Our children are our teachers, mirrors deep as the sea Each trigger a new learning point, pushed relentlessly Lessons learned the hard way on the messy path to growth No route free of worry or strife, I’ve made my peace with both But the love they bring is infinite, burning brighter than the stars Unlocking our emotions, healing wounds and scars Reminding us to play, to laugh, to live in a world that’s free From the echoes of the past, from the future we strain to see I thought I’d be the master, wise and serene as a Yogi Yoda Just when I think it’s all figured out, they go and grow up older School is never out in this game of life we play We are what they grow beyond. Their children show them the way.
Many in the spiritual community believe we’re undergoing a transformation of consciousness and I’m fascinated by this idea at the moment, not least because I’m somewhat of an optimist, idealist, dreamer…[insert derogatory word of choice here]. Yet I’ve long felt in my heart that there’s something not quite right with how we’re living, that a more harmonious way of being in the world is within our reach, if only we could figure out the path to get there.
Imagine my delight when I came across a book titled, ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible’ by Charles Eisenstein. Martha Beck was my spirit guide on the way of integrity in 2021, I think Charles may be my guide for 2022. Like Martha, he speaks to me of many things which I’ve felt in my heart to by true but couldn’t quite find the words for.
Capturing my attention at the moment are his ideas around the myth of the separate self. He writes that our modern civilisation is built on the idea that we are all separate: each person is distinct from one another, and they in turn are distinct from the planet, we are separate from nature. But there is another story we can tell ourselves which he terms the story of interbeing. This centres around a story of connectedness; that my being is part of your being and we are all part of each other, that every act is significant (so a little kindness day to day goes a long way, something I’ve written about before), that each of us is born with a gift and the purpose of our life on Earth is to express that gift. I must admit, this story appeals to me much more than the dominant narrative of our culture that the purpose of life is to earn as much money as possible so we can enjoy our retirement and then die.
To be fair, if you asked many people what the most important thing in life was I think most would agree it’s family and relationships, yet the systems in which we live and the work required in these systems to succeed or survive leave little time for the things that actually give life meaning and make the world a better place.
What has all this got to do with the context of my poem, you may be wondering? Well my son, in the way that only nine year olds can, showed me how much I am still very much invested in the story of separation, despite wishing otherwise. He asked me who I would love more, him or a stranger I met on the street (I also get other variations of this question, who do you love more, me or my sister? If you had to choose between me dying and a stranger dying, who would you pick?)
Despite wanting to believe in the story of interbeing, my answer is always the same: I love my son more than a stranger, but just as much as his sister and all our family members because (stock answer), my love for our family is infinite. So how do I transcend this paradigm to have love for all things in the same way I love my children? I don’t have the answers. They may not even come in my lifetime or theirs; this will be the work of generations.
But just imagine for a second living in a world where people had love for all things: a world where we loved one another, the Earth and all of its inhabitants just as much as we loved our family. I think that would be a pretty amazing world. I wonder what steps we could take in our lifetime to help future generations work towards it?
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