Learning To Be "All In" With Life

By Freya Secrest

My new granddaughter, Kaileia, is three months old and beginning to explore her muscle control and coordination. She lives in a world of the moment, actively engaging with all that comes her way. I had the gift of being a partner in her world of discovery recently and the ripples of that experience live in me as an extraordinary example of presence and communication.

That afternoon, she had been playing on her own, thoughtfully, slowly, experimentally, moving her arms to connect with a hanging mobile. Sometimes she touched and grabbed it, sometimes not. Her full attention seemed to be concentrated on that toy but she held no specific idea to do anything with it or to it. Instead it seemed Kaileia was exploring the space around it, feeling into a broader field of engagement.  She was using every physical and somatic sense she could access for her learning.

I picked Kaileia up from the floor and held her in my arms in a position that allowed us to see each other. I was the focus of her attention now and with her eyes, her interest, her body, she directed herself toward our interaction. We started a conversation.  

As I talked to her and entered more fully into the field defined by our eye contact and physical touch, my speech slowed and I focused on key words and sounds rather than long sentences. Her attention sharpened; she was a partner ready to engage. Watching Kaileia respond, I slowed down even further and settled even more into my body and subtle senses.  I noticed her mouth movements as she tasted the air of our communication and began to mimic them, trying to taste it too. Shaping my mouth slowly into an O, I put more breath into it and it became a note of sound; she lit up. I began singing more slow notes and she began to mimic my mouth very specifically. Her eyes were glued to my face as she worked to move her own mouth and make the sounds I was making. And she did it!  And, of course I, and the others around, gave delighted praise. It was a doorway moment for her and for me that recognized our connection.

What followed was several minutes of call and response and deep belly laughs from both of us as we lived into the delight of this moment of conscious communication.  Kaileia was almost ecstatic to feel her participation in the exchange. The world opened up to her; she made a difference. I was in awe of the wonder in the moment, of what was possible within the gift of becoming present. Everyone in the room was transformed with her joy.

What I take away from that exchange, besides my grandmotherly pride in a brilliant grandchild, is an experience of being “all in”, and the value of being somatically alert and responsive to my world. This deeper sense of presence resonates and moves through me as simple, direct, honest, with a fullness of joy that links body, mind, emotion and spirit. Kaileia brings all of herself to her work as a young incarnating soul in the world; she has a task to connect and establish and grow a life. I feel that same responsibility and am appreciating the reminder to bring myself humbly and expectantly to the task.

This state of wonder and magic seems particularly appropriate in my work with subtle energies and a Living Universe. I am inspired to taste the air of my attunements, to let my arms ‘wave’ and reach out to physically give shape to my experiences. Kaileia is my poster child for “all in”. I look up from my computer screen and see my neighbor’s tall pine. My back straightens and head lifts, and I move into a felt sense of height that perhaps is more akin to the tree’s experience. Like my granddaughter, I try to shape myself to imitate its song. In this brief exchange I feel joy coursing through my uprightness. Perhaps this is a moment of tree-speak.

This somatic languaging is a rich addition to my subtle world communication. It has been part of our teaching in Incarnational Spirituality but this experience calls me to further recognize and harness its power. I find a more tangible and accessible sense of where to meet and engage with fellow Gaian beings – both those in physical form and those in subtler embodiment. Slowing down enough to focus with interest on what is in front of me, I stand in present moment. Welcoming the light of multiple perspectives, the present flows with greater clarity and connectedness. Delighting in our connection, we are communicating and the fabric of life is enhanced.

This experience with Kaileia has illustrated a new fullness and aliveness in my life. I have no nouns to describe it firmly yet. But while it is still a mystery to me, the somatic doorway that she modeled is woven more strongly into the fabric of my awareness.