Mama swing. Mama swing.

Hey there,

Snapped after a morning on the beach and…you guessed it…the swings.

Snapped after a morning on the beach and…you guessed it…the swings.

Bodhi is nearly two years old. And ever since the day he was born, he’s loved movement. I think for a good six months he was rarely put down (Eugene, would you agree?). Babywearing [we had three different baby carriers], rocking, bouncing, walking, swinging. He loved it all. Still does. Perhaps it was all that prenatal yoga and dancing with him in the womb.

Now, there’s a swing set near our house in Rhode Island that overlooks a park, boat house, and a marina with boats and ducks and geese. We literally walk there almost everyday and Bodhi runs to the swings. He’d be there for hours if he could. And, when he started to talk more, he’d point to the regular swing next to his infant one and say, “Mama swing. Mama swing.”

That started maybe four or five months ago. Him saying, “Mama swing. Mama swing.”

Amongst the chilly mornings, the fog, the days where I was so sad about moving that I could barely get myself out the door, we swang together. On the gorgeous days with the sun burning above and creating a mirror effect of the blue sky on the water, we swang.

On the days when Bodhi started having toddler temper tantrums and I was in the throes of figuring out what the heck to do next with my career and/or choose to stay home, we swang. On days where I felt like I would never stop crying, we swang.

And, you know what? After every single park visit, I’d walk home with just a little more buoyancy. It didn’t always last much longer than a few hours, but it was there. Feeling the air on my face and the lightness of being on that swing set brought out a reminder of the kind of joy that children burst with nearly every day. It brought a reminder that everything changes, especially as we watched the seasons change in that park from fall to winter to spring and now summer.

***

The other day, Eugene, Bodhi, and I spent a morning at the beach. After we came home, we decided to walk past the park to the ice cream shop. Bodhi asked to swing, so we made our stop. He climbs in to the infant seat. “Papa push you,” he says (meaning, Push me). “Mama swing.”

So, I swang. I leaned back and lifted my heart and eyes to the sky. I felt the breeze, felt the spaciousness, the aliveness of being, my hair whipping back and forth. I think I was smiling. I caught Eugene watching my moment, too.

My dearest friends, THIS is yoga in action. Not one yoga pose. Not one breathing technique. And, rather awareness of the way that I felt on that swing set next to my son. Yoga is the constant witness, the awakened awareness to what instills lightness, freedom, inner knowing, peace, and then making the time to recreate that experience again and again and again. That’s where healing can begin. Bodhi gets it. He always has. He’s my teacher in so many ways.

When we’re going through challenging times, yoga helps us open our hearts to self-compassion and to surrender. Yoga encourages us to ask for what we need, and to invite stillness to listen to the answer. I believe that when you ask for peace and healing and self-love, tools will be gently placed along your path, like Bodhi’s encouragement. My question to you is: Are you open to receiving these tools, even in their perceived “simplicity?” Look around you. Listen. The answers and guidance are there, sometimes in the form of a toddler.

I’d love to hear what has brought you closer to joy in some of your darkest times. Please write to me and share. Maybe, I’ll compile enough of them anonymously to share here. And, Happy Birthday to our Bodhi Bear. You’re forever teaching this mama how to love and be in this world.

With love,
Leanne



Thanking the rocks [a toddler lesson]

Hey there,

Bodhi has gotten into this remarkable habit of thanking everything. He says “Thank you” when you give him a cup of cereal (his favorite treat EVER). He says it when you take off his mittens. He says it when he takes off his coat. He says it when he piles up toys in a corner. We’re not always sure who or what he’s thanking, but it’s always with deep sincerity (and it always makes me smile).

The other day, we were outside in the backyard. There’s about 20 trees out there, and one in particular has a sturdy trunk with one of those divets in the root where water pools and rocks have collected over the years. Bodhi has gotten in the habit of diving his little fingers into the pool of water, retrieving the rocks, piling them up on our patio, and then walking them back over to the tree.

Bodhi in the rain, playing with the rocks at the root of the tree

Bodhi in the rain, playing with the rocks at the root of the tree

I watched him do this the other day. He’s so methodical, sometimes walking over to me to say “See ‘em” to the rocks or have me hold them. On this particular day, he started to place the rocks one by one back into the tree saying “thank you” to each one as he returned them to their home. It was one of the most precious things I have ever seen. Bodhi Bear, barely a toddler, thanking the rocks, caring for them as gingerly as we would a baby. It has gotten me thinking:

When was the last time you thanked the rocks?
When was the last time you thanked the trees?
When was the last time you thanked the sun?
The moon?
The clouds?
The ocean tides?

And, to take it further…
When was the last time you thanked a friend?
A parent?
A spouse?
Your body?
Your heart?
Your spirit?

I’ve had this theory for a long time now that babies and toddlers are so wise. They are born with a higher sense of consciousness and intelligence than maybe many give credit for because they are still learning to talk, move, express. Their wonder is great. Their instincts are pure.

Bodhi showed me that day how connected we naturally are to nature. How what we see on the outside is often a reflection of what’s going on inside. He sees wonder in nature. He sees wonder in his own hands and belly and now his elbows are especially intriguing. He’s continually inspired by the outdoors and he reminds me of our natural connection to it, too.

Try spending more time outdoors and express your gratitude. As you head to a river’s edge, thank the water for the life it brings. Go outside, stand under the trees, and feel gratitude for the fresh air. Stare at the stars in the inky sky, and thank the Universe for its beauty and its mystery. As you start to feel gratitude for the natural state of wonder that’s around you, I’m betting you’ll start to feel it within, too. Thank you, Bodhi, for thanking the rocks. You teach me so much everyday.

With love,
Leanne