This post was originally published as part of the story behind the story series for writers by Gulara Vincent.
I had a great form teacher in sixth form at school. He was cool. He was full of energy and not afraid to do things differently. He really cared and encouraged us to choose meaningful life paths. “If you don’t you will end up just drifting aimlessly,” he cautioned.
His words struck a chord and I reflected on what I could contribute to the world. In vain. I had no clue or direction at all. In the absence of a cohesive vision I followed the soft whispers of my heart wherever they led, always seeking, searching for meaning.
I wandered long and far, spending years travelling in an outwardly carefree manner. But despite the beautiful patterns my meandering river left in my landscape it felt increasingly empty and meaningless without some deeper purpose to guide the flow. Direction and purpose were a long time coming to me. This dissatisfaction and unfulfilled longing for a deeper meaning eventually drew me into an exploration of my inner world, as varied and full of adventure as my outer wanderings had been. Inspired by the difference in myself I trained as a Journey practitioner and a massage therapist and became passionate helping others heal too.
The threads of my life began to come together like tributaries joining the main branch. My river began to pick up tempo and I met my future husband, who though neither he nor I knew it at the time, was very much part of the answer to my prayer to find my specific calling in life.
“Am I going too fast for you?” He asked as in a fluster I answered “What for?” to his simple request for my number. “thing is I’ve only got till Birmingham.” It was true. He left the National Express Coach at Birmingham with my number whilst I continued to Gatwick. Life had decided I had done enough meandering and it was time for a faster flow downstream.
Things continued to happen fast which is a little ironic as my husband is from Africa and has taught me to move to a more slow and gentle rhythm than the frenetic rushing I used to do. I became pregnant quickly. I was just beginning to joyfully get my head around this new development when I miscarried. As an accredited Journey Practitioner* I knew what to do with the emotional pain that this brought up and I surrendered to waves of deep pain, grief and loss. The physical pain took me by surprise though. My then boyfriend and I held each other through the turbulence of grief and we planted a rose bush in honour of our unborn child.
Our child in her brief visit had awakened my interest in birth. Faced with a negative attitude from my doctor towards a local birth centre I remained quiet about the tentative hints from my womb about choosing a home birth instead. Although I was no longer pregnant and we had decided to wait at least six months so I could finish a massage practitioner course I was on I began almost obsessively to research about pregnancy and birth.
Six months later I was pregnant again. This time I knew my child was staying and I threw myself into preparing for his arrival. Not with shopping for possessions but with a renewed inner exploration. I dug into and changed negative beliefs and fears I had about birth. I cleared imprints from my own birth experience and released old cellular memories that were being held in my womb and in my body. I addressed my fears of my desired birth experience being interfered with in some way by the medical profession and became quietly confident and joyfully excited about giving birth. We birthed at home in the dark, in water. My heart exploded in love as we lifted him to my chest, his features glistening in the torchlight, his serene expression reflected in our eyes and hearts.
Even then I didn’t twig that this was the ultimate direction of my business which was still nameless. It seems so obvious now looking back at the clues. So often I had spontaneously accessed memories of my time in the womb and my own birth, although I have no conscious memory of this time ordinarily. I noticed that many of the women I worked with were able to do the same and heal aspects of their own entrance to the world. It was many months before I had the actual lightbulb moment where I finally caught up with my soul’s desires and everything fell into place.
The words came on a golden shaft of light pouring into my head. “I can help women do what I did, I can help women transform their experience of birth”
I paused and let it sink in. I felt the ramifications of my realisation and it felt good. My heart skipped in excitement. The river was paused, poised at the top of the cliff admiring the grand vista before plunging down into the depths, droplets of water catching the light and erupting into glorious mini rainbows as it went.
In these last eight years I feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of many women’s journeys to motherhood. The feedback from those whose lives I have just the fuel I need to feed my passion and continue my work to transform the birthing experience of women and babies.
*For more information about The Journey by Brandon Bays follow the link
If you liked this post they you may like to read a little more about my birth stories here. Healing Birth Trauma: Reflections on the Meaning of My Diffferent Stories.
In my last post at the beginning of 2016 I created a gift for you; a guided visualisation to support you to replenish your energy in a sustainable way and to remain strong and centred in your own energy field. ( If you haven’t listened yet then I recommend you hop over and check it out, it's just ten minutes long and several people have told me how much they enjoyed it) This post illustrates the benefits of repetition and regular listening and demonstrates how long lasting the positive effects can be.
As I write, January is drawing to a close already and the New year is not so new any more. This is the typical time when New Year’s resolutions fall away, old habits creep back in and before you know it you’ve abandoned your new routine and slipped back into a default pattern. Repetition is powerful and eventually creates deep grooves that are easy to maintain. It can be easy to fall by the wayside though as you struggle to maintain a new pattern. In this post I wish to inspire and encourage you to keep going by sharing a story that illustrates the power of repetition and the rewards of putting the effort in now. My break through came at a point when I was heavily pregnant with my second son and panicking over the possibility of losing my desired birth experience to medical issues.
When I was pregnant with my first I found the energy of being pregnant a little like New Year. Knowing I had another soul to care for who was totally dependent on me galvanised me into action, to improve my diet, exercise, meditate. I felt like I had a fresh new start and second chance to start over where I had fallen behind on my resolutions and good intentions.
I threw myself into hypnobirthing CDs and downloads and Pregnancy Yoga DVD’s. I would have gone to classes but I couldn't find any that worked with my schedule. Instead I made a 2 hour playlist of hypnobirthing, guided visualisations and healing chants. I played it every night, sometimes on repeat at a very low volume. Whenever I felt nervous or worried I would play one of my CDs, do some Yoga Nidra or go out for a walk. I always felt better afterwards. In addition to this I did plenty of inner work on any issues that came up.
Sometimes I thought I may be going a bit overboard, but I kept going.
I felt an inner pull, a strong soul urge towards the deep inner work and whatever could support me in birthing at home the way I dreamed. By the time I came to give birth I was excited and confident even though I was nervous at the grand adventure and newness of welcoming my baby to earth.
All my efforts paid off and I had a wonderful home water birth which I have written a little about here.
I was preparing to welcome my second. Throughout the pregnancy I kept up with the inner work with 1:1 processes and the yoga practice, but I let the additional ongoing regular support that the hypnobirthing cds had offered me slide. I kept meaning to set up a playlist and listen and then forgetting. Life was busy with a toddler and I eventually forgot completely.
Then one day I had a high blood pressure reading at my midwife appointment. She tried again, it was worse. A third time even worse, which was no surprise as I was panicking and so, apologetically, she sent me in to the hospital be checked. Over the next few days I was checked, including on a 24 hour blood pressure cuff that activates every 30 minutes. This revealed what I instinctively felt. At home my blood pressure was fine, on testing and at hospital it rose. All other tests were clear. I was given the all clear to carry on with my plans
The thing was the whole incident had left me in a state of panic that I couldn't quite shift. I felt the fear as pressure in my head and then would worry that maybe although the last reading was OK , perhaps now it had gone up again and something was wrong. What if, what if, what if…. I talked myself down. I went for a walk. The fear and panic remained hovering on the edges of my consciousness and I couldn't relax. My BP readings were all over the place as I tried to calm myself.
I went to stay with my parents to try and relax.
At my parents I suddenly had a flash of inspiration. One of those that feels like the whispers of Angels directly into my heart. One where I know even before I act on the impulse that here is the answer. One where I just know… I got out my favourite track from my first pregnancy Fear release: flying high, settled back and pressed play.
Even though I had been following such a strong impulse I was still taken aback by what happened. With the first few notes of music and opening lines I dropped straight into a deep relaxation. The whole burden of worry just slipped right off me. I was transported back to the days before my first son’s birth and the joy of his actual birth experience too.
Like a direct download into my cells, into the space created by the deep relaxation I knew everything was OK and would be OK. The pressure that was pounding the inside of my head faded away. I was touched deeply by the activation of such a strong body memory and the strength of it carried me for my final few weeks. I was also motivated to finally make a playlist again and take the little actions I had been putting off.
When the time came I once again gave birth at home, this time on land and you can read more about that here.
This incident brought a few wise truths home to me.
1. The power of repetition. Everyone says it right? You do a hypnobirthing class or any other class for that matter and that starts you off, but it's the continued work you do at home that really makes the difference. In my case the association was so strong that three years later it still had the power in a matter of seconds, to completely shift my state of being from fear and worry to relief, confidence and joy.
2. It is never too late to make a start or to change your perspective. All of this happened in the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy.
3. The universe is friendly and wants you to succeed no matter what it looks or feels like to you now. There are answers waiting to find you and they are often simple and under your nose.
4. Even though simple they still need to be actioned to work. The hardest part may be getting started. Or it may be starting over when you fall off the wagon. But every day, every moment you get a second chance. Nothing is lost, nothing is wasted.
5. No matter how busy I was there was always time and it was easier than I thought to start again and incorporate the CDs back into my life. Even with a toddler and a business I found some time, I just needed to get creative. In bed before I awoke and my favourite, on low on repeat at sleep time. Sometimes I would listen to one at normal volume then when I felt sleepy turn the volume right down so I could barely hear it. I knew that this would not disturb my sleep but my subconscious would still be able to hear and it would work its magic as I slept.
Still now I sometimes listen to the track and it helps me. I also created my own fear release track to support my clients and readers to move from fear to confidence. ( If you haven't listened to it yet and are interested then go here to access both this and the New Year's Gift Guided Visualisation in one go.) I hope you enjoyed this post and are inspired to listen to something that uplifts and supports you.
Below are links to the tracks I listened to in pregnancy and other resources I mention in the post. (This is not an exhaustive list, just what I used but are a good place to start.)
I would love to hear from you. How do you keep on track and keep your momentum going? What success stories would you like to share?
Fear Release Flying High, the track that caused my dramatic shift is available from their Positive Birth Website When I was pregnant there was just a beautiful selection of tracks. These are still available individually or in packs and they have added a whole hypnobirthing package.
Natal hypnotherapy provides a comprehensive range of hypnobirthing, relaxing and fear release materials that I really enjoyed.
This was my favourite Yoga DVD with three routines for Beginner, Intermediate and advanced ( or early through to late pregnancy depending how you felt)
Beautiful voice and chanting specific chants to help you through difficulties including one that is said to support the coming in of high vibration children.
Most suitable for those who have some experience of Yoga. Perfect to connect with your partner or birth partner and a wonderful Yoga Nidra track for deep relaxation too.
I share my personal story to inspire and encourage you to follow your dreams and desires. I do not guarantee any particular results from listening to these CDs ( though I do recommend them, hypnobirthing in general and inner work to clear out what may be blocking you.) And, It is obvious I know but hypnobirthing CDs are not a substitute for medical support and should you have any concerns about you or your baby’s well being please contact your midwife or care provider.