An Open Letter to the Children in My Life

This past week was a school vacation week, and it’s been a powerful time to dwell in the Big Questions as various circumstances converged. Yesterday I wrote down a “letter in verse” that was drifting through the air when I was tuned to that channel. Although it probably could stand on its own, I thought I’d provide a little context.

This week I have reflected on my role in the lives of the children in my care and engaged in some deep and honest conversations with my teenagers. The teen years aren’t easy ones – so many questions about “Who am I?” and “Where do I fit in?” and how to manage the challenging circumstances and conflicts that arise, with self-esteem intact. As I wrote in a previous post, I was blessed with a mentor who guided me throughout my teen years and beyond and became a dear friend. He passed on a week and a half ago, and I was honored to participate in an incredible celebration of his life last weekend. Rereading the letters he wrote me throughout my late teens and twenties made me realize how much patience is required of parents and mentors before they finally have the satisfaction of seeing kids “turn out” (in his words). You have to be really patient with the process!

At the same time, my dad came home from a two-week hospital stay for open heart bypass surgery following an episode of cardiac arrest. There’s something interesting about open heart surgery. There’s a sense of appreciation for still being alive and a desire to “return” (in my dad’s words) the outpouring of love, concern, and support from so many people. The heart truly does open up, and you feel closer and more connected to the people in your life. And when this happens to someone else, you are better able to provide support, having experienced it yourself as either a patient or family member.

Finally, in the midst of a very challenging school year, I set the intention this week to reconnect with the passion and guiding values that led me to a career in education in the first place.

If the following words resonate with you, I invite you to share them as long as you cite me as the author, along with this blog address. Namaste!

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An Open Letter to the Children in My Life


Dear Child:
 

The divinity in me
Sees the divinity in you
And from this perspective
Knows we are One,
Honors our differences
As expressions of the One;
We are brothers and sisters.

Our unique talents and gifts
Are to be celebrated
And cultivated to the fullest 
So that we may inspire and uplift
Others through our example
And experience the extraordinary
Flow of being in our element.
But, my darling, please take care
To avoid falling
Into the trap of shoulds
Or putting your gifts
On a pedestal above any others.
You must catch yourself
Again and again
For the ego is cunning.
You are special
And so is everyone else.
But this does not make you
Any less integral
To the symphony of Life.
Each of us has our note to play;
May we give it our fullest attention.
May we give it our all.
May the inspiration you find
Be a torch you pass to others:
The courage to be uniquely, authentically,
Fearlessly you.

My spiritual great-grandfather
Hazrat Inayat Khan advised:
Make your heart as soft as wax
To sympathize with others,
But make it hard as a rock
To bear the hard knocks of the world.
This, dear one, is why I must give you
Both love and limits
As you grow in the garden of my care.
Sunshine alone is not enough;
A garden must also be weeded
To fulfill its potential.
And know, too, that the rains of sorrow
Play an important role.
The water on our planet
Is always being recycled.
We drink the tears shed by others
And are never alone in our suffering.

Both warm-heartedness and resilience
Are necessary for this journey;
They go hand in hand
And I toil here in the dirt
So you may grow strong.
Do not doubt yourself
When things do not come easily
For it is good practice.
May you weave your heartache
Skillfully into the fabric
Of your life
And make the best of
Whatever life sets before you.

Sometimes the best way
To empower yourself
Is to take responsibility
For your own contribution
To any disharmony that exists
Between yourself and another.
This is a strength that allows you
To burst open the door of your cage,
For hatred and resentment
Imprison those who adopt them.
Let them go! Be free to fly!

Embrace each moment
With an inner YES
But do not fall
Into the dream of complacency.
Think for yourself:
How can I bring about positive change:
By transforming the situation
Or my attitude toward it? 
Never give away your power!
Let it glow close to your center.

Step away from the screen, dear child
And open your eyes
To the beauty and wonder all around!
Open your ears and all your senses!
You may be convinced there is nothing
To see or believe in,
But this is innocent ignorance.
May you awaken one day
To the miracles of life
With awe and delight
As you did when you were younger
And wonder what took you so long
To return!

How odd that we must
Experience such wanderlust
And leave in the first place
Wearing the dualistic glasses
The world fashions for us
Only to realize anew
The all-encompassing Oneness
Where all paradoxes are reconciled.
But somehow the journey is necessary;
It makes us strong and wise,
Turns us into better guides
For those who follow in our footsteps.

And yet, even as we are inspired
By the words and deeds of others,
We must do the work ourselves;
The responsibility is ours alone
Though others may cheer us onward.

Dear child, may you find your way back home
All the wiser and brimming with love
Thus leaving this world
A better place than you found it.
May you know this to be
The ultimate measure of success:
To have emerged from the chrysalis
Of your small, separate self and become
Love
Love
Love.

© Susan Meyer, 2013 
 
 


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