Breathing Into Life
Last week, during a particularly hectic day (which day isn’t lately?), I decided to squeeze a load of laundry in. Just as I opened the machine, my older boy ran in and asked if he could help. I wasn’t keen on it as I was in a mad rush, but of course I let him. I dilute my detergent in big pitchers and use a little cup to measure it out. As the pitchers are heavy, my son asked me to pour the liquid into the cup he was already holding. He carefully guided each cupful around the agitator, trying to distribute the soap evenly. My exasperation was building up. We had six to seven more of these elaborate soap circles to go. What was supposed to be a one-minute-stop turned into an extra five I didn’t think I had. But I took a big breath instead. It dawned on me that he had the better idea about life.
My son reminded me of the kind of intention, sense of being and purpose we put into everything we do. I was approaching my task with too many fangs. He approached his with gentleness and grace. I remembered an “aha moment” with the space clearer who worked on my house a few weeks ago. She stood before my stove, sensed the energy and said, “Not everyone who has cooked here cooked with love.” That simple statement brought a lot of things home about the way each of us must strive to approach our chores and how this affects the spaces of our home, workplace, and inevitably, our health.
Last Saturday, I spent the whole day at the Acacia Waldorf School in Sta. Rosa. It was their first annual arts and crafts festival and I went to sell my books and share in the festivities. That simple affair was made special by the warmth and love the parents put into organizing it. The children opened the festival with songs their teacher sang with them. The exchange of joy and trust between teacher and students went straight to my heart. Three weeks before, I had a similar experience in the Manila Waldorf School Advent Fair that our parents work so hard at every year. Every time a community comes together in care and love, something magical happens. Our children truly thrive in that warm space created by our special intentions.
A permanent fixture in all school festivals is a fellow mother our children fondly call Tita Yeyet. Yeyet is famous for her cheese sticks and barbecue. She is the kind of mother hen who will kill if she sees anyone going hungry. I’ve seen her give food to kids who didn’t have enough baon for the day. She’s always plying everyone with food and is more than ready to give everyone a free taste of new recipes. When I’m having a food emergency, Yeyet always comes to the rescue with no fuss and a take-charge attitude every harried mother is grateful for. What makes her food special is the love she puts into her cooking and the genuine happiness she feels when she knows she’s filled tummies all over town. If you want to give love-infused food this Christmas, call Yeyet at 0916-5855724 or 9295270. I can guarantee you her goodies carry big chunks of care in every bite.
These are the things my little boy made me recall that morning I tried to zip through my chores. Life is what you put into it. If we could only breathe deeply into everything we do and aim to do the simplest things with care and joy, our lives would change dramatically. Our tasks would take on kinder dimensions. Think about how that affects the energies in your body and in your home. How much healthier would we be if we all learned to move with true purpose?
Before lunch at my grandmother’s place recently, I asked the same son to wash his hands. He was taking so long that I went to check on him. I found him in the bathroom looking intently at the borders my mother had crocheted on a towel. “How do you do this, Mama?” he asked. My impatience melted at the sight of him appreciating someone else’s labor of love. He is always interested in how things are made. It’s a soul gesture I make every effort not to kill with my stress levels. I’m lucky he reminds me to rest on the softer side of life. I know that my son has the warmth of heart that will inspire him to study how his actions will ripple out into the world and the lives of others when he becomes a man. I have to strive to carry that quality in me as I go about my day. We all do.
It is helpful to remember this as we pant through the Christmas rush. Let’s choose gifts with care, letting our heartfelt intentions guide us. Every gift chosen in panic or exasperation will probably end up as clutter in another’s home, but the simplest gift warmed by authentic intention can light up the darkest corner. Breathe deeply and let your gifts land gently.