Kai’s First Lesson – Openness

8 Jul

I just have to say, being a mom is quite simply the best.  Just for the purpose of  recording history, today is a beautiful day – sun is shining, birds are singing, and the wind is blowing.  Today I took some time to think about all I have learned in Kai’s first 10 weeks of life, how much my beautiful baby has taught me.  And as I thought about it, he actually started teaching me back when I was pregnant.  The first very distinct lesson is – Openness.

At 32 weeks pregnant my belly had grown too big to run long distances, and so I changed my routine from running to walking which worked out well because it was the dead of winter anyway.  However, my body and mind had been so used to the routine of long runs several times a week, that it didn’t fully know how to function without those bursts of endorphins a few times a week. As they say, endorphins are our most effective and most underutilized anti-depressant. This was also at the tail end of Hurricane Sandy, which had me working 12-14 hours a day to support continuity of operations in DC.

And bam –  I came down with the worst migraine headache of my life, and it lasted for nearly 2 weeks.  At the time, I could not figure out why I had the migraine or where it came from.  I tried my very best to push through it like I do every other ache or pain, but this was just different.  It didn’t subside.  It was waves of pain from the front to the back of head.  I couldn’t sleep.  I could hardly function but I kept going.  I went to the Doctor several times, it wasn’t pregnancy related, and there wasn’t much he could do besides prescribe me medicine I didn’t want to take.  Then one night it got so bad that I landed in the hospital.  They gave me a medication that was considered “safe” during pregnancy but I couldn’t fathom taking it more than once.  I was determined to figure out the root of the problem and so I paid a long overdue visit to my Acupucturist.  And I am so glad that I did.  She is an older woman, in her early seventies who has studied chinese medicine most of her life and raised a family while living around the world.  We got to talking about my symptoms and what had been going on in my life.  Like any ailment, my body (mind and spirit) were out of balance for some reason and my cortisol (stress hormone) was elevated.  As I talked with her the root of the problem came into perspective – I hadn’t run for about 2 weeks which means my body wasn’t getting the endorphins it needed to counteract the stress – and I had been dealing with a sustained high level of stress for several months due to the demands of being in disaster mode at work.  Considering that I couldn’t exactly just go outside for a run, I had to figure out other ways to manage.  We started to discuss breathing and meditation in place of the running.  This was essentially what I do when I run – and is what my body needed without the physical act of running.  I need to open my lungs, heart, and mind.  I needed to think deliberately about maintaining an open fluid state.  She explained that this imbalance is the result of the mind being clenched like a fist.  And my Acupuncturist right then and there pointed it out, she said “you see, you are already learning from your child”.  Tears came streaming down my face.  He had blessed me with my first lesson – Openness.

A month and a half later I was reminded of this lesson again.  Natural childbirth is all about opening your body up.  I visualized this for hours as a meditated during labor.  Later on a professional photographer who worked at the hospital came by to take photos of our baby. She was also of Asian decent.  We got to talking and she asked us about our baby’s name, and we told her it was “Kai”.  She commented that is was a beautiful name and went on to explain that the word “Kai” means “open” in Chinese.  I got goosebumps and chills at this moment and thought back to that afternoon in my Acupunturist’s office.  I knew about many of the meanings of our baby’s name but I did not know this one until that moment.  Indeed, my sweet baby Kai already began teaching me before he was born.  I am so deeply grateful that he chose us to be his parents.  I love you sweet baby Kai.

 

You cannot sow seeds with clenched fists.  To sow we must open our fists.

Below are some images that bring me back to earlier experiences in my life where other children taught me about openness.  Openness of the mind, and openness of the heart.  Enjoy!

Photo Children's Open Painted Hands

Photo Children painting nature scenes

One Response to “Kai’s First Lesson – Openness”

  1. Bill July 9, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing, your analysis or reasoning seems to be spot on. So glad you went beyond standard medical practices. Kai’s openness also shows on his happy face every day, and I see the change in you too. Love Dad

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