my hand in yours, after opening and closing your eyes, assuring yourself I was there. You looked into my eyes and I felt you were looking, and seeing me deeply. I thought: who is this soul looking at me? What has she experienced in previous lives? What did she bring to this life? I hope that you find freedom in this lifetime, Nalia. And as I laid down with you, you were lying at the roots of the tree that your Dad and I had painted as a mural on your bedroom wall. It is not a Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha enlightened himself, but an olive tree (one meaning of your name is: woman of the olive tree). Both trees provide a haven to find peace. So you, my dear, are your very own haven and source of enlightening, or finding true happiness.
You are on the path too, like the buddha, to find your way through the world to live with love, beauty, and truth. Shine your light strong, be loving, and help heal as many beings who need healing by just being your beautiful, precious self.
I will never forget the image of you lying on your bed at the root of your tree. The tree of life, you are.
Our branches will forever mingle.
I love you dear one,
up to the moon and beyond as Grammy says (or something like that 🙂 )