Satya went into labor around three o’clock in the afternoon and continually labored throughout the evening to a point where, as many first time parents feel, you start to question “Is this baby ever going to come?” So around 10 pm when there were very long intervals between contractions and the rain started to pour so heavily it sounded like rhythmic drumming on our ceiling, I sat down to write the first of my annual letters to my soon-to-be-born daughter. In my mind, I was envisioning a letter writing relationship like the greats, Fitzgerald, David Whyte, W.E.B. Dubois, Steinbeck. So I sat down with my fountain pen, stationary and writing tablet and began. I wrote a beautiful letter, well outlined with four principles and instructions and lessons learned from my years of experience. I signed it, sealed it and put it away. So proud of myself, as I was, that I had written this beautiful artifact. I was sure I knew everything and I was well on my way to impart my wisdom to this little beautiful human who I get to make in my own image.
You can read that letter here As, you can see, I believed, and rightly so at that time, for I had no other knowledge or experience, that my job was to instill into and impart onto this tabula rasa all the things I knew to be true. That as she grew and developed, I was to flip on the light switches of her life, one by one, until she was fully illuminated. Curiosity, flip. Kindness, flip. Knowledge, flip. Wisdom, flip. Peacefulness, flip. Empathy, flip. Compassion, flip. Awareness, flip. You name it the light switch panel was endless and I was excited to turn them all on as fast as I could.
About fifteen amazing and incredible hours later, as if I was birthed myself into a new person with new understanding and a fresh set of eyes, we welcomed our daughter into this world from her previous world. We were in the pop-up bathtub in our bedroom surrounded by wise women whose presence and teachings led us to this new reality. When my daughter popped her little nose out as I held her head, I could feel an immediate connection go right through me, a power from this being that was all her own. She was whole. She was full of life and wisdom, albeit, eight pounds, one ounce and still connected to mother for sustenance and oxygen. She was all she needed.
As the calm of the evening approached and the rush of that experience began to fade, I settled into this new role of the unknown. Who is she? Who am I? And, as if I went through 20 years of therapy, or a week long silent meditation or an intense psychedelic journey, I was whole and knowing, too. Not full of facts and figures kind of knowing, but wise knowing, intuitive knowing. And what I knew more than anything else as I sat and stared at this little being, this bundle of life and energy, was that she came complete and fully illuminated.
What I now knew, sitting in the darkness of that first night watching her breathe and scrunch her face and sleep was that her lights were all on and that she filled up the entire room more than even the light of the fullest moon. And, that my job was not to turn on any more lights but just the opposite, my task, and now my life’s purpose, was to not dim any one of those lights as she grew. To resist from imparting my “wisdom”, my experience, my lessons and my norms of what were right and wrong for me onto this perfect, divine being. The closest we ever get to god or spirit is at that moment of birth, of ourselves and of others. To think that I had anything to contribute to god in that moment is righteous, unholy and just plain naive. What you need to do when you meet god, is welcome her and create a space for her to be, just be exactly who she is. And so, a year later I wrote her this letter, one that hopefully will make this all make more sense.