Someone recently told me, “It’s very brave of you to be able to bring up two daughters single-handedly in a city like Delhi.”
But I have never felt ‘single-handed’. I’ve felt overworked, yes, tired, exhausted, worn out and any other synonyms you can come up with. I’ve felt physically incapable of juggling all the ‘work’ thrust upon me — by my own choices, I must add. I’ve felt 24 hours just aren’t enough to get everything done, and I have struggled with letting go of certain things in order to make space for others (laundry instead of dusting, bank visits instead of buying fruits, you get the idea). I’ve outsourced as much work as possible, and stopped imagining even in my fondest dreams that my house will look as spanking clean as my mother’s. I have given up on the idea of being superwoman; my choices have made me acutely aware of my limits.
But I have never felt ‘single-handed’. I was introduced to Buddhism at the age of 30, and that is the period of my life I call ‘the opening of the eyes’, which is coincidentally (or not) a chapter in Nichiren Daishonin’s Gosho. At that point, despite my ‘amateur spirituality’ and metaphorical blindness, there was an instant connection with… how should I put it… the Universe (I was too green to call it God then). There was an immediate sense of ‘oneness’ with the forces of Life, a sense of being part of something much larger than I was. As if someone had opened a door and I could suddenly see this truth. Even if my eyes were squinting and blinking in this bright light, I could sense I was in the ‘right place’. Finally.
It is only after this ‘awakening’ of sorts that I was able to put an end to an already dead marriage. So being ‘single-handed’ was never a feeling I have had to deal with. I was able to take on the weight of life as a single mother only because I had the comfort and knowledge of a much larger force carrying all of us along.
Many women my age, in difficult marriages or otherwise similar situations, ask me how I found the courage to take all those steps, how I managed to handle a difficult job along with all the social mountains and this heavy burden of bringing up two kids in a heartless city. I tell them I didn’t find the courage, the courage found me. The minute I embraced my spiritual practice with surrender and devotion, a tsunami of chance happenings, miracles and inexplicable blessings poured forth on me, carrying me along a wave of unimaginable change.
I can almost say I had nothing to do with all of this, I only had to allow nature to take its course in the truest sense. Being a single mother doesn’t have to mean being alone and unsupported.
How can I feel single-handed when I’m sitting atop the innumerable hands of God?