Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pushed to the brink of tears

 How do you handle intense frustration? Do you give up at the first sign of difficulty, or lean more towards the opposite end of remaining steadfast to the very end?  Or maybe you tow the middle ground in fall somewhere in between?

 I recall in my formative years, this feeling was so uncomfortable for me that I would give up at the first sign of difficulty. Often it was with math problems or writing, endeavors that require so much fortitude and tenacity to remain in times of not knowing, and to push past giving up. It wasn't until childbirth that I was able to change this very disheartening, debilitating pattern.

I dilated like a model for an OB or midwifery textbook to 9 centimeters. Then, gradually my contractions slowed to waves that served children on the seashore and not the tidal wave ones that I needed to open up my body!

 I remained  there, walking, showering, talking, breathing for 6 hours to no avail.  Finally, my doula encouraged me to get back into a position that I found extremely painful hours prior. It worked, and I gave birth to my daughter 20 minutes later.

Over time, I found myself returning to the physics problems and more recently creative writing, actually enjoying the tug-of-war it takes to get to resolution. It's been such a huge shift for me, it makes me feel sometimes like a puppet on new, golden threads that moves me down camouflaged pathways that I wouldn't have dreamed of going down before giving birth. Often they hold the most pleasant surprises - one in particular, as big as my birth!

When I'm pushed to tears for the words to flow, I  remember the words of one of my teachers, Bonnie Bridge Cohen of BodyMindCentering.  She says that when there's a block and you remove the block, that there is this huge release of energy. I love this teaching, and like to imagine my frustration a dam that holds back water, and that when I release the dam, there is a flood of movement. In my mind, I can hear the roar and feel the spray of joy and satisfaction that comes with the release. 

Consider the following;

*When you give birth to your baby, you very well may experience frustration since "failure to progess", often a benign category is, according to the World Heath Organization, the number one reason for a 30% ceserean section rate in this country.
*Birth, like any art demands a commitment to the process.  You may practice the discipline required of continously coming back to something by establishing a daily, regular meditation practice.

*Childbirth is a highly charged experience that touches the very heart
 of a woman. It's a golden opportunity to revisit those patterns
 established at a time when belief and hope reigned high and rekindle their power.

 If you want natural childbirth, and you get stuck, try the following;

1.  Make sure you have the privacy and quiet required for the intense focus required of  any serious artist. In other words, keep your door closed and noise and family and staff to a minimum. 

2.  Whatever you are doing, if you have been doing it for a time, do something different. Remember, your perception of time is very different then those around you. Take your cues from those you trust. 

3.  Keep your flame of intention high, your very deepest desire.

4. Let go of outcomes and stay present in the moment with your breath. It's such a dichotomy, but birth requires the perfect balance of yielding while moving towards a definitive goal.

5. Change happens in a moment. Never give up, until the very "sweet" end. 

Together, forever and our hearts,


Monday, July 15, 2013

Free yourself to grab for a moment

When my daughter was born, I reached down and literally pulled her from the physician's hands, and then took her warm, wet slippery body and merged her with my own heap of weeping flesh. The only reasonable explanation I have for acting with such unabashed abandonment to urban, hospital convention (waiting for my physician to hand her to me) is that I was so lost in the heat of passion that my body simply expressed a movement pattern that organically happens when we lose ourselves in desire, like how we did as infants when our survival depended on us to reach and touch and hold and pull it back. So in that moment of giving birth, I too was unconscious, somewhere deep in an ancient part of me that lives so far beyond my lessons of protocols and manners and policies and procedures.

Many of us were taught not to grab at a very young age. Yet taking hold of our desires and pulling them towards us is an in intricate part of a developmental, sequential patterned movement that not only insures our survival, but supports our confidence and capabilities of reaching for what we need and want in this world.   The pattern is one of

Yield---------------Push-----------Reach----------Take Hold-----------Pull

Free yourself to grab for a moment, a meditation exploration.

Take a comfortable seated posture on the earth and place a shiny, attractive object about 2 feet in front of you (or, wait until you are really hungry and make the object a small piece of your favorite dessert!).

Take a moment and really look at the object and notice how you feel.  Notice your breathing and how it helps to keep your mind still. Begin to reach for the object with both hands and then grab a hold of it. Observe yourself in the position of holding for a moment. Can you notice how your breath is deeper and fuller and at the same time, it pushes your hips back into the earth, and that you feel more grounded?  We call this, yielding. Now pull the object back to yourself and take your time to explore it.  Continue to notice your breathing and how you may feel a softening to be more present in the moment. 

Certainly, cultivating the part of ourselves that is able to discern when to refrain from acting impulsively is a good thing, especially given the swarm of temptation that we all must learn to move mindfully through if we are to avoid getting stung with the often too brief excitement of gluttony. However, there are those rare, exquisitely divine moments in our lives like giving birth that call for us to act boldly and follow the body's wisdom. When we do, such action awakens us to our power to reach far beyond our comfort zone that more than anything else leaves us joyful, content and feeling deeply satisfied.

Join us in our circle.  Explore and Practice to Integrate and Enjoy.