While it may be a cliche to say that the act of stroking a pet’s head will extend a human’s life., I agree with it. And with yesterday, I believe that holding a baby has the same effect.
Twice a month I volunteer in the nursery of our church. We help the chief nursery aide look after the little ones while the parents are in service.
Yesterday was especially busy. Two of the children were crying quite a bit at the separation from their parents. One is only 15 months old and small but very aware. I held her, rocked her gently, fed her a milk bottle and just let her sit in my arms for 20 minutes. She calmed down quickly. It’s exactly what I used to do with my own toddler, who is wonderful and cuddly but hard to keep still for more than a few minutes.
During this time, I realized I was in a meditation practice. The acts of holding her, giving her a bottle, showing her a toy, etc. — were totally natural and easy.
There was nothing to do except be in the moment. I didn’t have to be in control, nor did I feel my mind wander about things I should be doing or planning. It was blissful.