Day 142 – the wisdom of children

My mum and I are driving down to my brother’s place on the south coast. Before we leave I have time to practice and even go for a run. It is one of those beautiful crisp autumn mornings where the sun is warm and the air is fresh. Magpies are crying to the morning and the grass is glistening with dew. As I breathe and run, I feel balanced and ready to be in Sydney again. The 2:1 exhale to inhale breathing rhythm is now such a habit, this feels like the deepest breaths I will take all day.

Driving down, most of the highway is surrounded by bush land. The dry scrub stretches out to my left and beyond that I can see the deep blue pacific ocean in the distance. The familiar smell of eucalyptus, melaleuca and lemon myrtle get stronger the further south we go. This far away from the city, the air feels clearer and colder. As the sun sets I can hear the kookaburras laughing across the sky and the sun is setting as early as 5.30pm. The days are already shorter as winter approaches. Getting up at 4am to practice was great in the Indian summer but here I can’t say it will be so easy. But the sounds and smells of Australian dawn make it all worth it to at least set my alarm for 6am.

When I arrive at my brother’s door I can hear the kids screaming my name as they run to greet me. When we sit down for dinner they both want to sit next to me “because I love Tia!” It utterly melts me.

As I do my morning meditation in front of the fire I can hear my niece, Miss 6 and nephew, Mister 3, upstairs. They run to the banister to look down where I am sitting and I hear them as grandma what Tia (Aunty) is doing. I am standing doing bhastrika when Mr Cat (that is the name of their hairless devon rex) starts pawing at my legs for attention. I pick up his thin body and he crawls across my neck to purr loudly while I do agnisara. When I sit down to pray before breakfast, the kids ask again what I’m doing and my mother, fearing a metaphysical response, she interrupts my answer to say that “Tia is just saying thank you to god for the food.” Ever the pragmatist, my mum. (I will find her later in the garage yelling, “Look at me!” as she spins around with a hula hoop while I try to explain to my nephew why his toy cars would be better for the planet if they were diesel-fuelled).

My nephew keeps telling me that I need to keep growing my hair and not cut it or else “you will look like me and daddy and not like a girl.” Grateful for his style tips, it seems pointless to tell him that girls can have short hair too, or that all the kids in India get their heads shaved at their age. Social conditioning has already set strict guidelines for feminine and masculine attributes and he hasn’t yet turned 4.

In four months since I saw them last, they have both grown centimetres in height and maturity. My nephew is entering the stage of pedantic parent-terrorist and my niece is old enough now to offer him counselling for his tantrums. She is a talented artist and reading far beyond her level. When she asks what I looked like when I was little, I tell her, “well, I kind of looked like you.” Which she seems to like. She has a blue-skinned doll that is a zombie, though she doesn’t know what that is. She has a chronic fear of skeletons and all things to do with death so it’s strange that she likes this doll. Looking at its blue hair, red lips and detachable limbs (Leprosy Barbie?), I notice it must be a Vata because of its hyper-flexible joints. It has serious lumbar lordosis and the wrists are bent at an unnatural angle. But still, it seems like a better image to aspire to than the traditional blonde Barbie.

Doing yoga with my niece, she likes the balancing poses. She is already super flexible and does gymnastics so she is getting strong. When we finish and put out hands together I invite her to say a prayer and she says, “um… Thank you god… For a life!” The simplest and most honest prayers really are the best.

When I look into these kids’ adoring eyes, I wonder why I would ever need love from another human being. These children have pure, unconditional and unquestioning love for me. Sure, by the time they are 15 they might feel differently, but I’m working really hard on the “cool aunt” image. And all that matters is now and they love me now.

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