Shuba’s Weblog

Journeys of the soul…

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.

 

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The waves of magic that wake us up…

Being on a spiritual path is a difficult journey. Seeking truth and freedom is not always easy, especially since most of us have to balance our wishes for a meaningful, fulfilling life with the real-world demands of having a job, making money, paying the bills, getting the chores done. Sometimes time isn’t enough. Sometimes, inspiration just is lacking. We are in a spiritual rut and we know we need to get out. We need inspiration. What does one do ?

This is where, I think, symbols come in handy. Symbols are something of a reminder. They have the potential to wake us up from our stupor and reach the place of wonder that our heart knows, again. These symbols are cultivated over time by paying attention. They could be, and are, generally simple things which are meaningful to us. Like the photo of a loved one from a memorable moment. A favorite book of poems. Seeing the squirrel dig out the nuts. Finding the tulips bloom one morning. Fresh snow on the ground. The ocean’s tides that so unfailingly reaching the shore. Letters that loved ones wrote to us. A phone message from a friend just in time.

Trees are one of my symbols. The pines standing so tall, so beautiful. The word that comes to mind is ‘stalwart’. They are such stalwarts of strength and protection. And yet so flexible that they dance with the slightest breeze. Just the rhythm of their swaying reminds me of the magic. Of the journey to freedom. Every once in a while I would stop and watch on the trees dance. and my heart would smile.

What represents freedom to you? See if you can pay attention to what wakes you up. What lightens your heart at the end of a long dark day. Is it the Full Moon so splendid in its glory, due in just a couple of days ? Is it a clear night of stars that you happen to witness ? Is it the sound of rain outside the windows ? Is it the smile that lights up the eyes of your friend ? Or the tune that the birdie outside plays in the morning ? Or maybe it is just a bowl of steaming oatmeal on a cold spring morning or the smell of fresh pot of coffee.

What is it that wakes you up ?

With Love, S.

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