Moon and clouds, Mountain and valley…

‘Moon and clouds are the same

Mountain and valley are different

All are blessed, all are blessed

Is this one or is this two? ‘


This beautiful zen poem by Wu Men came into my mind today. Anjali (nickname Anji), my six and a half year old daughter has a soft spot for babies and stuffies. She loves her snugglies – she has about a hundred of them in her room, and is always looking to add a new one. For a while there, I bought every lego set, gears, blocks I could, and then I realized that she didn’t care for building, all the blocks came in handy only to play house with her stuffies. She loves to invent and create and to her, building was incidental – the story it helped make was what she was interested in. Anjali has always loved stories – I believe that is how she taught herself to read – the possibility that she could have direct access to them without waiting for an adult to read them to her!

Anyhow, this is incidental to my main story today. A couple of days ago, Anji mentioned the notion that I loved her more when she was a baby. We had visited a neighbor’s baby and she was touched by how beautiful the baby was and how tiny. She was drawn into that quiet love, and perhaps without having a tangible memory, she was lamenting the days gone of being held and taken care of. I vehemently tried to rationalize with her – how I loved her so much more having seen her grow and become who she is. But I could tell that she thought they were just rationalizations.

So coming to Wu Men’s poem. ‘Moon and clouds are the same’. It made me think of this phase in a mother’s life (and child’s life) where there is no separation between child and parent. When Anji was little, what she felt was what I felt! I could not separate her tears, her tantrums, nor her joy and her delight from mine. Every new step she took was also a new step for me. We grew together and as she learned the first steps of independence and growth, so did I. Through preschool and kindergarten; she blossomed first into learning her capabilities and boundaries and then exploring her social life. I was by her side, and yet also giving her increasing level of independence. And then before we knew it, our little girl was off to first grade! A whole day of school, of new rules, of learning, of so much creativity and managing so many relationships of her own. My girl took a big step forward. And so did I.

So did I – into rediscovering myself. I dipped back into books, into having my relationships in a new way and mostly giving permission to myself to explore what I wanted. When this phase began, I don’t know. And while, it has felt like this was necessary for me to grow, I have never really given thought to the end that it brought too – the end of an era of togetherness of moods, joys and a baby-mothering love. Perhaps, this is what Anji laments, and yearns for, this end of a time in a mother and child’s life even as she steps so confidently into a world that she navigates herself for so much of the day, so bravely and joyfully.

‘Mountain and valley are different’. And yet – are we different? Sometimes I think Anji can read minds – she will say what I’m thinking, or know how I feel. She doesn’t miss a nuance. And I know every tear and laugh of hers. Especially when she gets silly and laughs just like she did as a baby. Sometimes, in the busyness of life, I’m distracted running from one thing to the other, and it is she who stops me. ‘Mom, are you stressed?’ My Buddha baba asks. Sweet pea, thanks for the reminder! We learn something each day. That everything comes a full circle. And ‘All are blessed, All are blessed!’ I don’t know whether this is one, or is this two, but I know it changes depending on the day. As Wu Men also said:

‘ten thousand flowers in spring, moon in autumn

cool breeze in summer, snow in winter

when your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things

this is the best season of your life!’


So here is a reminder to enjoy the season of mothering that you are in.

With love, S.



My attachment…

Last week, I caught a new thought in my head: I’m getting attached to my writing. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing it!

It made me do a 180 degree turn and take a look at my choices. Like any yogi, I have experienced many a times how attachment leads to suffering. And I guess I thought I was being clever when I thought, maybe I could avoid attachment altogether if I stopped doing what I want.

Except it doesn’t work that way. We can’t really negate what we feel and still be happy. If we get attached, we get attached. Saying, ‘don’t!’ doesn’t really help. It requires way too much concentration and focus to constantly keep a look out for the big A word. That kind of focus, I may have had in another life-time. But not right now, definitely not right now.

Perhaps a better wiser solution to attachment is to not make it a problem. To acknowledge when it arises. and notice if that recognition does anything. To accept attachment as a gentle friend joining in for a tea party – but will leave in a bit. Inevitably. Somebody else will come through that door, that we will attach to, and we will forget all about this one. Noticing the arising and the passing away of attachment, just as it is, without judgment can be the window into freedom from suffering.

So, yes, I got attached to my writing. There is a piece I wrote for my writing group, that I spent more time than I ever have on one essay. I caught my mind in the middle of various things thinking about it, and words in it, and I wanted to run to it every moment of free time I got, rereading it, and making changes. And then I noticed. I let go. There was a moment of peace, of surrender. And then something else came up. My daughter saying a new word, ‘come’!. And a Mom’s pride. I get attached to that too. And I learn to let go.

Thank god there are so many opportunities to practice. Some day, perhaps we will become enlightened beings, and we will get it. Until then, we learn to be with what is, right now.

With Love, S.