Writing and editing

Ram Vakkalanka teaches philosophy, chanting and Sanskrit at our studio. Our practice and general studio philosophy is so intense and focused, I think we need to get a little spun out. Also, my home study habits are poor and inextricably linked to deadlines, reading lists and essays. That is to say, when I have a quiet moment, I don’t often curl up with the Yoga Sutras if I could check my email fifteen times in five minutes instead. Taking classes and talking with Ram when I can has added a great deal of depth to my practice and my teaching. Which is not to say that I am not still the same ignorant jerk – I am! But at least I feel like I am getting my toes wet, instead of standing on the beach complaining of the heat. Do you know what I mean?

The ocean metaphor is apt for Ram, because dude knows a whole bunch. Sometimes, David and I meet with him and we can ask him ANYTHING and he will, no joke, talk for an hour on the subject. Often by the end of the hour I feel like i have been tossed about in a strong wave. I am pretty sure I have asked him the SAME question and he has talked for an hour differently about it, trying to get me to catch a glimpse of the surface, or the bottom – I’m not sure which.

Our last “Chanting the Yoga Sutras” session with Ram, I asked him why my job as a parent made non-attachment or the idea of a dual world of Purusha (pure consciousness, soul or spirit) and Prakriti (our mind-body systems, the physical and not true manifestations of Purusha) seem so unappealing. I feel like I need to believe this reality because my son is in it. I feel confused as to why anyone would want to be enlightened because it might move you further from your children.  How could I want to be un- attached to my child?

He told me that my son didn’t actually belong to me. I don’t own him, the universe is just creating him through me. And somehow this made perfect sense. I see myself in him, and I see David – but Holden is also something entirely different. My three year old corrects me on the difference between jellyfish and siphonophores – and the importance of that difference is not either of us. Funny, how I can know this about myself as a child. That I am same but different from my mom and dad. And while they tried their best to help me learn how to be a good person –  I am my own person, good or bad. Separate from them, but connected to them. I know this, and maybe have always known this about who I am as a daughter, buI have trouble with the same idea as a mom.

Ram said, like a good babysitter. You can love the children in your care very much and make sure they are safe and protected. Teach them right from wrong and be present and engaged with them.  But at the end of the day, a good babysitter knows those children do not belong to her. Non-attachment parenting. I found this so beautiful.

Speaking of attachment parenting. I read a lot about it before I had my son. I tried to follow the tenets to the letter. because so much of it made sense to me like baby wearing. After Holden was born, my reaction to the books changed, and when I read the same books – I felt guilty and cruel. The books didn’t change, I suppose I just became much more tired. I became convinced about my own failings as an “attached” parent to my baby, Recently, I started reading book on attachment parenting and it brought me back to those same thoughts and feelings. Like a little cognitive loop in my head. The lesson here, for me, is that I can’t parent according to a certain set of rules. Most of the time, I just have to get up in the morning and try not to be an asshole. At the end of the day, I have to forgive myself if I was an asshole, apologize to my kid  and attempt to do better tomorrow. I recognize that is a sad parenting philosophy. I think I like the babysitter idea better.

Next week I am going to ask Ram to write a book on Non-Attachment Parenting.

He wasn’t so sure if skating was going to be his thing when he watched every kid go by and wipe out. But I told him he would have to hold my hand so I didn’t fall and that seemed to do the trick.

His favourite part was the “caution/danger” tape strung across the steps to the parking lot so that you wouldn’t be tempted to fling yourself off the rink into a car.

6 comments

February 16th, 2014

I think a book title like: ‘Trying not to be an asshole with my child’ would sell enough to finish the reno!
What the hell is attached parenting? Is that tying a leash to your child? That’s handy no? Or is that like ‘attachment theory’ keeping them against your skin, and connected to your when they are infants so they get a kind of security roundedness that stops them from getting anxious and existential when they get older? The babysitter approach sounds good for ages 3+ (and the more babysitters the better!). :-)

February 16th, 2014

I love your “asshole” parenting philosophy. It is exactly mine. All those books make me feel like a crappy parent—routine? Wtf is routine? 😉

Because J. has a lot of anxiety it helps me to “unattach” sometimes or I become too engaged to really help her. I detach by reminding myself that “this is her path.” It looks a lot like my path, luckily, so I can help her.

Thank you so much for this. Rav should seriously do a seventh series class. I’d be the first to sign up—especially after reading this…so beautiful! xoxo

March 11th, 2014

You can look at parenting like you do yoga, or teaching yoga. It is a job. The whole path from womb to tomb is a wonderful journey of weaning from attachments. I too had a lot of fun imagining that my babies were mine, but in the grand view, they were these amazing, brilliant gems I am entrusted with for a little while. Enjoy this responsibility with a sense of humour, games, laughter, cries and anything in between!

stan

March 21st, 2014

Gregor – i think the leash thing is not part of the attachment parenting thing. Maybe Dr. Sears should consider it. it is more the keeping them secure and with you at every moment because if you don’t they will be neurotic messes, like you and your partner, in adulthood.
Also, please be our babysitter.

stan

March 21st, 2014

Haley-O: of the many many things that you are. One thing you will never ever be is an asshole. I often wonder if it is in your genetic code to be incredibly nurturing and generous. Truth. You are a special special person.

stan

March 21st, 2014

Yogaranka – you are so right, it is a job. And a really good one at that! Good to care deeply about your job! xoxo

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