Spiritual Lessons of Parenthood

3 Minutes Read

Ray1-654167-edited.jpgOne year ago today I watched the sun come up in my hospital room while Steve and I welcomed our daughter into the world.

I have heard many people say that the journey of parenthood is a spiritual one and reflecting on this past year, it has been both a learning challenge and simultaneously the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced.
Several spiritual lessons and concepts are an inherent part of being a conscious parent. Like the most rigorous spiritual practice, being a parent demands devotion, awareness of yourself and others and it teaches you how to let go. I have only been at this job for a year and I know that these lessons will expand and unfold in the precious time we have to raise our child.
Here are some of the lessons I continue to learn spending time with Baby Ray. 

Lesson #1: Devotional Service

Imagine you are in a relationship with someone. Things are going well, you are in love and then suddenly they start waking you up at three o’clock in the morning every night screaming,

“Make me a sandwich!”

You run to the kitchen and make them some food. When you get back they are sitting up in the bed with wide eyes laughing hysterically.

“I wet the bed. Give me a bath and clean me up.”

Thirty minutes later you have your beloved all cleaned up and fed but now they won’t go back to sleep.

“Can you carry me around the house for awhile?” They whine.

You know it is a ridiculous request but when you hesitate they start screaming again, so you gather them up in your arms. For several hours you carry them until they finally fall asleep.

With burning arms and an aching back you set them down and tuck yourself back in to bed exhausted and then the alarm goes off.

If you were in a relationship and your partner started making these ridiculous demands my guess is that your warm feelings would evaporate in a heartbeat. And yet, as a parents we don't hesitate to care for children in exactly this way. I can't call it anything but blind devotion. It is a wholehearted love and spiritual service for the future someone our children will become. We ask for nothing in return (OK..maybe we ask in vain that our sweet Little Ones "please please sleep").

Read more about this in my new book

Lesson #2: Let Go and Don't Give Up

Audrey has mastered climbing up the 5 stairs we have in our house and sliding back down on her tummy but she hasn't taken her first steps yet. As she is learning to stand without help, occasionally she will take a tumble and cry a little bit. It is fascinating to watch her cry for just a moment and then start to work on her project. She doesn't get stuck on the fact that she has "failed" to do it the first thousand times or more. In fact it is exactly because she has to keep pushing herself back up from sitting that her leg muscles strengthen and her coordination improves. 

What a powerful metaphorical lesson for us adults who give up on projects if they don't succeed with flying colours the first, second or third time around?

Watching Baby Ray let go of what happened five minutes ago because she is so focused on her project of walking has helped me not stay so beholden to my past and the stories I carry around. Watching her try to figure out how to walk from different angles has allowed me to become a better problem solver.

Lesson #3: Paying Attention To What is Important

Having a child who is growing and changing so rapidly is one of the best reminders to stop wasting time on petty things and start paying attention to what is important. I can't tell you the number of times I have been engrossed with some small drama like a miscommunication with a client or a problem with a delivery only to have this little person crawl over and start baby yelling at me. In my mind she says:

"Hey lady, over here! It is so boring watching you frown at your computer when there is all this fun stuff we could be doing together. You are missing it."

On a small scale this reminds me that in ten years I won't look back and be glad I spent time stressing about some minute detail of my business communication over spending time with my baby. 

On a larger scale, watching her grow so quickly is a lesson that life changes in the blink of an eye. It seems like only days ago she was a newborn in my arms and today she is a full blown personality laughing as she gets pushed on the swing and waves at people walking by. As she changes I cherish all the moments I get with her and know that there is no time or energy to waste in life. In the last year I have shifted towards only doing things that fill me with joy and only spending time with positive and inspiring people.

What lessons have you learned from the little people in your life? Share in the comments below.