Monday, 18th of January, 2016
I started babysitting quite young, and now I think about it, I count the families I child minded for as some of my most inspiring life teachers. I remember the night Mum dropped me off at my first babysitting job at a farm house on a country road in Lindendale. I was twelve years old at the time, really a child myself still. I had been to the house previously as they were family friends, but I recall this evening like it was my first time going there, because being granted responsibility when you very much want it changes how you see the world. The family who first trusted me with their children was the Galbraiths, although the mother went by her own name, Alison Allaway. I liked Trevor and Ali very much. They were around the same age as my mother, but since my Mum had me much younger than her friends had their children, I was always by far the eldest child at social gatherings. Trevor and Ali were a bit cooler than my mother because they slept on a futon type mattress and they had books about tantric sex. They had Asian art and ethnic weaving on the walls and musical instruments in every room. My mother was pretty cool too, but in my mind this was an exotic notch above our world. I really liked being at their house, it was healthy and earthy and interesting. If you wanted to flush the toilet you would tip a bucket of grey water left over from the washing machine into the cistern. The kitchen had alfalfa sprouts growing on the bench and there were only wholesome snacks in glass jars in the cupboard and you would find left over vegetarian dinner on the stove. They had lived in India and they ate a lot of rice and lentils and everything smelt and tasted grounded. Ali was a homebirth midwife and Trevor was studying to be a nurse and on Tuesday evenings Trevor’s night study nursing class overlapped Ali’s African dance class and so I had a regular babysitting date at their house. They had two light blonde haired girls, Jessie and Lucy, aged two and four who looked just like my dream children. Jessie went to a preschool run by a buddhist nun, and this fascinated me so much I decided my future children would do the same. Perhaps it was that these girls were so pleasing to my twelve year old ideals, or maybe it was because I loved all children, either way, I adored being with them and it was especially easy to care for them because they were so thoughtfully loved by their parents.
Ali had a nightly routine of putting their girls to bed, which she shared with me so that I could lay them softly to sleep as she did. I was told to sit by their bed and tell them a story, a very simple story of walking through trees, feeling the breeze on your skin, of coming to a stream and watching the clear water flow. Of cupping the fresh water in your hands to drink, and of washing your skin and then holding your face to the sun, to feel the warmth. There was not really any rules about this bedtime story, but Ali gave me the gist of what the story should feel like, and with my twelve year old pizzaz I am sure I added my own notions, but none the less, what Ali had introduced me to, was very basic guided meditation.
I went on to use this bedtime method with other families I child minded over the years and it became a favorite thing that would be requested. There was a peaceful simplicity to it, but more than that, it filled the mind with beauty and built strong foundations for imagination and visualization.
Years passed and I became a mother and introduced these simple guided meditations to my own children. Not as a nightly routine, but just now and then when I felt like it. There are many forms of mediation and while this is on the outer edge compared to more devoted religious practices I still consider it mediation because the purpose is to create a calm and peaceful mind, and a positive life force.
Recently when I came back around to regular meditation I decided Maya and Elle were ready to move on from guided meditations and I introduced them to sitting in silence with me. Elle became a willing mediation partner, and she is often the one to say, “Let’s mediate together tonight!” Much of our mediation experience has been about deciding how to sit, and deciding which way we should hold our hands, and Elle will sit for about 5 minutes and then be done. I am content with this, and would not ever expect more. Maya on the other hand, decided she hated mediation even though she had not tried sitting in silence and would not join us. Elle took it upon herself to invite Maya nightly and it became an interesting sibling dynamic, that Elle felt Maya really really should mediate with us.
Some time went by and weeks after we had given up inviting Maya to join us, she came into my room one evening and said she would like to mediate. Elle had been recording a song she had written on my computer and it struck me, in this rare and special moment that I should document this explanation of my current mediation patterns to Maya. I asked Maya if she minded, and she said it was ok, so I pressed record. Maya has asked me not to tell you all that she has tried meditation because she does not want her identity tinged, and in her words, “If people know I mediate it could ruin my life!” Of course, I had to share anyway.
I have explored various types of mediation over the years, chanting, pranayama and yoga nidra and these days I like an open cosmic creative experience. I feel like this is a really nice introduction for children too, that sitting, and being with one’s mind is a beautiful thing.
Along with the recording, I wrote out our dialogue below. I do not claim this comes from any school of thought, that it is correct, or that it is right for you, but I am grateful to say it adds to our life in a positive way.
Ok, do you want to have the light out? (a small table lamp)
Leave the light.
Light on? Ok.
When I meditate, you know there is no rules about meditation, really there isn’t, you just have to be willing to do it and want to try, and you can go anywhere in your mind, and then your mind connects to everything else in the universe.
So, I just close my eyes and I connect to my breath, so I like to take a few deep breaths.
And just let whatever comes into your mind in?
Well, sometimes you might have a lot of things on your mind, there might be a lot of things you’ve got to think about first, and then eventually that goes away and then your mind becomes a bit like the whole solar system, it becomes this comic place, you know like that painting I did? And you just see energy there. And energy comes in all sorts of forms, and it depends on who you are and what you’re going to see and what guidance you need. But for me, I see colors and shapes and, sometimes it’s like aurora borealis, I just see light dancing, and it is very calming. Sometimes I see like flame, where it is just like this spirit energy, and it’s really affirmative. It makes me feel like there is a divine force and I am connected to it, and then when I think about things, cause things do come into my mind when I am in that space, and when I focus on that beautiful beautiful energy that I know is there, in relation to things that are coming to my mind, then I just know what to do next, in life.
Sometimes I feel like a get a hug from the universe. I do.
Sometimes I just feel like there is this warm embrace around me like I would hug you, only we are not really there, there is just this feeling of love, in my mind. But it’s not my mind, that’s the thing, because once you connect you know you are out of your mind, and you are just there in that space.
And you know the energy of other people are there, other spirits are there too.
Sometimes you’ll feel your heart, really activated as well, you feel you heart beating and you feel all this energy, and Sometimes, oh I love this bit, sometimes you just feel this light radiating from your body. It glows out of you. It’s like you can see your body from the outside, like you are outside of your body and there’s just this light all around your body.
Do you want to sit on my lap so I can cuddle you?
Can I tell you what happened to me?
You can tell me what happened.
Well when I had my eyes shut, um, there was like this picture that came into my mind. Yeah, um, I was out in the woods with all, with my friends, well um, Quinn, well actually, Quinn and me were out in the woods, and um we had, like, it was like we were going camping, except we weren’t. We were hiking along a little stream, we were kind of in the middle but there was a stream and then, um, we saw this old tree house, and then when we saw it we, ran back to the lumber yard and we um, got a bunch of wood and built a tree house. It was really fun.
Does that count as meditating?
That counts as imagination, which is a step in the right direction.
Thank you for reading Magnesium Blue
Words and Artwork By Kirsten Rickert, all rights reserved.