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Older, miscellaneous a bit random or difficult to class posts
Older, miscellaneous a bit random or difficult to class posts
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.
As the world reels with yet another shock decision that so many didn’t really believe would ever actually happen, is it enough yet?
What will it take to propel us out of the victim energy where we recirculate the same old stories- that we are too small to be able to make a difference, the system is too strong, nothing every changes, history repeats itself…
If history continues to repeat itself there will not be anything left for our future generation. And it is the younger generation who overwhelmingly voted for change, fairness, respect and equality.
Sadly it was not to be so just yet.
There were warnings. Comparisons with how Hitler came to power were made. The folly and risks of complacency were called out along with the call to vote, which ever view you supported. Can it really be true over 40% of the population of Britain and the USA, (that’s the % who didn’t vote for both referendum and recent US election) just didn’t care either way.
I don’t believe that is true.
We care. We are just a bit jaded and disillusioned with those in power who are supposed to be taking care of us all. But we care all right.
So many people are grappling with despair, depression and hopelessness right now, so many are terrified for their safety in these uncertain times, and so many feel powerless and speechless in the wake of this years events,( in which Trump as president is just the latest unbelievable result.) Oh We do care.
But we are also still stuck in the old story that we are powerless to make a difference. We are still living in fear of persecution if we risk sticking our neck out. It seems that even the dire warnings of climate change, the most recent of which suggest an accelerated global warming effect that could result in Earth resembling Venus within our lifetime have not yet been enough to shake us into action.
Yet, even in this climate of disbelief and fear I also feel something different happening. Something else is at play beneath what on the surface looks like a resurgence of dark power. A great love holding us and moving us forwards.
Ok so you do have to dig deep right now. The surface is pretty turbulent and it is not pretty. But get in deep and the turbulence feels more like the final desperate fight for life as the old way succumbs to death. Unfortunately It’s not going without a fight..
I am deeply sad that the transition to the new age happening this way but the deeper movement is soothing loving and is propelling us slowly but surely forwards.
I feel the collective terror too, I can understand the resistance and backlash to this change. After all we have lived through centuries of a patriarchal power imbalance and suppression of the feminine in pretty much all her guises and that wasn’t pretty either. I can feel your disappointment that we appear to be moving backwards.
Despite all of this and my sadness, I feel this deeper, grander love and it gives me strength to carry on when all is madness around me. When I would rather stick my head in the sand pretend it’s not happening.
These recent events have rekindled the fire that can’t ever be quite put out no matter how bad it gets or how futile my efforts seem in the short term. I have reached my tipping point and I am listening to that fire, that deeper love. I am moved to speak up and act. To stick my neck out and speak my truth with my message and my business – that in healing birth we can heal the world.
I am committed.
I’m not about to take on the political behemoths directly in a David versus Goliath fight. I am not stepping out of my zone of influence so far as to be lost, confused and ineffectual. I will not be perpetuating the fighting by judging, condemning and taking sides.
For there are no winners when we continue to place blame on the other, on the external. When we sit in victim energy and bemoan what is and what could have been, should have been or ought to be.
For this ugliness that has surfaced. It is not new; it is just more visible where it was hidden before. It has not come out of nowhere though it may seem like it. What has been suppressed is coming up and out to be healed and this is the key to the future.
Despite my own fears born of the centuries of suppression and persecution that have weighed particularly heavily on women and women’s wisdom that is where I am going for my answers. Healing within then stepping into my feminine power that has lain dormant for so long and longs for action. It can stay quiet no longer. It is time.
I am calling on my own inner power and reaching out to those closest to me, and that includes you, my dear reader, one of the women I serve. And I invite you to join me.
That is all.
The ripple effect of us coming into our own truth and power will do the rest.
Oh and the next generation of course. They are coming, not despite the chaos, but because of it. Not from fear of what could happen if they don’t act, but from love of humanity, the natural world and life itself.
You may be feeling right now that this is no world to bring children into. You may worry what the future holds for your children, or if there will even be one. Some of you may be delaying your children through fear. Your misgivings may even be leading you to consider whether to have children at all. This new, love-filled paradigm is the environment the future generation will be creating. It seems so hard right now, so far away, like an impossible dream you don’t even dare voice.
They are coming into a world that seems rife with violence and so much darkness. But that is not the whole story. Nor is it the whole of you.
We have a choice, One choice is to get mired down in the fear and continue as we are, perpetuating the myths, the misogyny, and the greed. This looks like whinging and moaning about the external world without clearing your own inner world. The one world you are sure to always live in and have some control over. This looks like sticking your head in the sand pretending its not happening.
Not too appealing?
The other choice is to hold the higher ground and be the new paradigm we are moving into.
Your child is coming for love. He/she has chosen you as the perfect vessel to mould their soul and take the world forwards in love not fear. You matter. You count. You are important.
The first environment your child knows is your womb. Your child will be cocooned in your womb for 9 months, a formative time in which your child learns all about the outside world they will inhabit by the state of your inner world as their mother. You are their whole universe for that time. The growing child has little sense of personal boundaries or distinct sense of self. He/she is absorbing your emotions, your patterning, and your belief systems.
So I ask, "What is the energy of your womb right now? Is it alive with the fire of the new way, whole, warm, loving and clear?" If so this dark, cosy, first home will feel warm, loving and safe and your child will be born confident and ready to take on the world.
You may sense instead there are old unaddressed wounds that need taking care of. You might worry how these and your state of being are affecting your unborn child. You may doubt that you are good enough for this job.
But your own inner world is the one world you can definitely do something about. You can take positive action to clear out old stories, out of date programming, your fears and trauma. The old stories of oppression passed down over centuries are ready to go now. Clear these fears, discover the joys of being alive, being a woman, being a mother. As you transform your inner world, so you transform the first home for your unborn child. As you clear your own fears and doubts about giving birth and move towards a confident, empowered birth, so you transform the way your child will be able to show up in the world. In easing your child’s passage to the physical world, you will be making a significant contribution to the shift this world needs right now.
Feel her energy. Feel deeper. Ask her to show you the future, the possibility that is waiting for you and your unborn child when you have released the old and stuck in you.
To support you I am hosting a womb healing and meditation session on Facebook Live on Monday 14th November 2016 at 1pm Uk time.
Please join me to support yourself to feel uplifted and strong in these challenging times and know you are making a positive difference to your unborn child,
P.S. This may not feel comfortable at first. And I understand. I too stepped right out of my comfort zone by claiming my purpose behind my business publicly. It is not the first time I got brave and pushed the boundaries of comfort. But comfort zones only offer a fleeting and false safety that can be stripped away at any time. Still, you may have got used to comfort. You may not feel in the least bit ready to step out. If so know I too have been there. You may like to read about my un-readiness in starting a blog here and then again the same pattern as the birth of my second son drew near which you can read about here.
What I learnt is there is not some magical right time in the future when you won’t feel any discomfort. The only time that counts is now. You are ready. And I would love the company!
If these words move you please comment and share your feelings as we move forwards creating this new world together.
That’s a pretty big statement, right? One that I was not willing to see, hear or claim for myself… until now.
It popped out of me as I searched for the words to describe the energetic underpinnings of my business, rather than just what I do. I immediately dismissed it. Not the right words. Something like that but not quite that…
Except that when I spoke with two women who had been through my Birth confidence package and so who knew me and my work intimately, didn’t feel the same. They loved it. They both got goosebumps hearing me say it.
You know that feeling when you are onto something special. When something touches deeply to the core of your being and that part of you cries out in recognition. Your hair stands on end. You are quite literally electrified. Inside you this knowing part of you says YES. THIS. NOW.
Reacting from my instant resistance I said, Oh it’s too cheesy, it’s too much, and didn’t Bob Geldoff sing about healing the world once? Who am I to compare with that? Who on earth do you think you are? This is too much arrogance. I cringed with embarrassment at the thought of telling anyone that this was my message.
Then I saw it. My strong reaction matched the strength of the energy behind the message and I was scared to claim it. Scared of rejection, of ridicule and of committing professional suicide.
As I felt into the words I heard myself saying out loud. "This is dangerous. This is the kind of loving powerful transformation that Jesus Christ got crucified for. If I claim it I will become visible and that is too dangerous."
Now I’d seen it I had a choice, To let it slide on by and continue playing safe, helping a few women here and there in a nice beige kind of existence.
As the guiding force behind what I do at BirthEssence. The principle that fires me up and really gets my passion flowing.
Well you can probably guess which one I chose. The words are currently plastered all over my facebook page. Once I decide to act I am all in.
So yes, I chose to stand up, right there in the heart and soul of the message and experience its full power. I felt my energy shift up a gear. I felt the vague unrest I had felt for a few weeks now dissolve as everything clicked into place. Despite some lingering echoes of the criticism and doubt what stands out most strongly is exhilaration and freedom. I am transformed and I can already feel how this will add to the transformation and freedom I bring to you, my readers and clients. How it will thread its way into the offerings I make and inform the various ways I support you to transform your birth experience.
As I sit with that I will leave you with a couple of questions.
What fires you up that you have resisted? What birth experience is waiting for you to claim? What transformation awaits you when you claim it?
These are not empty questions by the way. I am inviting you to take out a pen and paper or your journal and see what flows onto the paper. Acknowledge resistance if it is there as this will help to set it and you free.
Finally, in line with my current theme on visibility I invite you to be brave and share what you uncover on the Facebook Page.
Then all that’s left is to follow where it leads you. I look forward to seeing you there.
As the year heads to a close I find myself writing a very different post than I expected. It may not even get to you this year.
But better late than never so they say...
The best laid plans... they say that too.
Which is fitting as every other email in my inbox over the last few days is a variation on reflect on the past year or plan for the next year, with the aim of making it bigger and better.
I resisted. Bored of reviewing where I've could have improved, where I didn't quite make the mark and my plans went awry. Fed up of getting excited by a plan only to have it only partially work out.
Then I realised that I was heading down a familiar downward spiral. Something was heavy, not quite right. A couple of setbacks towards the end of the year and doom and gloom was setting in and I didn't want to look at it. I just wanted to keep on going, keep working, keep aiming.
I call it the Ostrich way.
I didn't want to give up. Failure energy was surrounding me. I didn't want to feel or hear that it was there because I am committed and determined to my dreams and my business. I was scared if I admitted any negative thoughts they would come to pass. Instead of welcoming what was coming up and listening, hearing it out until it exhausted itself and would happily see itself out the door, I buried it. Kept taking action. The right actions. I mean this is the daft thing. I wasn't doing anything wrong for my business but instead of lightness and joy I was moving through treacle.
Finally I listened to a podcast and took a meditation workshop to review and create your year soulfully by Samantha Nolan Smith. This blasted me out of the heaviness I hadn't even fully realised was there and catapulted me back up into Freedom and Light. I let go of my story about events of the whole year and accepted, welcomed in even, a great ball of fresh pure light (as the visualisation came spontaneously to me) It cleansed the whole year and drew me forwards towards a bright New Year.
The next day things started to shift, people called me unexpectedly, clients booking, children behaving, ease between relatives. Amazing.
So in the light of this I spent a little more time reflecting on my past year.
First up, What went well? This was so much fun. I really enjoyed the feeling of seeing how far I had come and what I had actually achieved this year. All together on the page it seemed like a lot all of a sudden:
It put the odd setback into perspective.
But the most interesting part and the bit I really wanted to share today was the hidden gifts I found inside my less successful moments.
In the latter half of my year I totally and utterly failed to reach any of my financial goals.
Lets be clear. I am not facing financial ruin. In fact I feel richer and more fulfilled than I ever have. My mentality has shifted so far from what it was. But, nevertheless, I totally bombed out of every goal I set in the last three months.
However, on reflection and a little bit of inner work I am almost inclined to move it over from what didn't go so well to the other side of the page - what went well. I am questioning my approach to that question of what went wrong. Is there ever anything that doesn't go well once it is fully appreciated and you can let it go and move on? Or is it simply a case of perspective?
Previously I may have felt down looking at what wasn't great. Right now I can see only silver.Nothing has changed except my perspective of the events. I have dropped the stories and am approaching it all with joy and a sense of fun. Phew!
In the end I am ending the year in gratitude. I am so so so glad that no clients booked for a couple of months because it pushed up to the surface hidden scarcity issues so I could clear them. I am so grateful for the twists and turns in my clients journeys that helped me learn so that I can be of better service to all the women I will work with in future. I am even glad I accidentally recorded my New Year Gift to you all on the wrong setting and will have to repeat it.
Had I not done that you would have received that gift and next weeks post today and I may have missed out on these insights and the amazing power of the inner work that I do.
As the calendar year turns a page and I commit to sharing more of me and this powerful innerwork with the world in 2016 I would like to wish you all a Happy and Fulfilled New Year filled with silver, possibility and a whole lot of fun.
I would also love to hear from you. How did your year go? What gifts do your reviews of 2015 reveal to you?
The review questions that inspired this post can be found on Chris Guillebau's annual reivew and they and this post by Gulara Vincent in which she reflects on her own year in 2015 inspired this post today.
Here is the link to listen to the Create Your Year Soulfully Meditation Workshop by Samantha Nolan Smith
Times they are a changing… and I am laughing (kindly) at myself and marvelling at a year of shifts and transformation. If BirthEssence were a butterfly she would be right now just making the first cracks to open the cocoon that will reveal her shiny glittering new colours. And that is exciting, I am not even sure exactly what colours they are but they are beautiful and bright. So why am I laughing? Well my ten months immersed in an intensive business development mastermind group has come to an end and I am a little envious of the new students who will be starting the programme in a couple of weeks. This envy is what is so amusing to me because when I started the course my predominant emotions were terror and overwhelm.
Terror and overwhelm weren’t entirely unfamiliar to me. In both my pregnancies I experienced periods of similar strong emotions. It was the moving through these, digging away at my subconscious beliefs, removing saboteurs to my dreams that led to amazing birth experiences and prompted me to start my business in the first place. But this time last year as I was considering the course panic and terror unexpectedly hit me again.
I have followed Samantha Nolan-Smith’s work ever since she started her blog in 2010 and she has been an inspiration. I am passionate and dedicated about my work to transform women’s experience of birth and I have a powerful vision for my business but I could feel I was holding back, scared to put myself out there fully, keeping small. I also recognized that my strength was in the work I do not in business skills but I needed both. Change the Game drew me as it promised me both the business skills and strategy but also the innerwork that is at the heart of my own business. The innerwork that would release me from the traps and blocks that were keeping my dreams small. The innerwork on my business that would eventually change how well I could help women who were scared of giving birth let go of their fears and discover their inner strength and confidence.
This polite phrase, I was considering the course, actually went more like this:
‘Oh no Samantha is doing a fabulous course and I can’t afford it. I am totally outclassed and inferior to everyone on it. I can’t do it. (Accompanied by a small sub voice I could barely hear, you are no good, you would fail anyway, don’t do it you can’t you shouldn’t, you mustn’t.)’
My pulse raced and I sweated. I cried. I cried some more and I felt despair. I justified not doing it because I didn’t have the money. It didn’t sit right. I got confused. I did some innerwork and I got clear. I knew I had to be on it so I joined.
I thought that was the end of it.
So what happened to take me from there to kind laughter and confidence? Well in short I learnt how to break through my comfort zone. I moved through my fears to a place of trust in life and confidence I could handle change even if it was uncomfortable.
Now I look back with compassion and kindness on the me of only a year ago. She didn’t realise she was simply breaking through the ceiling of her comfort zone and that all would be well. She didn’t realise this because in the thick of the emotion she was experiencing real survival terror. She couldn’t see far enough ahead and she didn’t believe she could do it. She was mistaken. But she had to do it to learn that
So what does all of that have to do with you dear reader?
Well if you are a fledgling business owner or even an established business owner with a powerful vision who wishes to step up and really manifest the business of your dreams and you don’t want to take a long time floundering or struggling on your own then this year’s Change the Game is open for registration for just a couple more days. If this is you hop on over to Samantha’s site to learn more and schedule a clarity call with her.
If, however, you are a pregnant woman who is scared of giving birth you may read this and breathe a big breath of hope. You may even let go of some tension in your muscles and allow some relief in. Right now you may feel that you will never get through it. You may feel not powerful enough, not strong enough, not knowledgeable enough. Your dreams may look too far away and impossible.
But, I say, what if this were just the symptoms of getting close to the edge of your comfort zone? What if it was a sign you were close to an important breakthrough?
Birth is so important. It matters. It really matters on so many levels. You may have given up or compromised on your dreams in some way I some other area but suddenly this small bundle of cells has the potential to galvanize you into action with a new lease of life and determination. We all always want the very best start in life for our babies and this combination of pregnancy and passion can lead us right out of our comfort zone into the scary unknown. Here the fear can hit hard. The more we try to do something differently the more the cautious and sometimes wounded guardian part shouts loudly. It wants to protect us; it has our best interests at heart. But it cannot see beyond the boundaries of how things have been done before and it focuses on what went wrong to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
From the outside it may seem no one else can understand why you are so scared and you feel slightly stupid so you make a joke or downplay your fears. But from the inside it feels like it will never end. It is difficult to believe that the panic, confusion, overwhelm and terror are only temporary.
There were times in both my pregnancies when it was difficult to believe that I could get through my fears. I spent hours digging and clearing the layers of old beliefs and wounded parts of me in both pregnancies. I would feel relief, then another layer would pop to the surface and I would start all over again, I thought it would never end. I gradually learnt that fear was not the enemy and I did not need to eradicate it completely. That revelation let me off the hook of failure and I began a process of making peace with myself for being scared. I was rewarded with amazing birth experiences The fears that remained and came up in labour helped put my achievement in perspective and make it feel all the more powerful to me.
But I wish I had known then what I feel so strongly anchored in my body now. I wish I could lean over and hug that younger me and flood her with my love and compassion and understanding. It took breaking through my comfort zone in business with Change the Game to get it. That the discomfort is not personal, I and not permanent. I somehow called my bluff on the nature of my created reality. I smashed ceilings I didn’t know I had. It was scary. No it was absolutely terrifying out of all proportion to the simple business tasks I was completing. I was overwhelmed at times, ok quite often, ok, ok, most of the first three months…
But then somehow, somewhere something changed. I was suddenly different. There was a new sense of ease and confidence and what had been desparately uncomfortable as I stretched beyond what I had believed I was capable was now my new normal. From the other side I looked back at the rhetoric I had believed as solid fact and saw it as hazy mist blowing away in the wind.
From my new vantage point I looked back even further to the extreme vulnerability I felt in the final days of my pregnancy. The wobbles in my confidence, moments of self doubt and the outright panic. That now seemed like a far off dream world and my everyday world, solid and real is the world in which I did it. I marveled once more at how far I’ve come. I knew that birth experience had given me confidence and that it was continuing to grow but I had not checked in for a while.
I looked back with compassion at my former self and wished I could breathe the knowledge into her that she has everything she needs and is going to be ok. That she can let go and trust because the universe is a friendly place and has got her covered. The discomfort is just growing pains that will subside as she grows to fit her new skin. I wish I could spare her the pain of the journey but of course I can’t. And maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe that would take something of her achievement away because she is proud of what she has achieved.
I also don’t know if she would have fully believed me. Maybe she had to discover it for herself. But what I do know is that no matter how debilitating the fear that comes as I expand beyond the next comfort zone I have done it before and I can do it again. The fear is just part of the process and doesn’t need to stop me. Now that I know that I will remember. I will remind my scared self that I have been here before and survived. I will look back and show her how far we have come. I will remember how I wish I could have breathed confidence into that younger me and I will look forward to a future wise me who has sailed gracefully through my present challenge. I will ask her for guidance, I will listen, I will breathe in her love and compassion and I will remember.
Change the Game is a leadership and business mastermind that lasts for ten months starting in March 2016. If you are a business owner and want clarity round your business vision and the self belief to make it happen, coupled with practical business skills and a supportive group of inspiring women cheering you along then this may be the program you have been searching for. Click the picture or link to discover if this program are right for you. Early Bird Price available until End October 2015. Free Clarity Calls and Extended price plans are available to support you with this ensuring this important investment is right for you.
If you want to experience some of Samantha’s magic then you may like her Soulful Sales Master class‘s I can’t stand fakeness and sleazy sales or pushy business style and I loved the refreshing approach and wisdom in this master class. At UK time of 9.30am on Tuesday 13th October. If you sign up there is a limited time replay.
If you are pregnant and scared of giving birth and are inspired by my story of how I changed panic and overwhelm into ease and confidence you may like to check out my 1:1 services to support your transformation. These sessions are powerful and life changing and saved me from months of worry during my own pregnancies. Uncovering hidden saboteurs and clearing them out meant that no matter what happened during labour I knew I could trust my body and I was in the right place at the right time. You can read more about my birth stories in these posts here and here and here
Discussing everything from massage as pain relief for birth through the challenges of working in pregnancy and how to rest with restless children to entertain the Positive Birth Movement North Birmingham decamped to Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield to inspire and support each other with positivity around birth. In this article I provide some background about the growing Positive Birth Movement and how you may get involved.
The story of the birth of their children is often the one memory that stays vivid until the end of a woman’s life. These birth stories matter so much to women and need to be told. At the same time the stories most often shared via media are drama fuelled and often less than positive. Fear is sticky. Misinformation from televised dramas can be sticky too. How many people instantly think of a woman on her back screaming for mercy when they think of birth? Far too many I would hazard a guess. Yet this is far from the reality of how birth happens and from how it can be, Yet still, all too often people gather and share horror stories about what went wrong with their next door neighbour’s sister in law. As a pregnant woman it can be hard to avoid this kind of unintended reinforcement of negativity. It is an example of just what you do not need more of in pregnancy when emotions often run high skipping along with the pregnancy hormones. But where to go when you want to air your hopes and dreams in an atmosphere of encouragement and support without being regaled with the latest cautionary tale?
In steps the Positive Birth Movement and its rapidly swelling numbers of Free Positive Birth Groups. The movement aims to challenge and change the epidemic of negativity around childbirth and groups meet monthly all around the world to encourage the spread of positivity and support and empower women to approach birth differently.
In the words of Milli Hill, the founder of the Positive Birth Movement,’these groups are a place for ALL pregnant women – regardless of their background, experience or choices – to come together and share experiences, thoughts, feelings and insight about childbirth. There is often also tea and cake! Positive Birth Groups aim to be a helpful part of your pregnancy; a warm and welcoming place to hear stories and ideas, to consider what you really want from your childbirth experience, and to challenge any fears or negative expectations you might have.’
Following the birth of my first son I began to realise that it was not so common to reply with positive delight and a big grin when describing labour. A strong desire arose to make a difference to other women and support them to enjoy their birth experience. As part of this mission I set up the Positive Birth Movement North Birmingham Group. Usually run from my home in Erdington we decided to take a leap of faith with the weather and opted for the park this month.
It was a great option. The British Summer might be a bit hit and miss at times but it was kind to us as we took the Positive Birth Movement North Birmingham out to play in the park. Letting the children run wild round the playground as we got on with the serious business of three hours of nattering and laughing was the perfect solution to the childcare dilemma in the summer holidays. Both children and women had a fantastic time. We started with the theme of the month : Pain and let the discussion unfold from there. We were so lucky this month to have Kim come along. With her gentle candid honesty and inspiring passion for birth she shared elements of the birth stories of her four children. It was equally inspiring to hear about her volunteer work as a Doula with Bethel Doulas, supporting vulnerable women many of them asylum seekers on their journey to motherhood.
To follow the Positive Birth Movement North Birmingham Group and come along to our group click here.
For more information about the Bethel Doula Service and the work they do with supporting refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable and isolated women in Birmingham and to donate click here
Spiralling downwards into despair,
I meet The Mother,
As she spirals upwards to meet me
Where I am.
And she carries me,
Comforts and consoles me,
Until I am ready to rejoin Her upwards spiral.
Connected to Her core I spiral up and down with Her.
Always with Her.
I let go into Her heart and Her love draws me deeper.
I pass through the eye of infinity.
And I return,
Raw and aching,
Vital and alive,
Singing my Mother song.
Together we spiral onwards.
This poem was originally published on 29/04/2015 on The Song Hearth
The ability to uncover surprising and often unconventional solutions to challenges has been a big part of my path to enjoying a life of freedom and fulfilment. However impossible or insurmountable the problem first appears I have found that solutions are always available, accessible and usually strongly signposted. I have learnt to trust in these signs from the universe as to my right path, to the next step and confirmation my current choices are the correct ones. I now work to support others to feel intuitively into their next step and to heed the signs showing up in their own life
In a 1:1 session I listen deeply. I listen for clues and guidance for you and I encourage you to notice what’s in front of you in your own life. The trick is in noticing the signs, which don’t always seem immediately obvious at first. Once we’ve noticed then we can choose to follow or not. But noticing is the first step and I have in the past missed many helpful hints, even as I was tripping right over them, as they were just not what I was expecting or looking for.
I have always liked penguins. From fascinating visits to remote penguin colonies in New Zealand to more recent documentaries and films I kept noticing penguins. But not even the very recently invented game by my children – where I am attacked by two fluffy squeaking toy penguins was enough to alert me to a deeper penguin message waiting for me.
It wasn’t until I accidentally stumbled across the distinctive font of my logo during a search for fonts for my new look website to be launched in coming months that the penny dropped and I finally stopped to listen to the penguins.
Unbelievably I had never bothered to find out what this font was and here it was, the decorative curls of Penguin Attack were leaping out of the page at me.
As I downloaded the font, I felt mildly disappointed. Feeling that this was more than a coincidence and loving symbolism my mind was quick to wish that it could have been called something more overtly meaningful, like liberating freedom for example…
I apologised mentally to my penguin support for my critical judgment and opened up to the message.
Penguins may not be able to fly but they are masters of adaptation and genius at unconventional solutions to survive and thrive in some of the most inhospitable conditions on Earth and are loyal partners and devoted parents to boot. I was reminded I don’t have to comply with convention, that I can find my own way however unorthodox and that I can adapt to any situation.
I felt the relevance of their strength, resilience and originality in harsh environments to the current birthing paradigm in the Western world where so many women still give birth on their backs in a medicalised and risk averse environment and need to find courage to go against this grain, calling on their inner strength and intuition to birth their own way.
This unconventional solution that brings freedom into their salty environment in which they would otherwise perish really caught my attention.
I realized that filtering out impurities is a large part of the work I do at BirthEssence. The toxic salt water environment in our lives is our exposure to negative beliefs and stories around pregnancy and birth which we unconsciously soak up and internalise. In 1:1 sessions I work with women to process any unhelpful information they may have absorbed and imprinted and to release the detrimental consciousness stored in the cells. (The salt water.) We then drink in the energy and resources revealed in the gift from the experience. ( The purified water.)
Yet another relevant symbol of their transformative power. The shed feathers for the women I work with are all the unhelpful beliefs and stories that are holding us back. The feathers we grow at BirthEssence are feathers of courage, inner strength, and freedom. The freedom that comes when we trust in our bodies and babies. The freedom that we experience when we are confident to be fully ourselves and follow our own path however unconventional.
They huddle together for warmth and take it in turns to be coccooned in the heat and safety of the centre and to brave the cold in a protective role at the outside of the circle. Despite the size of the penguin colony they retain a distinctive personal call that is instantly recognizable by the penguin’s mate and offspring even after months apart.
This warm community support whilst honouring and strengthening our unique voice is a key feature of the work I do. We work together for the good of ourselves, our unborn child and for the future of humanity. There is an urgent call for strong women to stand up in their powerful essence and follow their inner blueprint for birth and so transform the world.
Believing the world to be a safe and friendly place they will make waves and transform the future of our planet. When we have done the inner work to clear out our secret fears, the impossible becomes possible and birth is returned to its rightful place as an empowering, transformational and enjoyable rite of passage.
I was delighted to find all of this and more in the message of the penguin, neatly embedded into the heart of my business through the name of my logo. Each time I see my logo I am reminded of the determination, and love of the penguin facing Antarctic storms and extreme cold whilst lovingly caring for its offspring in the centre of a supportive community. I feel renewed in me the determination to make a difference in the experience of women as they lovingly bring their children into the world and I feel supported as I do so.
The penguins and my children seem to be in cahoots, reminding me of their message with each throw of the toy penguins. I laugh and dodge and appreciate each ‘Penguin Attack’ message unwittingly bestowed on me by my amazing children.
And this is how it is. Otherworldly wisdom concealed in the everyday. We don’t always need to do long pilgrimages to holy sites to gain wisdom and insights in our lives. We don’t need to look so far at all for answers. All we need to know is laid out before us and all the strength we need is inside. Sometimes the clues are plain to see and sometimes it takes a little digging or a little imagination. Sometimes we need a little help to believe in ourselves. But we are always supported.
It is with fresh eyes I contemplate my logo and work and I am grateful. I am grateful for my hidden helpers the penguins, and I am grateful for the power of intuition, persistence, and the rewards of following the seemingly unconventional path when that is what is calling to my soul. The strength and joy that comes with being me. I am reminded again to watch out for the signs and then to follow them.
And so I invite you to consider your own life. I wonder what messages are waiting to be discovered in your everyday activities? How are unconventional signs leading you to freeing, inspirational choices in your lives? I would love to hear what signs and confirmations are showing up in your life so drop me a line below or post on the facebook page and let me know!
Looking for some support to ‘filter out the salt’ and regain trust in your body? Click here for information on how my 1:1 MotherNurture Sessions can assist you to feel amazing and strong on your journey to motherhood.
More about penguin symbology and other animal signs can be found here
And a short You Tube video my children enjoyed here