‘Don’t you know the meaning of the first cry of the new-born child? The child, when it is born, hears at once the cries of the earth and water and sky, which surround him,—and they all cry to him, “We exist,” and his tiny little heart responds, and cries out in its turn, “I exist.” My poetry is like the cry of that new-born child. It is a response to the cry of the Universe.’
(spoken by the character of Sruti-bhushan, the Pundit, in ‘The Cycle of Spring’ by Rabindranath Tagore)
Spring is said to inspire a sense of the miraculous. We turn to the ‘outside’ and expect life-affirming bursts of colour and growth. But when you expect that surge of energy and life and what you encounter is ice and cold, it’s . . . . well, hard to get in the mood. It’s spring, but there are still 2 feet of snow on our balcony!
One could make a similar observation about family life. A young child is bursting with energy and life-force. Like spring weather, little ones motivate us parents to Get Up and Get Going and Enjoy Things. Then, as they grow and enter young adulthood, that same irrepressible life force changes. And parents often have to turn to ourselves to find the drive to thrive – similarly to the way in which one copes with winter: with deliberate effort, cultivating warmth and enthusiasm from the inside out.
It’s hard when a Sense of the Wonderful seems lost. When we expect spring but encounter snow and cold. When we expect the Miracle of Life and are faced with chores and assignments, duties and discipline, mood swings and mix-ups.
Do you remember when your baby was born, and everything just Made Sense? My sense of the miraculous was completely restored and refreshed. All Things Are Possible! Life Is Good! I am because I am! During the early years, just being there for your little one is enough. A hug can comfort any sorrow, chase away midnight fears, re-establish a sense of well-being. Any parent of a teen will concur that that was truly a precious time, which does pass.
It is possible to restore one’s sense of certainty about the wonder of our Existence, but it requires having a bit of faith – that spring will come, despite the snow and cold, or that a Sense of the Miraculous is inside us somewhere, even when we are not immediately reminded of it by our surrounding environment.
I am heartened by the words of Tagore. In fact, by any Indian philosophy that asserts that life itself is of meaning and worth loving and celebrating – even if you are simply washing your underpants! Thousands of years of accumulated philosophy accentuating the positive makes a wonderful breath of Fresh Spring Air for the spirit.
We are human beings, not human doings or human havings. Just remembering that helps me to focus our days in a whole new way. Takes the edge off the challenges, the obstacles, the expectations. Our hearts can cry out ‘we exist’ just like the trees and the newborns, and we can love our children (and ourselves) just as they (we) ‘are’.
So here’s wishing you a Sense of the Miraculous this spring, whether the weather is inspiring, or you have to turn inwards to find that magical sense of well-being. Happy homeschooling in the new season!
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