The past two years have been big for my family and me. My husband and I moved back to Fredericksburg from Oakland CA, welcomed our first baby, we bought a house, and I started a business. The contemplative nature of the fall season has given me space to slow down and really take inventory of all that has happened in two very short (often times very long) years.
While I was preganant, I was quite surprised at how many people wanted to share their birth/pregnacy stories. (No thanks, I wasn’t asking) and I was even more taken aback on how many of them were negative. I am not just talking about the cliche “you’ll never sleep again” duh, or the “I was in labor for 127 hours and it was terrible.” Some of these people’s comments made me afraid or even second guess myself. Would I be a good mom? What if my baby hates me? How will I handle getting pooped and puked on?
Looking back I think how little I actually knew about how my life was going to change. Becoming a parent is the most spiritually profound thing I have ever done. I am not talking about the pregnancy or the birth. It is looking at this human that you are responsible for and wanting to be the best possible version of yourself so that you can show them how beautiful life is. I want to teach my baby that by living to serve others we can help heal the wounds of this world.
Unfortunately, this lesson is not just as simple as telling my child to be kind and do good. I have to embody it. What I realized was before I could be a living example of compassion and love I had to be kind enough to be loving and compassionate to myself. We all have things that need healing, memories, trauma, emotions, abuse, guilt…the list could go on and on. The honest truth is that to heal ourselves is not an easy task. Its hard and uncomfortable and when you start the process, there will be many times when you want to quit and turn back.
The month of October was full of hard looks and reluctantly going deep into myself and facing what needed to be healed.
In early October, I traveled to Kripalu in Stockbridge MA for a Healing with Lunar Arts Flow workshop with world renowned teacher, Shiva Rea. This 5 day workshop focused on using meditation, chanting, movement, and asana to tap into each person’s innate ability to heal from the inside. From the first session, I had this nagging emotion that presented itself as a welling up of tears. Through the Prana Flow Pranams and the long holds in our mudrasanas, I couldn’t help this emotion from bubbling up. It confused me because I didn’t know how to place it.
“What is this?” I thought. Was it sadness or joy? Frustration or reluctance? I didn’t know but I had committed to myself so I let it come. Each time we began our meditations or asana practice it was there with me like somebody sitting across the table staring at me chewing with their mouth open. I wanted to tell it to shut up and go away but I didn’t, I looked at it, held it and met it on my mat.
It wasn’t until the second to last day that I was journaling and I saw it. The emotion was joy. It was a deep joy that has always been inside of me but had been buried. The dissonance I had been feeling wasn’t towards the emotion itself rather it was towards the confusion behind it and the layers of stuff that had settled on top of it. I realized to feel that joy, I had to strip away all these layers of anger, cynicism, jealousy, criticism, and pain to find that brightly glowing joy at the center of my heart.
I left that training on a high that I cannot describe. It left me feeling so connected to myself, the earth, and the people I love.
The next week, I hosted The Sexual Awakening for Women workshop led by Juliet Haines. I was very unsure of what to expect but I was committed. I feel like anything I write about the workshop wouldn’t convey the level of connection made that weekend. There were many times I wanted to quit. This workshop magnified what I had learned the previous week at Kripalu. One of the themes of the workshop was connecting your sexual essence to your heart. Being in your body with all of the sensations even if those sensations were uncomfortable or difficult. When something hurts or is hard, we tend to contract and go outside of our bodies. Juliet encouraged us to stay in our bodies and invite the shit to stay. To even WELCOME it. To SOFTEN around it. It was cathartic. We tend to harden overtime because of what has happened to us and that is how we present ourselves to our lovers, our children, and the world. I want to be soft, open, and warm to show my daughter that even though things happen, they don’t become you. If we can soften around the hurt and welcome the fear we can let that spill into the collective consciousness. When we heal ourselves, we begin to shift what is happening here on earth because it is all connected.
Even though this process for me has just begun, I know now that I am an excellent mother. My baby loves me because I can see the way she looks at me and feel her little arms wrap tightly around me. I am doing my best to be my best.