She walks the path before her with curiosity, wearing the mantle of bold exploration. She sees the people we pass along the way with jubilation and greets every individual with a gusto-infused, “Hi! I see you!” The thought doesn’t even cross her mind to question whether every person she meets should be recognized and looked in the eye and given individual acknowledgment, or ignored instead, in the name of self-preservation and the more “reasonable” pursuit of getting straight to her end destination without “inconvenient” delay. In fact, it is the delay that delights her, making her end destination merely one option of many possible enticing conclusions to her day. She would be happy to arrive at her intended destination and enjoy it for what it is, but if we were to have to turn back before we got there, she would hardly notice, for the fact that she made the most of the journey, seeing everything, exploring everything, engaging everything and valuing everything without the application of judgement, criticism or measure. She shows up fully and completely, as if any other option simply didn’t exist. She doesn’t miss a thing. The only thing she does not see are the societal bars that the adults who surround her have built up around themselves and others. She does not see those barriers- she sees right through them as if they were never there, and she walks with unbounded freedom between souls.
She explores her body with sweet curiosity and delight. She loves her fingers and adores her toes. She delights in her bellybutton, tickling herself and inviting others to share in her discovery of such a fascinating dimple in the middle of her belly. In her quiet moments she often lovingly pats her chest and her tummy in total contentment. She savors the unique nature of her ears, the flexibility of her tongue and the curl of her hair. She moves and dances in pure freedom and joyful self-expression. She exhibits no signs of shame or embarrassment about her little body- the beautiful little vessel that could never fully reflect the greatness or the bigness of the spirit it delicately carries within.
She speaks the truth plainly and with confidence, without mincing words, calculating manipulation or doubtful self-guessing. She speaks openly and simply, without pretense. She speaks with love and delight and pure honesty. Anything other than honesty doesn’t even cross her mind.
Where did I get lost along the way?
When did I lose my delight in seeing others fully without the need to apply external measurements or critique with demeaning, ignorant, assuming judgments? And when did I start to question my intuition? When did my small yet powerful inner voice lose it’s place and meaningfulness in my life?
When did I start believing that my body might be displeasing to others who only see their superficial estimations of me? When did I start believing that, for some reason, their poor estimations and demeaning judgments of my earthly vessel mattered at all in the least?
When do we go astray on our path through life? When do we begin to qualify and limit the truth? When does the truth become negotiable? When does our presentation of the truth become a tool to get what we want? When does it become OK to pimp the truth as a means to obtain whatever desired end in mind?
When my baby girl first came into the world, I assumed it was my responsibility to guide and teach her and open her eyes, and it was her responsibility to receive and listen and obey. What a foolish, short-sighted, limiting assumption. Healthful, relational giving is never a one-way street. In the beginning I did not fully comprehend the immensity of the gift I held in my arms, failing to realize that she would be a compass to rediscovering reality, a shining example of so many beautiful truths that I had somehow forgotten along the way. Though it is my undeniable responsibility to protect and guide her to the very best of my ability, I do not have a monopoly on clear sight or the truth. What a pleasure it is to continually learn from her too, as she gently, gleefully reminds me of the glorious truths I once knew, but have since slipped from my fingertips. I am honored to watch and listen to her beautiful, blossoming soul, taking in the fullness of the essence that is she and she alone.
What an inexpressibly beautiful journey,
My Child and Me.
Written when Eliana was 1 year and 7 months old.