“[We] become out of balance because of small, daily abuses, and will most completely be healed with small, daily gestures of caring.” - Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa
This promise of the individual’s capacity for self-healing is inherent to Ayurveda, and rests on the understanding that our human body is a microcosm of the universe. In other terms, the same materials found in all of nature--earth, water, fire, air, and space--are also present within us.
For my 6 year-old daughter, this inherent unity (yoga) is as easy for her to accept as it is for her receive the huge hug that awaits her every time she bounces off the school bus. Our family’s creation myth begins with the stars, and our daughter often references the time before she was born as “when I was a star in the sky.” Her six year-old mind has not yet forgotten that she is, in fact, made of the same stuff as the stars—a diamond in the sky—and destined for brilliance. For her mother, it’s a different story…
As the first rays of light beckon me off of my mat and into the kitchen to prepare breakfast, the memory of my inner peace fades, and I focus instead on getting three other people fed, dressed, and out the door by 8 am. By the time that Herculean feat is accomplished, I am plagued with worry, doubt, and resentment. Instead of wondering how I can fulfill my destiny, I’m calculating how I’ll get the laundry done.
I survey the silent wreckage of breakfast in my pajamas and dirty hair, take a full breath in and exhale loudly. It is during the pause that follows the end of that long exhale, that my attention mercifully shifts from being stuck in habitual thinking to wholly present. From this inner vantage point, the future comes into focus. And even if I’m only able to hold this vision for the micro-second before the next breath arises, that moment of clarity illuminates the next right action.
So that as I reset our home, review my endless to-do list, and commence another blessed day, it is with the remembrance that all of it—the home-making, the meditating, the teaching, the cooking and cleaning, the writing, and yes, even the laundry—is in service of my highest intention: to radiate whole-heartedly with the light of awareness.
And of course, as soon as I remember, I forget. And so it goes throughout each day and into the next; forgetting and remembering, abusing and taking care, hurting and healing. But each time I remember is one less time that I forget. Each time I enact a small gesture of self-care: a walk in the woods, a phone call with a friend, a cup of tea, a good night’s sleep, is one less time that I sabotaged myself.
This month, let us practice remembering. Remembering how to care for ourselves. Remembering how to be kind to each other. Remembering that we are brilliant and beautiful. Remembering that we already know who we are and what we are here to do.
And when we forget, because we will, we can sing to remember:
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are?