A couple mornings a week, during my morning jog, I meet the motherly trio: two pregnant women, with their capri pants and floppy sun hats, accompanied by the matron of the bunch. They have babies in their belly and babies in the two strollers they're pushing. By the look of things, they won't have much sleep or sanity until somewhere around 2026. They are aglow, though. They greet me with smiles. They're far cheerier than I am, though that may have something to do with the fact that at the point I encounter them, I've just topped a grueling climb up the Hill of Retribution. I've given the Hill (the one with the mother of all inclines) this name because with each plodding, grinding step, it seems I'm atoning for some past sin.
But the happy pregnant women with their cute floppy hats walk the neighborhood and engage in lively conversation. They are spry and joyful, and they always greet me with a warm hello. If I were pregnant (and a woman, which I guess would be necessary), I'd want to be their friend.
Today, after we greeted and passed, I heard one of the pooch-bellied women say, "Whatever your body feels good doing, you should do." The words weren't intended for me (or anyone like me, I understand), but I received them.
There is an attentiveness to body and soul and space that creates an open-handed, leisurely way of being present in our world. Most of us are concerned with narcissism and nihilistic consumption. I get it. However, that's not attentiveness. Rather, that's a manic-like failure to tune into the truth in you and the people around you. When we are attuned to our yearnings and our rhythms, to our tears and our pleasures, to those places (and people) who either drain or infuse life – then we have wisdom about the path to follow and the path to avoid.
Miska has encouraged me to create a violence-free zone around my heart, a place where I refused to do injury to myself by the words I receive or the lies I believe. This is good wisdom. Some of us cling fiercely to the ways we've screwed it up – or might screw it up. We playback the conversations. We relive our mistakes. We see the badness in us, but we refuse to take in the beauty. If this is you, then take words from an effervescent pregnant woman, lugging a stroller down the street while carrying a small watermelon in her tummy: Pay attention to what feels good.
Follow what's good and leave the rest behind.