The Summer of Lovingkindness Invitational continues with tender loving care…
Susan Gallacher-Turner left a sweet and tender comment on my post What Is Loving Kindness? With her permission, I’m bringing it front and center for those of you who may have missed it.
As a mother of two, now grown, children, I can see that loving kindness truly bloomed in me as I nurtured my children. And it reminds me of an exchange between my own mother and I.
I had been home a few days after giving birth to my first child, a daughter, and I was giving her one of her first baths in a small baby sink in the bathroom. I’d carefully assembled all the needs, soap, shampoo, soft wash cloth and towel then, just as carefully and somewhat nervously, I undressed this little darling. While my mother looked on, I lowered her slowly into the bath and went about gently washing her smooth skin while taking in her tiny beauty from her dark hair and eyes, little lips and fingernails. As I was absorbed in the process of bathing my daugther, I didn’t notice that I did anything special, but as I finished up my mother said, “You did that all so gently. I never did that, I was in such a hurry and just scrubbed you.” When I looked over at her, curious, wondering if I was getting criticized, I could see amazement on her face. It was as if for the first time, she realized that she could have done it differently.
The act of bathing, feeding and holding my children was always done with loving kindness, I realize now. It just came naturally. Why, then, is it so hard to give that same care to myself?
The tender loving care she gave to her daughter is so beautifully present in her writing. She inspired memories of my own, and I intended to add them to these words of hers.
I’m deciding to offer her words as a gift to you and to myself — to let her words hold the space even though I think I should be adding more of my own writing here.
“Why, then, is it so hard to give that same care to myself?”
I’m too far gone with exhaustion to have any honest answer. I’m good at being gentle with myself when I’m crashing from my head injury or adrenal fatigue and it’s too late to do anything else. (Like now.)
But I think it may be one of the most important questions we have to answer if we’re going to be of service.
I really want to hear your thoughts on this: What can I do? How can we support one another in giving ourselves the tender loving care we need to go forward in vitality and lovingkindness?