I'm fortunate to be a volunteer at Ronald McDonald House NY where I teach Restorative Yoga and Meditation in the Wellness Center on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Before a recent class I had an interesting and heart opening conversation with Kayla, an intelligent, angry 8 year old who's been struggling with cancer since she was 4. Yep. Let that sink into your heart for a moment. It was intense. Beyond my comprehension. And a deep learning experience on many levels.
After she went back to her room, my conversation continued with her mom. I'd first met her two weeks ago so we picked up where we left off. She thanked me for the guidance I offered the last time we talked and said our conversation had helped her so much. She used the breathing exercises I offered and they gave her the opportunity to pause during some intense moments with Kayla's doctors. Since I hadn't met Kayla prior to that night, she gave me some background on her daughter's struggles and fears around treatments. We reviewed the breathing exercises, talked about appropriate release of anger, doctors who seem to want to do what's easiest for them rather than what's best for their young patients, caregiving, the importance of self care, surrendering to the journey, and creating healthy boundaries in different areas of her life. It seems other members of the family have also been relying on her for assistance and she's hit her limit.
I led her through an exercise that would help her to: decide where best to place her attention, then set an intention for the situation, and make a commitment to action she could take.
I guided her to set her intention, clarify it, plant it in her heart, and then let it go ... just like planting a seed ... you know, you prepare the soil, dig the hole, put the seed in the hole, cover it and simply let it grow.
You don't dig up the seed every day to see how it's doing.
She immediately stopped me and said, "It's funny you say that. My daughter ALWAYS digs up her seeds to check on them. And the ones that aren't growing, she tosses them out and plants new ones."
Um. But ... Wait. What?
I was speechless. I thought that metaphor was a lock! (Cue the cosmic spit take)
Eyes wide, almost popping out of my head, and my spiritual GPS quickly recalculating back to "beginner's mind" I asked, "Okay ... and what if the seed was just ... a slow grower?"
She laughed and said, "Oh she found one once that looked like it was expanding a little but was growing a lot slower than the others. She laid that seed on TOP of the soil and it ended up growing bigger than the others!"
I said, "Wow, that's brilliant! And of course it makes sense!"
She leaned in and said, "You know, I learn SO much from her. What she taught me was that sometimes we carry way too much stuff on top of us. And sometimes we have to dig ourselves out of the dirt to grow better."
Infinite possibilities. Nothing is a lock.
As I set up for my class, she sat quietly knitting the beautiful blanket she began working on a few weeks ago. The blanket whose soft colors
reminded another volunteer of spumoni. She quietly said, "Each stitch is a piece of my heart ... each stitch is a piece of my love."
Those beautiful thoughts filled the room ... and my heart.
So blessed and grateful, grateful, grateful to be on this brilliant journey.