There is a time for expansion, and a time to retreat.
There is a time for the inhale, and a time for the exhale.
Wholeness comes with the balance of the breath.
The inhale. The exhale.
What time is this for you?
The power of just one breath to balance us, to bring us back to wholeness.
On the inhale, deep into our back, with power, strength, receiving.
On the exhale, from our heart, with love, with giving.
As caregivers, we must remember this.
If we intend to care for the whole person, so must we be a whole person.
What does it take to be whole, to find wholeness, to re-center our being and find that place of balance so unique for each of us?
And you, dear mother, dear mother-to-be, are you not a caregiver too?
Who better than you will care for your child?
So it has been a time of withdrawal. Of hands digging deep within the earth. Blackened tips of the nails and calloused palms and skin worn to leather by the sun and wind.
And so it shall be a time of hands softly, gently upon the womb. Supporting. Witnessing. A miracle every time.
This is about birth, death, life, rebirth. Where does one end and the other begin with one season flowing into the next, one closing to allow another to unfurl?
And so the seasons move. Slowly at first, then gathering momentum, and we find ourselves running to keep up.
Can we see beyond the path on which our feet are moving?
What happens if we stop?
Now, look up. Look around.
Once our eyes have opened, what do we make of the view before us? Shall we revert to blinders, or shall we step forward into all the ugly beautiful mess before us, calling us like the Pied Piper though we often care not to hear and heed, choosing or safely remaining distracted behind the cloudy veil that enwraps us with a false sense of pride found in busy-ness…
What would happen if we let go and simply stood still?
Would you feel the wind, hear the laughter, sense the rising light?
Paring down to feel the elements.
Return to presence.
Unencumbered by the weight of social pressures, expectations of others, demands of self, and ego.
Who are you trying to please if you cannot please yourself in a sincere manner?
Oh, the worries, such a heavy burden and undue importance we place upon each until we see them all like grains of sand, and there on the beach we sit before the eternally churning waves. Are you still concerned with that one grain of sand, I ask you, and you smile, seeing the senselessness of the situation, and open your eyes and heart to that which is all around. It is beautiful indeed.
A long dormant winter.
Though summer solstice nears, I remain in my retreat.
Not a place I pay to go, but rather work to remain at. Not a master that guides my learning, but rather the wind, the water, the elements to help me find the answers hiding within us all.
This has been a powerful time of awakening and awareness.
Of remaining present.
How can I reflect and write and share with you when what I need right now is simply to be?
Without reflection. Without judgment. Without expectations, demands, and even desires.
This too shall pass.
You and I included.
Those who claim enlightenment as a state once achieved and forever remaining will set themselves apart and above contrary to the true meaning and state of bliss and understanding. I am grateful for the fleeting glimpses. And then I get back to work. Is this not what life is about?
And then there is this.
The part about life being about giving – beyond oneself – for the bigger picture – no longer about me – learning to shed the skin of ego and stand naked and know you still have all I need. You are. Unencumbered. What cloaks do we cover ourselves with and think we are because we wear? Are you really the robe than enwraps you?
As a student and nearly fifty, there is a great lesson in humility. Of simply being open. How else can we receive? The very premise of which is admitting I do not know all the answers. And though I know no one does, it is the wise student that makes no claims and opens themselves to discover. Likewise it is the foolish teacher that takes the stand and defends and judges. No, my friend, the lessons are not about you. Only what you make of them, take from them, and pass on and share. We all have the ability to be both the open slate student as well as the wise teacher – like the Tao – teaching without saying a word. Guiding by living our lives.
As a student midwife, it has become clear that part of midwifery is not just about birth, or body work, but soul work. It’s working with the whole woman. And as a caregiver for the pregnant woman, how can I care for and nurture you and walk with you while you heal your wounds if I have not done the same for myself?
Yes, midwives can operate without this element of care. The medical profession has encouraged us to look at the body as a separate entity. A machine. Detached from mind and soul.
Are you not the whole of all these parts?
How can we understand the truth and see the beauty and feel the connection if we can’t slow down? We rush around and miss the point and seek the answers but never stick around long enough to allow them to be revealed.
Stop the madness. Stop the filling the self with busy-ness and stuffing the soul with false meaning found in title and a price tag and the latest greatest shiny thing, and trying to fulfill our innate sense of longing to belong with the false premise of social media and shallow relations.
Can’t we get deep and still remain simple?
After a year of putting myself out there to promote my books (oh, the unexpected discovery, I suppose, that I am a writer, not a salesman) and a year following of returning to wholeness, this season of deep withdrawal has been a powerful transformation and awakening.
The wild beast moves. The wind shifts solely from the flick of her tail. Is it time to rouse?
And so it has been. At some point we find this within us: it’s not about me, but we. It’s no longer about what we can get out of life, but what we can give to life. It’s no longer about taking, but giving; no longer about me and mine, but at times my place in the bigger picture, and at times, nothing to do with my place at all – only a greater understanding of that bigger picture, and accepting my irrelevance, and realizing that too is okay.
It’s ongoing. I’ve yet to meet someone fully “there,” wherever and whatever “there” is. A state of enlightenment? It’s vague. It’s fleeting. Like seasons. Like days. Some days we’re it. Some days we’re not. I guess that’s why we get to live so long and have this crazy strong desire to keep learning, growing, evolving. Lots of chances to try it again.
One of my wisest friends reminded me. It’s here. Where ever you are. Look around. Be in awe. It’s beautiful. And the answers you seek are already there. No matter where you go, what you run after, what you claim to be seeking… it’s within. You are already there.
I open my eyes as I open my heart. The wisdom is all around.
Lessons from the Elements. Wisdom from the wilds. In this season of turbulent winds and waters, a gentle calm from within.
What have the wilds taught me?
What has this past year taught me?
That next year will be different.
That tomorrow I’ll be someone new.
I’ll say something else.
That nothing stays the same.
Which brings us back to…
It’s ongoing. You don’t get there and remain. You have to work at it, every day. That’s what living is all about. It’s not a state achieved and remained at status quo and stagnant.
And a half a century of questioning authority taught me this time and again. As soon as we claim a superiority, we separate, and thus we degrade. There is no superiority in this world. The moment we claim to be better or know more is the moment we step into the place of ego, and out of the place of enlightenment. Am I wrong then for sharing what I have found? Maybe…
I do not care to impose my beliefs (and certainly not those of another) but to simply support women in their choices, and am working to have the skills and abilities to do so. It’s about birth and life and maybe a little bit of death and rebirth. How can you have one without the other? Like the inhale and the exhale.
The greatest lesson absorbed from my studies to date is not the message of undisturbed birthing nor the know how of health care. That’s simply part of the package of supporting women in their own choices, rather than imposing mine. Really, it’s the message of humility. That’s what makes a midwife. The ability to serve, to support, to do what needs to be done which may be nothing at all… All of these “skills” come to life within us only through humility. Without humility, we return to it being our beliefs, our trip, our vision of what women should be, birth should be, life should be. Who then are we truly serving?
Oh and one more lesson I’m still working on.
I begin by listening to the wind.
And the water.
And one heartbeat at a time.