Thursday, January 12, 2012

Parenting: The Most Magnificent Mess Of All

 I have many roles in my day to day life but none is more important than my role as mother. Parenting is bliss and parenting is agony. Being a mother or father is so terrifying and terrific, like riding the most insane roller coaster in the world or white water rafting over a waterfall to plummet to who knows where. I posted yesterday on Facebook that parenting is the deepest most powerful yoga of all. I know that to be true to the very core of my being.

  I have recently had events with my children which have called me into conflict. I have had to step forward into battle even though it made my stomach churn and my knees shake. This is the heart of it though. In the opening of the Bhagavad Gita, a revered text by many, and yogis in particular, Arjuna is resisting and fearful of the battle he is about to enter. He does not want to harm anyone and is embroiled in internal conflict. Krishna advises him he must go to the battle. He says, "Know what your duty is and do it without hesitation. Blessed are warriors who are given the chance of a battle like this, which calls them to do what is right..."

 Then comes the crucial point and one which I think is the struggle of life and in no case more than in the yoga of parenting. Krishna says, "The wise man lets go of all results, whether good or bad,and is focused on the action alone. Yoga is skill in actions."  This is so hard, beyond difficult. I love my kids with a depth and intensity that is amazing, and also one which leaves me open to intense pain. This is because I want it to be good for them, no, better than good , the best! I would jump in front of a train for them, walk on fire, anything at all. Like Arjuna, despite my doubt and fear, I was called to and entered the battle and have tried to do it skillfully, but I want it to turn out for the good. I am attached to an outcome, a favorable result.

 That attachment permeates my parenting. Here is where parenting can be the deepest most powerful yoga. How might I face the challenge of mothering everyday, do my best, be as skillful as I know how and then let go of the result?  Could I surrender a bit, and acknowledge that they have their own perfectly constructed dharmas (life paths) waiting for them, and that to a certain extent I would best serve them to get out of the way?  I think the yoga is to seek a middle road, one where I know that they are their own people. To find a parenting path that honors that it is not skillful to control them or define myself through them, but to hold space for them in their journey and support them with fierce compassion.

 I am thinking out loud here, and now will leave space to ponder. I shall certainly come back to this topic soon. What do you think?  Namaste everyone! 

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