For the past ten months, I have had the absolute privilege to be a part of the lives of two boys, ages 6 and 3. The younger one, I nicknamed Brave King James. I originally did this to remind him of his strength and bravery, at times when he was unsure of his ability to try something new or step outside of his comfort zone. Now, Mr. Brave King James, without even meaning to has become one my greatest teachers (over the course of the past year) - reminding me each day that we get together, that he is "my Brave King James" -- upon hearing these words and seeing his confident smile I am reminded that I too am strong, even when I falter and to breathe easy with this knowledge.
A few short months before I met, Mr. Brave King James, he had been diagnosed with Doose syndrome. He was only two and a half years old when the diagnosis came so to him, a life of medication and occasional trips to the Boston Children's Office (hospital) have become the norm. Does he like being a patient? No, not really, but who would?! He does though, approach the situation with a hesitant smile, knowing that he is surrounded by those that love him dearly. This strong young kiddo has kept me smiling when dynamics in my life felt unsettled or sad. It has been nothing short of a gift to be able to witness him blossom into the dynamic personality and energetic boy that he is. At first, saying "No, Emily, I can't do that!" to "Hey, Emily, watch me do this!!" (sometimes, I wonder if I empowered him too much as he now shimmies up the rope "spider web" ladder structure at the local playground, fearless and proud) - he truly is a very Brave King James. To watch him grow, take chances and gain confidence in himself demonstrates to me the importance of remembering that within each of us lives a Brave King or Brave Queen -- we just have to let go of doubt and trust in our true self.
To stay in one location and not move frequently, to allow my mind to still, to let love in, and to trust that I truly can create beauty in my life takes strength for me -- I really do have to channel my own Brave Queen Emily. And I recently did just this! I made the decision to stay in Massachusetts to live, instead of moving away from many people who I love and who love me deeply in return, from an area I love, from new connections and from dreams that are beginning to turn into realities. Taking more than one deep breath, talking with my father, sitting in meditation and moving through meditative practice on the yoga mat, as well as, listening to Brave King James triumphantly exclaim that he is -- Brave King James! -- helped empower me to listen to my heart, to trust my soul and to let go of fear -- to stay instead of run. As Marianne Williamson once said:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
So, I say thank you to Mr. Brave King James - for trusting me to keep you safe, to guide you in the right way and to care for you in the way of love. Thank you to Brave King James's parents, for trusting me and welcoming me into their home with open arms and for letting me love your children, as if they are my own. Thank you to his brother, one of the coolest dudes I know, for letting me in to your life to share in adventure and wonder with you.
Thank you to my father, who has always been a smooth stone in the water for me, even when it got rough. Conversations with you are grounding, introspective and reassuring, reminding me of the beautiful light that truly does shine within each and everyone of us, including my Brave Queen self (when I forget).
Thank you to my mother, whose unconditional and selfless love provided a strong foundation of trust and security for me, especially as I began to take on the world on my own. Conversations with you are real and true, allowing me space to explore the good moments and hardships of growing up.
Mom and Dad, your love inspires me -- radiating bright, filling even the darkest day with sunshine.
Love, it is what we all seek -- to be accepted for who we are, as we are, flaws and all, imperfectly perfect in our right. To know this love is the greatest gift.
May you all know this love, especially in the way of love for self, love for the Brave King or Brave Queen that you are. The light that shines within is there to shine bright.
When Brave King James, questions his strength or feels frustrated, which of course still happens, I ask him if he is breathing... of course he is, naturally, to be alive. But is he aware of how!? When he is scared, nervous or frustrated, his breath becomes shallow, his body tenses - the same takes place in us, as adults. After asking Brave King James if he is breathing, I ask him if his body is calm and then sometimes, before a response comes - I let him know that we are going to breathe together and then we will both have calm bodies. To this, he smiles, melting my heart instantly. And together, we Breathe. Inhaling slowly and exhaling slowly. His little body relaxing right before my eyes. Sometimes, as we do this, we touch foreheads - Brave King James, once said that it is "to make sure that our third eye breathes too". ... Kiddos really do say the darnedest things. ૐ
We all breathe, we must to survive, but do we always breathe into our strength - I know we do not and that is OK. We can return to the breath, when we falter, when we doubt ourselves, or become fearful - we can breathe into our light shining within.
From the moment I met Brave King James, he stole a piece of my heart and has continued to do so over the past several months. I will forever be thankful that our paths crossed, that he and his family came into my life and I into theirs and am grateful that when one role ends, the connections made do not. To Brave King James and his cool dude older brother, in the words of A.A. Milne, words spoken to Winnie the Pooh by Christopher Robin:
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
Children may be our greatest teachers, viewing the world as is, with a deep curiosity - always wanting to experience more and understand why things are as they are. If you want to know love, hold a child in your arms, they have yet to learn to judge another, to feel as though they are less than another, they embrace differences as a new adventure instead of something to fear... they are totally honest and true.
Thank you Brave King James - thank you for stealing a piece of my heart.
A spiritual being on a physical journey, striving to make a positive impact on this world through my actions and loving intention. I believe that we are all capable of greatness, it is how we channel this great energy that matters... I choose to express it in the name of -- peace and love.