by Jenny Block
My sister’s partner just had a baby. I spent a week in Portland with them in early December and it was a powerful experience. Everyone should spend time with a new baby. It’s a powerful reminder of what a gift, what a fragile and precious and fleeting gift, life is.
She’s so tiny and needs so much care. And she’s so breakable. She has to be changed and fed and put to sleep on her back. Her head has to be supported and she can’t be left atop of anything off of which she might fall.
And it got me thinking, why don’t we treat our own lives and the lives of others so carefully once we are grown? Just because we can take care of ourselves doesn’t mean our lives deserve any less care.
The new year is upon us. And as my first evolution for the new year, I would like evolve into the kind of person who cares for myself and others and the universe, in fact, as if they were all tiny babies. I’m going to do my best to respect them and protect them.
I’ve learned a lot about being thoughtful and conscious since I began practicing Nia. And it’s amazing how different my life is. So much of what I did before was just a matter of doing without even knowing half the time what I was doing.
And when I didn’t know what I was doing, it was hard to know whether I was doing it in a way that respected my life and the lives of others, let alone the universe at large. When I eat carelessly, I eat stuff that’s not good for me.
When I drive carelessly, I use more gas than I need to. Even when I brush my teeth carelessly, I let the fresh, clean water run down the drain without giving a thought to its power and worth.
But when I was caring for my niece, I thought about everything. Everything. Right down to what time her last diaper change or bout of hiccups was. It’s a consciousness that goes hand in hand with helpless and need. But it doesn’t have to be.
Everyone deserves to be conscious and to live consciously.
Smoking’s a terrible idea. But if you’re going to do it, don’t do it where ANYONE else can be harmed by it. Move to a spot where no one else can smell or breathe the smoke. If you’ve waited too long to make your exit, don’t cut people off. Take the next exit.
If you’re seated in the back of the plane, wait until the people in front of you get off. If you’re in the front and your luggage is in the back, wait until everyone else has gotten off the plane to retrieve it. And don’t leave a play before the curtain call. Yes, there will be traffic getting out of the parking lot. But those actors worked hard to perform that show for you. They deserve your applause and your respect.
If you don’t know what you want to order, don’t get in line yet. If you can have a piece of fruit instead of a Cheeto, have the fruit. You get the idea.
So, here’s to a happy, healthy new year where we all live consciously rather than cautiously. Where we all think less about ourselves and more about others. And where we all remember what it’s like to hold a wriggling newborn in our arms.
Jenny Block is a freelance writer and the author of “Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage” (2008 Lambda Literary Award). Among other gigs, she writes a weekly sex column for FoxNews.com. Jenny holds a BA and MA in English and taught college composition for ten years. For more on Jenny, visit her website at www.jennyonthepage.com.