Wednesday, January 8, 2014

That Mountain

Many years ago, my uni job was assistant creative dance and yoga teacher for kids. It was a fantastic job. The teacher, an old family friend, was also an architect and as well as brilliantly creative dance ideas and a fantastic array of music ranging from Beethoven to Sculthorpe by way of African Sanctus, she always started the classes with a fifteen minute design 'centring'.
The mums would be around during the design (generally pasting coloured oddments of paper, inspired by various themes) and while I raced around making sure everyone had glue sticks, welcoming new people and filling the water jugs, I'd be covertly admiring them.
The mums were exactly who I wanted to be.
They seemed so happy in their own skin, so content, so stylish. And their kids would be flocked chattering around them.
There was one mum in particular I remember. She was lying on the carpet on her side, helping one of her boys, a three or four year old, with his design, while her toddler crawled over her. The curve of her body reminded me of a mountain, or series of sloping hills.
And I remember thinking 'that's what I want to be'. I wanted to be the timeless mountain my kids played upon, were sheltered by.
Fast-forward nearly eighteen years and I am that mountain.
And it's everything I hoped it would be.
And some things I hadn't considered.
It turns out I'm a mountain primed to erupt.
I hadn't actually taken into account that being climbed upon can be quite a painful experience.
While I love that my kids run to me for comfort, reassurance, nurture, I hadn't considered that along with that, in any one day I'd receive - with no maliciousness, or indeed thought at all - head-butts, elbows jabs to the throat, be kneed in the back (or tummy) and have my hair stomped on or pulled. And that's not even getting onto breastfeeding toddlers intent on doing sudden summersaults, with my nipple clamped between their teeth.
While I would like to think of myself as a calm, mellow type, the truth is that those who know me, know I have a tendency to react first, then think.
On kneeling to pick something up and having something solid land heavily on my back and put me in a stranglehold, I've a tendency to yelp. (A less charitable person might say screech.)
When I'm lying in bed in the early hours of the morning and suddenly an elbow rams into my throat, then a knee into my belly, then firm hands yank my face in the desired direction, again, I have a tendency to yelp and flail. Give me a moment, and I'll realise that no, I'm not under attack, I'm just being directed "It's morning mummy, wake up!"
But by then I've already tried to shake off the attackers and - yep, yelped (screeched).
Five minutes goes into calming down the little one who just hadn't thought they might need to be gentle. "No, mummy's not cross. It's okay darling. I know you didn't mean it. It was just a shock. Remember, you need to use your gentle hands. You need to warn people before you jump on them. You need to ask them and say 'please, may I jump  on you.' No elbows. Remember, no elbows. Elbows are ouchy."
It is possible that if my uni job had been helping with some contact sport, say, rugby, I'd be better prepared.
But unfortunately, I yelp if heavy balls come my way. And my co-ordination (not required for creative dance and yoga, perfect for those of us suffering from dyspraxia) is non-existence.
Instead, I'm thinking of trying meditation. If I can just become a little less nervy, hold off the shriek (eruption) for the extra two seconds I need to work out exactly what is going on (and you'd think by now my body would realise, as it happens every day, many times, but no.) We'd all be a lot calmer, a lot happier.
Let me just visualise a mountain, green, growing, nurturing, protecting, and definitely never erupting. 

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