Years ago I had a whole period of new birth. You know that feeling when everything starts afresh? It was the sum of various processes that culminated in the birth of a whole new part of my being. In this time of my life I participated in a wonderful “Birth Into Being” workshop with Elena Tonetti, spent incredible amounts of time outside, lived in a small house on a cliff top in New Zealand, closed one chapter of my life – and opened another door, without knowing where it would lead me.
New birth really does exist. And the cycles of life live within us in a very organic and palpable way. Can we honour these cycles which take place within us? Within that year I experienced the full spectrum of new birth up to being a very old, ancient woman. By the end of the year I felt the ancientness in my bones.
These experiences live in our cells. Our cells know what new birth feels like, looks like, lives like. They also know death. So new life and death live side by side nearly every moment. That is the very intensity of life which is happening really at every moment. Its the intensity that many of us endeavour to escape, because what do we do with that? Total open new-ness, next to immediate death all within one exhalation and one inhalation? How does the human mind live with that incomprehensible reality of life? Those new births can be ecstatic – just as a babies birth onto this world can be fully joyful and orgasmic. During this time, that new beginning some years ago I experienced a rewiring of my system which re-created a whole new experience of being born. Being born can be everything but ecstatic too, though. Being born can be painful, entering the world can be filled with potential wounds. That too can be a journey of great understanding, as we bring compassion to those hurting places. I once had a discussion with a Buddhist Monk and teacher, the spiritual guide of a Buddhist Temple near where I was living in Nelson, New Zealand. Lama Assi is his name. I was talking to him about the worries I had about all the difficult births I was accompanying, what I was seeing as a student midwife and in my placements in hospital. That I could not stand by and allow some of what I felt was invasive and insensitive within the hospital environments. Lama Assi’s response was that I should not be so sure that I needed to stop all of this from happening. That also, on the other side is the soul and the soul may choose to come onto the world in a more painful way – that this can lead to a different kind of learning which the soul has chosen.
This buddhist viewpoint, so different to my passion of creating loving, safe, empowered, warm, wild and peaceful birth – allows space for something beyond the “ideal”, something beyond “what should be”.
In the same way our own inner birth processes may be wonderful at times – naked and tender as was my new birth back in those days living on the cliff tops of Lower Moutere in Nelson New Zealand. However, thats not the way birth has to be – and perhaps its also okay when its not like that sometimes. I know that for some of you birth may be actually only connected to images of pain and fear – thats not where I come from. To be birth is innately creative, wise, tender, loving, wild, alive, powerful and deeply feminine. Yet to have the patience and compassion to stay present with any kind of birth – in our own processes, I think that takes some wisdom. That new beginnings can be bloody and sweaty and filled with resistance. That new births can be swoony and dreamy and filled with deliciousness. And that in-between there will be life … slowly growing towards death … and there it stands right next door to every new birth. Where in your current life cycle are you?