10:21 am. Thursday, Sept 22. I knew the time and I had a vision for how to celebrate the Fall Equinox. The plan: get out to the mountains, to the farm to be more exact, by 10 am with kids and dog in tow and find a breathtakingly gorgeous view (there are many out there) from which to stand in Tree Pose and Greet the exact moment of the Equinox. Check.
Except it didn’t quite go as planned. Of course.
I should have known when my son was vacillating between cranky, ornery and demanding for most of the morning that something was going on. But, I reasoned, after a good healthy breakfast and the lure of a farm trip, he’d be in great spirits. Well…. not really. Everything bothered him. From the way his cream cheese was spread on the bagel, to the way the bandaid on his toe felt, to how his socks were making him itch, to a barely visible bump on his forehead that was “in his way”, I chalked it up to “one of those days”. So I gently shifted my plan. Clearly, we were not making it 1.5 hours out to the Farm by 10:21am. ‘That’s OK’, I thought, ‘we’ll get as far as we can and then at 10:20 am, where ever we are, I will pull the car over to the side of the road/highway, strike a tree pose, and still get to acknowledge the Equinox’. Great. Plan B was initiated.
Yeah. But by the time we got the loaner car from the dealership (did I mention we had to drop off our regular car first?) and I managed to put out all the mini fires being created by Rilke’s annoyance with Everything, it was approaching 10 am. OK, no problem. Plan B still in action, only we won’t get as far as I thought. So what if we are on the Beltway at 10:20am? It will be easy to pull over a strike a Tree pose there. Right?!
Finally we settled in the car and rolled out the driveway and I was still sticking to my plan. As I was enthusiastically telling my kids “the Plan”, I looked in the backseat and saw that Rilke was in full blown meltdown. Tears streaming down his face, he was trying to shove his entire body into a backpack, feet first. Uh Oh. I pulled over to the side of the road. We were about 3 blocks from our house. I double parked, put the hazards on, and went to him, opening his car door.
“What’s wrong?” I asked with concern.
“I don’t know!!!” he sobbed loudly.
“Are you tired? hungry? Are you hurt? Are you upset ?”
A long series of “no, no, no, no”. No matter what I asked him, he said “no”.
“I told you! I don’t know whats wrong!” he repeated.
Right. I got that. So I started to clear him, wiped down his field, fanned him, re-set his perimeter, held has hands…. Still, he sobbed. I asked my daughter, sitting next to him, what she thought was wrong.
“He’s out there.” she said, pointing a finger towards the sky in a particular direction. To which Rilke chimed in “I am NOT climbing that Tree!”
Haiku continued, “You have to get him back into his body”.
“OK,” I asked her, “what would you suggest?” curious to what she would offer.
“Have him close his eyes first” she directed.
And so I did, and I tried to use my words to help him come back to the present moment, coaxing him by asking him to come back to his “bubble” and “put on his protective suit”, but it was clearly not working. So I took his hands, still in mine, and started to move them in figure 8’s and circles, in front of his body. I became acutely present, responding to the moment without an agenda or a particular instruction manual. Suddenly, he stopped crying.
“What are you doing mommy?” he asked. I paused before answering, thinking quickly how to respond.
“Well Rilke,” I explained “Feel your hands? They are Jet planes” I closed his fingers and made his palms straight. “And the Jet planes are circling through the air” I moved his arms in loops “and now they are flying RIGHT towards each other!!!” I brought has hands in “And they look like they are about to CRASH! But NO! at the last instant they fly, side by side, straight up into the air!” I brought his hands to prayer pose, fingers touching, and moved his arms up his body.
At this point I stopped, as he was totally engaged.
“Keep doing it mom! Don’t stop” he said “Its helping.”
So I continued, telling a story about airplanes flying and moving his arms in different ways around his body. I was using QiGong. Moving his energy, creating space, and bringing him back in. I ended with the airplanes circling ALL around him and then coming in to land on his body. As I placed his hands on his heart, I asked him to use his breath to Fill. Only I realized immediately, it wasn’t enough. He was so so empty. So I put my hand on top of his on his heart. Then Haiku reached over suddenly and put her hand on top of mine. Then Rilke put his other hand on top of hers, I put my other hand on top of his and Haiku closed our pile of hands with hers on top.
And we sat there, in the backseat of the loaner car, with all our hands piled in a heap on top of Rilke’s chest, breathing in love and filling together. Connected. Present. Clearing, Grounding and Filling all at once.
I glanced at the clock in the dashboard of the car. 10:21. Of course. I closed my eyes, we all did, and we filled with the love from the Universe. Right there, on the side of the road, with the hazards blinking wildly. As we lifted our hands away, we got silly, started laughing, and took turns with different hands on the bottom of the pile as the pile moved down to Rilkes belly, then his pelvis, then off his body. And we laughed and shared in the Joy of this wondrous and spontaneous roadside ceremony we co-created. At the exact moment of the Equinox. The sacred moment we celebrated together, from a place of paying attention, being where we most needed to be and doing exactly what needed to be done.
In that moment, I felt deep appreciation for this boy. For this girl too. Keeping everything real. I swear, he was guiding us each and every step of the way. Only in the beginning I saw his guidance as distraction and difficulty, something that was getting in the way of my “plan”. And my lesson, our lesson, of equanimity on the Equinox, came in the most unexpected of packages, in the most unexpected place, in the most unexpected way.
It’s never what you think it is.