Sunday, 13 October 2013

We are giving birth to ourselves all the time

You know those sayings, like 'water off a duck's back'? The ones you hear and understand and use but never really think about?

I remember the first time I saw droplets of water rolling off a duck's waxy back. And, for the first time, I understood how the saying had come about. The small moments are the big moments: this realisation led to so many thoughts and lightbulb moments for me.

It is the same with many spiritual principles and movements. We hear things all the time, we read about things but until we really discover them for ourselves in very real and tangible ways, they can remain out of reach and conceptual to us.

I want to share today what happened to me this week in this context.

The practice and teaching I have read about and been interested in on and off for a while is rebirthing. I understand the principle and I would actually love to experience this therapy for myself. Many of the people I respect and learn from have been through it and have been changed and touched by the process. 

But for me, it has remained something I have read about from afar.

Until just this weekend, when I began my yoga practice in the garden.

For me, yoga sessions invariably go like this:

1. Stretch
2. Start salute to the sun
3. Move into the amazing feeling of a really satisfying downward dog
4. Find there is a cat between my feet so I can't move into the next position
5. Get jumped on by Christopher, who then makes it clear that me being down at his level is the best thing that could possibly happen in his day and he needs to hang around my neck and sit on my back
6. Surrender to inevitable love wrestling match

Every time.

And then, recently, something new happened in our routine. As part of the tussle and rough-and-tumble, Christopher began to want me to create a 'safe house' as he calls it, where I am on all fours and he goes underneath me. He is so happy and then very naturally he wants to emerge and push himself out from underneath me. 

It felt very obvious to me that he was gently re-experiencing a kind of re-birth. Very naturally and wordlessly. 

His real birth was very peaceful - at home in our front room into water. He didn't even wake up. And still, as I understand it, it is great that he is re-birthing himself. So he does this a few times because it is fun and we are both happily enjoying each other in the autumn sunshine.

My daughter's birth, on the other hand, was hard. It was long, stressful and I was very fearful at the time. I have always felt that her difficulty separating from us when she goes to school (where she is very happy once she has settled) has been down to this original pattern that she brought with her. It is just hard for her to 'transition' between things.

So, in my mind, I invited her to come and have this experience if she needed it. I imagined she would not come outside as she was so engrossed in her artwork at the other end of the house but, literally as I sent out the invitation in my mind, she appeared at the door, as if I had called her out loud.

She smiled and ran towards me. She had seen what Christopher and I were doing and she wanted a go. So she snuggled in tight to the 'safe house' and wriggled her way out. It felt so precious to be able to let her do this so happily and wordlessly and to be present and aware of her every move, when, during her birth I had been drugged and sleepy and bewildered by an unfamiliar and clinical environment.

After a few goes, she skipped off happily and that was that. I didn't give it any more thought.

And then, on Monday, it was time to go to school. We have had a lot of tears over the last few weeks as she separates from Robert to go into the classroom. It doesn't fit with how she is when she is in the swing of the day - it is just that she finds switching from home to school very upsetting.

But today was different - and has been different since. She was able to let go, able to say goodbye with a genuine smile. Robert called me to let me know how peaceful it had been and how happy he was for her that she could start her day that way.

And I immediately knew, instinctively, that she had re-birthed herself and had found a new confidence and trust as a result. 

I have been so happy for her ever since and have been wanting to share it with others but unsure how to articulate it. 

And this feels like a very long and intense subject for a blog. But I would love to read about this, so I am going to offer it to others. 

Because it's not about the specifics of this story - it is about our ability to re-birth ourselves, in whatever way feels natural and good, in any moment. It could be ten minutes sitting under a tree and a newness of perspective washes over you or it could be a conversation that feels hard but you stay in it and you both emerge feeling the Love that is really being communicated. Or you might walk through an archway filled with flowers and feel their silent blessings and walk with a spring in your step for the rest of the day.

The key is to be aware that these re-births are happening in us constantly. We just need to notice them and do our best to be available for them.

And when we understand this, we can also slow down and be present to support others as they birth themselves too. 


  1. What a beautiful piece of writing Holly. Thank you ever so much for sharing. I've never thought of 'rebirthing' . I've used the word reinventing, but I am thinking that is an all together different thing. Rebirthing.... thankyou for putting that word in my mind. I'm going to carry it with me (and your story) and see what comes of it.

  2. Hi Hollie, this is just amazing - what I read is the level of awareness you carry for yourself and your children...whether it is re-birthing, re-creating or re-connecting, you are constantly refreshing your view of yourself, your life and of your children.

  3. Thanks, Kathy, that is exactly how I feel about it but wouldn't have been able to articulate it that way from my viewpoint so thank you x