When my children were first born I stared at them intently as they lay in my arms, wondering who they would become.
“Who are you?” I asked. “Where have you come from? Why are you here? Why did I get you? Where are you going? Who are you going to be?”
I was fascinated by those tiny, helpless creatures who seemed to know everything, yet who could do nothing for themselves. I sensed they held all the mysteries of life, yet it was my responsibility to teach them about life. How could I teach those complete little beings anything! I could only offer them utter respect and love, knowing they held memories of things I had long ago lost touch with. New to the world, I saw them as fully in touch with all knowledge, so recently coming from the wellspring of all life.
From the moment of birth, I saw them as miniature adults, intelligent, intuitive, beautiful beings that I was charged with launching into life. While preparing them for whatever life held in store for them, I rarely stopped to think about the daunting task that it really was. With my intent already set, I plowed ahead, carrying them forward, aware most of the time that I was challenging them; that I was doing what they needed me to do. Now they’re both freshly graduated from college, looking for jobs, and they are indeed those intelligent, intuitive, beautiful beings I always saw them as. And yet, I still look at them with awe and wonder who they will become in the future.
Why did I get them? Why does anyone get the children they get? I no longer wonder why.
I believe our children are our opportunities to transform. We are constantly asked by them to face our fears while at the same time we are challenged to free them of us. We are challenged to free them of everything we hold onto, both that which we hold sacred and that which we fear, so they can become thoughtful, aware, evolving beings. We are charged with unburdening them so they can move on, totally free, unencumbered by our darkest secrets, our inhibitions, our rules, our agreements, and yes, our fears. I was conscious of this from the very minute I first set eyes on my children. Even if we don’t have children we are asked to face these challenges in all of our relationships, whether with partners, parents, siblings, co-workers, etc. We are all offered opportunities to transform.
When I whispered to them that I would do the best I could, I was promising them that I too would transform. Perhaps that was the moment when I set my intent to do a shamanic recapitulation. I don’t know for sure, because I was far from embarking on that journey, but something inside me knew that I must not burden those kids with me. I knew my biggest challenge was going to be setting them free of me, so they could become the beings they had the potential to become and the only way to do that was to face who I was. And I have indeed had to face my own fears as I raised my children.
My two children don’t even know it, but they have always been the impetus behind my own healing journey. I see them now for what they truly are: they are beings of recapitulation, having brought me to this point in my life, for they have constantly challenged me as much as I challenged them, and as much as I challenge myself.
When I worry about them, I know I must turn my eyes inward and work on my own reasons for that worry. I know I must ask myself to take the worry off them and use it to cleanse myself, sending them off with the freedom from me that they deserve. I refuse to burden them with me. Even so I know they will have to do their own work on shedding the mother they got, and in the meantime I give them permission to do so, to go out into the world and truly become who they are.
In continually facing who I am, in reflecting back onto myself what I project onto them, I ask myself to become who I truly have the potential to become as well. We are all here for many purposes, for many reasons, and for many challenges. We are all imbued with the potential that I first realized in my infants, when I first allowed that they did not really belong to me, but only to themselves. I knew my job was to bring them into life in the best way I could. I chose to do that with awareness.
When I see them sad, I ask myself: what is it in me that is sad? When I see them angry at the world, I ask myself: where is my anger? When I feel their disappointments, I must ask myself where my own disappointments are. I know I must resolve those issues in myself so we can all be free.
I ask only that they go into life and embrace it as their own, for life is ready to embrace them in return. I ask that they let me go, accepting me as a separate being on a separate journey, as much as I accept this truth about them.
As Jeanne suggested in Monday’s message, I use heart-centered breathing to send them on their journeys into the next stages of life—I use heart-center breathing and Tonglen too. I breathe in my worries and breathe out their full potential. I breathe in my fears and breathe out fearlessness for them. I breathe in my maternal instincts and breathe out their own maternal instincts and abilities to care for themselves.
I unburden them of me. I feel it is my greatest duty as their mother, to set them free, of me especially. I don’t own them. I love them and cherish them for who they are. I watch with awe as they launch into the world, as I once watched with awe as they first learned to roll over, to sit up, and as they stumbled through their first walking steps.
When people tell me I have great kids, I know they speak the truth.
“Yes, they are great kids,” I say, “because they are themselves!”
I still whisper the same words to them each day that I once whispered when they were infants: “Be yourself, be who you are. I can’t wait to see who you will be!”
I’m still fascinated as I watch them take their next steps—I’m just as fascinated by all the people I know and meet. I wonder: Who are you going to be?
Love to you all,