There was a moment today when I felt whole again.

I was with the first graders, outside, playing an elaborate game of tag called Fox and Bunny.   I was facilitating, shouting encouragement and instruction to the 8 kids.  Sage was in the Fox’s Den again — she has Down’s Syndrome and uses tag as an opportunity to run freely, though not necessarily away from whoever is “it”.  She was clearly bored with the cycle of getting tagged and then waiting to be rescued by another player.  She crisscrossed her legs and bent forward with her hands on the snowy ground, looking up to me.  “Kate!”

Something clicked into place in me, and I laughed.  I jogged over to her and swooped her up with my arms under her armpits, legs dangling in front of me.  She didn’t have to play the game like everyone else — it wasn’t my job to make her follow the rules.  Instead, she started using her legs to steer us around the field in a front facing, one team wheelbarrow race.  We played our own game, with its own shifting rules and goals.  “Quick!  To the Bunny Hole!”  “Now this way!”  The other first graders continued their game seamlessly, and sometimes we even played along — “Whoa, there’s the fox — watch out!”.

I felt myself wide open, giving myself fully to the moment and to this 6 year old girl.  Nothing held back for myself, or for Aurora, or for later.  Full on, right now — no rules to follow or enforce, the only goal is love.  I saw the snow-covered mountains around us with new eyes, with appreciation and joy and presence.  I was suddenly in the world as a full participant, instead of fighting against it, begrudging it for its responsibilities, or figuring out how to manipulate it to get what I want.  I’ve been so focused on not having enough money, or time, or energy — I’ve been in this rut of grabbing for whatever I can get and never feeling like I’ve gotten enough.  This afternoon I felt a wholehearted and wholespirited “yes!” to everything that was happening, effortlessly stepping into a dynamic of collaboration with all of existence.

It was just a few minutes, and I know I quickly slipped back into the struggle, but looking back on it tonight now that Rora is asleep and I have the space for reflection, I notice the feeling lingering in my body — the freedom, the joy, the sense of wholeness.

I think some people call it Grace.