In Spirit: Letter to My Child

Before I was pregnant, I thought that maybe, that would happen to me too, but not now, because I still had too many travelling to do and projects to put together before I would have a tiny human coming into my life. And then it happened, unexpectedly. You were there in me. I saw the cross appearing on my pregnancy test and I burst into tears without really knowing if it was of joy or sadness; probably something in me felt that my life, from that moment on, was really going to be different, that my whole being was going to be shaken to its very bottom.

I always imagined that while pregnant, I would take pictures and document every important moment. I wished you could read the story of the first few months of your incarnation. But the words did not have the space to come as early as I wanted. Finally, it’s a bit like they too needed to take their gestation time to mature and reveal themselves when they would be ready. Nothing went as planned, neither the photos, nor the notes, nor the rest actually. And that has been a beautiful teaching of letting go of the imaginations and security. My child, you have shown me the patience of gestation of things: the world moves when it is ready, not when you want it or when you imagine it. The law of desire is an illusion. That of life is the only one that is right.

With you right here, at the heart of my body, I can no longer run away, no longer pretend. Not for the idea of what is to come, but especially for this energy full of life in its raw state and matter of being which I experience thanks to you being formed in my womb. This living force is indescribable. It’s a current that crosses me, like a tidal wave that sweeps everything in its path. It is scary because I see my world of beliefs and security collapsing, but it is of a force of truth which is irresistible. You make me touch the living in what is most tender, most fragile, sharper, stronger, more beautiful, more loving. All of this at once. The truth is straightforward, but it is not violent. I discovered this for the first time.

I used to do things a bit forcefully, because life is a battle, especially when you are a woman… actually, I used to envy men, I often thought that it was easier for them. But now, I don’t have any escape. I connect with an archetypal feminine energy where softness is a force more powerful than the violence of imposition. The male energy goes towards, it cuts, it separates, to imprint its force. The feminine energy encompasses, it integrates, it unites. It is not a force by imposition, but by absorption. And this energy does not depend on sexual organs, Men as much as women can embody it. It’s a question of interior positioning facing life, not gender.

Your presence is like a mirror. You come from the unmanifest, and through you, I discover how a body is made, how a soul is embodied. It’s a privilege that often brings tears to my eyes. This is a teaching on the embodiment of the human form that you tell me as you are growing up in my womb. I am sitting in the front row. I, an adult, who thought that I was going to have an impact on you, a child, I must realize that it is the opposite: you are the one teaching me and making me grow. 

The human form. This human form which I have always looked down upon, arrogantly, because I told myself that he was too mundane, down to earth, material, for the one who gives himself to the spiritual path. Being spiritual is a pretty idea. Having dreams, surges of energy, are experiences that also have their place. But facing the human in what is most simple, that is ultimately the most difficult. And, I hadn’t seen it before I felt you grow inside me. In all spiritual cultures, the human aspect has been largely rejected or ignored, either by dualistic belief or by cultural formulation or modesty. Yet human and divine are the sides of the same coin. The spiritual aspect does not negate the human one, because like two ends of a string, a double direction, to enter one, you must totally incarnate the other. A dear friend of mine said to me during a conversation: “In the end, these subtle worlds, however subtle they may be, are still worlds …”. I always thought that the day I had a child, I should abandon my spiritual quest for a more entrenched world. It was a revelation when I realized that I was descending into myself into deeper awareness than ever, at the same time that this human life I always avoided was incarnated itself in all parts of my daily life. 

You taught me that in this human space, nobody is too small to give you advice and teach you something, I who thought that only the masters had authority. I learned that the community is of gold. Being surrounded by the people you love, the people that reside in their heart is very precious and nourishing. I feel that you too are growing in me and developing when I am surrounded by beautiful beings, like a plant that blossoms in the sun. Something very raw and simple emanates from these interactions, from these human contacts. 

And life is there, it is this thrill that runs through everyone. To get out of it is to cut yourself. To think above yourself is to lose touch and freeze. Only spiritual is that which is anchored in his humanity, and this is especially true in our time and with the culture that we face. The absolute aspect can only take shape in its human incarnation. Life is full of … full of life in fact. The way it manifests itself is a mystery, the form is so secondary. It’s teeming with emotion, discussion, complexity, and it’s through these moments, going through them completely without resisting them, that behind, you discover that there is a magnificent, essential truth hiding, the heart of the movement of this whole manifestation. I often think about the wrestlers of the Indian Akharas of Benares whose practice reminds us that it is only in the ground as the anchorage of being that one can rise. There is no error on the trajectory, just learning limitless power.

So my child, already you surprise me so much. The rightness of your being obliges me every second to see what I am lacking and to go beyond myself. You teach me to become complete, not to abandon this human and vulnerable aspect … you allow me to connect the heart, the life in a space that moves me to the point that comes tears of beauty. Thank you.

Photo credits
Cover photo and photo #3: Mariette Raina, self-portraits
Photo #2 and #4 : Stéphane Desmeules

Gratitude to my community
My mother for being an angel,
Nathalie for the guidance,
Laetitia, Melina, Fredau, JP, Stéphane and Jose for being part of the journey.

About Mariette Raina
First trained as an anthropologist (graduated from the University of Montreal in 2014, specialized in “anthropology of religions and spiritualities”), it is in parallel of her 6 years at University that Mariette studied kashmirian yoga and evolved in the artistic circles where she questions the act of perception, the relation to the image, as well as the body as a vehicle of expression, through photography, writing and performance. Since 2015 she has been teaching photography classes at the Activités Culturelles of the University of Montreal. She has been working at Center Never Apart in Montreal since 2016 as a writer of monthly articles and collaborated on various projects such as an exhibition and Dax Dasilva’s Age of Union book. Her various activities are related to the same exploration: the understanding of human beings and Reality.

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