River is my Guru, my Spiritual Teacher. I learn so much from him on a daily basis.
We learn who we are and what we need to work on through our relationships with others. They are our reflections of what is going on inside of us. I learned and began to embrace this around five years ago. What I didn't realize was that no relationship is exempt. Even the relationship with my son, River, is one of those relationships that can teach me so much about myself.
This past July, at the 80th Birthday celebration for his Holiness the Dalai Lama, the subject came up during a panel discussion about when should we start teaching our children about compassion, empathy, forgiveness and kindness. Everyone agreed that the sooner the better.
I say, the minute they come out of the womb.
We can begin by treating them how we want them to show up, when they grow into walking, talking, beings. I've always thought it necessary (after the age of one) to speak to River in a mature manner; one that denotes respect and consideration. I stopped the baby talk. I would openly ask him his feelings and his perspective on things. Well, his little soul soaked that up like a sponge and as far as I can remember, he has always just gotten things and understood things with little explanation.
From the time River was two years old, he has been "dropping jewels" on me (as I like to call it)--hitting my soul and hard head like boulders. These lessons sometimes warmed my heart with unbelievable joy, and other times he had me asking myself, "Who am I?" and "Who do I want to become?"
Every night right before bed he would spring into action. I had to start writing things down so that I wouldn't forget my "Homework."
He taught me to trust my intuition, to listen to my heart and trust that I know what I need:
"When you make a wish, speak it into the palm of your hand and then let it go. Push it out into the air. If you feel a tingle that means it will come true."
He has taught me to hold my own power and not let others define who I am:
"Whoever tells me who I am supposed to be, I'm going to tell them I'm going to be whoever I say."
He lets me know how powerful and great my presence is:
"When you are not here, I don't feel the Mother Nature."
He pulls my coat when I need to be more patient:
"Go with the flow, Mommy."
He has taught me to embrace my beauty and "jiggly bits:"
"I love who you are. You are beautiful just like you are. I love your Chicken Fat."
He has encouraged me to do what I want, no matter what others may say, and he has taught me to share my stories with the world:
"Share your feelings, Mommy. You have to explode them and sprinkle them all around. You help other mommies. You are a helper."
It's a two-way street.
As I transform and become a better individual, I then become a better parent. As I shift, River's destiny changes. He no longer inherits things that I didn't clean up and clear out of my life. Through my searching, reflecting and embracing, I open his world up to new emotional possibilities. As we continue to remain open to learning from each other, our growth becomes limitless. I've always embraced his ideas and way of thought, adding in my opinion to show him different perspectives. I want him to be comfortable with others presenting new ideas, knowing that he can either accept this different way of thought or stand firm in his own ideas. (Often, he stands firm in his own).
I am aware that there are things in this world that River will have to contend with on his own, lessons that he was put here to learn for his own growth, but as much as I can help with that, I will. As much as I can teach him to prepare him for that journey, I will do so.
My relationship with him keeps me on my toes. I see myself through his eyes, and sometimes it is not pretty.
But I welcome it.
I want to be the best I can be for the both of us. I will show up for class everyday, pencil and pad out, ready to learn about those parts of myself that I keep buried in corners and in boxes where shame and resentment can fester. He helps me remember my purpose. He gives me fuel, so that I don't stop driving on this journey.
River is my Guru, my Spiritual Teacher. I want to continue to learn from him on a daily basis.
After all, he is so damn good at his job.