Sunday, September 25, 2011

New worlds require lots and lots of energy


I have been spending hours holding a new born baby in the last week.  She is tiny and perfect and tired.  She stretches and makes a face and then, halfway to a cry, falls back into sleep.  Her mom says it's because it's a big, scary, disorienting thing to be born.  Everything is new, not just outside but inside. She's never had to breathe and suck and swallow all at once before.  She's never had to notice so much with her eyes and her ears.  It takes some getting used to, and it takes some rest.

New parents, too, have been born into a new world and they find that their own experience echoes their baby's.  They, too, find that fingers and breath work differently in a world that includes their baby.  They don't eat or sleep or make choices in the same way.  They move between the wonder of their baby and the wonder of being able to close their own eyes and rest.

So often, we look back at a new beginning and remember it as a time of tremendous energy. It's the flip side of being tired: as we begin a new school, a new job, a new journey, we must find more energy than it usually takes to get us through the day.  Later, we remember that energy. At the time, we are what we are as newborns or as new parents: disoriented, tired, curious and sensitive to new vibrations, new vision and new possibilities.

A fresh start doesn't mean waking from a deep, restful sleep to a world where you know what to do and how to do it.  A fresh start means not quite knowing how things work, inside or outside, and being so tired by the effort to learn so much so quickly.  If you are feeling your way through a fresh start now, wrap your attention around that fragile being inside of you and let that child feel safe.  Let yourself rest a little more than usual.  You're doing the hardest work that human beings can do: you're being born into a new world.

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