Of course we don't think babies are useless... And of course we think they are cute little things... But you have to admit that quite often they are just whinging & pooing machines that can drive you insane!! So Why do we keep on producing them? Surely they must be good at something...
ONE SECOND. ONE BOOZY SECOND, AND BANG!
Okay, maybe not a boozy one, but that's all it takes though - One Second. One second, and the whole creation process is set in motion. One second, and your life has you knew it has become a long gone memory. One second, and it is not just about You anymore. ONE second, that's all it takes for your life to be changed FOR EVEEEER... Aaaaaah!!!
Because Yes, unlike the unnecessary tenth pair of thongs you've just bought, Babies can't be returned. We've tried. Doesn't work. So while the thought of having a mini-You trotting in your backyard seems very cute, maybe think twice, no, twenty times before getting yourself this new frock because, that you like or not, this One will stick with you for a looooong time...
Obviously all the words that follow have been written in the Spirit of Love. Love for all the Parents in this world who are doing a fantastic "impro-job" every day, and of course, Love for all the Babies - born or unborn, social or anti-social, cute or "interesting-looking" (C'mon, they're not ALL that cute) - who are giving the parents the inspiration to do so. But more specifically, we are saying these words with profound Loving-kindness for our "Adorevilable" nephew, Mr Owen, whose cute little feet are peacefully posing in the above picture. (Photography by Grandma Gaga)
SO WHY? WHYYY DO BABIES KEEP ON POPPING UP?
Okay, they're cute and all, but let's be honest, most of the time they are just pooing & screaming machines that will make you go out with your shirt back to front, your hair like a pile of greasy noodles, your feet in a tasteful mismatch of black & white socks, and your body covered with poo in places where nobody should ever have poo on! All of this, for at least the first 6? 12? 18 months? Years?? So Whyyy? WHY do Babies keep on appearing on Earth??
Well, just like waves emerge in the ocean, so does Life on Earth. It is the intrinsic creative urge of Nature to arise & pass away, to create & to destroy, to spring & to decay. Birth, Life and Death are merely the emerging, rolling on, and the merging back of individuals waves in the ocean of Existence. And the same way nothing new is born when a wave emerges in the ocean, neither is there when a new form manifests itself on Earth. So maybe instead of trying to answer the unanswerable 'Why-whys?', we should focus on answering the 'What the hell do we do Now?'
This Existence of ours is as Transient as autumn clouds. To watch the Birth & Death of Beings is like looking at the movements of a Dance. ~ Gautama Buddha
WELL NOW WE TURN ON OUR YOGIC POWERS: WONDER WOMAN vs SUPERMUM/DAD
By the power of Awareness & Understanding, you shall kick Wonder Woman's little arse! That's right, time has come to put on your SuperCape (or bathrobe), and DO the job. You know what they say, "The Thinking is the hard part, The Doing is easy" (Sure... you might say). Well, that's if we "Do the Non-Doing" in Awareness of course, not just "Blindly". How? By simply bringing Conscious Acting into the equation thanks to your SuperVision, your SuperHearing & your SuperThinking. What does that even mean?? It means that if you realise that This, this whole event, is your chance to observe first hand how a human being evolves, how it changes (constantly), how it is wired up, and how we can connect on a deep level with another being, you will be able to bring some Lightness in the process and allow yourself to watch things Be.
Carrying a life inside of you and/or raising a baby, can be a huge opportunity for a shift in awareness to happen, so don't miss out! If you put your SuperGoggles on for instance, you will see that all the changes that have been happening at the physical level are also happening at the level of consciousness. Should you be the mother or the father, biological or non-biological, welcoming a life into yours will undoubtedly create a chemical reaction inside of you, one that should leave you with a sense of deep connection with yourself & your baby, but also with other human beings.
If you zoom-in even closer, you will also be able to see that giving Love & Attention to someone is actually magical, and can make you feel very much Alive. You will start seeing for yourself that placing somebody else's needs above yours can bring great joy & intense gratitude, both ways. And while the realisation that it is not just about You in this Life is taking place, it is also the opportunity for you to let your compassion expand, not just inside the household, but all around.
So really, one way to look at this whole thing could be that, not only do you give birth and/or welcome a baby, but you can also get "reborn" in the process;) Which leaves us with this thought: Maybe Babies aren't so useless after all...
And The Day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the Bud was more painful than The Risk it took To Blossom ~ Anais Mills
SO WHAT ARE BABIES REALLY GOOD AT?
Is it Conversation? Not really. Entertainment? Maybe for 5 mins, but after that, Boooooring... Then what is it? What do they do apart from doing Nothing? Oh... hang on, could it be that Babies are simply good at Being Who they Are? And could it be then that Babies are actually useful for shedding some Light on Life for us? Hmmm... Who's really teaching Who then?
Born or still in gestation, if you really pay attention, you will notice that Babies do come with their share of teachings. So if at some point during the day you ask yourself - "Why have I done this to myself again?" - take a deep breath and remind yourself of these facts:
Fact No 1: Babies teach us to Breathe & to Eat Mindfully
Besides the obvious breathing techniques that the mother will be taught for the Big Day, the whole "having a baby" process is also a great opportunity for both parents to learn to breathe mindfully on a daily basis. Because as much as the "Doggy Breath" or whatever it's called, can help on the delivery day, it won't quite do it for the next 10,000 days (rough estimate) that will follow...
So now is your chance to go even deeper into the exploration & observation of the breath and to incorporate the practice of mindful breathing into your daily lives. Babies are giving you the opportunity to realise how important it is to reconnect with your breath and to fully embrace all the benefits that come with it. Soon enough you will realise how this powerful tool can help you to establish some solid & fertile ground to receive and grow a beautiful plant. Think about it, if some simple rapid puffs are recommended & used to take a 3.5kgs meat loaf out of a human body, what do you think it could do on your nervous system when you are just simply overwhelmed?
As for the Eating part, well, here too can Babies be useful at giving some good pointers. Should you still be pregnant or not, be the mother or the father (or both), having a "pure organism" such as a Baby around you can make you become aware of what your body really needs. During a pregnancy for instance, you can be sure that all the sensations, pleasant or unpleasant, are here for a reason. Yes, even the nausea... Feeling a sudden distaste for red meat for instance, can be your body's way of telling you to slow down on the intake of animal based protein, and to favour plant based protein such as lentils, black beans, green peas etc, which is something your body will always thank you for (Daddies' included). And if you have started feeding your baby solid food, maybe ask yourself those questions: Why should homemade purees, clean water & fresh products be exclusive to your toddler...? Why would you think that it is good for him/her development and not yours? Doesn't your body deserve the same care & attention...?
Fact No 2 : Babies teach us Patience & Acceptance
That's right, the Baby doesn't want to drink up? Gonna have to wait. The Baby doesn't want to poo today? Gonna have to pass. The Baby doesn't want to sleep... Eveeer?!? Well...., time to practice your OMs. Yep, you can't rush things with a baby, so you better start working on your patience, because there is Nowhere to Go, Nowhere to Be, but Here & Now with the Baby.
Indeed, Babies will make you rediscover the notion of Time. What seemed like an hour pre-baby will become one minute post-baby. But it can also be the other way around. When it comes to Sleep for instance (The Parent: what is that?), well first of all, either you are one of those lucky ones who got themselves the Baby with an On & Off switch, and can put him to sleep in a "flickbeat", and in that case, we don't want to talk to you. Or you can be like 90% of the parent population, for whom "Sleep" is a word that has slowly disappeared from their vocabulary. Sneakily, without even saying goodbye, one day it just went. And never came back...
And in that case, you will know what it's like to spend a good 30 mins (which feels like an hour) to try to knock the Baby out, I mean to put him down. And you will also know what it's like when, after 30 mins (or more...) of rocking, walking, singing OM, you finally manage to escape from the "Chamber of No Sleep", so proud & relieved and even thinking to yourself, "Great, now I have at least 40 mins on my hands to do...", to do what exactly? That's right, you have now enter the Time-Dimension where 40 mins is bloody nothing! Let alone when 10 mins later (yep, only 10 f***ing mins later!!!), you hear that little voice doing again: “Aaaah” in his/her cot. Really? I mean REALLY?? Are you telling me that you're already done with your... what was even That Thing exactly? A micro-power-nap?!? Huh? Are you really telling me that you are done with your "sleep" and ready to Rock n' Roll again??? Well, WE are NOT!!!
That's right, Babies can be very cute with their sweet little smiles, but don't be fools though! THIS, is all part of their Master Plan. We know for a fact now that these "cute" little creatures with their "cute" little angel faces, can be EVIL. When my 6 months old nephew looks at me with his overtired red eyes & his overtired smirking smile (and yet, still doesn't want to sleep), I swear the god I can sometimes hear the music of the Exorcist in the background. Really. And it's not just about the look on their faces, it's also about the noises they can make. It's like all of a sudden they have this "other" voice that comes out of nowhere, and they start making growling noises like they are possessed or something. "Tiredness" say the loving parents. "Evilness" we retort...
And that is when "The Thought" crosses your mind... Would anyone notice if I discreetly threw "IT" out the window? (Yes sorry, but at this stage they have become an "IT"). So, would anyone notice...? And what about if I threw myself out the window then?? Not elegantly like Wonder Woman would do of course, but more in a "Speedy-Gonzalez-escaping-the-Coyote" kinda way...
But then the magic happens. They look at you with their cosmic lenses through which unconditional love shines straight into your face, and they give you this huuuge smile full of Loving-kindness. And just like that, all the anger & frustration that was there just a minute ago are gone, disappeared, vanished! And just like that, nothing is "wrong" anymore. Magicians? Evil Sorcerers...? Either way, they manage to make it all go away in one dirty smile, and just for that, human beings keep on making babies.
So here you have it: A Time & Sanity-saving choice - When that kind of situation presents itself, you can either keep on banging your head against the wall, but that will eventually do some (more?) damage, or you can decide to not let the frustration grow on you. You could even put in practice the concept of Equanimity and try to not react impulsively (Yes, even at 3.30 am in the morning, especially then actually). We know from experience that it is very challenging, but you would be surprised by the effects this approach can have. Firstly on you, and eventually on the baby.
So next time you think your Patience-Reservoir has completely dried out, take a deep inhale, slowly exhale, and then observe the situation. Watch the baby's behaviour and try to understand his/her needs. And more importantly, you could try to accept that things in general won't necessarily fit with the schedule or the plan You had in mind. But you could then also ask yourself - Is that such a bad thing in the end? Maybe here lies a great opportunity for you to try to accept things just the way they are...
Fact No 3: Babies teach us to Be Quiet & Peaceful
Welcome to the House of Whispers! That's right, no more slamming of the doors, which is good for your walls, no more calling out from one room to the other, which is good for your voice, no more loud music which is good for your ears (and for the neighbours). Correctomundo my friend, that you believe it or not, Babies can equal less Noise & more Peace. Say Whaat? Isn't it usually the other way around?? Well, it doesn't have to be, not always anyway...
Of course the Baby will cry, and of course you still have to live normally in the house and not walk on eggshells 24/7, but having a mini-bun in the casa could also be a great opportunity for you to now revise & reverse some good old habits, like for instance: talking instead of yelling, enjoying silence instead of constantly having the TV on, or maybe listening to soothing sounds instead of "angry" music.
Having a Baby in the house can be your chance to create a (new) peaceful environment that will not only benefit the 'Growing-Cell', but everybody else who lives around it. The quieter you are inside, the calmer your baby will likely be. So any opportunity you have, slow down a little & be quiet. You can either lie down on the floor & relax your entire body, limb by limb, or simply take a nap. In fact, as usually recommended, when The Thingy sleeps, so should we! So no more feeling guilty for snoozing in the middle of the day, just embrace the down time whenever it comes. The living room or the shed might need to be dusted out, but so does your Mind. So pause & recharge first. The rest can wait, not your sanity.
Fact No 4: Babies teach us to Be Flexible & to Let it Goooo!
Are Babies really making things hard for us, or could it be that we were too rigid in the first place?
Yes, you probably thought that having a "Great Plan" and everything mapped out in advance was actually going to save you lots of time & troubles in this big adventure? Well think twice, because truth be told, the more you will stubbornly try to control, the less you will succeed. You need some form of organisation of course, but as for wanting to control everything, forget about it baby! As in Life in general, Babies will teach you that nothing ever goes according to plan. And if you want to keep your head screwed on and not screwed up on your shoulders, you better start kissing goodbye The Controlling & welcome The Rock'n Rolling!
Flexibility of Mind is what will help you every step of the way. Recognising the things you can change and accepting the ones you can't. Letting go of the perfect picture you had in mind & embracing the one you have in front of you instead. Because you know what? It is not a bad picture after all. In fact, it is the perfectly imperfect picture that just is. So, if you allow it, Babies will make you see that being flexible in Life is your best shot at being less affected by Change, and more at peace with everything that comes your way unexpectedly. They will show you the Impermanence of all things. Because yes, when you thought you had finally some very smart stratagems & a little routine in place, BAM! They change it all! Yesterday was a dream, today is a nightmare - This is Parenthood. This is Life in general. And How to keep your sanity? By remaining Equanimous. By going with the Change instead of resisting it. Babies are here to remind us that every day is a brand new day that brings a brand new You. They remind us that EVERYTHING CHANGES, all the time. They will show you how clinging onto the idea of "Permanence" can drive you completely Coo Coo. Oh yes, they will. And you can either let that happen or you can let the idea of "Permanence" go... Your call.
On top of 'Flexmindibility', Babies will also literally make you develop your physical dexterity. Not only doing stuff with one hand (like chopping garlic for instance) will have no more secret for you, you will also now excel at picking up stuff with your feet, or squatting like a champ' with 100% "organic" weight on, or typing at the computer while rocking the pram with one leg. As for la crème de la crème of Agility - Well, have you ever tried to Ninja your way out of a peach black room with dead dummies on the floor and 'The Baby that never sleeps' who has finally fallen asleep? Not easy my friend, not easy. And that's without mentioning the occasional crawling on the floor without being seen... Or The Sneaky-Sleeping-Routine, which consists of getting them ready for bed without them noticing it. Aaah... the things we would do to not wake up The Queen!
Fact No 5: Babies teach us to Smile, to Rime & to Shine!
And at least, but definitely not last, Babies will teach you how to smile more often and how to take yourself less seriously, which we are all in big need of. On top of the contagious smiles they will give you every day of the week, Babies will also make you work on your clown faces skills and improve your singing & riming talents. Oh yes, that you want it or not, you will find yourself making up stupid songs with not--so-politically-correct rimes. And that you realise it or not, they will make you reconnect with your inner child and re-awaken the playfulness that had never really left you in the first place. And don't worry about what people think, or how it looks like to others, just let yourself be. Improvise, be creative, let them inspire you. When it's playtime, give them your full attention & be there 100%.
And Yes, Parenthood is a never-ending bitter-sweet symphony that can leave you with a taste of 'Je ne sais quoi' as the French would say, or a taste of 'What the F*** Man?!?' as we say around here. One minute you find yourself swallowing a tablespoon of endives, and the next, a full tub of ice cream. A very disturbing combination... But somehow, one that works. Because as we know, if Bitter didn't exist, Sweet would not be appreciated for its true worth.
So Yes, the bitter is part of the Dance, but with Awareness in mind & a Smile in your heart, there is nothing that cannot be Mastered & Sweetened. No matter what race, age, colour skin you are, no matter how much money you have, a baby is a baby. The very same "basic" issues/questions will arise no matter where you are on this planet. Being Aware of the potential that welcoming & accompanying a life form on earth represents, will however allow us to embrace this Adventure in a more serene & peaceful way, and to let the "Divine/Spirited" Nature of these little Monsters, I mean Wonders, shine right from the start.
Just like You, Babies are Unique. They have their own Blueprint & They are One of the many Wonders this Planet has to offer. Seeing Their Beauty is seeing Your Beauty.