13 December 2016
Dear Baby Liam,
as your 35th week progresses, space has become scarce in my belly, and your kicks and movements are gaining intensity. Now I have entered maternity leave and feel the relief of not having to spend 7-hour days in a chair looking at a screen and talking to people. In September, I have started working in a call center with the task to sell television packages to pay-tv customers. You are smiling my sunshine, because you know this has little to do with what Mom wants to do in her life!
Looking back, however, I have gained quite some experience, responsibility, strength and even some peacebuilding skills on the way – if that is not too much of a lesson to draw. In Germany, we have some laws on maternity protection that prevent pregnant women from being fired. That said, I didn’t get under pressure for selling according to quotas and I spent my days calling these people, listening to their sorrows and anger, sometimes being able to give them advice or guidance, at other times not.
I feel quite blessed with the three months I got to work, not only because I earned some money and practiced myself in responsibility, but also because I met wonderful colleagues, people who are doing their best to feed their families.
Despite this job being paid at the minimum wage rate and me getting crambs in my mouth and cheeks for hourlong talks and smiling (which can actually be heard through the phone), I did learn some things along the way. I learned that football players earn way too much money, that sometimes it helps people just to feel heard, without actually having to respond. There is a big communication lesson here, because we often communicate not in an attempt to actively listen, but to actively respond and state our position.
What a colorful past I have been blessed to experience! I have seen our economic and social system from so many facets and perspectives, having worked in retail, as cashier, in different restaurants (Indian, Greek, Fast Food, Ice Cream), at the university, in unpaid internships at international and local NGOs, in tutoring and teaching, and now even in a call center. What a ride for 25 years, and the best is yet to come (when you come)!
In the past days I have had the chance to re-channel my energies to what I really want to do with myself and attended a teacher training in Mama Baby Yoga. Deep into the ninth month of pregnancy, we caught a 7-hour-long bus to Leipzig where a wonderful old friend gave us shelter on her couch, much love with long talks and real German food (which is even novelties for me who has lived here for a long time so far). We have met other mothers and Yoga teachers most of whom have recently given birth and found joy and potential in the practice together with their baby.
This was the first time I have heard about Yoga Dance, a practice that resembles 5 Rhythms in many ways, yet is not based on rhythms but on the Chakras. I love how the dance frees my body from the limitations of my mind, and while the noises of my thoughts and worries decrease, I find actual peace. In three days of deep practice, meditation and chanting, I have eased some of my back pain, have arrived in the here and now for a while, and have found the strength to do what I feel is the right path in my life – because it fills me with joy and peace.
I am looking forward to practice with you, to be there for you and listen to what you want and need. You will remember the yoga practice outside the womb from the time of pregnancy, when we stood on our head sometimes, sometimes in downward-facing dog and your Mom sent her Ujayji breath all the way down to you in an attempt to make you feel warm and cozy.
You might remember the daily morning chants with the Gayatri Mantra, or the sound of the OM at the end of a practice, and maybe you will find soothing calmness in repeating these rituals outside of my womb, in the real world.
As the future I had hoped for is not here yet, whether it may come or not, and the dreams and the people I held so tight changed their meaning, I have found this space within where I can wrap myself in pure love and in peace. This refuge reloads my energy to continue facing the everyday challenges of life on Earth. And it guides me into the direction that makes me happy, the occupation that fulfills me.
It is said that children have the tendency to feel guilty and responsible for the unhappiness of their parents. When parents have sacrificed life, happiness, fulfillment for the child, a child might be growing up in an attempt to recover from this burden, from the impression that suffering is what life and love are all about.
When you will be seeing me fully embrace life according to my calling, maybe you will feel like doing the same, dancing your own dance, shining this passionate light of joy, love and happiness.