Lessons from the Birth Canal

As I wrote this post, Deva Premal chanted in the background; a prayer to Ganesh, remover of obstacles. This chant has been my constant companion the past month as I prepared for the business of birthing.

Creating. Launching. Birthing.

And exhausting – for it feels like I have given birth, and been birthed at the same time.

Yes, I love a good paradox.

ges·ta·tion  n.

1. The period of development in the uterus from conception until birth.
2. The conception and development of a plan or an idea in the mind.

In this case, the gestation period was two years.

In this case, the gestation period was two years.

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but…life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

The first year was intense, coming face to face with a few old, familiar demons, and telling the truth about what it took to defeat them. And while it’s scary when we’re in that place, it’s also liberating for there comes a time when we all have to face them.

During that time, I realized that I have become fearless about going to the dark side. And I discovered that the more willingly I go, the greater the peace and ease as I turn and face the light.

You’ve heard it before – show up and do the work.

This has become my practice, which is how I come to find myself chanting a prayer to Ganesh.

Ganesh, a Hindu deity and warrior, but not into fighting for fighting’s sake.

I think of Ganesh as a freedom fighter for harmony and peace, removing the obstacles to our success.

Ganesh2

I faced the fears, gathering talismans around me, creating rituals like a scientist in a lab. I experimented, discovered what worked, what worked better, and what I had to let go of.

I focused on making room for more of what I love.

It’s said we teach what we most need to learn, and that has never been more true for me.

Nietzsche said, “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”

Chaos. Yes, I’ve been there.

Now it’s time to give birth, and I’ve learned much along the way.

Lessons from the Birth Canal

Face what you fear.

I can’t remember how many times I wanted to pack a bag and run away from home, only to be stopped by the damn truth of, “Wherever you go there you are.”

There. You. Are.

No amount of resistance will change that fact.

You have to face the fear.

Stand there, open, vulnerable, accepting its existence. And trust that you will get through.

“I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert

Feel your feelings fully.

Not partially. Not 50%.

You have to go all in.

Explore what your emotions are made of; close your eyes and sink into them.

Notice the images, thoughts, and body sensations that arise, and accept them exactly as they are.

When you intentionally feel the emotion as it is, you’ll feel better. You’ll feel a sweet kind of relief, and from there you can choose, and do better.

“…you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.” – Lemony Snicket

 Ask for help.

This has been one of the toughest lessons of my life, and I sometimes still resist. But when I set down my armour and ask for support, I always get more than anticipated.

The key is asking the right people, and sometimes they may not be who you think. There is a time for tough love, and a time to cherish people.

Ask those who know the difference.

Cultivate discernment, and be clear in your ask. There’s nothing like getting love and support when you most need it.

I received a wealth of love and support the past two years, and it became clear that if I really DID run away from home, I’d miss these gorgeous souls.

“Keep in mind that part of growing up is dealing with difficult issues, and the benefits can be great if you have the courage to ask for help. Human beings are not designed to go through life alone. No one has to bear the burden of tough times all by themselves.” – Jack Canfield

Remove your own obstacles.

So I’m chanting to Ganesh, and I love it. I feel the words resonate in my body; some days, I even catch myself whispering it out loud as I walk the dog.

The chant, ancient and wise, connects me to something greater than myself.

And I still have to take action.

I have to do what I need to do to feel good, so that I’m more fully aware of my next step.

And every day, whether I want to or not, I have to show up and do the work. Do what needs to be done to honour the process of birth.

This can only be done in the present.

“The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do your work in the present.” – Steven Pressfield

Follow the energy.

The more I do the work, the better I feel, the better I feel, the more creativity flows.

Ideas flow, sometimes waking me up at 4am, and I am both grateful and overwhelmed.

You have to pay attention to energy.

Does an idea plug you in or drain you? Is the idea good, or is it compelling?

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu

The downside?

Going with the flow might feel like a loss of control, but it also leads to liberation.

Maya Angelou said, “A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself ” 

That’s how I found myself here.

Imagine my surprise upon learning that an elephant’s gestation period is between 600 and 650 days. The irony and humour were not lost on me.

“The path of the spiritual warrior is not soft and sweet… It is benevolent and it is fiery and it is cuttingly honest in its efforts to liberate itself.” – Jeff Brown

Freedom. Liberation. Expansion.

I had to go through the challenges to get here.

Better late than never Ganesh. Thanks for coming through.

 

How have you dealt with your own fears and obstacles? Share your thoughts.