Lessons taught by a newborn

To my birthday this week I got many wonderful presents. One of them was a notebook for my writing, given to me by one of my dearest friends, my mother-in-law. It contains the following quote on its cover:

“Das Glück ist ein Schmetterling. Jag ihm nach, und er entwischt dir.
Setz dich hin, und er lässt sich auf deiner Schulter nieder.“
Anthony de Mello


„Happiness is a butterfly. Try to catch it, and it escapes.
Sit down, and it settles on your shoulder.”
Anthony de Mello

Going to the hospital for a planned C-Section meant a lot of sitting and lying down for me. Physically. My thoughts were racing. At least part of the time. During the other part, I was discovering people and surroundings around me, and my own experiences. And during this other part was when I felt most satisfied and happy. And excited about what I was discovering.

Did you know that when you haven’t eaten and drunk anything for some time, you first become hungry and only after that thirsty? And that when you become really thirsty, the feeling of hunger goes away or at least steps into the background? I might have read or heard about this before, but this time while waiting for a planned surgery, first surgery in my life, I experienced this as something completely new to me.

I had many discoveries and realizations during this stay at the hospital. The largest share of them, which was also the most beautiful, was after Emma’s birth and made together with her.

One of the most impressive experiences was the realization that Emma could teach me how to be present, to be in the moment and to be led by one’s instincts. Because they, the instincts, rule her life now, and not any, even the slightest of thoughts. Emma sleeps when she is tired, cries when hungry or needs a diaper to be changed, or simply unsecure and needs protection and being held in her father’s or my arms.

She is like a beautiful flower, robust and fragile at the same time, depending on the strength of the winds blowing at her. Like a flower, she is fully unaware of her beauty and her innocent wisdom.

This impressive experience mentioned above contained a sweet and wise behaviour on Emma’s side, which I was lucky to observe. After a meal and with clean, dry and warm diaper and clothes Emma lied contented in my arms and watched me. On that day I changed the hospital robes to my private clothes. I had a white and navy striped shirt on with a navy cardigan on top of it. At some point I noticed, how my daughter was looking at my shirt, at my cardigan and finally at the white wall behind me, then back again. She did this many times in various combinations of these three points of her interest. I realized that she was observing the contrasts in front of her. Since the hospital clothes where all white, these contrasts were new to her. So she took a long and good look examining them again and again.

In her comment to my previous blog post /true-wealth/, my dear friend Marcy has referred to the advice her doctor gave her one day:

“Stop, and smell the roses!”

What a wonderful advice!

And my sweet little daughter added another by her ability to be curious about something and study it thoroughly. This is how I imagine Emma formulating her advice:

“Go back and smell the roses again!”

Picture: the most beautiful flower in the world. My sweet Emma.

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