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Five years ago when my third grandchild was born, my daughter-in-law asked me what it was like to be a grandmother. I am still thinking about the answer. Many grandparents say that they enjoy not having the responsibility of raising children but I have never related to this sentiment. In my opinion, a relationship can begin even before a child is born. This has been substantiated by a prenatal seminar I attended that was run by two specialists. The evidence provided was indisputable. How exciting to develop a relationship even before a child is born! As my grandchildren have grown, being able to watch them, bond with them, spend time with them, has been a great privilege. One benefit of growing old is finding time, in spite of a busy and engaged life, to be with them. Parents, on the other hand, are constantly having to manage a balancing act between their own work, preparing meals, negotiating sibling fights, supervising homework, driving kids to endless commitments, etc.

Usually I can relate to my grandchildren in a Yoga-like way. Strength, commitment and decision have been forged by years of practice, as well as studying at the school of life. Therefore, I can usually pay close attention to them and listen with patience and without rushing.

Gurus have offered many instructions about ways to attain bliss. They are all very complicated and quite discouraging. My version of “bliss”, however, is very “down home”. It does not involve sitting rigidly or doing severe austerities but rather staying alert to the multitude of special moments that occur every day in which contentment, happiness and perhaps, bliss, can be found.

Of course we are all different and you may not have children or grandchildren but the possibility of finding this sort of elation is equally possible. One can get pulled into another realm through a variety of simple every day events: taking your dog for a walk and reveling in one of its silly antics; smiling at a stranger when an unspoken look of comprehension is exchanged; watching children and seeing their innocence and amazement; experiencing a sunset. These are only a few ways that we can travel effortlessly into the house of well-being.

Last month I was with my grandson, Dario, who is almost ten. We were at the sea together sailing on a blown boat. As he observed nature, the sea, the sky and the birds flying overhead, his face expressed marvel and an unspoken understanding passed between us. This was enough to put me into the happiest state imaginable. Daniel, who is five, never stops playing. He is very serious about his games. Can you imagine how thrilled I am when he tells me that I am a princess and even when the game is over, it still remains my role?

Last week, I looked up and saw a double rainbow. I was totally unprepared for the “aha” moment it gave me.

This spontaneous second of deep satisfaction is something that is there, available for all of us if we simply stop for a moment and look around. Yoga teaches us to slow down and to wake up to our surroundings and experience the wonders of the world. Call it instant happiness, contentment, or bliss.

In gratitude,