My Child is My Teacher

My daughter Lily is three. She's a force of nature with an independent “I do” attitude, fearless and super impatient.  Sometimes, if she cannot put her shoes on in two seconds – she screams and throws them.  Sometimes, if the noodles don't stick to fork the first time, she melts down into hysterics, she can't get her arms through her shirt; she emits such a high pitched frequency that we all dive to the floor and cover our ears.

This behavior triggers me and my impatience. At that same time, I recognize what is happening to her, physically and emotionally; because the same thing has always happened to me. One of my biggest spiritual lessons in my lifetime is patience.

In the (amazing) book The Conscious Parent – by Shafali Tsabary, she says a few things that really opened my eyes:

“To parent consciously requires us to undergo personal transformation. In fact, it's my experience that the relationship between the parent and child exists for the primary purpose of the parent's transformation and only secondarily for the raising of the child.”

“Our children come to us so we may recognize our psychic wounds and call up the courage to transcend the limitations these wounds place on us.”

“In this your children are your allies, as they repeatedly mirror aspects of your unconsciousness, affording you opportunity after opportunity to awaken from your slumber”

I've shared before, in the my previous posts – I'm prone to anxiety. I understand, intellectually, that anxiety is my refusal to accept my present moment, and wish it were different in some way. I see clearly where I want to go in my life; what circumstances I want to call to me. I'm good at that. What I really, profoundly suck at is allowing the process of a manifested life to unfold in its own time and rhythm.

I want it now. Linear time is a bitch.

And I've been too busy manifesting things to realize that I'm failing to enjoy the moment. This has resulted in:

  • Chronic anxiety

  • Lack of self care

  • Exhaustion

  • Chronic neck pain

Feel free to chuckle now at the irony that I teach yoga for a living.

But my studio and community offer me a myriad of blessings. Shamanic healers like Kay Dougherty. Acupuncturists and herbalists like Katy Hogan – wonderful healers that support me and in the last few months, have helped me integrate some things that have been coming to me in my meditations and shamanic journeys.

It all started this spring when my neck locked and I was in enormous pain. Around that time, I participated in a shamanic ceremony wherein all I kept seeing was a rolled up carpet unfolding itself. When it unfolded itself; it rolled back up and did it again.

I got what it meant - let life unfold..yada yada yada - but I didn't integrate it.  Live it.   The pain continued. So did my anxiety and my wish that certain things in my life were different than what they were.

Then my daughter's impatience attracted my attention (how could it not?). I recognized myself in her actions. I recognized a part of myself that needed to change because it was causing me unhappiness - and also, and perhaps more alarmingly, my pattern was being repeated by my child.

Lily was showing me the source of my anxiety, my physical pain and frankly, the biggest spiritual lesson thus far in my life.


In a myriad of ways, the Universe (or Spirit, or God, or Light) began to show me all the ways I was impatient--by creating situations for me to be impatient about. All the while, my daughter's impatience was terrorizing our house.

When God wants you to learn something; first there is a whisper. If you don't hear the whisper, then there is a tap on the shoulder. If you shake off the tap on the shoulder, then, in my experience, you get conked on the head.

My chronic neck pain seemed to be the rock that conked my head. It was not until the other day that I had another awakening about it.

I came across a notebook that I used pretty consistently in 2005--before I met my husband, when I was in the middle of my vinyasa teacher training program.

In it were a few things to remind me of the magic of life. First were some journal entries that I wrote regarding what I wanted to create in my life. I wrote two pages on the type of relationship and marriage and partner I wanted. I wrote two pages on the livelihood I wanted to create (the yoga studio and wellness center).

Everything. EVERYTHING (ok, with the exception of geography-- I thought I'd end up in Brooklyn) has come to fruition. All of it. Every. Last. Sentence. Reading it confirmed my capacity to create the life I want. Reading it confirmed it will all be OK. Reading it did not encourage patience, however.

Then I started reading some of my notes I took during TT. When I came across the following, I began to cry.

“Patience is the action of not cheating time. The state of nurturing our mind. The 5th Chakra (throat) activates patience. Patience is the experience of experiencing the flow of life. Impatience is losing the rhythm of time or losing the flow of life. Poses that create a strong neck lock bring this area into balance: shoulder stand, plow, fish pose”.

The night before, as I was meditating, I had a strong urge to do fish pose. It was almost overwhelming so I just did it. I felt the heaviness in my throat, the density and the imbalance. My body shook. Anxiety came to the surface. I countered it was a nurturing plow pose and went to bed.

When I read these words, my own words interpreting my teacher almost 10 years ago – I knew what my simple, oh so simple job was right now.

Be present in this moment now.


Shoulder-stand, plow and fish, daily.

Surrender and trust that all will come, in time.

And above all, remember what Yogi B said. “Patience Pays” and I am a work in progress.  


Om Namah Shivaya

Alyssa SnowComment