Restoration and Renewal - a constant process
Today I have been thinking about the idea of renewal. In the past I have the mistake of thinking I could put off scheduling a time for rest until I absolutely had to. Rest was for the weak I thought. This was not something I placed highly as a priority above other things - above the all important business of DOING.
The idea of a Human Being, versus a Human Doing is I think quite clear. Prince Ea puts it really well in his video Why I Think Think World Should End
BEING is a very active process of feeling and loving. DOING by contrast is a mindless, endless process of being busy with activities. I'm starting to think that for many of us, living in the UK today, with all our opportunities and advantages, the business of Being can be painful. I've been conditioned to DO. What is the difference? Being necessitates an expanded awareness, of ourselves, our potential, our limitations. In Being, I actively reflect, consider others, surrender, and accept bliss is an internal state. Our true and natural state of Being is bliss. My 5 month old son smiles and laughs at everyone and everything. A close friend said to me, "I wonder what he sees, that we can't?" Doing by comparison is and endless activity of actions: working, shopping, cleaning, playing, drinking, dancing, arguing, running, sleeping, waking, eating. Doing has very little opportunity for stillness, reflection, realisation, acceptance or bliss.
My 5 month old son doesn't seem to Do a lot. But, he is busy!! He is absorbing information so fast (and it must be tiring, he has to have a nap every few hours!!) Every new colour, sound, sensation is a new experience of being for him. He is a little magnet for everyone around him, adults & children alike. They are pulled towards him and his blissed out happiness. I've been asked this question in various configurations:
"why are babies so fascinating?"
"I can't stop looking at him"
"I don't want to put him down"
"why is he staring at me, what can he see?"
"can I hold him?'
(insert: squeezing cheeks/legs/arms, touching his hair/face/hands/feet)
It is a evolutionary talent us humans have, to be irresistibly cute and loveable as babies. I like to call it the charm offensive. I have been reading a book about brain training for babies (which basically says to effectively develop your baby's brain: be loving, responsive, engaged and don't leave babies to cry!) The book talks about how humans are able to develop their brain patterning to such a high level because we have such a long infancy. We survive during infancy because our cuteness means we will be protected and provided for by our care givers, and we can use our time to develop our enormous brains. If our mothers died or we were abandoned in the wild, we would be accepted by another mother, who would readily adopt us. Humans are also very good at sharing the caring. We want to help each other, human mothers have never been creatures evolved to care solely for their young; grandmothers, aunties, great-aunties, cousins, siblings, all want to lend a hand, and this does not result in the baby being any less attached to their mother. It's one of the differences between us and our primate cousins - you won't see a mummy Gorilla looking after her friend's baby for a few hours while she has a nap and then giving her baby back when she's rested.
I have felt a huge failure because of the need to ask others to look after my kids (just writing that makes me feel a bit ill). I have felt guilt at leaving them to go to work. I have felt constantly trapped between the essential need to financially support my family, and the need to not be separated from them. And as well as that mental pressure and self-judgement, I'm physically exhausted! There is no time to rest, EVER!
Watching baby Drake really is a delight and a privilege. When we is tired he sleeps, when he is interested he goes on an exploration, when he wants cuddles he rests his head softly on my chest, he is exceptionally well resourced to get all his needs met, so he can thrive and grow. Perhaps that is the lesson I find very hard to learn, and am trying to figure out by watching him do it so naturally. Finding opportunity for restoration and renewal isn't really about having a time off from the kids or work, but how to weave into the daily busyness a way of meeting your own needs... meeting MY needs. So I stop and turn my face to the sun when it shines. I take time with Wren to point to a spider making it's web. On a clear day I look at the shape of the clouds. All these moments given me a tiny dose of bliss, of sweetness.