Breath into the New Year


Friday, 1st January, 2016

Maya came into my room around 9:30pm on new years eve. We had tucked the girls in their beds about half an hour before. I could sense Elle was already sound asleep, but here Maya stood peaking around the door wide awake. “Mummy, can I sleep with you?” she said softly opening the door a little more. Sometimes after we have put the girls in bed I like to study with the light on, and so I close my bedroom door so the light does not disturb them. During this time I feel a great sense of personal space, that I really enjoy and sometimes when I am holding this personal space tightly, I have to take a deep breath, and fill myself with more giving. “Yes, darling, of course you can.” I said in a kind voice, followed by a long slow inhale and exhale.

I am really glad I have learnt to always be open to my children, even after I have been excited to have time alone. I have found, one must aim for the best, and breathing helps. So I took a deep breath, and decided that new years eve snuggling with my marvelous nine-year old daughter really was the best thing in the world.

With Blue Ted in one hand and her water bottle in the other hand, I pulled back the bed blankets for her, and invited her in. We cuddled for a moment, she seemed to want to talk, and something was on my mind too, and so we chatted. Maya wanted to know what it was like to be married. Maya is very excited about getting married one day, and likes to know all of the details of our wedding day. I can be a little short when telling her about our wedding day over and over, becuase marriage is so much more than a wedding, and it can’t really be explained completely I tell her, “A marriage is something that has to be lived, it is sharing a life together” I say. “It isn’t a piece of paper and a wedding, it is love and respect.” Maya absorbs this but mostly she likes the symbolism of love, and certainly, a wedding day is symbolic, so I share a little about our wedding day too, which she knows off by heart.

“Well, we did not have a big fancy wedding, it was just a little bit fancy, and still a bit expensive, but not ridiculous. I made a lot of things for it myself, and if I were to do it again, I would make even more, and spend even less.” Maya has been to a very expensive wedding and so she likes to measure it against that, “Was it less fancy than Sookie’s?” I reply thoughtfully, and say, “Yes, it was less expensive than all the other weddings of my generation in our family, but our wedding was very nicely done, and in my heart, the nicest wedding of all. I put in a lot of effort and everyone in the family helped make things too. Uncle Heath even iced the wedding cake” I am not sure why it is that weddings and expense so often go hand in hand but it is true, and it should not be and so already I am trying to teach Maya that love is something we feel, and grow, not something that costs a lot.

Cam and I each have our own bedroom. We live like the kings and queens, each with our own quarters. ha! No, actually, our life is middle class, but we just like our own bedrooms and our house has three rooms and an attic that we use as a bedroom. Since I am talking about love and symbolism, I wanted to point out that just because we do not sleep in the same bed, does not mean we do not love each other, we love each other a lot, but we have not shared a bed since before we were married. I will explain how us sleeping in separate rooms unfolded another day. It might not be like this forever, we might not always have the space we have, but for now, Cam sleeps in the attic, and I sleep in the largest sunniest bedroom. My room used to be the girls room as I feel children should have the largest sunniest room, but after a few years of sharing a room, our girls each wanted to explore having rooms of their own, so we swapped things around.

My room is a very lovely room, large enough for a queen sized bed, yoga mat, desk, dressers and dancing. I keep three plants in my room, and I love looking at them when I wake up each day. The girls like to be in my room with me, and so does Cam, so everyone seems to come and go a lot. That brings me back to Maya and I snuggling in bed New Years Eve.

Curled into each other face to face we were chatting. Maya had talked about what she wanted to talk about and I was not really able to talk about what was on my mind, so I said, “I was thinking of watching a documentary on Hinduism, would you like to watch it with me? This new years eve for me is all about soul growth, expansion, and right now our life theme is theology. Foundation studies of Hinduism was the next step deeper from previously studying Hari Krishana. Maya was being easy-going, she just wanted to be with me whatever I was doing, because it was late and it was new years eve. I grabbed my computer and did a you tube search and found a BBC documentary featuring a brother and sister explaining what it was to be Hindu. The children in the film were around Maya’s age and the documentary only went for 30 minutes so it was perfect. We both really enjoyed it and at the end, the sister said a prayer for Diwali, the festival of light, wishing to “Control her emotions, and be the best self she could be.” I appreciated the child’s mature expression and I could see it resonated with Maya too. When the film was over, we snuggled back down under the covers discussing it a little. “I really liked how the girl made a personal resolution.” I said to Maya. In this moment I could feel her soul growth, I could just feel it in my heart. Maya looked up at me with her big bright eyes. “I am sorry 2015 was not very good.” she said with some deep behavior refection. I felt a little sadness in my heart pull at me for how hard she is on herself, because of course, she is such a blessed child. “What do you mean it was not very good sweetie?” I inquired with a gentle voice, “I should have tried harder to control my anger.” she replied with such sincere honesty. I felt so much pride for her in that moment, knowing that our daily nurturing of Maya to BOTH ignite, and control her fire, and all the words of guidance we try to give her are sinking in. It is such a test to be mother and daughter, and we work at it so hard, we give it so much time and energy. Really though, one does not want her to be under pressure and think a whole year was not good because there was too much anger, and so I said, “Me too, I wish I had been better at controlling my anger too, let’s make that our goal, next year, we will both take deeper breaths, and direct our feelings positively.” As her mother, but more importantly, just another who struggles and tries hard to succeed, I related to her. “I am just so pleased we get to talk about it, and work on it together.” I said grabbing her into a bear hug. Then just like that she fell asleep, in my arms, at peace with New Years Resolution, to hold the anger with love.

I love the Thich Nhat Hanh philosophy on anger, to nurture your anger like it is a baby, you must put love into it… but we will get to Buddhism later.

When Maya woke I was out of bed sitting and meditating. I heard a little mouse squeak and so I looked over to wish her good morning. “Happy New year!” I said with a smile. I was sitting crossed legged on the floor, and it felt important that I proceed with alternate nostril breathing. With my fingers in position I breathed a double inhale and exhale on all ten fingers. Breathing really is an important step of harmonious life, and I had not prioritized alternate nostril breathing in ages, but today I FELT I needed it. We guide our children by our actions, and as Maya sat patiently waiting for her morning cuddle, I knew she was watching me breath.

Maya is really one to know what she needs, and how to comfort herself, but also how to care for her self. She keeps her water bottle by her bed, wherever she sleeps, and starts every day with a drink of water. Waking up thirsty and being able to have a drink is ever so important for her. Knowing her connection to water makes me so pleased, and now I think of it, it was my mothering that taught her this as an infant, to be really aware of thirst when she wakes. Now I see, I have to make her really aware of breathing.

Then just like that, our pattern for the new year was set. Rise. Drink Water. Breath.

Thank you for reading Magnesium Blue.

Words and Photo By Kirsten Rickert, all rights reserved.



9 thoughts on “Breath into the New Year

  1. !!!! matthew and i have been contemplating separate sleeping quarters in the past few weeks. he has spent more time sleeping on the couch then our bed… and we both love it. now, lucia has been asking for her own room (she will be six next month) and i am a little sad to think about separating her from sam… i want to ensure they stay connected… while as adults i too can vouch for having an incredible connection and love for my partner (despite occasionally sleeping separately- which is not a big deal at all, lol)… did you notice any shifts or changes in the girls when they each transitioned into their own rooms?


  2. Beautiful Kirsten. I love seeing and reading about your children through your eyes. Such human-ness in what you write.

  3. We waited until Maya entered the nice transition to give them their own rooms. It felt like the right time for us, as Maya suddenly entered a distinct curve growth. You will know what is right for you pair. Maya did ask sooner, but I really encouraged them to wait a little longer, then when 9 came around, it was time. They loved sharing a room, and now they love having their own room.

  4. Having spent many a new year’s eve in an ashram, bringing the new year in chanting and meditating, I am always a little lost as a parent/householder for what to do for new years…I always feel contemplative when all around folks are so extroverted. Reading this was a tonic. I also love TNH’s books on anger. There are 2 picture books based on his philosophy that Satya and I read together ALOT. Wish I knew of a good one for nine-year-olds! Love to you, Kirsten.

  5. I’ve been in bed sick all day today but I’ve so enjoyed the chance it gave me to actually read more of your blog without haste. You are an inspiration!

  6. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment Hannah. Hope you feel better soon… nice that you can rest and read at least! Kirsten xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *