I’m halfway into my luxe birthday gift, a hot stone massage, when Alexis squeezes my calf so hard I bite my lip. She lets up just as I’m just about to wave a white flag, and my leg feels amazing. Energy courses the length of my muscles. In the midst of enjoying this flow, my head suddenly bursts with a visual of my whole life mapped as a swirling spiral. I see the paths of personal relationships, professions, education, travel, personal pursuits, stirring, seemingly unrelated, like stars in a galaxy, until they converge on a central point of uncompromised clarity and harmony, before swirling out again.
The axis of my life is an unexpected pinpoint in this galactic metaphor. It falls at about 2 a.m. on a weeknight in 2009. I hear the tinny cry. She’s hungry. I yank off the covers and rush over to the crib, before she gets too worked up.
Four hours later, I’ll begin the workday rush, feeding hastily, packing bottles and diapers, finding my right black heel and checking lapels for spit-up. My greatest daily accomplishments will include keeping my eyes open and extracting enough milk at strategically timed breaks to fill the next day’s bottles. Team meetings, production schedules and budget plans will line the blurred hours. But not a lick of this matters now.
I retrieve her warm, curled body and settle into the glider. The dormer blinds are cracked, and the street lamp confirms that we are completely alone in the cold, dense night. No cars, no movement, no sound. I don’t think; I simply pull her to me and lock on her starlight eyes. Her miniature fingers grab at my hair, stroking as she stares back with contentment and gratitude.
While her little belly fills, she inflates my heart, fuller than it’s ever been. Coming out of a dead slumber, my mind is clear and I simply feel the overwhelming peace and presence of this connection. The stillness is not just the night outside, it is a peace that fills this moment with timeless purity.
This simple moment in time is a vessel for the essence of motherly love, something ancient and untouchable. It was always there, but not clear to me. Everything in my life leading up to this moment was unknowingly seeking, moving toward this point of equilibrium. The next day, life would spin back out, but in a new direction, with this moment of clarity as a guiding compass.
I’d saved this memory in the treasure box of my heart, along with my little one’s belly laughs, grasping sausage fingers and raspberry bubbles. These cherished moments in my memory bank, though, were fleeting, guised with the natural second-guessing of a new parent and looming responsibilities always tugging. Not until lying on a massage table six years later do I realize the significance of this distinct nighttime memory in the chain of my life’s events. I’d never seen it as the central fulcrum around which all pulls and swirls, echoing its fundamental truth amidst the distraction of life itself.
Now I suddenly see how in this enduring moment I fully embraced and honored pure love. Its relevance is stealthily unlocked from my cells, signaled by a parallel experience of hanging at the end of my physical rope while suddenly flooded with joy, invoking the full beauty of my memory and its rightful place in my heart. By connecting through my body, I see for the first time how every path in life was always pulling me to this point of recognition, which since has served as the undercurrent of all that I do, all that I’ve become.
When I sit up after my massage and my bleary eyes refocus, the first thing I see is the concentric arcs of three seashells in a painting I’d not previously noticed, solidifying the vision of my life’s spiral.
This post also was featured on Yoganonymous.
- Describe a time when you experienced a mind-body-spirit connection. What significance or perspective shift did it bring to you?
- Think about and describe the sensations in your body, both obvious and subtle, following physical activity engaging your muscles, be it asana, exercise, gardening, Thai massage, or something else.
- Note how your body feels when you think of a happy, peaceful memory versus a sad or stressful time.