It has been 26 years since I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the intricate lessons from an infant. They arrive into this world with complete presence and a spiritual awareness that gets lost throughout the years. We, as parents and caretakers, mold a child and tarnish their essences from the openness to the deformity of what is acceptable in our society. How very sad! I am guilty and have been responsible for this as well. Now, in my years of middle age, I can appreciate and marvel at the teachings from a little one. It takes a second chance at raising a child to notice what was once dismissed in youth:
1. Be present at all times. A baby isn’t worried about anything but what (s)he needs. They are completely living in the moment. They poop and cry to be changed. They are hungry and cry to be fed. They are tired and cry to be put down. Time is an illusion. Babies have no sense of an hour, a minute or a day.
2. Vulnerability is strength. Babies don’t worry about what you think. You smile, they smile. They ask for everything through a cry or scream. Their facial expressions are endless. They show openness at all times. A baby isn’t thinking, “What will they think of me when I crap? What will they think of me when I pass gas?” There are no mixed signals of what they want and cannot have. They don’t make excuses for it their desires. They wear vulnerability as their main guidance and trait.
3. The world is a playground. A baby will marvel at a red bowl, a stuffed animal, or a sofa cushion with the same intensity of wonder. They study it with a beautiful bewilderment of learning. They are constantly studying their surroundings. You can leave the room and return and they will look at you with appreciation. The acquired knowledge is miraculous. Every part of their day is magical while they reach a milestone: whether it is sitting up, crawling, talking or walking. A baby relishes in playtime. Their curiosity allows them to turn everything into an adventure.
4. A smile is contagious. Babies are pure joy. They mimic smiles. They smile, you smile, and the continuous action turns into laughter. Their eyes even smile. They are pure ecstatic energy. Babies teach us to find happiness in every corner. A smile is a mood enhancer.
5. Touch is a means of survival. Babies require touch. They depend on it for their existence. They require the hands of an adult to care for them. They will grab on to a finger, a hand, a leg or whatever they can to feel the touch of safety.
6. Love enters through birth. You want to know God, spend some time with a baby. They are the embodiment of love and spirit. They are raw, without judgment, and full of divine light. To be this open as an adult is a gift for our humanness. It would benefit us tremendously to keep an open heart. Infants are ego-less. They love and forgive every second.
7. Every day is a miracle. Each morning my granddaughter looks at me and her environment as if it was the first mystical moment of her life. She coos and jerks with excitement. I wake to this and for a few seconds think about how she is seeing her world. I am reminded that there is always something to be grateful about during our day. Babies live through the generosity of miracles and God.
8. Never give up. Babies keep trying to roll over, to sit, to stand and to walk. With every milestone they keep moving forward. They don’t give up. They have the most tenacious spirit out there. Survival of the fittest! They fall and get right back up as if the ground is their cheerleader.
9. Don’t feel guilty for sleeping. In our society we are scrutinized for taking naps. I personally like to go to bed early and rise before the sun is out. Those around me usually have some kind of sarcastic or negative comment about my sleeping routines. For many years I would be frazzled by the judgments. Babies don’t care. They are the best teachers in how to sleep peacefully. They are tired so they sleep. They also teach us how precious sleep plays a huge role in our clarity, concentration, and personality.
10. Be authentic to your knowing. Babies are great judge of characters. When they feel comfortable with someone they will let you know it. They are at home in your arms. If they don’t feel safe they will scream. Babies teach us that we must follow our gut. It is this divine knowing that gets clouded later on in childhood.
Every new day I am learning from my sweet baby girl. She is reminding me what is important. I am blessed by the lessons. Teachers arrive in all shapes and sizes. Lately mine is a tiny 15-1/2 lbs. baby girl with a tender heart and a smile that melts me in seconds.
About the Author: Millie A. Mestril
After raising six children, working in the corporate world, and being part of a relationship for eighteen years, I found that happiness was not consistent in my world. I left the business world, ended a relationship that was deteriorating and headed to the mountains. My best friend and I bought a small motel in the middle of gorgeous country and began the greatest journey. What started as a visit to Asheville in May of 2010 became a permanent home for us. Now with only one teenager at home, I am able to be part of a wonderful world of meeting people from all walks of life. We’ve transformed an old gem of a place into a sweet and quaint oasis for others to find peace. To those looking into our lives it seems we saved Peaceful Quest Retreats, but the reality is that this place saved us. Every day brings joy, inspiration and a zest for life I never knew existed. The lessons have not always been easy but the ride has been scenic and delightful. I can’t imagine ever returning to a life that was not authentic to my spirit. ~ Millie A. Mestril
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