I just held my first grandchild in my arms for the first time. What an amazingly emotional and spiritual event. I can’t begin to say that I understand what it means in its entirety. To gaze down upon this beautiful new miracle, this amazing gift, this bundle of limitless potential and possibility is mind boggling.
I think also that this is the beginning of what we refer to as the Essential
Journey for this babe. Right now I find myself wondering what unique talents and gifts this little one has been blessed with. And I wonder how those gifts will be expressed over a lifetime and beyond, because surely she will leave her contribution in the world. And I wonder how her longing to grow will be offset by her stronger urge to survive based on the circumstances of her life. What adaptations will appear and what stories of limits, boundaries and weaknesses will she learn to tell Herself? For we all adapt and we all tell ourselves these stories.
And what will be my role in these stories? How will my presence influence this little one? I’ve learned that no matter how loving and positive an environment, we learn and adapt at a very young age. Adaptations arise in the most surprising of ways.The most poignant example I have seen is of a person I respect greatly who has a fear of sounding stupid. She isn’t in any way … I have a huge degree of respect for her insights and abilities. But because of this she may at times hold back from contributing because of this fear. It didn’t arise in her out of any mistreatment or lack of affection at home. In fact she describes her childhood as a beautiful and loving time.
No, what was at work here was a difference in the way people process information. My acquaintance is a “think out loud” type. Someone who likes to bounce ideas off others and seek input as the idea develops. Her parents were both people who internalized their thinking and presented finished ideas. The child watching this naturally thought her parents knew everything and thus the fact that she couldn’t process things the same way led her to tell herself a story that she wasn’t smart enough, and that thinking things through out loud might make her sound stupid. So better to say nothing at all.
So if adaptation can be that innocent, what can we expect for Anadella? How will we impact her? And then how will we help her understand that they are still a gift, magnificent in her own right? Help her always be aware that they have unique and essential gifts to express and to contribute to the world? And what can I do to help this child always feel it is okay, right, safe, necessary even to live in these gifts each moment and to share them with those around her?
I have no doubt that adaptation is something that happens to all of us. It is our nature. Where this process can be problematic for us is when we lose our self awareness of our essential nature and thus the joy of living in our gifts and in connection with others. How will Grandpa be present in all of this?