Get everything finished beforehand, because it will be some time before you get anything "important" done again.
Weekends will not be your own. You won't get through the laundry, dishes or yard work. Friends and other family will have to get together without you. New movies, books and news articles will pile up, unwitnessed by you. You'll rock the baby to sleep several times a day and otherwise sit around and stare at him a lot. With everyone's gratitude you'll change every soiled diaper, secretly knowing it is your interlude for special smiles.
The day I met James, a few hours after watching him emerge spectacularly from our daughter, he became my teacher. There in the hospital recovery room he lay swaddled and still on my knees, fists nestled near his staring face. How extraordinary, I thought, that he was welcoming his new world by simply watching. I felt myself slow and somehow not feel guilty doing nothing but stare with my Zen grandbaby.
For years I've been drawn to the "nothingness" of Eastern spiritual practices, and to poets like Rumi and Rilke who sang songs of emptiness beneath the noise of my busy life. There is a state in Buddhism called Dhyāna...collected, full-body awareness in which mind becomes very powerful and still but not frozen, and is thus able to observe and gain insight into the changing flow of experience. (Wiki)
When James arrived, flesh of my flesh, he seemed to model this that I'd longed for: patient stillness with abiding attention. Staring. Have you ever seen a Buddhist monk who wasn't staring? Well OK, often their eyes are closed; maybe they are staring into their interior.
In May, we took four-month-old James outdoors for his first day in nature here at the farm. He lay on a blanket in the maple’s dappled shade, cooing at the birds, breeze and leaves. When he wasn’t cooing, his mouth remained open, tongue slipping in and out examining this place through its soft, wet fluttering. It was active whole-body staring. I mimicked him.
This is a reversal, of course, your grandchild becoming your teacher. The pressure is there to teach a child how to be in the world. But what he needs he has at birth; I learned from him then, and now I must keep reminding myself and him to continue to observe and absorb--to stare actively. Action can emerge almost effortlessly out of this state.
Can it be that simple, when complexities multiply exponentially every day?
I'm not sure yet, but I'm trying it out. After six and a half years of blogging, i decided to stop my blog synch-ro-ni-zing. It had begun to feel like a belabored carousel I wanted to get off. Many things in this world I don't get to choose or unchoose; but there are a few I do.
Active staring is a way to examine in the soul the information swirling into the space of the mind. Rumi said, To the mind there is such a thing as news, whereas to the inner knowing, it is all in the middle of its happening.
It feels good to write again today out of the slowed pace. I believe I will emerge from my womblike cave and re-open synch-ro-ni-zing; after all, the little girl on my sidebar is a kindred spirit of the Zen grandbaby, observing with new eyes and taking notes. Slow down to the pace of the soul, my friend Inge says. I think that is the most important synchronizing a person can do.
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A returning guest from 2 years ago (!), Ruth Mowry comes to us now as a first-time grandma. In fact, today is her grandson's 6-month birthday. This Instagram photo was taken by Ruth's daughter Lesley, James' mommy. Ruth lives on the farm with her husband outside of Detroit, Michigan, and writes...again...at her blog synch-ro-ni-zing. Welcome to V&V, Ruth, and to the joys of grammahood!