Archive for April, 2007

Dear Mother, dear Father,

you are the Universe, you are Nature, you are Timeless Wisdom. You give us Life and you take It away. You are Everywhere; I see You but sometimes I may be blind, or deaf, or foolish. Listen please to my prayer, born in the dark of last night as I laid, feeling the Life and Miracle in me moving, and listening to the unnamed birds singing outside our bedroom window.

Embrace us in your bosom please, and show us the silent wise ways. Put strength and courage in our hearts and remind us everyday to gaze with love. Help us listen to the song we sing with Earth as we step our soles to the ground, and help us feel your sacred Rhythm. Show us, how to turn Fear into Fearlessness and energy; to sing in the face of Fear; to know it and to face it. Put your hands on our beating hearts then, and empower us. Let the dark cloud move away from the sliver of moon then, so we know you are present. All-present, and always-present.

Helps us see that, the other person is us. Remind us to massage the spot in our heart where Compassion is, where Love is; so we do not forget to sow the seeds of Love, Acceptance and Harmony on this earth. Remind us to smile and be grateful, regardless of whether it is hot, cold, sunny, rainy or foggy. Help us remember that every raindrop is blessing, and every sunray has traveled long and far and brings us Life. Guide me everyday, to open my heart, like windows in summer.

Help me speak to my children with Love and Acceptance; help me see them as they are, wise and whole. Resist my efforts to make them conform, show me my foolishness with no hesitation.

Teach me, to weave love into my Life, to show my husband that he is loved and appreciated. Please let him know that his efforts are seen. Please give him time to rest; please heal his sore muscles and tired bones.

Let my family know that Love is all that matters. We cannot always see eye to eye, but we will agree to love and embrace all the children between us, and help them bloom, and allow them blossom into what they deserve to be.

Let my friends and their family be safe, healthy and happy. Sing to them often, so they know that when they see shadows, it is because there is light somewhere. Send forth the stars in the darkest of nights, so they know that there is beauty and hope in the Dark. Bless the people in my life, and, sing these songs to me often too.

May the people who only pass by in our daily lives catch a reflection of their glorious Selves. May we learn to be still so those who pass us by can see a clear reflection of their true and Authentic Self. May we remember that a smile means so much and to not judge so quick. To slow down and savor and just be Grateful and feel blessed.

oh, Mother and Father, the path ahead is hazy and looks different every time I raise my head and open my eyes. Sometimes verdant; other times dark and foggy. Sometimes broad and welcoming; sometimes narrow and windy. Help me be brave and to just walk; for every path is worth a try and every step means something. Bolster me, so I dare to not just walk, but to jog, run, sprint! Give me strength, so I will carry my children along and show them not to fear as well. I want to carry them like the wind, be in the wind, be the Wind. I want them to feel safe, and therefore be peaceful warriors of the future. Guide me in this Wisdom. Guide me always to show them Joy. Weave us into the fabric of all things breathing; allow us to feel how that fabric moves as we move.

Nourish us, in body, mind, and spirit.

Thank you for listening.


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I thought we would all enjoy the documentary on percussion musician Evelyn Glennie but it turned out I was the only one interested and watched it to the end. The girls watched some parts with me, and Ralf a tiny little bit. He does not seem to enjoy materials that are more touchy-feely, or sensitive, though that is really entirely his perception.

Evelyn Glennie started to lose her hearing when she was eight, and by eleven she had total hearing loss. But the music is in her, and she said nothing that can be ever happen to take that away from her. She feels the sound through the entire of her body. It seems incredible, but when you watch her performing, you know it’s her entire soul dancing and moving the notes. The musical and beautiful sounds in the Universe just grooves with her because she is listening with her entire soul, so profoundly and passionately, the music just emerges and envelopes everyone who hears it with amazing energy.

She does not consider herself deaf, or handicapped. She just hears in a different way. She asserts that we are meant to be Whole, and nothing can change it. When the ears lose their sense of hearing, the other senses move and adjust in order to help the Whole listen. She can sense the vibrations. And not just sounds, not just music. She looks at things, and with her eyes, she hears their rhythms and their souls singing out loud to her. She seems to be able to hear even deeper into what the sounds mean, what their abstract symbols are, and she merges with the sounds and forms them into patterns that catch us into a swirl that is very, very moving.

She looks normal. Actually, she looks very beautiful. She has big, dark eyes and thick eyelashes and sensual lips and she expresses herself with passion. She is almost transparent and magical. You can feel the music moving through her, and with her; her emotions are just so naked you do not need to guess the music. You just get drawn into it and your body wants to dance and move; you want to join in the celebration of a life so beautiful and strong.

This documentary is very interesting for me, because for a very, very long time, I have fears that one day I am going to wake up and lose one of my senses. I don’t know why I have that fear. Not sure if it’s because I have seen the “handicapped” and refusing to be a part of that special community. Not sure if it is indeed in my future; that I can sense that happening to me, and it made me scared. I have sat in the dark and guessed, which sense is it going to be? Will it be my sight? My hearing? Or, will I be unable to move my entire body, for the rest of my life? These are very scary, haunting thoughts for me, because I am unable to imagine myself not seeing. All those beautiful colors, and patterns and things! My beloved’s faces! I will never see what my children grow into; see their faces glow and lit up. I will never see my children dance again. All the places I wanted to visit in my whole life! The gorgeous sunsets, the breathtaking mountain ranges and water shimmering on the surface of lakes and oceans. All the fascinating hues in Nature. The thought of it just kills me. Just not being able to function as a whole person just scared me stiff and I always thought I would just die. I thought of what a burden I am going to be and living no longer seems desirable.

Watching “Touch the Sound” changed that. Not totally, but I can begin to see my body just melting into the moment and doing what needs to be done. If I will only not have fear. Not feel blame. Not feel robbed, but instead enriched in a different way. I have to think what gave Evelyn the capacity to react in that deep, beautiful manner to her “loss”. I think her brother mentioned that it was just something in her blood, because their father was also a musician and Evelyn was “daddy’s girl” and therefore she also has the music in her. Is this really true? I am thinking for someone else with less spirit, and less connection to the Self, and the Universe, this will not happen. The music will just die away and that person may choose silence for the rest of his or her life. So where does that Wisdom to surrender, and then give even more, comes from?

I feel this is the Wisdom that I pursue; that which I need to call upon within myself. I may be physically “whole” but in fact I am handicapped to some extent. Fear is always a cripplying factor. And the desire to please. And sometimes even distractions in life can pull us in an opposing direction and in turn handicap what we are meant to really be doing.

When I am afraid of judgements from others, I am afraid to dance, and therefore I am a cripple. I am afraid of people laughing when I sing, and therefore I do not sing; I lose my Voice; I give up the chance to show another person who is also afraid to sing that I have the courage to just sing, just express myself, even if I turn out to be croaking an awful tune that cannot even qualify as a tune. I cannot bear to think of what people think of what I write and therefore I remain silent, and I surrender my right to just put my thoughts out to the Universe. So many instances when I handicap myself. I guess this is why Evelyn Glennie fascinates me. I am not in awe that she can still be a musician because she lost her sense of hearing. I am just humbled, and touched that she chooses to see herself as a Whole person, and she wants to show the world that there is no handicapped, unless by choice. She does not see a hole in the fabric of her Whole, but instead she patches up that hole with an even more dazzling embroidery. Oh, what lousy choices I have made, so often. And it is time to change.

Not just for myself, but also for my children. My fear of being handicapped, of losing one of my senses (or more) was not just for myself. During every pregnancy, there will be moments when I ask, “What if?” What if the child is born blind, or with only three fingers on one hand?Deaf? Dumb? How am I ever going to bring up this child? Why am I so afraid? Why WAS I afraid? I am not afraid now, because if this happens I see an opportunity for me to only expand my world, and to learn how to adjust my senses. It’s an amazing, and powerful thought, that our body is actually so fluid; that it can do magical, wonderful things, if we allow it to; if we will only summon it, and not just abandon hope. I have been thinking of my third eye a lot. Maybe this will open up my third eye and I can finally see my destiny and move forth towards it.

I have to do this. This has been a powerful lesson for me. No more handicaps! I cannot cripple my children either, imposing fears upon them; or senseless rules and regulations. I want them to be free. FREE! Free, free, free! For them to stomp the earth, yet walk gently. Whisper softly if they wish; yet shout at the top of their lungs when something stirs in them to do so, and I shall join them at the top of the mountain so we can all send echoes that reverberate through the universe. To clap loudly! To use their fingers and wrists and arms with full force. To run, swing, sway, jump, twist, hop, soar, fly!! To celebrate themselves just being themselves. No more handicaps. no more fears. To embrace them, yet to let them be free. This is the challenge of my Motherhood.

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I am starting to get really tired of hearing people tell me, “You look BIG!!”, or, “Oh, end of July? You look like you are due anytime!” I am really getting annoyed and feel like doing something really childish in return. Like sticking my tongue out or putting my thumb on my nose and waving my fingers. Hey, I have a mirror at home and I can see myself everyday. I still am alive and have my sense of sight and touch and I can see, and feel my belly. I am GROWING, yes. I am nurturing a precious Life within and it needs to grow bigger, not get smaller. Sometimes, I just think, “What the Hell?! What is *your* problem?”  Where did I read or hear about the pregnant woman who looked like a snake who swallowed an elephant? Is there even suppose to be a stereotype what a woman should look like when she is pregnant? Do you mean she gets no break and cannot be allowed to be big and round?

I told dh about the above last night and then i stood there in the kitchen, amidst mess and dirty dishes, my hands on my hips and I let forth a loud and long “AAaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuurrrrrrrGGGGGggghhhh!!!!!” That felt good. It’s supposed to be a cosmic slap across the faces of all those WOMEN (the irony right here) who have a narrow vision of what a pregnant woman should look like. I mean, I went to Desert Sage Herbs yesterday to pick up something and Vicki told me, “My, you look big!” and one woman in the shop gasped at her audacity. Then before I left she told me, “You know, I did not mean to be offensive when I said you look big. I mean, I am just commenting on what I see.” I smiled and said it’s ok, but I was being “nice”. Inside my head I said, “You think you have seen it all, haven’t you?!” Bleah. But I also told her I had a teacher in secondary school who looked like she swallowed a big table whole. So, I guess I am not “nice”, telling on my teacher like that. Trying to make myself feel better like that is a mean act in itself.

But, why do I let all these comments get to me? Maybe I am eating up all these bad vibes and getting bigger. I thought instead, I am so full of goodness. You know, that buttery goodness that we eat everyday, nurturing the baby. The laughter we laugh into the belly everyday as the girls put their hands on my belly, and then their eyes widened as they report, “One kick! There was a kick! The baby kicked!” It’s like a game. Sophia said, “I want to feel the baby.” and I told her I need to lay down and read, and the baby will always move then. She put her hand on my belly and sure enough, the baby kicked! He must have heard us and obliged us with his round-house kick (my imagination) so Sophia can feel that thud against my belly. It’s really cool, and it’s also warm, and nice, and fun.

I could not fall asleep immediately last night, because I thought we were going to watch a movie after the girls went to sleep. But dh was all conked out. He could not keep his eyes open when I was reading to the girls and told me, “I think I am going to sleep.” So I turned off the lights and laid in the dark, feeling the cool night air rushing into our room, listening to the girls’ breathing, feeling our breaths merging and swirling and separating, and touching my belly.

I am full of goodness. I am blessed. I am swollen with blessings.

My girls show me how they love me, they teach me about Unconditionality.  I lost my temper yesterday morning, I did.  It is not a proud moment for me to admit this but we have not been consistent with picking up toys and yesterday morning the house looked terrible. I can barely see an inch of carpet. I started to pick up some things in the living room but only got madder as I discover more dirt, mess and scum. I shouted for the girls to pick up their toys or be sent to the zoo to live with the pigs. The girls stared at me like I had gone out of my mind. I think I was mad too; I must look like a crazy woman! They started to clean up. We all worked for the next hour or so, picking things up, putting things away, in the garbage or the recycle bin, etc. Then I started to sweep the kitchen floor and the girls went out to the yard to play. Moments later Val came in; she found a plant that had leaves shaped like hearts. She asked if i knew that was a weed or a plant? I told her a weed is also a plant, just that it is an unfortunate plant that not everybody will like. She said, “Well, I still want to give you one of these. It’s a heart-shape. And because I love you so much, mummy!”

How can she do this? She said it with no trace of anger, and with no intention to make me feel bad about myself. She did not remind me that she still loved me even though I lost my temper on her and her sister just an hour ago. I felt so ashamed. But I also felt very blessed. I closed my eyes and feel her love sweep over me. I sat back on my heels and listened to the lesson. We hugged each other and I apologized for my outburst. I told her I felt overwhelmed and I was not in control but I am working on improving. She nodded, smiled happily and said, “Yes, I know!”

dh and I had not raised our voices at each other for quite a long time. That is something to celebrate too.

And we had a beautiful afternoon with the Earthscouts. We met at South Mountain and Stormy and her daughter Addy presented on Respect for Nature. We took a short hike where they showed us their favorite, secret magical spot. Except we did not expect to be doing any hiking; so we were not dressed appropriately. I was wearing shoes with heels for goodness sake! And I was surprised the girls followed the hike to the end. Normally, they would be reluctant and complaining one minute into the hike. Yesterday was just beautiful. there was a breeze hugging us and tugging us along playfully. Sophia even went ahead of me a few times and it gave me immense joy to lift my eyes and see her on the horizon. She flashed her big, beautiful smile at me and called for me to come fast! She looked just like a part of the desert landscape. She seemed to blend into the sunniness of it all. She is a part of it. Actually, she is Nature. At one point we stood at the top of a hill, holding hands and feeling the wind sweep over us. Sophia threw her head back and laugh! I laughed too, it was fun! The wind winding through our fingers, fluttering our clothing and tousling our hair. We turned around and cheered Val to catch up on us. Then we reached the magic spot and sat down and had some moments of quiet, just feeling Nature loving us and experiencing a silent camaradarie with our group.

We headed back and Sophia was flushed and tired and wanted to be carried. I tried for a while but it got difficult, especially with heels! Liz offered to carry Sophia and I went on with Val. I love how we pass our kids to each other and how we trust. Another mum (forgot her name) waited silently in order to point out a short cut to us. I really appreciated that. She just smiled and told us she wanted to make sure we did not miss the short route down. She did not do anything to hurry us; she just stood there like she wanted to.

And that is how my belly grows. With Life, with Love, with Beauty. I am not just consuming calories; I am also drinking up all the elixirs and tonics of Love and Beauty. All the hugs I get, they cross into my belly and hug my baby and stretch my skin a little. All the Beauty I see and experience, they make me grow bigger too. They make my belly push outward because it needs to blossom even more. And so, when I birth, the baby comes out, together with all the blessings and beauty and love. I cannot afford to be stingy and shut my mouth and eyes and ears and not accept all these Goodness that wants to come into me. I will have to make more space for it all. So my baby can be nourished in a special way. So I can bloom some more and I hope when I birth, all these Beauty and Blessings will also transform the Universe, in that very second of Birth.

I think, those women who look at me and think I am “too big” have fears in them. They are afraid just to be big, but you can be BIG and HUGE in very special ways. My belly is not going to explode on me, or in your face, my ladies. It just cannot stop accepting Goodness, and Grace and Beauty.

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It seems I am making banana muffins every week now. Never low-fat. Always coconut oil; always with chocolate chips; and sometimes shredded coconut. Sometimes I like the tart cherries, or cranberries. Today the bananas were really, really ripe. Their looks may gross some people out at this stage, with lots of black spots all over, and feeling so heavy, and needing to be handled delicately, or they will be squished. Ralf will never eat bananas with any spots on it. He does not get that they are truly ripe only AFTER the spots appear.

So anyway, I released the bananas from their skins, and started mashing. And I thought… …the older they get, the riper they get, the more they give. Not like us. The older we get, the stiffer we get, more brittle. Our skin harden, our brains harden, our emotions harden. We have difficulty accepting new stuff; we build up armor to protect us  and our worldly assets. We become afraid to jump, to shout, to run away when needed. We have duties, obligations, rules and regulations, should’s and have to’s. It’s a little sad, isn’t it? Can carefree not be blended with being responsible?

Baby, you will be born so soft, so vulnerable, and so pliable. You can sleep in any position, you can be placed in any position, so long as it is close to mama’s heart. I can only imagine, observe, experiment, with what is going to make you most comfortable, most at ease, most in love. Would you like to be sleeping on your back? Your side? On your belly? With your heart next to mine? You will be treated with such softness, such gentleness, such reverance, because in the beginning, you are the biggest mystery to us; having emerged from within me; yet we are not entirely sure where you came from…. what journeys you had taken, and what plans you may have for this journey. What are you going to show me?

And day by day, your muscles build, and they strengthen and you will slowly be pushing away my hands, my body, my heart. And this is the lesson that I need to learn, as Gibran had said, that you came through me, but belongs to me not. I have no control over you. But, will you take the same path as many humans do in their life? Grow old and foolish? Brittle and hardened? Or will you be a joyful, laughing and supple guru of sorts? The Taoist says Strength comes from being soft and supple, not from being stiff and resisting. This is a lesson I am still trying to learn. To just melt into love. Just give, and let the horizon pull open. Not by resisting, not by digging in the heels; not by asserting my status as a mother. For, is everyone not a mother? We all give birth to something. But to what? That is the question.

I smell the muffins cooking.

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We finished the other plot yesterday afternoon. It went much faster because Val and Sophia were really helping me. This plot is also not as deep as the other one so there was less to dig. Val concentrated on removing the weeds, while Sophia concentrated on helping me turn over the soil, and Val joined us for the later part of the soil-turning. They were both so understanding and helpful it really made me feel so touched. It was really beautiful too; three of us in a row, turning the soil, observing the pill bugs, looking for worms, and just talking about the earth, and plants and growing. Several times Sophia reminded me to be careful of my belly and kept talking about how she loved helping me. I love to hear her talk. She is still inter-changing her “y” sound with the “l” sound, so when she sees a pill bug and goes, “Look! Look!”, it comes out as “Yook! Yook!” and I just love it. I do not bother to correct her because I know she will make her way there when she is ready. I kissed her several times and told her what a pleasure it was to have her working next to me. What a glorious afternoon. It felt sweet. Refreshingly sweet. Not like the sweetness of honey but the type that nourishes and refreshes, like drinking from a spring of sweet, clean water and feeling so clearly how the water washes through you, cleansing you and making you feel so good all over.

The girls took turn planting the different seeds, and every time Val will want to pick up and hold and touch a seed, even if it was not her turn. She was very amazed how tiny some seeds were, or how unique the shape could be. We discussed how long it will take for the seeds to sprout, then grow into seedlings, and then mature into plants that bear flowers, and then fruits. It really is amazing what a small little seed can do, given the right environment and the opportunity. Yesterday I heard a small part of a fascinating discussion on NPR about how tall a redwood tree can grow. The author who wrote a book about it said the seed is really tiny- if put on a dime, it will not even cover the date on it, but give it two thousand years and it will grow big and tall, and develop its very own ecosystem that scientists are still working to unravel. It reminded me about one of my blog entries about how fast and strong the luffa grew, and I ended that entry on the note not to under-estimate what a small little seed can do!

It is just like the seeds that we plant in our minds, or gets planted into our minds. Those little messages about who we are, our history, our potential. Evaluations of us, expectations of us. Our dreams, our desires, our secrets and our fears. Given the right environment, some of these seeds will grow, and some will die a natural death. I had to think what seeds I had planted in this mind of mine. I feel like opening up my brain and having a look inside. They are probably in different stages of growth and not all properly labeled. I wonder if one’s subconscious mind can eradicate the “bad” seeds and nurture only the good ones? i became conscious of what seeds I am planting into my children’s brains. I may have tossed in stuff carelessly, and by twist of fate, it will grow and bother them in their adulthood. It’s not a very comforting thought. It made me want to be very much more mindful, and more observant of my actions.

The girls like to collect seeds and they now know where we can get them. I am not sure how cognizant they are about the cycles that goes on and on around us all the time. The cycle of the seasons, the cycle of the planets, the moon, the stars; of Life in general. I think about the other cycles in my life, the repetition of cleaning the house every week, laundry every week, grocery every week. The inescapable truth of mess, dust and filth manifesting and recycling themselves continuously. And thus the wheel is set forth without my consent, and much to my dismay and displeasure- clean, clean and clean every week! It never stops. I have questioned myself many times over when or how will I ever find peace with housework and the like? I have come to recognize that dust is an essential component of our lives. We have to brush teeth everyday, like it or not. It is a way of respecting our body. So, keeping the house clean is also a way of respecting our space, but why do I resent it so much? I have reminded myself also many times the Zen monks who have to sweep every morning, no matter what. It is a part of meditation, it IS meditation and i have attempted to regard my housework as meditation, but often without success. Why is there a difference in how I regard the cycles of Nature versus that of Life? Why the annoyance? Why the non-acceptance?

Do I not love myself enough to create a clean, uncluttered space for myself? Do I not love my family enough to foster a dimension of calm and beauty for them?

If the house gets messy again, is it not an indication that it is being used? Is it not a joy that its occupants are fit and healthy to move through this space, and to create, and to move things around? Is it not an honor that I am able-bodied enough to clean a house? Someone said to not mourn one’s aging, or to take it for granted, for this is a privilege not granted to every person. This is so true. So, if I am breathing today, and able to clean my house, knowing fully that it will not remain in a “perfect” state for more than a second, is that not an honor? Is that not beauty? And is that not Joy and Acceptance?

Perhaps this cycle of cleanliness and filth is too short; unlike the seasonal rhythms that trickle through our lives; the human cycle of creation and destruction is swift, even cruel. How do I make peace with it all? Perhaps by not segregating so much my life, the man-made one, with the natural one outside. I think also the magnitude of it all overwhelms me, and to see one’s incompetence in the face of the scale of the job just frustrates me and makes me abandon it all. I am just unable to be all-seeing and all-present. I spend two hours a week to do the basic stuff, and then suddenly, I see a layer of dust on the television when i sit down to fold the laundry. I need to look for a book and suddenly find my shelves in total disarray. A friend steps into the kitchen and the scum in the sink started to scream out at me. All those little nitty gritty…. not even details. To another more thorough person, these are all evidences of my deliberate oversight. And a lot of the times, that is the truth. I just want an uncluttered path from the bedroom to the kitchen to the garage; a reasonable amount of counter space for cooking and baking, a chair to sit on to do my emails. Everything else I have no capacity to attend to unless “someone is bleeding”. Well, perhaps I need to be more allergic to dust!

But I think again and Spring does not just descend upon the earth in one day, within the span of a minute. It creeps in and slowly manifests itself until one fine day we flung our arms open, grin widely and think, “Wow! It’s Spring! I can’t believe it!”– as if it was an overnight occurrence but of course it was not, and never will be. First, there will be the merry whisperings that manifests themselves as small tiny sprouts of leaves and flower buds; then, the whisperings start to get louder, as blue skies sing to us and the temperatures begin to climb steadily; the world slowly starts to get colored, flushed and excited with the beginning of a new cycle. Soon, the singing breaks into rounds of chorus, all reaching a height of crescendo when we look up and finally realize, finally hear! finally see! Spring is here! Suddenly, color is seen everywhere, springing out and waving wildly at us; the birds are chirping like crazy and everything is mating like nuts. Pheromones and hormones release like unbridled horses.

And so, a totally clean and uncluttered house is not going to happen overnight either, unless my fairy godmother is to suddenly remember me and find my updated address. I am not totally optimistic, but slowly, hopefully, the seeds of cleanliness and the seeds of joyful order will creep in, and grow. And finally perhaps I can claim a small piece of heaven where I find peace and order. It will have to cycle of course, since our lives are not stagnant and one should never suppress the urge and desire to move things; but perhaps I have found a perspective that I can live with. All because of the seeds and their cycles!

To think of it, this issue of physical space is easier to deal with. I cannot wait to examine the seeds planted in my brain, and wonder also if it is at all possible, but this will not be today.

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because of my two girls.

True, some days they seem like that annoying little pebble inside my shoes that I cannot get out and irritate me with every step that I trudge through the day.Some days I feel like putting them into a big box and sending them off to Singapore or Germany. And sometimes I just want to lock myself somewhere and not hear any more squabbles, or babbles or request for water, story, food, whatevers!

But, my Life will be so dull. Not just dull, but totally dead and deprived. Sad. Void. Meaningless. Uninspiring. Soundless. Joyless. Tasteless.

They have been shining like gems. Valerie had been so generous in helping me. She keeps telling me she wants to help me; she loves to help me. Ralf thought her how to recognize weeds and this morning she was pulling out weeds in the yard, all by herself, “because I want to help plants grow healthily.” In the meantime she has also been collecting rocks in the yard. I don’t know how but she managed to find a good variety and I thought we only have maximum two types of rocks in our backyard? When Sophia insisted that I help her change when we were preparing to go get groceries this morning, she offered to help, and did a beautiful job of it. Yesterday morning she heard Sophia crying upstairs and went up to check on her voluntarily. She came down in a huff after five minutes, lamenting to Ralf that “Sophia just does not understand! She kept yelling for mama to come and carry her, but mama’s belly is getting big! How can she carry Sophia? I told her I will carry her but she just refuses! I keep explaining to her and she just wouldn’t listen!”

Two days ago, she came to me telling me Sophia defaced the side panels of the wooden play-stand. She was upset. Sophia drew on it with force with a pencil. I was upset too. I just spent two hours picking up the house, sweeping and mopping and my glucose level was right down in the negatives. I saw the “drawing” and I felt strangely resigned. Angry, too, yes. I felt angry. What’s with these never-ending problems to solve? Things to deal with?! We have no erasers at home, so I tried a wet wipe. Probably the wrong technique but I just wanted to do something so I sat there and rubbed and rubbed. Both girls went to take a wet wipe too and scrubbed with me. At one point, I stopped, sighed heavily and just closed my eyes. I just felt so drained and tired. Val asked me, “Are you ok, mama?” I told her, “No, I am tired. And I am sad, and so frustrated. I wish I don’t have to deal with this. I feel this is a waste of time. Instead of sitting here scrubbing, we could be relaxing on the couch together reading, or watching something fun. We could be playing a game…. but instead I have to do this. It makes me very sad, and I feel angry too.” Gently, she told me, “It’s alright mama. It’s alright to feel sad, and angry. We all feel it sometimes. I will help you.”

I wanted to cry. When they sparkle like this, I just want to cry. Suddenly they seem so big, so matured. Like they can carry me in their tender arms and soothe me to sleep and cover me with a misty blanket of stars and let me sleep for an eternity and rest till I find strength in my tired bones again. At times like this, I see so clearly time slipping through my fingers. Oh yes, they are growing. Something I wish for and something I wish not for. Perhaps it needs to happen a bit slower.

And Sophia has not stopped talking about the baby. She keeps talking about ‘When the baby comes”; she keeps repeating that she is going to let the baby have the stroller and how she is going to take care of the baby, how we all are going to love the baby. When Val did not want to sleep by herself in the twin bed and let Sophia sleep with me, I could only plead with her. I told her, “But you know, when I was pregnant, you were also sleeping next to me. Now Sophia deserves a chance too. And actually, you even got to sleep with us after Sophia was born.” With that Sophia piped in, “Yeah, when I was in mama’s belly, you slept with mama. So now I get to sleep with mama too. But, after the baby comes out, I am going to sleep in the other bed. So mama can take care of the baby. Otherwise, who is going to take care of the baby? Where will the baby sleep? We cannot let the baby sleep on the floor?! The baby will cry, he will be sad!”

Sophia likes to put her hands on my belly and rub it, telling me, “Oh, mama, you are growing bigger and bigger everyday! And the baby is also growing bigger…. and bigger…. and bigger!! And then, he is going to pop out!” She laughs, enjoying the vision of a baby popping out of me. And I love, I so love, and relish her soft fingers on my belly. It feels so nice. Sometimes I imagine her inside of me again, curled up inside. Slightly wrinkled, red, eyes closed, her fists closing and opening; her legs exploring the space around her; her brain memorising my smell, my voice…

And now, I have these two gems right in-front of me. I do not treat them precious enough. Not enough, never enough. But they keep sparkling and shining, because they have this golden light within them. I feel small knowing of their potential. Sometimes when they are so noble and royal, I wish they will not be so sensible and matured, I wish they would just have a meltdown and let me hold and rock them. I feel so honored to be their mother; to witness and hold their kindness and to experience their love for me. It’s so awesome it makes me want to fall to my knees and kiss the ground and give thanks. And to cry with joy for these gifts so undeservedly bestowed on me.

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We have been “growing” Painted lady Butterflies. They came in two jars of five caterpillars each. Small and skinny, with a mysterious food culture at the bottom of the plastic jar.
Over the course of a week, they grew rapidly, probably to five times their original size. They grew longer, thicker, fatter. And when the time came close for them to form chrysalids, we could feel an air of heavy, thick anticipation in the air. They started to crawl closer to the lid, and they seemed to be sending subtle messages to us that they are going to be different in just a little while.
When we came back from the cabin a weekend ago, eight of the caterpillars had formed chrysalids. We observed the last two but did not get the chance to watch that process. Soon, we had ten chrysalids hanging from the lid of the plastic jars. The “skin” of the chrysalids were black, shiny, leathery. Very mysterious.
We transferred them to the butterfly pavilion. Their dark skin lightened over the days. Transformation. Metamorphosis. We looked and looked, but we had no privilege to the mysterious process that was occurring within that small little space of the chrysalid. We could only wait.

Last Sunday, two butterflies quietly emerged. dh was the first to notice it around lunchtime. I had checked earlier that morning but there were no hints, no forecast of, no trumpeting of the pending emergence of the beauties.
Over the course of 24 hours, six more had emerged and we now have eight butterflies fluttering about in the butterfly pavilion. They excreted some red meconium after their emergence. It’s like a human baby after birth. Very amazing. I also wondered if we can witness that momentous emergence of the butterfly from its chrsyalid.
And, we did. Val and I did. It was this morning. Val had awoken earlier than usual and sat in her little plastic hair in front of the pavilion, observing them intently. I was marveling with her when all of a sudden, a butterfly popped out, just like that! from a chrysalid. I was so surprised. I thought I spotted an unusual movement and as I moved my eyes, I saw just that moment when the butterfly came out. I did not see any struggle, but that grand, if quiet exit. and entrance. It stood just outside the chrysalid for a little while, perhaps panting. The wings were curled up but were immediately slowly unfurling. Was it whispering a farewell to its old shell?

I was… astonished. I realized i just witnessed death, and birth, in the same moment, occurring in but a spilt of a second. It was so fast, and then time just continued. Nothing froze. No lingering. Once it emerged, the butterfly had to concentrate on living, on surviving- pumping blood into its wings, finding food, flittering in the sunshine, finding a mate, lay eggs and perpetuate the cycle of life……

I thought of the baby inside of me. I thought of the mysterious forces, within and without, working together towards that threshold moment; towards that second when the baby will slip out of me into this world. Death, and Birth, in one second. It’s just one breath. Just. One. Breath. And then, it’s all over. And then, it starts all over again.

I thought of how unexpected that moment is. I wonder how much can I expect that moment. I am supposed to “know” it, but I am still not confident that I will. But the Life within surely will. I feel so amazed by the Mysterious purpose. If only I can be let into the Mystery.

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