I babysat for my seven-year-old niece, and my three-month-old nephew, Friday. It was my sister's first night out, since the birth of her son.
My niece is doing very well. As I lived with her the first three years of her life, she is as close as I have to a child of my own. She is a bit timid physically, in part because she lives in the city and doesn't have the freedom to roam, as I did growing up in rural environs. She is also fierce, and stands up for herself without hesitation. She was described by her teacher in her latest report as intelligent, giving, nurturing of the other students, attentive, and self-directing. "I don't have a single bad thing to say about her," said the teacher.
One of the most common words out of her mouth is Gayatri, which is the name of her best friend at school, and also the five headed Goddess of Hindu mythology, the Mother of the Vedas (the worlds oldest spiritual literature), sometimes the feminine form of the all pervading Brahman, sometimes the Mother of All. It is also the name of the most commonly repeated mantra in Hinduism,
Aum Bhur Bhuvah Swah
Tat Savitur Varanyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Which in most translations, loses the feminine from, reverting to the male pronoun He, not at all surprisingly in this hyper-masculinized world. Loosely,
We meditate upon the radiant Divine Light
That Sun of Spiritual Consciousness
The One whose noble thought
Energizes and directs our awakening
This gem of a little girl is the smartest in my niece's class (except maybe for my niece), a fine friend and model for my niece. Born in Guyana, it is a true wonder and blessing, for my niece and myself, that she attends this inner-city public school in America.
When I look at my nephew I see an old soul. From almost the moment he was born he has been striving to get somewhere. He is always striving after the light; but he can't get anywhere, his arms reaching, his legs kicking to no effect, until he works himself into a frustrated tizzy and starts wailing. He makes me think about the new energy that some say is infiltrating the heliosphere, and I wonder, holding him, if some of my energy is feeding his restlessness.
My niece has always been a good sleeper, from the moment she was born going to bed at about 9pm and sleeping until morning. Only once did she wake me up in the night, when I lived with her; and then because she was ill. Friday night I let her stay up late, and she went to bed of her own accord, at around 10:30. Her little brother did not.
I had arrived at about three. From three until 11pm, he slept about thirty minutes. At eleven, he was in his crib wailing. I let him wail, thinking, "This is why I do not have children." He did not want to eat, he did not need a diaper change, he did not want a pacifier, he did not seem to want to be held. At midnight I checked on him again, his wailing unabated.
I picked him up, the light in the room off but the light in the hallway shining bright. Against my chest, he continued to strive to the light. I kept whispering to him that all is well, to be at ease, but he heard nothing, so much was the pull he seemed to feel. I closed the door but for a crack, and held him to my chest in the back corner, my back to the door, swaying back and forth, humming. I held him there a long time, thinking about the feminine, as he gradually wound down, until he was limp, twitching. I held him there longer, and when I felt he was ready I set him in his crib. He opened his eyes and looked at me and then at the light, and closed them. Three more times he looked at me and then the light, until finally, he let go, sleeping the rest of the night without waking.
I have long been on a path of healing. Even so, the idea of healing another is an idea as foreign to me as any other language I don't know. The cards have been telling me I have an abundance of healing energy now, enough to share, but I have no idea what that means.
Spending time with these children, I begin to.