Morning Meditation - The Cradleboard

Amber Canyon

Today was so difficult. I turned to a Flathead mother and her baby. The baby was swaddled into a cradle board that was just beautiful, and at first glance, all I could see was that magnificent baby carrier.

Then I saw the woman, she was decked out in what I'm sure was her finest clothes. She was not new at motherhood and had an air of pride and confidence. Proud mostly, I thought, of the cradle board. That's when I saw there was a baby in it, a very unhappy baby.

It seemed to me that he was feeling cramped and constrained, that he wanted to fling out his arms and kick his feet. I bent down and touched his cheek, and he quit yelling for a moment and smiled at me. I wished his hands were out so that he could grab my finger.

And with that thought, I found myself almost immediately standing in judgment of the mother. Feeling accusatory, and saying to her something to the effect of, "What's more important? The cradle board or the baby?"

And she said, "He's a fine lusty boy. It's good that he has his say."

I kept popping in and out of the meditation, really wanting to get that baby out and let him do some moving around. And even though I knew that she did get him out and he was well loved and well cared for, even though I knew she was an experienced mother, this was the custom, and there were excellent reasons for it... I was still agitating to get that baby out and let him play.

She said, "There is a time and a place for everything. In this time and in this place he stays where he is."

I fussed some more, tried to get into a place of peace with it - didn't succeed. I finally had to just leave it at that, and it felt supremely unsatisfying.

In retrospect, now that I'm writing about it, I can see how antsy I am to get "the baby" out and how well this relates to how I'm feeling (I as the child) about my spiritual journey. It's like, for my own good, I'm swaddled and contained while I learn to speak my truth and be still. And I'd like very much to stretch my legs and get a move on, but the time isn't right. And in the mean time, I'm well loved and in the capable hands of an experienced "mother."

So - that's that!

~what's this?

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