A Gift and Message of Love
My lil Pup popped up with this board book and the photo on top of it out of who knows where during the holidays. She came frisking into the room, so pleased with herself and dropped them at my feet. I don’t know why the photo and book were together. I don’t know where they were stored or how she had access to them. And yet, here she is with them.
The board book I read to my children. It’s a father bunny passively tiring out the little one as they compete with ideas of who loves who more in a loving challenge of wits.
I didn’t give the book too much thought at first. I was a little surprised the book and photo were paired, having no memory how or why. I remembered the photo from albums. It’s fun or at least interesting how photos have layers of stories in them. When I look at the photo, I feel like I can remember being in that seat I’m in. YUP, that’s me. I’m the almost 4 month old baby. The seat has springs for bouncing up and down, and wheels to move in any direction. The cool feel of the stainless steel tray on my fingertips and the hard back rest also feel very visceral rather than imagined. Crazy, right? I noticed the look in my face, my eyes so focused, the blur movement in my left hand, the subtle tension of explosion apparent in my body. We all know that universal baby body moment. It’s happiness, joy, connection. Love.
I’m in the kitchen. I associate the kitchen with my women. My mother. I notice the size of the space, the chair, the doorway, the hallway behind me. I’m transported to the baby me growing, a toddler, a young child, the remodel of the entry to the kitchen. I remember sitting in that chair for many reasons. I remember sneaking off that chair to put food back in the pots so it looked like I ate my food and then I wouldn’t have to stay at the table until I finished. Looking into the hall, I remembered going halfway down those steps so quietly, into the basement wanting to be with my mother while she was working in her office, but knowing I couldn’t, shouldn’t. I remember sitting in THE CORNER, just over the shoulder of the baby me, who maybe did or didn’t know about it yet, because she had a brother 6 years older who was certainly already in THE CORNER sometimes. But, in this moment, I was only barely 4 months old. HERE, in this moment, I was a baby exploding with love.
I was safe, familiar, happy. I realized after this run of memories, this moment, I was having new experiences with this photo, even though the photo was not new to me. My father was the picture taker. Sure, the kitchen I associated with mom, the women, and my previous memories or questions were simpler, maybe more about the women, but now I was looking around, outside the kitchen and also realizing my father was the photographer.
That erupting, safe, joyful love was for my father. We were in this moment together. Him, me. Nothing else. No past, no future. Whatever else was happening, whatever else that was coming that we could or could not know, this purity existed, between us. He was in a joy that he wanted to capture, and he did.
I had seen this picture on and off and still it was new. I was reminded that every time we visit something it is from the perspective we are ready for. We are always in our own present, even if we seem to be set in patterns. Where is the now?
Families can be complicated. Life itself is complex. Our perspectives can complicate them more or free them. Perspectives change. It’s story making most of the time, and without challenging them, updating them, having curiosity about ourselves, our world-view, we might not know how we are growing unless we welcome a newness or at least notice when we are in the space of newness. I enjoyed noticing this newness and the surprise of these moments.
There’s something else we can explore together. Often, people I meet with wonder about signs, memories, or imagining things - mind formations. How can we tell the difference? I could say my pup delivered a message from my loved ones, being with me on the holiday. It could easily seem so. Out of no where this book, this photo shows up, delivered at a quiet moment, and I can easily put more into this without much effort. Maybe it is so. There are a few new understandings I have had looking at this photo, and pairing it with this book from the father’s perspective, all the more poignant. I can feel him, his mischief and joy filling all of my senses. He was a potent person. Whatever he was feeling emanated easily, even if he was quiet. My pup is a very empathetically in tune little lady. She even scored off the charts in several categories in this assessment service we signed up for Dognition, which is a lot of fun if you want to check it out. Was she in tune and a messenger? It certainly was fantastic, and fills me with love to receive this gift from my little girl, intentional or not. Who can know? Can we be content with this not-knowing and simply be in the moments of our relationship?
I often share with people, how can we know? And do we need to know, or do we need to trust? Be. We are many aspects, most of which are intangible. Mental, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and even much or our physical is intangible. Perhaps our spiritual selves are in conversation and it trickles down into the “meat” of us and we think we have an idea. It may not be as dazzling as a prime time tv show “message” or sign, but we are in flow with thoughts, decisions, ideas, clarity, emotions. We have a sense of purity about it rather than anxiety. We can experience our relationships with our senses or our knowing in a way that is not easy to dismiss or describe and it can be momentary, timeless, maybe almost unrecognizable because it is familiar enough to us. These are, after all, our own relationships. No big deal. Why does it need to be flashy? It is of love, feeling safe, comfortable, a continuation like having a cuppa something. It simply is, because we are.
Here are two exercises that are not complicated, that will set us on the path of self trust and identifying our relationships with each other, with messages, and formations.
I often will remind people when we have this conversations, to feel, sense, and imagine what it is like to sit with 2 people they know intimately, maybe a parent and a partner. Then, to bring in the body awareness of how they feel different from one another, whatever that may be. This is a recognition of their essential, energetic self, like their energetic signature or thumb-print. Usually people have an idea of what I mean. Next, I ask them to really sense into how different they each present, and to lock that into their recognition. It is not so difficult to do, because we are very aware of each other, whether we slow down enough to do this consciously or not, once we call attention to it, we suddenly realize that we all know what this is. Maybe it more animal than woo-woo. We KNOW each other. It’s part of the mysteries of our being. Take a minute or so to give this a try. It’s another form of stillness, but it doesn’t have to be a long time. Your being knows what to do. Trust it, it being your self.
From here, we can go the next step of knowing and inner trust. We know when we are remembering. We know when we are using our mind to make something out of a situation, like making something fit when maybe it’s a stretch but we really want it to, we also know when we KNOW - when something is because it is.
Leaning in in this way, combining the two, we can answer for ourselves in the present and in reflection, these moments. It doesn’t have to be either or, it can be AND. We can be having memories, new perspectives AND a gift of messages, connections. Our relationships continue, grow, evolve along with us. As our perspectives and curiosity allow, we move through time. Time is nothing other than our evolution with our without our awareness. Our bodies, our circumstances, experiences. That saying, time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. We evolve or don’t, or maybe some of both. It’s the curiosity we embrace our lives, our moments that allows healing or discovery, movement.
Opportunities for messages, gifts, pivotal moments are absolutely everywhere. Everything is Everywhere. What we are open to noticing, receiving is up to us. Where we set our gaze is what we will see.
I enjoyed the gift of this photo with the pairing of the book. Together, they were made more meaningful. It is a great reflection, made more so by this time of year and all many of us are thinking about and feeling. I have a lot of trust that what I found meaningful was exactly what I was ready for and the message was loving, guiding, expansive. I have enjoyed it in very personal ways. As such, of course it is connecting me more to my father and other loved ones, and I believe the love is flowing beautifully between us. I’m glad for this. I easily could’ve put the book and photo away somewhere, shrugged it off, thought, silly pup getting into things all the time. She is young and into everything.Would I have missed an opportunity, a message? No. Something in me would’ve not been at the ready place. Who knows what we notice and do not notice in the course of a day. We simply are as we are and show up as we are able. Where is the now?
As it was, I accepted this invitation. I was in some kind of readiness to accept the specific invitations that I hadn’t noticed before. Divine message? Who knows! Expansive? Yes. A gift? Yes. I love you too, Dad. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah.
May we all have peace and love in our hearts as the truest message connecting us all.
Ama la vita d’altro,
Rev. Dr. Birdi Sinclair
Interfaith Spiritual Care and Counseling
Wholeness Arts Specialist and Creator
“Begin Peace now. Each now is new.”
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