This is not about my psychiatrist/priest.
But her wisdom seems to permeate multiple facets of my life.
In particular, I am frequently reminded of her comment on the multi-faceted nature of feelings themselves. That feelings are not always quite what they seem.
I notice that it is possible to laugh while crying.
That it is possible to love while also hating.
That despair is always tinged with hope – that Pandora’s box is either our greatest blessing, or our curse.
That the best-feeling thing in my life can, sometimes, be the worst.
Sometimes, I feel so powerless as a mother of a young baby. All my needs ultimately subservient to those of a small child. The boundaries I worked so hard to build over the years razed to nothing. How can I say no?
I have felt deep resentment and anger. I have felt despair. I have felt exhaustion. And I have felt terrible guilt about feeling all these things.
And I have also felt love like I have never known it. Tenderness like I have never known it. Wonder as I have never known it.
And I am being taught deep spiritual lessons in ways that I have never been taught before.
I’m thinking, for example, of yesterday and sharing a bowl of grapes with my little girl. Just the two of us sharing one of our favourite foods.
I didn’t truly know what sharing could be until I shared food with my daughter. It’s nothing to do with generosity, or obligation.
It’s the joy of seeing her joy and knowing that I am the facilitator of that. It’s an act of intimacy, sharing halves, biting off bits of grape that she offers me because, for her too, even at such an early age, this act of giving to me seems to give her such enormous pleasure. Maybe it’s an act of power – I feed mummy. And for me too – I give joy to my daughter.
It redefines what power is. Power as love. Power as the giving of joy. Power as connection.
And there is no doubt that people are kinder to me when I am with my daughter – often because she has smiled at them and made them feel special. My daughter, it turns out, is powerful. My daughter is only 11 months old.
And yet, when I look around me at the world of grown-ups, I see disconnection and alienation. I see power based on fear and manipulation. I see how, as individuals and a race of spiritual beings, we have forgotten how powerful we each are.
And I think that maybe we are afraid of what we think “power” is.
My daughter is showing me a new kind of power.
New mum, old soul... Finding beauty, wisdom, spirituality, and opportunities for learning in the everyday (hopefully)...