Since our daughter was born in the spring of 2013, I have experienced thousands of moments of feeling profoundly in love. It isn't just when she beams light through her eyes. It isn't just because I feel like the best me I can be, in my role as her mama. It is all sorts of moments. When a tantrum bubbles-up from her passionate emotions, I feel in love with her honesty and full permission to express her needs. When she resists leaving the playground I feel in love with her invitation to be a more effective communicator and guide. I even feel that deep in-love-ness when I change her poo diaper. Her digestion is working; how miraculous is that!?
I am in love with her more consistently than I have ever felt in love with anything. And I am completely not unique here. So, so many parents relate to this almost bewildering sense of love.
Glancing back at my entire life, this feeling of love for children most universally captures the sense of joy, and innocence, freedom and delight, purity and raw, perfect beauty we are capable of feeling as humans. Effortlessly evoked within us by the presence of a child.
So it is evoked. We feel bliss. We feel completely enchanted. Our eyes get dewy. Then what?
What if... the impact of children settled in within us a bit deeper than we currently let it?
What if... we allowed that feeling of love evoked by children, to guide our lives more fully?
Nothing in my life has ever set "the bar" higher than Helena's existence. The love I feel for her means I do not swallow my bold words; I honor my feelings and intuition despite a culture that may see differently. I take better care of my body. I am more committed to my spiritual practice than before she was conceived. Her impact sends me on a deep-whale-dive to express more joy in this life. It means all that and so much more. The love I feel for her has raised the bar for everything.
So what? What does a "raised bar" mean? Given that our lives play out in as many different ways as there are people, I imagine the answer will be different for everyone. And I am also curious if some patterns emerge. This is one of the biggest questions ever to surface within me; it gets at the deepest existential questions and roots of our being.
If you relate to this feeling of being profoundly in love with the presence of children -- if you feel called forth to devote yourself more fully to "goodness" in whatever form that takes for you -- then what does that look like? Will you share?
If the astounding beauty we can so easily see in children were to have its greatest impact on us as adults, then what..? What would that look like in your life?
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a lifelong letter writer, Love-based leader and eternal fan of Mr. Rogers. This deeply personal blog and our free recorded conversations are devoted to one of her greatest passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.