Let’s Create a Loving Universe for Our Children

Our world feels undependable at best. How do we help our children feel they are in a safe, loving universe?

As a Jewish kid growing up in an East Coast liberal community, I was taught that the Bible as a book, written by many authors over many years.

The main character, G-d (in Judaism we don’t write the word out), started out as quite a bully. He frequently had temper tantrums and punished people for what seemed like very little.

safe universe children meditation - creating a loving universe with Ma YogaOver the years toward the end of the book, like any good hero, G-d evolved. He became more forgiving. As culture changed and we recognized the values of empathy and understanding, our G-d got kinder.

Because of this more intellectual take, for me religion wasn’t what defined my universe. None of G-d’s different phases ever represented the loving universe that I believed to be the true creative energy that makes up the universe – the power that I wished on every birthday cake to; the intelligently ordered world that beckoned me to trust I had a life purpose.

To me, even as a little girl, the universe was always made of wisdom and love. I always had this sense that we were all connected by this; this wisdom and love was who we each are, just in unique forms. 

And looking at the adults in my life who seemed confused, insecure, and focused on petty things, I believed that something about growing up must make us forget that sense of connection.creating safety support kids - creating a loving universe with Ma Yoga

That’s why I cried on the eve of my 13th birthday, because I thought I’d wake up feeling separate and isolated, like a dumb grown-up. 

When I woke up, I remember smiling because I was still there.

But that year, things got a little fuzzy. Looking back, I began to forget that I was simply an expression of the wisdom and love of the universe, and I started drinking and smoking.

I couldn’t remember what I’d been so worried about.

In my 20s, my feeling of separation and unworthiness got really bad. I wanted to be a filmmaker, and I felt that if I didn’t make a feature film by the time I was 30 I was done for.

It didn’t look like it was going to happen.

I was smoking a pack a day – every pack was going to be my last – and a super stressed out starving artist.

Working for free on short films, eating badly, not taking care of myself all added up to intense pain in my neck and low back.

One day a loving friend stood with me on a street corner and made me turn my head.

I could barely do it.

She said “go to yoga, Jessica.”

The studio was visible from my apartment window and I remember I went to a Monday night class.

The teacher spoke softly, and told us that all we needed to do was show up and she’d do the rest.

She talked us into poses my body had never been in, and said all we needed to do was breathe and that was enough.

I didn’t feel judged, and I realized I didn’t have to judge myself.

It all came rushing back. The love, the wisdom, the feeling of being connected to everything. That I had a purpose – that I WAS a purpose – of the universe. 

I felt good after yoga. I felt tall, and yet grounded. 

I began to ask myself: why do I choose to feel bad with smoking, when I can feel good with yoga? Our minds are intelligent – smoking might feel good for a few minutes, but it knew I would feel terrible soon after. 

Why did I feel I deserved to feel bad?

This required some therapy to delve in to my family of origin relationships, but very soon, cigarettes fell away.

Yoga, taking care of myself, eating healthy began to take its place as my focus.

When I studied yoga seriously to become a teacher, I learned about universal Consciousness, an intelligence within our cells, and the goddess Shakti who manifests as all of us simply for the joy of it.

In this ancient body of thought, the goddess isn’t just all around us, she (yes, it’s a she in yoga) IS us, in a unique form.

According to yoga, Shakti is simply in the intelligence of the acorn becoming an oak, in the desire of a weed to squeeze its way through asphalt – and in our deepest longings that guide our way forward through our lives. 

It’s up to us whether we choose to listen.

Eventually, when I had a child, I wanted my daughter to experience that kind of loving, nurturing world. 

I realized that I had a choice of how she would see the world. And I saw that our first sense of the universe – our god really – is the great Mother. I was all she knew at first – I was the whole universe. 

She looked into my eyes to see what kind of a world she had entered. How I responded to her defined reality for her. My hugs (and my husband’s) were what gave her a sense that she was in a safe place.

So, I set out to embody the highest, most nurturing, loving energy I could for her. I put her in a love bubble.

No matter what she did, I surrounded her with love. I witnessed her growth, I supported her, I let her have her path but secretly made sure it was safe.

My daughter didn’t cry much. She was a genuinely happy kid. And soon, she learned the word “no.”

When she wanted to throw food or didn’t want to stop playing for bedtime, I offered consequences, so I could stay calm and loving no matter what she did: “ok, remember what I said would happen if you made that choice again? That’s not appropriate for the table so if you feel the need to do that we’ll have to go home.”

Once, I had to take her toy away for something. She cried. She cried some more. And then she did something that touched me deeply.

She walked over to me and cried in my arms.

universe safety mothering mother - creating a loving universe with Ma Yoga

At that moment I knew I was on the right track. I was able to console her in the midst of her pain which, in a way, I had caused. But for her this “pain” was merely just the consequences of her actions.

It feels a little Godfather-y, but that’s the point: we are all-powerful to them. And we can still love and nurture them when they are misbehaving, or being people we don’t like.

If we, as parents, accept that we play god for our children, and fully step into this role to embody our highest love and wisdom – or our “Ma” Self, we can help them feel at ease in the world.

Yes, bad things are going to happen to them. 

But ultimately, when they can see the world as a benevolent place, they can be courageous throughout their lives: they might reach out to connect more, knowing the possibility of support is out there; they might have bigger aspirations, knowing they have everything they need within them; they might trust their intuition more, knowing this universal intelligence is within them.

It’s not that I don’t show her the darkness in the world. We watch Stephen Colbert together and talk politics, and read stories in Time Magazine about the opioid epidemic.

loving universe

But I also want her to know we are free to choose what we will focus on – all the negative ugliness – or make our path a meaningful one.

When we are held in a loving container, we sense our greatest potential. A loving universe has taken form as us.

If I did one thing that didn’t royally screw my daughter up, it’s choosing to connecting to my own loving wisdom every day. 

I did this by having a daily practice that connects and centers me. I sit down in my little meditation corner with my head spinning, and I get up feeling more like the powerful, wise, and nurturing “Ma” goddess.

I believe stepping into my own highest Self so I can come to her with an open heart requires a daily practice. No matter how enlightened we are, we don’t wake up as our highest Self or come home from work as our highest Self. 

It’s there for us to connect to it in body and mind, each day, through a meditation and yoga practice that works for us.

practicing yoga meditation safe universe - creating a loving universe with Ma Yoga

She’s 11 now, and last night she said “Mom! I love you!” out of the blue. I knew that she was feeling happy and excited and safe, and in some ways it’s not me she’s loving, it’s the whole world she’s excited to be a part of.

She is excited to grow up. I wish she’d slow down a little actually. But she doesn’t feel she will lose herself, and I’m proud of that.

And that’s the highest achievement in my life: teaching her that she is an expression of something higher, something mysterious and wonderful, wise and powerful, and that through this we are all connected to each other in a loving universe.

Thank you for spreading the Ma love!

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