"The baby's soul is a conscious creator and participant in conception and birth."
Sacred Birthing Insight

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Placenta Stories & Lotus Birth Tales: Aboriginal Wisdom

In Aboriginal wisdom, the placenta is always buried – given back to the Earth, to let Her know that a baby has been born and, by its blood, who this baby is. In the early years, all the mothers and grandmothers of the tribe guide the growing child. Then, when a child is an adolescent, the first blood or first seed is also given to the Earth, buried in a handkerchief. The child steps away from the guidance of the mothers, into the guidance of the Earth Mother, who now begins to oversee the child to become what his/her soul intended by incarnating. Life circumstances are created by the Earth to help this child become who s/he means to be.

Without burying the placenta, Earth Mother would not know a child had been born; She would not know to cherish the baby in the years after birth, and from adolescence, the child would flounder without Her guidance. How could a child ever become what her soul intended and grow to fulfill the need of the village and the universe without this guidance from Earth Mother? This is the importance of the placenta to the child’s whole life.

The Aboriginals see energy.  They paint with dots to express what is emanating from the world of nature, rather than to express its form. They see and know that the stars above and the Earth below work together to guide and guard each child. We of the white world have a rudimentary respect and understanding of astronomy, but their star-wisdom is embedded in them and they remember they come from the stars. They remember their purpose in coming to Earth was to hold 7th dimensional wisdom. They remember how to live together in society, honoring each one’s gifts and individuality;  how to heal; how to travel;  how to be self-sufficient so they don’t need to play the money game. We belittle them as being barbaric, yet they have abilities we have lost and need.

At all times they are in intimate communication with each other, the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms, the weather, the stars and the planets. They know how to access the answers they need and their requests are heard and fulfilled. Their dancing may look funny to us, but is purposeful:  it communicates with the Earth and nourishes Her with each rhythm. The dances result in altered states that maintain open-heartedness, their continual communion with All That Is.

Therefore, it only makes sense to look most deeply into Aboriginal wisdom when it comes to the placenta. Blood wisdom is inherent in the placenta. A mixture of mother-father blood went into the creation of baby and placenta, and now, when its job is complete, the blood carries this wealth of information into the Earth. What is really happening with the burying of body fluids? The DNA tells the Earth on what stage this child plays. Who is this child? What consciousness does she carry? How must she be celebrated in her village to be who she is to be?

Another cultural difference in our childrearing is that parents with discordant patterns from their own childhood are not responsible for raising this child. Mama Earth who has known this being through all time sees the bigger picture and offers each next opportunity to become all she is meant to be this lifetime. Parents give way to the lessons of The Mother, releasing their overlays from the child. Without the limiting matrix of the parents’ belief systems that a child typically takes on as her own identity, she is free to become what her soul intends.  In this way, successive generations grow healthier.

Placenta Stories & Lotus Birth Tales: Kauai’s Little Miracle

I had found a special tree to plant on my big naked lawn, a 12 foot Kauai Camphor tree that smelled wonderful, with beautiful bright shiny leaves and white bark, and who would someday grow to have a huge spreading crown, almost as big as a Banyan tree. Knowing I bought this tree, a mother asked me if her daughter’s placenta, frozen for over 4 years, could be buried under this tree, as they did not feel that it belonged at their rented home. So we planned to plant them both at the Monday afternoon meditation. When 23 people showed up instead of 6 or 8, it emphasized how very important this ancient ritual is.

The placenta belonged to a four year old, a fiery redhead who often threw angry tantrums and would cry for unknown reasons. Naps were nonexistent and sleep was constantly disturbed. She would strike out and nobody could figure out what she needed. Both parents were at their wits end, knowing how tormented she was and not knowing how to help.

The family had prepared baskets of different colored flower petals for their placenta celebration, pink, red and white from roses, and yellow and orange from marigolds. The hole was dug, the placenta laid down, the tree placed on top and the soil packed around it. One parent spoke about her birth and one about how happy they were to finally place the placenta in the Earth. The little redhead sprinkled petals decorating the base of the tree, and everyone else added more handfuls of color. As we backed away from the tree, a mighty energy let us know we had done something important. Something had been accomplished but we didn’t know what.

The next meditations brought reports that this little girl had started sleeping through the night:  before this, she had slept through the night only one time in over four years. Planting her placenta had somehow anchored her  enough to let her rest. And, in the next 9 months, what had created such anger, also eased and she seemed much more at peace.

I felt it was so appropriate for this little one’s placenta to be beneath a Camphor Tree:  Camphor is the substance used to burn away negativity in Pujas. This tree seemed to be her homeopathic similar – Like cures Like. And it worked.

Mother & Baby Soul Communions Through Hypnotherapy

Mother/Baby Soul Communions initially referred to working with mothers whose infants had physical, emotional or behavioral challenges but were too young to be worked with directly. Using the hypnotherapeutic model, I would help a mother go into a deep state of relaxation and expanded consciousness and through her, call in a connection with her infant’s spirit and inner wisdom.

Through the study of the life and work of a South African wise woman by the name of Sobonfu Some’, I received the first role model I had ever come across reflecting the work I was doing. She took me a step further by telling how in her village, a similar process to what I was doing was used consistently with every pregnant woman for accessing the spirit of her unborn baby. The purpose for this was to ask questions like, “who are you? why are you coming to us now? what is your life purpose? how can we support you in fulfilling that purpose?” and so on. Reading Some’s beautiful books, I realized the scope of this work was much bigger than I had realized.

The stories below reflect the wonder yet naturalness of this capacity we have to access the spirit of our children; whether born, in utero, or before conception; whether aborted or in other ways deceased and so on. I learned early on, that each experience in this work was individual and unique to every situation and that the essential key was to ask and receive permission from the spirit of the child we are endeavoring to make contact with.

My First Experience of Mother/Baby Communication

9 Month Old with Skin Rash

Early on in my years of teaching at the Oakland Center for Hypnotherapy Certification, I was teaching a class entitled, “Accessing the Inner Healer”. I lived in Berkeley at the time and had a next-door neighbor who had her one and only child at age 40. At nine months old, her son developed a rash all over his body. She came over one day and we discussed ideas about what might be causing the rash and how it might be alleviated. Her diet was very healthy so it seemed unlikely that the cause was her breast feeding. At a point in our conversation, I wondered if it would be possible to access the inner healer of a child by going through his mother. This was a new concept for me but I offered it to my friend. She is a subtle energy intuitive healer herself so she was open to checking it out.

We got together soon after this and began our session. I invited her to do her familiar foundational practices for doing deep inner work. She let me know she was having trouble grounding. I made mental note of that but continued to guide her into deeper levels of expanded consciousness. We called forth the spirit of her son. In her mind’s eye, she saw her son approaching looking very serious. He told her that we had to ask permission to do this work. I remember the profound feeling of humility and awe that came over me in that moment. We asked permission and after a serious pause, were told that we both needed to learn from this so permission was granted. In that instant, my friend went very deep within; making is quite clear what had inhibited her ability to ground earlier. When asked about the rash, her son told her it had nothing to do with diet or anything physically wrong but had to do with his grieving having left the spirit realm. He directed his mother to take him up in the Desolation Wilderness and lay him on a rock. Then she was to take him to the beach where the ocean meets the shore. Something in the context of these two energetic vortexes would help him to integrate into his body more efficiently.

My friend was not one to question what she had experienced or received from this communion with her son’s spirit. She followed the directives and when they were complete, the rash cleared up.

So began my own exploration into the potentials of Mother and Baby Soul Communions.

Overdue Mother with Previous Abortion Issues

A doula friend of mine called me in to work with a client of hers who was two weeks past due in birthing her baby. The woman was showing anxiety symptoms and my friend thought I might be able to help her.

I went to this woman’s house and we began to talk. She told me about the time a few years earlier when she was pregnant and living in, what she referred to as, a dangerous relationship. She knew she needed to run from the man she was with but she also knew that if she ran with his child, he would follow. So she decided to abort the baby. Now she was living within a healthy relationship and she very much wanted this baby. Yet, as her birthing time neared, her guilt came forward making her afraid that this baby would die at birth in punishment for what she had done in the past.

When I helped her to go deep within herself, we invited a connection with the baby soul she was currently carrying. When that connection was established, we learned from the baby that it was the very same soul that had been conceived before. The baby soul told the mother that S/he knew that the decision to abort in the past had been made in love and that now everything was perfect for the soul to come forth into form. The baby soul told the mother that it was excited to be with her and that all was well.

Tears of joy and relief were pouring down the mother’s face as this exchange was taking place. The force of her guilt and anxiety was the constriction in her body not allowing the labor to start. After the session, this mother’s labor came on within the next 24 hours; her baby born vital and beautiful.

Doula and Mother with  Stillborn Baby

A doula Friend of mine called one day to tell me a very emotionally charged story. One of her dearest friends, who this doula was supporting in a home birth, gave birth to a stillborn baby. My Friend told me about the labor. She said that everything went really well: the baby’s vitals up to the labor were strong and clear and remained that way into and through labor. Even the birth was normal except for the fact that the baby was still and never revived after birth.

My doula friend was distraught with anguished questions about what had happened. Did someone do something wrong? What could have prevented this? How could this have happened with everything up to the end showing such vital life? She felt deep grief with the mother being her dear friend and such guilt having been in the birth support position.

I didn’t know whether it would work to connect with the unborn baby soul through the doula rather than the mother but offered to support her in the attempt. Once my friend was taken within to a relaxed and expanded level of consciousness, we invited a connection with the still born baby soul. A connection was made and though little was said, what was needed came through. My friend was told that no one had done anything wrong and that this happenstance was purposefully designed and was between the mother and the baby soul. Apparently this incident, as it played out, was to affect some opening within the mother. The baby soul also said that it would be coming again to this mother.

This communion brought my doula friend much healing and relief.

Pregnant Mother Seeking Insights into Behavior of Older Son

This was such a fascinating study with many layers and connections. A woman came to me in the latter stages of her 2nd pregnancy in hopes of finding some keys to the discord she felt with her 3 year old son. She worried about having another child come into the tension that was in the home.

When I took her into deep consciousness, she made easy contact with the spirit of her 3 year old and was told that he needed art supplies around him. He needed paints and an easel and other supplies. This medium would help him express and develop himself for easily and harmoniously.

This mother decided to check in with her unborn child whom she knew to be another boy. She was told that this child would need a lot of nature around him and that this would be key for him to connect with and develop his life purpose.

Then a most unexpected thing occurred. This woman’s deceased mother-in-law walked into her consciousness. The mother-in-law came to tell this woman to inform her husband that it was time that his mother’s ashes be let go of. He was to take them out on his surf board and dispose of them out in the ocean. His mother also said that she would be carrying away something for her older grandson that he did not need to carry any longer. She finished by saying that her daughter-in-law and the two grandsons should be on the shore watching as her son paddled her ashes out to sea.

Turning a Breech Positioned Baby

A woman who had taken my HypnoBirthing Classes came to me in the latter stages of her pregnancy to see about the possibility of turning her baby who was in the breech position. As we conversed, I learned that she had never wanted to have children and that it was her husband’s desire that had moved her into this pregnancy. I also learned she had experienced some sexual trauma when she was younger. Hearing all this, I had a pretty good idea what was detouring baby from proper positioning.

I helped her relax into a deep, expanded state of consciousness and we invited the spirit of her baby to commune with us. When that connection was granted, I watched as this young mother’s eyes filled with tears. She learned that this baby was coming in to teach her about love and that he was very excited to be with her. When the heart opens, the tears of healing and love tend to flow and clear the way. This mother fully opened to the wonder and blessing of this soul coming to her.

We described to the baby about the proper position for an easier birth for baby and mother. I doubt whether that was a necessary step in the process but regardless, Baby turned into the proper vertex position within the following 36 hours.

Recommended Reading

  • Sobonfu Some’s   ~ The Spirit of Intimacy
  • Welcoming Spirit Home
  • Walter Makichen ~ Spirit Babies

All Birth Is Sacred

Why does a birth unfold the way it does?  Why are some birth easy, flowing to a climax with the baby sliding into mom’s waiting arms and others filled with fear, unexpected detours, trauma for mom and baby, separations and seemingly endless hours, days, weeks, months or even years of trying to figure out what went wrong.  When we see all births as sacred there may be an easier way through these questions to a place of peace no matter how the birth unfolded.   There is no wrong way, only the path to the unfolding of a new life.

We all, the women of this earth, come to birthing with an inner knowing that will lead to birthing the future.  However, along the way, maybe even generations back this inner knowing was blocked, pushed underneath consciousness, or momentarily forgotten.  As we are waking up and remembering the ways of our ancestors we may feel cheated, wronged, guilty, sad or darn right angry about the way a birth unfolds.   And yet in this unfolding are rich and very powerful lessons that the birth has brought.  Can you find the teachings in the planned homebirth that ended up in the hospital with a cesarean birth?  Or the baby that came early and had to spend the first week or more of her life in the newborn nursery?   And, what about the baby that was “too big” to fit through mom’s body, or the baby that did not arrive on time – two weeks late and was then coaxed out with synthetic drugs, or the baby that died during the journey or shortly after – are these not as sacred as the baby who arrives on time, was the correct weight – not too big not too small – without the use of drugs, and is thriving in your arms?

What is the birth story telling us?  I could stay stuck in the trauma of an unwished for birth outcome or I can accept the sacredness of birth, all birth, and love who I am as the person who gave birth to the future.  I can let go of the ideal and fall in love with the person I am and the baby I created and gave birth to.  I can go deep to my core essence and discover that the birth I had with this baby was perfect and unique and brought us both, me and baby to a place of understanding who we are and the power and beauty that always surrounds the birth time.

Telling your baby his story in all its glory, which includes the fear and trauma, will easily bring baby to a place of acceptance and understanding that she is pure light and nothing less.  This pure light came from you, the mother giving birth, and is thus a reflection of who you are.  See the birth as a time to undo the past and believing that birth is anything but sacred and perfect, and move once again into the place of inner knowing, the mother wisdom that so perfectly orchestras each and every birth.  Let go of the fear, the doubt, the guilt, the blame, and see yourself as the pure love and light that radiates from your baby.

Trying to figure out why is exhausting and will only diminish your love and light.  Knowing that all birth is sacred and unfolds in its own time in its own perfection will allow you to accept your own love, the love you have for your baby, and the birth that was.  Become a willing participant in this life knowing that you have all you need to create birth and love the child that is put into your arms.  When all birth is seen as sacred the birth process is secondary – this is your story, your truth for this birth and will lead you to even more truth as you maybe prepare for the birth of another child and this birth to, will unfold in unique perfection.

As I write these words I am filled with wonder as I discover that my birth was sacred.  The moment that I arrived in this world was a sacred moment.  I have never though of my birth in this way, and this changes a lot for me.  It does not matter that my mother was heavily drugged with ether which means that I also was unconscious when I arrived, this was a sacred birth.  It doesn’t matter that I was pulled out with forceps and taken to a newborn nursery for ten days while my mother and I both recovered from this birth, this was a sacred birth.  She was allowed to see me every 4 hours and I was briefly held then returned to the nursery.  Did this cause harm to me?  Probably, but at the time no one thought that the way a baby comes into the world really mattered.  I was breathing and my physical needs were being met – I was being feed and kept in a clean diaper.  My mother was being looked after and all was fine.  I was harmed by this birth, but I was loved and both my mother and father, with the help of grandparents did the best they could to raise me to be a loving and kind person in this world.  It may have been easier for me if I had been given my birth story right away instead of having to dig back on my own to finally find the details that then helped make sense out of my life.  My life long message of “you are on your own kid” would not have been imprinted so deeply into my core and I could have moved forward faster and easier.  None of this takes away from the truth of my birth – it was a sacred event, and finally knowing this eases the pain around the events of my birth.  I, as all of us are, am a sacred child of the universe.

I can also look at the births of my own children as sacred moments.  My first son was born with ease in a small rural hospital with little interference.  I was moved from a labor room to a delivery room and in the process discovered the mother bear that resided in me.  They tried to give me gas as they were wheeling me to the delivery room, but I hit the nurse who was putting the mask on my face and that was the end of the “let’s get her drugged and ready for birthing” phase of my first birth.  My son was born and about 4 hours later I went home.  This was a sacred birth.

The birth of my second son was different.  He was born in a large metropolitan hospital and I was all alone.  Husbands were not allowed in and mothers were isolated in small labor rooms then transported to a delivery room.  I was given demoral during the labor then put under with gas as he was being born.  He was pulled from me with forceps and taken to a nursery.  I did not see him for hours and then only briefly.  During the two days that I stayed in the hospital he was brought to me for feedings then taken away.  A month after this birth it was discovered that he had a condition called pyloric stenosis and taken back to the hospital for surgery to open up the pyloric value into his stomach.  Did this happen because of the birth?  I don’t know.  Did the problems that he had all through school stem from this birth experience?  I don’t know.  Did I harm my child?  This is a difficult question for a mother to answer, but I do now know that this was a sacred birth.  I did not intentionally harm him.  I did not have enough information about giving birth at that time in my life, and trusted in the medical system that said they knew best. I do know that his birth was a sacred birth and that telling him his story has helped him to understand his life better and to find ways though and around the challenges he has had to face.  I have suffered through pangs of guilt as I learn more and more about birth and then believe that I harmed my baby.  I have let go of this guilt as it is a useless emotion.  I did what I knew was the best for me and my baby at that time in my life.  Today I know so much more and would not go back to that kind of a birthing situation.  Did I harm my children – no I did not – their births were sacred and unfolded in perfection, and we have all found a place of unconditional love for each other because of the way the births unfolded.

 

Diary of a Spiritual Midwife (part 9)

Dec 10

I was led to connect with Pachamama, but instead of heading to the jungle in the East, I was led toward Mindo in the north west. So I thought OK, the clinic must be about the local people there. Then, I went to the Butterfly House, a cool tourist attraction, a beautiful place in a few weeks when construction is done that houses many kinds of butterflies in all stages of development. Very cool to learn about them. Beautiful and awesome in their sensitivity – they responded to my kalimba playing and within minutes, settled down and alighted on the flowers. Anyway, Rosie is the owner and a new friend. She sat with me and filled me in on the ways of Mindo living. Once people hear that I am going to live here, they immediately open up and the welcome is wonderful.

So I found out that the local people will not populate the Birthing Sanctuary. They are given free care at the hospital 15 miles from here. Rosie said they have been so spoiled by so many foundations coming in here to bring their specialty that they are given everything, Catholic education, medical care, Christmas gifts, …… so she said, don’t count on them unless you offer your services free: They don’t need anything other than the clothes on them, so they don’t work. They are not interested in becoming part of any work force – there is no motivation. (Hawaii 50 years ago.) – Until they buy a truck. Then they become drivers so they can make their truck payments. “So I hope I did not pop your bubble.” she said. I told her it just moved me back into my true purpose – A Birthing Sanctuary, not a birthing clinic.

Dec 11

I meet an older woman named Judy, who was an ESL teacher for years and we go to see her home that is a beauty in the back of a very moist ravine. She drew it on a napkin and ta-daa! She said she would give me the plans. I’m thinking, why did this just happen? and I sense that I will be building. She is a trip, and a chocoholic, and she knows where this special brownie place is, so we will be seeing each other again!

I meet the town OB, whose name I can’t remember. This OB is a woman of great heart who is here for a year, offering prenatal care. (Every doctor finishes school as a family practice doc, and then has a mandatory year in a rural place to give back to the country. Then they can specialize in their desired field.) Sara, a beautiful woman in her mid thirties, works next door at the Clinica del Salude, health clinic, and started her year in July. We have not spoken yet as I have to know what’s going on in me first. Our hearts are pulling us together though and we both feel it. What a meeting it will be when it happens. It feels to me like we will be working together.

December 12, 2009

Today the gringos who are all staying in this hostel go on a field trip. It’s pouring rain and we go up to the house that Karen and Gary are building. It’s going to be really beautiful. They are bird watchers and the house is built for that. (Did I say that Mindo is the bird watching capital of the world? With 1900 species!) Without children, their house will be left to Mindo as a bird sanctuary. This house in Hawaii would cost $8-900,000, and he said it should come out to costing $80,000. We then go down the hill to their neighbors who are camping out, as I did when I was their age, while planning and building their house. He makes jewelry and she is a full time doula, the real thing too! (She started 10 years ago but still had another job till 2 years ago.) Every question I ask, she answers with the same words I would say! She works with moms (and dads!) starting at 5 months until the birth. She said the doctors love her and hate her because they know that the women she works with will use no drugs nor have epidurals. And because it is she who is there, the doc knows they can come in at the last minute. She teaches that the drugs are not good for the baby and wake the parents up to this. What a meeting! They are working to move to Mindo instead of staying here for 3 days a week and in Quito for 4. She has an incredible heart and I look forward to knowing them.

Then we went to a bird watching restaurant in Los Bancos, with a spectacular view of a valley with a river at the bottom. Truly there were fifty hummingbirds whirling all around the feeders and ten kinds of Tanengers eating bananas. We topped off this rainy day with a gooey homemade brownie, made with homemade chocolate. Joe showed us every step of chocolate making and served this brownie that was better than anyone’s mom could make! And there were such tastes in this brownie, several different tastes that he said were from the individual beans. Wow, such a different experience of choc ko la te. (We called Judy to join us.)

Dec 13

I didn’t sleep last night after midnight when a neighbor came home making a lot of noise. What am I doing here???? Going out in a car around Mindo, and seeing Los Bancos yesterday makes it really obvious that this is such a third world country. Really nothing but shacks along the road, until you get to two big houses then shacks again. And I’m doing what? Why did I choose this place, I am asked by others continually. My small self, has not, my higher Guidance has. I have not even seen enough of the country to choose this place, except that it’s not Quito, the megamaxiopolis. Yet I keep feeling that this is exactly right. So whenever I get to the mountain of doubts from seeing this “reality” in front of my eyes, I go over all the reasons that I have discovered that make it right. So what are the reasons to go ahead?

Mother Nature is pristine. Major reason.

I understand that building here is so much cheaper, and this allows me to see that a Birth Sanctuary can finally be built exactly as is my vision. Major reason.

Knowing that I can simply build what I want and not have someone from building, permitting, or whatever, say no. Major reason.

Hearing that the land has been prepared for birthing, that it has what is needed. Major reason.

Mindo, (pronounced ‘Meendo’,) is just about to take off and become an alternative haven for the country. It attracts many people from Quito on the weekends and in the summer. Global tourists all the time – which is how we had a gringo field trip. Right now it needs everything. Anyone’s passion is welcomed, (which is how there is a chocolate factory.) There is little infrastructure aside from the roads and there’s an amazing system of busses so cheap transportation is possible all over the country. This too is major. Hopefully more people will stay, bringing their gifts.

It hit me just two days ago that I am to start with raw land. Wow! What a shift, after thinking that I could start with a B&B and have part of it done. That is so huge when I am alone and not with a group, or at least somebody who is as committed as I am to this vision. It’s probably why I am so overwhelmed. So how do i do this????? But as soon as I get it, the next pieces come through

This morning I hear the question, “Why do you think that you are so utterly alone here on the physical plane?” The answer is, so that I can see my level of creation. It’s all my creation, the good and the not so good. So how am I going to do it? Go home? Look in another place, only to end up here in Mindo again if it truly is the place where this is to be? I’ve been shown these two wonderful women, the doula and the OB. That is stunning Support of Nature that should help me to say, “OK! I’m going to build the Birthing Sanctuary right here and right now.” But I see how few services are here, how there is no infrastructure, how the needs are so different than I thought. So what will I place my attention on? The overwhelming reality that IS? Or, what I know can be within a year?

Everybody who speaks English is a support system for me. They are all blown away that I am here to do this and each has offered their help. Susan, Rosie, Karen and Gary, Judy and Renee, the man I met yesterday at the restaurant. Support everywhere I look, and each offering help with building to make it seamless, instead of the karmic experience they each had. The nature support is there for building, towards becoming a resident, toward helping me. I better look for land. I guess I’m building.

Dec 21

My, how time warps for the days have flown, yet it’s only been weeks since I came – Dec 4!! But on the inner planes it’s been 3 months since I’ve arrived since night time is as productive as daytime. After a very hard 3 days where the waves of culture shock kept rolling through, everything has been rearranged and I understand / remember where I am being led. I can’t possibly share the journey that I was taken on, because there were so many steps to it. And un-ravelings. But this morning after the noisiest night possible, the dawn breaks and clarity arises to make sense of all the pieces I have been given through time about the Birthing Sanctuary.

The purpose of the Sacred Birthing Sanctuary is
to renew the wisdom of the indigenous cultures of the world.
Remembering and reinstating birth in the ways of Natural Law
protects babies,
their higher states of consciousness, their ability to be present,
& their innate self-love.
These babies know they are born to hold and renew their culture’s ancient ways, the ways in alignment with their Divine blueprint, for this is their culture’s unique footprint on the face of this Earth that holds their purpose, their offering to Great Spirit.

I saw it: The buildings, the school, the birthing temple, the community, the gardens and orchards, the animals, the pristine place in nature with clean waters running by and through it. I saw the first family who came to cook and build. I saw the elders choose and groom the young parents who would carry the baby to ressurect the ways of their people. I saw the parents who came in their indigenous clothes, carrying the pride of their tribal ways. I saw them come with their lovers and their mothers and sisters. I saw us teach them the ways we’ve learned to take back to their people in their land. I saw how it would work.

I saw the people involved as the holder of this Sanctuary, and how it came into being. With my Christmas plans already erased, I am on to the next part of this adventure: finding the players of this incredible Sacred container. This is why we have all worked so hard! Thank you each of you. Thank you and Merry Merry Christmas. May all blessings pour over you all. May the love and light from this work that we are honored to do together, be as a balm poured over you in all the ways that you need. May we each know the importance of the piece that we play so that together Sacred Birthing flourishes to accomplish the task that was set for it.

Pain & Childbirth

Words from Earth Mother

“Birth was never meant to be in pain. To give birth was a gift of love.  So much has been forgotten because feminine wisdom was destroyed each time it grew to be threatening.  Fear grew where wisdom abated.  It was in this frame of mind that you were told, ‘birth is painful, for you have sinned.’

Can you let this go now? Can you see the context of that era and know that it is complete? Can you recreate another powerful statement to affirm the birth of your babies as the highest gift there is? Let them be brought forth in the joy and ecstasy of your fullness: ‘In joy all babies are born and in that joy we live.’ I am your Mother Earth. Hear Me.”

Excerpted from Sacred Birthing: Birthing A New Humanity by Sunni Karll page 136

Thirty one and twenty seven years ago, I gave birth to my 2 daughters in pain-free ecstasy. I had no idea then that what I had experienced was out of the norm for women of my culture. I only found that out after I began teaching HypnoBirthing Childbirth Education Classes years later. The birth research path this took me on revealed all too well how disconnected to themselves, nature and birth my sisters have become. For the past 10 years, I have taught childbirth preparation classes, first HypnoBirthing and now Sacred Birthing classes. In this time, I have seen the reversal of the belief that birth equals trauma and pain. Over and over, parents or individual women have reclaimed their innate birthright to birth with ease and empowerment. Many films now testify of this new trend as we watch couples and women, surrounded by other wise, loving, and supportive women, family and friends, give birth in the quiet of their own homes, in birthing centers and in hospitals. These births show the beauty and power and sanctity of birth as it always was before fear entered the birth arena hundreds of years ago.

A key element of a sacred birth without trauma and with greater ease is a woman or couple taking conscious responsibility for their birth experience. What does that mean? Ideally that means a couple go into conception, pregnancy and birth prepared for the transformation that childbirth is for all involved. The couple clear themselves energetically of fear, cultural misconceptions, personal traumas and negative imprinting that may have been held in mind or body. This allows the energy within them to flow clearly and at a vibrational level aligned with that of the soul wishing to incarnate into this life. The process of clearing the past is a huge gift to both baby and birthing mother because negativity held in the body is a fear resonance that constricts muscles and the flow of energy, blood and oxygen in the body which can all contribute to the creation complications and pain during the birth process.

Going into conception, pregnancy and birth being aware and practiced in healthful eating, physical fitness, meditation and other relaxation and self-realization aspects of life are also indicators of taking responsibility for conscious living and play their parts in creating an attuned, gentle birth.

Couples taking responsibility for their birth experience will also explore their birth choices around what practitioner, midwife, support persons and childbirth preparation classes best support their birthing vision. They will also explore where they will feel most comfortable giving birth: home, birth center or hospital. These steps take one to clarity, empowerment, confidence, and trust. Trust and love are the vibrations within the birth field of energy that engenders a truly natural and gentle birth experience.

The re-emergence of the role of Doula is a wonderful sign that our remembrance of birth is on the rise. A Doula is a trained birth assistant who reminds us of the community or village wise woman. Her place in birth is as mother/family focused pregnancy support, birth support and postpartum support. Doulas are there when questions arise about or during the birth process They are there when mothers or partners get anxious, or when something needs to be communicated to hospital, midwife or birth center staff, allowing the birthing mother to stay in her birth bubble undisturbed They can organize the family and friends of the birthing couple to have meals brought to the family, or errands run, or laundry cleaned after birth. Statistics show that the presence of a doula greatly reduces the rates of interventions and cesarean births. When a woman feels that level of personal support, her sense of empowerment rises greatly

Long, long ago, during the times when fear entered the birth chambers, midwifery was abolished. During the European inquisition, it became illegal for women to be attended in birth. Those, whose lives were centered on this ancient art, were either killed or went into hiding or disclaimed their professions. There is much to this story, but suffice it to say, it is still very difficult in most parts of this country, to be a midwife. There are more and more women stepping up to do this work, but with no support from community or state, it is still the rarity for women to have true information on the benefits of such support, and it is difficult for these services to be affordable for many families.

Looking to the midwifery model of childbirth is key to remembering and creating conscious, gentle birth. The rapport that comes from the deep relationship of family and birth care-provider makes a huge difference in a woman’s capacity to trust herself and birthing. Studying the difference between the medical model and the midwifery model, including the statistics, is an eye-opening way of preparing and empowering oneself in making the decisions that support the vision of the beauty of natural birth. This is not to negate the place of Doctors, medicine or hospitals in childbirth. They are important and have their place in the whole scheme of birth. There is simply work needing to be done to bring balance, truth, ease, empowerment, nature, ecstasy and sanctity back to birth in all arenas.

I have seen how the remembrance of birthing wisdom in a community can change the consciousness around birth all the way to the highly technical halls of modern hospitals. As women and families empower themselves to learn about birth, clear the misconceptions and fears around birth within themselves and their world and then insist on a different, more conscious and gentle way, the institutions shift as well. Sometimes that shift comes from the economics of watching women stay at home or go elsewhere to birth. In other instances, the shift comes when care providers witness empowered women or couples give birth gently and naturally. In many countries in the world, such as the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, the great majority of births are accompanied by a midwife and happen in the comfort, safety and sanctity of the home, and this way is entirely supported by their political and economic structures. I very much look forward to the day when we can say the same about our United States. Again, this is up to individuals to step up and take responsibility for changing the face of birth.

There are many wonderful ways to create the inner and outer ambiance that allow for gentle birth. When we trust in our bodies and own inner wisdom, we find the birthing way that is true for us. It is important to allow for the individual qualities of each birth. This means to allow each birth to unfold in its own timing and form and allowing baby to lead the way in this regard. Birth has never been and never will be standardized. There are so many aspects of being that are unfolding in every birthing. To alter, add or subtract anything from the natural flow of each birth is to bring an intervention that can cause complications. Frequently the alterations come from a place of believing that we know better than Nature and Spirit how birth should unfold.

When birth happens with some or all of the pieces above mentioned in place, a woman can more easily let go to her birthing body. She may experience pain and she may not. In either case, she has within her the power to meet what comes and in so doing, finds new and expanded aspects of herself born with her baby. We are on the bridge of reclaiming birth. It is a powerful and vital place we stand. But every woman’s body knows how to birth as has every woman before her throughout time. Just like the other creatures of nature that birth without trauma, surrendered to the powerful life force pulsing through them, women everywhere have this innate ability.

Those who have looked deeply into the modernization of birth and the fear and expectations of pain around birth that has become prevalent in our society, can see how we create complications. The babies being birthed and hurt through these practices are teaching us not that we as women are innately flawed, but that we have forgotten our innate wholeness and connection to our bodies. These babies are pointing the way home to remembrance.

Becoming a Sacred Birthing Community Doula: My First Birth

My name is Sharon Gonsalves and I attended the Sacred Birthing Foundation’s Doula Training Program from January through April 2009. Barbara Essman was the lead instructor and author/founder/midwife Sunni Karll was very instrumental in delivering the training. There were about 10 women in the class and I learned so much from each one. Many had had their own babies and others were preparing for motherhood or healing from their own births and childhood experiences. I wasn’t sure if I’d follow through and complete the certification requirements, but once I attended my first birth I was sure I wanted to serve the community as a doula.

I had conversations with two different expectant moms before finding my first doula client. I learned in the training that it’s important that a doula be a good fit for the couple who she’ll be assisting. Although I was disappointed that those first two nibbles did not pan out, I was really happy when I found someone who definitely wanted to work with me and invited me to her birth.

My client, Joanna, was relatively new on Kauai, had 2 grown children and was about 7 months pregnant when we first met. She moved here from Denver, where she says 65% of births are attended by doulas. Doulas are not very common yet on Kauai and we’re having to educate the community about what a doula is and how having a doula can really help ease the birth process. Joanna was very sure that she wanted a doula at her birth and was planning to give birth at the Waimea Family Birth Center at KVMH. She and her husband would be attending childbirth classes at KVMH and they invited me to join them which I did.

Joanna was very clear that she wanted a natural birth without drugs. Her first 2 were natural – one at a birth center and one in a hospital – and while she knew she was able to give birth on her own, one labor went very long and she was concerned that might happen again.

As Joanna’s due date approached, we talked on the phone once a week just to check in about how close it might be and how she was feeling. Then one morning at 4:15am I got a phone call from Joanna’s husband. They were at the hospital and labor had begun. It was time for me to join them.

I showered and dressed and before getting in the car I turned on my computer and sent an email to a list of Joanna’s friends to let them know that baby Leila was on her way. I asked them to please keep the family in their thoughts. On the way to the hospital I called in all my guides and helpers, and asked spirit to surround the birth team with support.

When I arrived at KVMH, the hospital staff was expecting me and the nurses, doctor and especially Joanna and her husband, Michael, were happy to see me. Joanna was tired. She’d been up all night and was walking to keep her labor progressing. At last check she was 5 centimeters dilated and 60% effaced. Her contractions were a few minutes apart. I gave her lots of encouragement as she and her husband and I walked the halls stopping for every contraction. While she leaned on Michael, I gave her some back relief by pushing her hip bones together allowing more rooms for baby’s head to move down. We spent most of the next several hours this way. I gave Joanna water to drink after each contraction as they made her very thirsty. Periodically the doctor checked her progress. She stayed at 6 centimeters dilated for a while as she became more effaced. Her waters were broken to help keep things moving along. When she was hooked up to a monitor for a few minutes we could all hear the baby’s heart beat – the first time I’d heard that sound. No signs of distress at all.

Contractions were getting stronger and Joanna was getting more uncomfortable and more tired. She labored on a birthing ball for awhile, resting between contractions. I saw ‘bloody show’ for the first time and finally understood what that was. I suggested she try laboring in the shower for a while to see if the hot water would help her relax a bit. After her shower she labored in bed for a bit, actually sleeping between contractions as she was thoroughly exhausted. She was now almost fully effaced. Within an hour she went from 6 to 9 centimeters dilated, then things started happening pretty fast.

Joanna started feeling the urge to push and she seemed a little scared. Her contractions were becoming more painful and she said she didn’t want to do this any more. She wanted drugs. This was our clue that the baby would be here really soon.

In the doula class I learned that often as women progress through labor they start saying “oh God, please help me”. Then they start asking for drugs. Then they push and the baby is born and they are totally in love with their child. Well, in this case that’s exactly what happened.

So the urge to push set the hospital staff in motion. The bed was readied. The doctor’s instruments were laid out. The lights were turned on and the doctor was in position to catch Leila as she entered the world. Joanna was sitting up at about a 45 degree angle, and Michael and I stayed on either side of the bed and told her what a great job she was doing. One of the nurses coached her through the pushing – chin to her chest, hands behind her knees. I let one of the nurses know that they’d been doing perineal massage to stretch her tissues and no episiotomy was performed. Within 3-5 pushes the baby was out and Leila was on her mom’s chest.

The actual birth was the most intense time for me. I didn’t want to look between Joanna’s legs at all. I just wanted to stay right at her shoulder encouraging and supporting her. The pushing was a bit uncomfortable for Joanna and the nurses were so great in the way they coached her to push into the burning sensation that was making her hesitate. She did great and I was really happy for her that things had gone so well. Leila was born at 11:26 am September 13.

Then came the really cool part. Joanna and Michael met their daughter for the first time in the light of day and they loved her. Meanwhile, the doctor prepared the cord for cutting (which dad was invited to do), then he put some gentle pressure on the umbilical cord and placed a pan at the end of the bed to catch the placenta. Within about 20 minutes after the birth, a placenta the size of a very large grapefruit was expelled along with more fluid from the uterus. Wow! Fascinating!

The hospital staff cleaned up in a flash and mom, dad and baby got acquainted. Mom was encouraged to breast feed which would start the uterus contracting to stop any bleeding from the placenta detaching from the uterine wall. Baby latched on right away – a successful beginning to a new relationship.

At this point I made myself scarce so that very important initial bonding could take place. Before leaving the room, doc gave me a ‘thumbs up’ which brought tears to my eyes. Everything went really smoothly.

I felt really welcomed by the hospital staff and very high from the whole experience. Some of the staff had met Barbara and Ronda when they visited the Family Birth Center a few weeks before. This really made me feel good, being associated with a group that intended to work together with a hospital to ease baby’s transitions and support mom, dad and hospital staff through the birth process. It felt like a good beginning for all of us.

Ginger & Lilly Dawn’s Birth Experience

11/2/09 Tonight Ginger noticed a lot more moisture coming from her vagina, wetting her pants. After needing to change her clothes twice, she put on a pad. On the toilet, she saw some tan-ish mucous. She also felt some new discomfort in her lower back and pelvis. It didn’t take us too long to clue into that either her water had broken or her mucous plug had released or both.

Full Moon 11/3/09, 12:30am Ginger came to tell me her labor had begun. I moved into Lily’s room to be closer while Ginger experienced the acceleration of her surges. Partner Colin slept but there was not sleep for Ginger or me. Midwife Ruth told Ginger to meet her at 5am based on Ginger’s surge timing and intensity.

5am: Colin, Ginger and I go to the Birth Center. Ginger’s step-dad Steve was there to meet us. Midwife Ruth checked and found Ginger only 80% effaced with nearly no dilation. Her cervix was still facing more towards her back and baby was posterior. Ruth sent us all home (30 minutes away) Ginger was somewhat disappointed but meeting it.

8:25 am Surges were approximately 1 minute 15 seconds in duration and 4 ¾ minutes apart. Midwife Ruth was called, a message was left. She called back shortly and said we could come to the center if we wanted. The Center’s Clinic was opening around then so Ruth would be there. The ride was really hard for Ginger. She started the ride lying in my lap but the Honda was small and she couldn’t stretch out so soon she was sitting up.

We arrived at the Birth Center around 9am. Upon checking Ging’, Ruth told her she was only 3cm and that she couldn’t officially admit her. She said that since the clinic was now open, Ginger could choose to stay but at the close of clinic at 2 pm, she would have to leave if she wasn’t progressed enough. Ginger chose to stay but Steve went and got a hotel room in case Ging’ would need to leave and so she wouldn’t have to travel far again.

Ginger chose to get into the shower first. When she got out and a surge would come on, she got onto her hands and knees. She then labored on the bed for a while in the lateral or side position. She had chosen to bring some music that I gave to her when she was a baby and that she listened to at bedtime all through her growing up. “Fairy Ring” was the background music for this beautiful birthing. Jackie came in after a while and told Ginger she should get up and walk. I had said the same thing but I could see that coming from Jackie had more clout. Ginger went outside on that beautiful Fall day and walked the rolling lawns around the birth center. It was a lovely area with lots of trees. One huge Oak that overhung the Center was the perfect guardian as it looked to me like the “tree of life” image of the placenta. Ginger and Colin went outside and walked and labored together. Ginger either hung on Colin or went to her knees when a surge came on. They were outside for about a half hour. They were so beautiful to watch! Steve and I held back taking pictures.

Back inside, Ginger had on one of Colin’s COD shirts (all the men on his father’s side of the family had initials COD). She lay on the bed again and labored for a couple of hours. At some point during this time, Ginger required someone; Colin or me, to lay a hand on a particular spot on her lower back as soon as she felt a surge coming on. She could have no pressure but needed the hand on a very specific spot, just lightly but perfectly placed. Ginger’s labor was hard and pretty painful but she kept her focus and labored really well. She toned through many surges and when tensing, was responsive to mine or Colin’s light touchmassage and reminders to relax.

Grandpa Steve was on camera duty throughout the labor; both video and stills.

Around 12:45pm. I looked at Ginger and saw her energy flattening out, the skin below her eyes turning dark and something in me spoke loud and clear “if Ginger isn’t going to have to leave, she’s got to rally and put all her power, body and intention into bringing Lily into position, opening her cervix and moving Lily down. I had suggested she change positions several time before, but Ginger had not been responsive to my suggestions. I felt a familiar inhibition in speaking with authority to Ginger; a life-time dynamic between us. This time, I stepped over that pattern and put clarity and power behind my words; telling her exactly what I was seeing and what she needed to do. Ginger heard me and responded. She got up, went into the other room and tried numerous positions for turning Lily, creating space and using gravity so that Lily could move down.

About 30 minutes into this, Ruth came in to check on Ginger. She asked Ginger what she was experiencing and from Ruth’s words, it seemed that she thought Ginger was not progressing that much. Ruth spoke again about the possibility of needing to leave. She watched Ginger through several surges and at one point asked Ginger if she was feeling some bearing down sensation in her surges. Ginger wasn’t sure.

Ruth left, going back into the clinic portion of the center. Ginger continued to labor. The position that worked best for her through most of this time was on her hands and knees; still with a hand needed on her lower back.

Just before 2pm, Ginger told me she felt Lily was coming and asked me to go get Ruth. I went into the center where Ruth was standing talking with Jackie. When she saw me, she said she’d be there in a moment. When she came in, she checked Ginger and was surprised to find Ginger over 8 cm. open.

Things started to happen fast then. Jackie came and joined us. When a surge came on then, they looked like huge waves; Ginger’s eyes got really big. Ruth instructed her to take a deep breath and exhale by blowing slowly out. It was clear; Ruth wanted to slow things down. She asked Ginger whether she still wanted a water birth as the tub would need to be filled, the water pressure was low and it would take a good half hour for the tub to be filled enough for her to get in. Ginger said yes, she wanted the tub. As they filled the tub, Ginger’s surges got bigger and she began to vomit with most of them. It was a very intense time! A couple of times, the bigness of the waves swept her up and she’d yell. Ruth and Jackie brought her back to blowing and she kept her focus. Amazing to watch her!

Finally the tub was ready and when Ginger got in, she felt more comfortable. (How nice it would have been for her to have gotten into the water a couple of hours earlier!) The next couple of surges went as they had on the bed; deep breath in with blowing exhale. Then Ruth gave Ginger the cue to go for it and push Lily out; to push only when she felt a surge and then push hard. Colin got into the water with Ginger and sat behind holding her for this time of pushing. Ginger followed her midwife and doula’s lead to push rather than the HypnoBirthing way of breathing her baby down and out. She pushed well.

We watched Lily crown in the step fashion; a little forward and than moving back; each time moving forward and out a little more. Ginger reached down twice and felt Lily’s head. That brought on such a wonderful smile to her face. This pushing phase only lasted about 15 minutes before Lily was born. We saw she had a good head of light colored hair. She had some cord around her neck that she rolled out of in the water. She was pretty quickly put onto Ginger’s chest and her nose and throat were suctioned with a bulb syringe. Ruth didn’t want the placenta to be born in the water and got Ginger out of the water pretty quickly; less that 5 minutes after the birth. Ginger was compliant and got out and back onto the bed. Mommy and Daddy and all of us were so very happy! And Lily was doing really well. She did squawk with the suctioning but settled down well. She was very present and quiet; taking in her new world, especially her Mom and Dad. She had a lot of thick vernix on her skin and a little bit of merconium had been seen at the birth but no problems arose. She has beautiful red hair!

Ruth waited what I would consider an extremely minimal time before having Colin cut the cord. She said the pulsing had stopped and Lily showed no reaction to the cutting. She breathed well right from the start.

With the help of Colin stimulating Ginger’s nipple, the placenta was birthed shortly after the cord was cut (maybe 10 minutes after) and was in perfect shape.

Lily latched on well after about a half hour of birth. Nurse Bethany helped Ginger with the latching and positioning.

Everyone was high and happy and Lily was alert and peaceful.
Ginger and partner Colin with newborn Lilly Dawn
We left the Birth Center around 5:15 pm. The car seat we had was not set up right and really was imperfect for a newborn. Colin did his best to secure the seat which satisfied the Birth Center Folks. Our plan had always been to leave the Birth Center with Lily in the seat for the sake of the birth center folks and then take Lily out of it around the corner so Ginger could hold her for the ride home. This is what we did.

My brother Doug just happened to be in Sacramento that day. In fact, before the birth, we had scheduled to get together with him the following day. He called while we were still at the Birth Center to tell us he wouldn’t be able to see us the next day and it needed to be that day. I informed him that Lily had just been born. He was astounded at the timing and so happy! He is one of Ginger’s favorite people and so he was privileged to be invited to meet us at the house to meet Lily Dawn.

At the house, Colin’s Brother Cliff and Dad Cliff Senior were waiting to meet Lily. Uncle Doug came shortly thereafter and everyone was high in the birth bubble energy. The Cliffs went out to dinner and a movie and Doug stayed for a nice long visit. He and I then went out for dinner and to bring food home to the new Mom and Dad. The new little family was all sound asleep by the time we returned.

NOTE: It was clearly the best option to birth at the Birth Center; all things considered. Though Ginger would have liked to have had a home birth, Colin was not familiar or comfortable with that idea. Also, The Birth Center took MediCal, so that was a great plus. All went well. The main thing we would have liked different is the midwife being more connected to the labor. Her judgment about Ginger not progressing wasn’t accurate and if it weren’t for me and Steve and Colin being there to hold the energy, it would have been much more challenging for Ginger. It certainly reflects how important and beneficial it is to have a doula and a loving and attuned birth companion present at a birth. Bottom line ~ it was a wonderful birth! Thanks to all. Well done new Momma!

Diary of a Spiritual Midwife (part 8)

September 25

I see a deer in the inner planes two days ago.  This morning when still dark, I see a flash of very bright white light near my head and then the stag/deer runs across my inner vision.   It’s playful but regal at the same time and I realize somehow that this is a Buddhist symbol.  So what are you telling me? I am to move my campsite to Red Flats.  I take up my campsite, ready to leave this place now, and that afternoon meet a young man at market who told me he was just leaving Red Fir Flats and it was totally empty and beautiful.  I drive up and set up camp there that night.

I knew I needed to reconnect with the trees for D and I had spent one whole summer in 1996 camping up in the midst of these great Red Fir Trees.  This Red Fir species was the tree against which that we took our pictures for our first brochure.

I’m guided to a beautiful place and felt like the land was welcoming me like a long lost friend. I  stopped the car and got out to walk in the directions of some mighty boulders and the incredible energy stopped me in my tracks. Oh, I could not walk into the area it felt so deeply sacred, held for a certain purpose that I could not fathom. (there are so few words in our language for the word ‘sacred’.)  It seemed to be a portal of some kind and I was invited.   The trees spoke in the winds of the changing weather.  It was a special moment of knowing and merging.

I remember the story about one of the Dalai Lama’s helpers who was flying over Mt. Shasta from Seattle to San Francisco in the mid 90’s, looking out at the mountain and noticed something important about the trees.  He rented a car and drove back to Shasta and up to the mountain to find that the Tree Spirits that left Tibet when the Chinese invaded had come here.   All these years nobody knew where they went. Within weeks, a full-on Tibetan ceremony of celebration was preformed.

I am awake most of the night because it is so cold – 7000 ft.  But I keep seeing the Dali Lama and would not believe it was he, but then he would roar with laughter, as only he can do, so I did believe it finally.  He said all sorts of things to me.

1) It’s time to remember Shaminism and I am to journey to remember and pull it into me;

2) I am to be rooted shamanically in Mt Shasta to reconnect places with it where the web of life is weakened. The sun is my fuel.  Precious water is my sustainer.  It will be in out-of-the-way places – “You will always be safe with a force field of love and protection around you. Be at peace. You can do this easily by remembering who you are.  This is your work.”

3) I was shown Shasta Abbey many times through the night and told I would find a teacher there. In the morning, I can barely take down the tent as my fingers are so frozen.  The car thermometer says 36 degrees. No wonder I froze my wadoogies off. I head into town to warm up, and because the internet cafe I was using is no longer usable for certain hours, I go to a new one I have not been to before. There, a woman said to me that I look familiar, so we got to talking and she was just leaving the Shasta Abbey to go home and sell her home and move back permanently to become a nun!   I suddenly remember my evening visions of the Abbey and tell her, and she said that this weekend is the beginners retreat and to call now because they are setting up the rooms! She gets up and leaves for a Dr. appointment. We maybe spent two minutes together. It was that quick.

I started journeying in Fairfield, learning from Michael Harner, with drumming in a certain tempo. I was good at it and it was helpful as guidance. But for me what’s incredible when journeying are the feelings that come with the visions, and as your trust grows and you let go of doubt, visions take on even greater detail.

October, 4

Wow.   3 days of being in a Zen Monastery was a potent teacher.

The energy in the meditation hall was potent and I thank the lineage that created this.   The pace of the schedule was wonderful and although it started at 5 am, it was slower that we go in our daily life and mindfulness is so much easier without hurry.  No hurry in anything.   There were enough hands to make light work. I was surprised at the ceremony and ritual that is such a major part of Zen. I  had no idea there was anything but meditation -with a stick.  But that was a wrong impression, of this monastery at least, as there is such compassion here it made me cry twice as the recipient.

I saw my greed with food, and my ability to bring it into balance.  Their practices took food up a notch, from eating to live to food is medicine, so we don’t eat the same thing every day because our body needs many things, so even eating what you don’t like is good for what your body needs.  It transformed everything about food for me.  And eating silently!  What a blessing it is!  That was huge.  I saw my love, instead of only my self-judgment. I saw that my suffering is not in my outside life, but inside me, for that is what the Buddhist suffering is, and I never knew that! And that the 6 senses combine with “the 3 poisons” – greed, hatred and fear – to create all suffering, and it’s so subtle at times. And, I let go of my attachment to accomplishment – that I didn’t realize I was holding. Meditation was with half opened eyes, the hardest thing about the retreat. That’s so that meditation becomes life, and life becomes a meditation. With closed eyes, meditation is much more distinctly separate from life. And you don’t fall asleep! And, that you don’t go into an altered state. -The jury is out on this one, since I am so used to using this time and its altered state to receive answers to my questions, but without guiding the everyday needs of Sacred Birthing Foundation, I may not need to do this.

At the working meditation – Seva or service work, I was given to grate the cheese. Well, with my allergy to milk/cheese this was the perfect thing for me to focus on for that long, and I came to see it was connected not to the cow’s milk but to my mother’s milk. And through grating – enough for 60 people, I came to such compassion, seeing a deeper level of mom’s suffering in having baby after baby, when her desire was not to have children but to serve in an intellectual way. Bless you mom for bringing me into the world amidst your other desires that you allowed to be put on hold for another 15 years.

The stupa of the abbotess, the one who brought Zen Budhism to America and started this abbey, was a peaceful place. I went with lots of wonderings, and found that talking with her was louder than having her on a telephone! She was so practical and no nonsense. She said: “Deathing is long term learning – it will come to you as it comes. You will see and learn a great deal over time and share your insights with those who will do the deathing facet at the Sanctuary. Get back into birth. Keep your attention on the consciousness of the baby. The issue of mama’s childbirth pain will come along, but your gift is refining the parents to receive these children with their consciousness intact. What is it that can take each parent another step up in their growth? This is your gift.” Then I read the first few chapters of her biography and it was the same – practical and no-nonsense.

I had to laugh – I’ve had a knowing since age 23, that I would someday live in a community, never did I think it could be a monastery, yet here was community at its finest! And even my thoughts throughout my life of shaving my head fit with the bald monks and nuns here! What a trip! But their costumes are not in my farthest dreams! So, I’m still looking for “my” community. I think its Sacred Birthing’s.

Buddhism seems to be so concerned with suffering and this is a big question to me. I acknowledge that if one has never looked at what is hidden in one’s ‘closet’ then its necessary to stop denying it, take it out and shine our light on it. But my feeling is that if we are not living in a war torn area or one of famine and misery, our karma is one of far less suffering and far more self-forgiveness. Of course we each have our challenges and many are not easy to bear. Yet, if we happen to be in fairly supportive surroundings now, and can be at peace, can be appreciative and grateful, then I feel that we have a responsibility to the Earth and her humanity to radiate that to all others. This seems to be what these Indigo children know to be their truth. This is the higher vibration and certainly feels better so lets stay in this! And we certainly don’t see the Dalai Lama being miserable! He is pure joy.

SO, all this stuff about Buddhism leads me to ask: Why do I seek? To return to our “Face of God”, our original face of purity, that which newborn babies ARE, and show us. And in Sacred Birthing terms, I word it this way: Without conception, pregnancy and birth trauma, when babies are wanted and loved, babies retain their self-love. They remember why they chose to be born on this planet at this time, and, why they choose these parents to help them along their path.

October 5 and onward

All these days, my consciousness is narrowed and inward. D is being tested for stroke. Ultrasound on his carotid artery, C.A.T. Scans and angiograms. Such an experience for one who does not go to doctors. There is BIG energy around here. All his family is alerted and on call, integrating that things could go any way at this point. All are realizing in their own way, the love in their life called D, and what it would be like to be without it. He learns that a clot is deep in the brain. He is on the phone telling all of his adult children each update.

October 9

I am house sitting the beautiful cabin for 10 days, upstairs from D. It’s in the shape of a star and is an ashram to Yogananda. YEA I get to hold still. I don’t know that I am quite cut out for not having a home.

D goes to a new doctor who feels that he had a previous stroke when mountain climbing 2 years ago when he experienced severe altitude sickness. D is so expanded, so in complete gratitude. Last night he said he woke up in the middle of the night asking himself how could it be that he still fits in his bed when he is so huge and expanded! Today he struggles to put words on what is happening inside him: He swings from feeling deep intense sadness, the suffering of the world, to the greatest ecstasy and back again, each taking him to his knees, each bringing tears, and after many swings of the pendulum, somehow is it to be integrating them within himself? What major work he is doing. There is no fear for he has long done his deathing homework. Such as, Steven Levine’s how would your life change if you were only going to live a year? A month? A day? Death has been a friend for many years and a constant source of conversation.

A movie on Tibetan Shamans plays tonight – The fate of the Lhapa – how good is this timing???!!!!! Now I have the word for what I am remembering; a Lhapa. A Lhapa is “one who is in contact with the gods to perform healing.” I don’t know about that but the journeying is the same and I practice daily. Its not about Buddhism, its about shamanism. Yesterday, the Deva of Sage helps me with my focus and jumps into my crown. I make a tea of it to receive its help on all levels. The honeybee led me to Heart Lake when I got lost. The great tree at Castle Lake said to me, “Be gentle with yourself. You are in a major transition.”

Behind me at the movie sits the town midwife who said to another person, “Delivering babies is reliable money for me.” Oh please, may there be higher reasons than that, to be with a newborn baby at its most precious transition.

October 10

He said, “As I delve into my own mortality, I am finding my own immortality. It’s confusing – I start out with my mortality and I don’t know where I am.” The expansion continues whenever he is alone. He said that he was 5-6 when he saw his first Life Magazine showing pictures of suffering children in many countries, and from then to now, never knew how to bring together this dichotomy. “Why is their life not like my life?” It caused separation and craziness throughout his life, trying to understand how so much of the world can be so riddled with such intense suffering, and then in the next instant there is such great liveliness and ecstasy in nature, in people, in life. This quest of uniting these is the reason and the joy of his global travels. Maybe this is why his vibration matches the my exploration of the Buddhist path. He is such a big blazing open heart now, nothing else exists. He is full of love and appreciation and gratitude. Nature is his delight and worries are transformed with humor and lots of talk and they release their charge. His Circle of Willis, a halo of veins and arteries is well developed to give him more circulation. Many people do not even have such a thing, so it is praised quite often! He is so very conscious of every moment. We talk about how amazing it is that I should be here with him. Me! Such a gift.

October 11

We hike to Castle Lake, and on up to Heart lake and up beyond to the Outlook at the very top of the mountain to see Mt Shasta in its alpenglow as the sun goes down. Wow what a view of layers of ranges, and two baby lakes way beneath us. This is his power place when he is on this continent. He may never be able to climb mountains again and this makes him sad. But life is still more precious. He says, “Oh, I will live if I can, but it’s a good day to die!” It is his grandchildren who pull him into living most. Burr, the weather is changing and the Indian summer is over.

Oct 14

My great work is to recover my feelings. Their disappearance was a result of turning them off so that I don’t feel my own ancient cruelty. From my Dark Night of the Soul 11 years ago, I am called throughout these years to find deeper layers of me. I have such a journey this morning in meditation with honey bee, hawk, elephant and cobra assisting. I keep asking to feel, but do I really want to feel what’s coming? I don’t know the result of all this, but if D passes, it will certainly be a great loss to my heart. My purpose in being here is to be with him to let him go, as his children could not. He laughs when he realizes that they too will go through uniting love and ecstasy with the sadness of loss. He laughs and hoots as he thinks of giving each of his children a vision quest for themselves as they take his ashes to the different parts of the world that he loves most: the source of the Ganges, the top of Mt Shasta, a town at 15,400 feet in Ecuador’s highest mountain….. Always making life fun! So much laughter. That’s all we do as these days pass.

October 14

In another journey, I see that family life is the piece that makes life fertile and rich. I see that the Sacred Birthing Community is for families for three YEARS, not for three months! From before conception through pregnancy and through the first two years. No wonder the Birthing Sanctuary did not manifest yet! I had it in too little of a box! We need a huge piece of land for a 5th Dimensional community for families whose priority is to raise kind and loving children. And I hear, “open to being in another country.” Bryce leaves for Ecuador today. Hmmmmmm.

October 15 – onward

Visions of a place in South or Central America keep coming across my screen. A few months ago I have visions of a birthing clinic in India in all its details, and the most remarkable part of it was the juice it inspired in me! So much excitement! I have always wanted to do something like be a Peace Corp midwife and thought I missed out this time around. But here are pictures of a birth clinic happening in my head and the same excitement in my bones!

October 20

Just as D is finding stability through this experience and I find my thoughts suddenly can go elsewhere, I am introduced to energetic healing. Someone is on the massage table and states his intention, or not. 8 others surround him, offering the piece we are given and like a dance, change our positions and offerings as if in a grand orchestration. It is even more fascinating to me to give this, than to receive my own session. I am amazed what I am being told to do to assist other people’s bodies and release. Incredible! Im seeing that I have more hands than 2. These hands go to various places on the body in front of me. Sometimes they are not slow and they have no predetermined way to do anything. They usually shake up what is happening so that it can be cleared. I call them my olive oil hands because that’s what they looked like when they first came. I actually saw them in my dream for the first time when I was a brand new mom and they saved my toddler Alec, from falling off the sliding board. And here they are again!

October 22

I am staying at Stewart Mineral Springs in a tiny cabin. With nothing to do since the springs are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, I sink into the level where my connection is interrupted – in meditation, in guidance, in thought, in my body kinesiology. I keep coming up with, “more entities”. This has been endless ever since the Dark Night of the Soul. “As the god of my life, I intend energetic integrity.” I rail at Source that life on earth is so difficult as it is, much less with entities creating more havoc in all humanity. How is humanity able to step up with such a constant barrage of sabotage??? How can we be expected to move into a higher vibration with this level of interference? I don’t see how it’s possible. I decree that something must be done with this! PLEASE attend to this, hierarchy of Angels! After 2 days, I feel immensely better. Thanks to Archangel Michael who is constantly working with me. But the next day I experience the same thing again. What is going on!!? I discover that there are opened channels in me that allow in a whole new batch of entities, once others have been cleared. Thank you for showing me this! PLEASE close all these channels in all dimensions of consciousness, and keep them closed for all time and in all space.

Who is Arch Angel Michael? I am sorry to have held you in a tiny box too! The only part I knew about you and made use of, was that you stood for TRUTH, and to ask you for clearing from entities and energies that do not belong in me. And so I journey and have an experience of him as a Enormous being of etheric flames where nothing but light and love can stand in this dynamic and loving flame of purification. So as we call in this help, in comes waves that move through us, all resistance, all density, all “less than” our highest can not stand this vibration. I think this is why Archangel Michael is displayed with the symbol of the sword. What a feeling you are. And in these 3 days of doing nothing else, with the help of Telos, the Ascended Masters of Mt Shasta, I have new experience of myself as I get to a clear space within my energetic body. But there is still more to go.

October 28

D is given a clear bill of health. The clot is still there, but the doc said that he is in such good health that if it were he, he would continue with a full life. D is thrilled for this means he does not have to stick around for more tests. He has his freedom! He goes to visit his kids for his grandson’s 2 year old birthday, where all members of the family are converging from all over the country! And I am happy to house sit in his cabin for 3+ weeks. As he leaves, I have a place to do some research.

October 30

I keep tuning into Bryce to see how he is and feel he is not thrilled with Ecuador until the last day of his trip. And that’s what he said. But the last day made his trip worth it, for as a botanist, he wants to see species he has not seen before. He finally gets to the jungle part and is in heaven. The weather is much like Kauai, even though the country is on the equator.

I am still feeling South America – maybe for a Community and a birth clinic. I have a realization that those born in South and Central America are in their hearts: they retained their self-love at the time of birth. It’s obvious within their families. It’s places that have been so influenced by American birthing that have been traumatized and have lost it. So, I wonder, what is it that Sacred Birthing can do for the place that needs it most – America? We can train midwives and doulas and send them back to their homes so that they become the seeds of gentle birthing at the grass roots level. That’s what we are to do. And a birth clinic for indigenous people will be our offering. Wow, it looks like the pieces are coming together and building quite a picture. I wondered why the SB Birthshops 1, 2, and 3 were going through such transmutation when I first got to Mt Shasta! Now the puzzle is becoming a picture. It’s all part of a 6 week training for those who are midwives, midwife’s apprentices and doulas.

I start looking for Spanish classes online, and feel that immersion, living with a family is the way for me. But languages have been tough my whole life, another sign of a limbic brain that has had birth trauma. So what to do? I ask for the part of me that has lived in the Andes in other lifetimes to come back to me and help me with the language, the people, the customs and ways. I start having Spanish words on my lips or as I awaken, or sometimes even in my dreams. Hooray! I know I will be visiting birth clinics in all the countries on my way south so that I understand and learn from each. And practice Spanish.

Nov 2

I called my sister who had a birthday yesterday and although she is not one to answer any emails to the family, she answered me!  I asked her what she did on her birthday yesterday and she said she spent it with Lynne Twist, from the Pachamama Foundacion that works in Ecuador.   She said “you know of her don’t you?”  Well no, I didn’t but here was Ecuador again.  Interesting.  And my sister Nancy and Lynne are in Fairfield Iowa!  Coincidences are piling on top of each other.  So I asked her if she would introduce me.

November 4

Although I have always yearned to, Hands-on-healing has not been a gift of mine so far this lifetime, and to be stepping into this is still mind blowing to me. The feedback is so validating and I feel like this is what I have been waiting for all my life. So fulfilling. Every Thursday. Wow what a gift! And in the journey of the day, I look at my hands and see that my hands have turned to quarts crystal! My hands are clear! Oh my goodness, this is what I have been inwardly told for years, that we need to have clear hands, we who touch babies. And inner work is what clears our hands.

For those who have done mucho inner work, “forever”, I feel there is a new way of doing it. Stay in a high vibration and as life presents things that bubble into your awareness, attend to them by feeling them, the most important part, and return as soon as possible to your high vibration. I don’t think we need to slog thru anything anymore.

November 5

25 year old Garrett from Fairfield shows up in the pouring rain right as I am going to bed. Hitching a ride, the driver went 100 miles out of his way to bring him to Mt Shasta for he is so fascinating to talk to. His travels are extensive and his soul design is to “find all the animals I love.” His stories tell of living in the desert with the rattle snakes, and traveling to find and share the beady eyed stare of a Polar bear, the intensity of the energy of a Jaguar, tracking a Grisly, meditating next to a baby Moose, whose mother was nearby and just kept on munching. Even rolling up a huge Anaconda into a ball to get it off the road so it would be safe. He is fearless, and he goes into the jungles in Peru, Columbia, Australia and Africa where there are still undiscovered tribes, to take part in their tribal living. Without supplies, without language, sharing their food and eating everything that is offered! seeing how different the children are without TV – they are absolutely present. His stories are awesome. And so many incredible pieces are being offered to me to support my journeying forward. I suggest James Twyman and the Indigo kids for he is surely one of them and they would surely love him! Looks like a young Crocodile Dundee, doesn’t he?

November 6

Drumming journey, (with a drummer and a drum, for the first time since I started):

I am in the jungle looking out, I am a big cat, bird, snake, I am the animals looking at me, and I am in the center of a clearing looking at them look at me. …. I turn around and there is a huge pyramid and an inverted pyramid on its bottom into the earth. Beneath, a huge crystal sends a shaft of light up the apexes into the sky and it comes down the steps of the pyramid as a huge snake and goes into the jungle, into a hut and shape-shifts into the sick person on the bed, who is me too. The sick one dies and the spirit of me comes out of the sick person and stands above and behind the healer standing by the bed, overseeing his healing. … I’m suddenly in a village down, way down a hill. I am looking as the hair-style of women, twisted hair with material twisted in it, and am aware of being received in this circle of women. The one on my left gives me a chicken and the feeling is so good. They are my sisters. … I am immediately up the hill in a city and am in offices. I am being received in the bureaucratic area by friendly men who ask “what do you need? and how we can help? and let me give you this…..”. All the worry of “how are we going to do what we know we need to do” drains out of me and my body lets go of this stored worry. ….. I am back down in the village and hear, “This is your home.”

November 7

Meditating with Grace: Ego and mind not appreciated anymore and Grace said that the mind is an awesome tool that is getting a bad rap these days. I’m asking about my pulsing head, and BS that may keep me from unifying the modes of healing, like surgery, into my realm of possibility, interesting after D showed me how good it could be.

“We are with you as you ARE able to resolve this. You have worked hard eliminating what does not belong, and now it s time to instill what could have belonged there to begin with. Micah’s suggestion was a good one and you have already instilled within your brain that you are blessed and wanted. YOU are a blessed being, as is anyone who has the opportunity to serve in the way she chooses. You will not be delayed in Ecuador, as ALL of your healing teams are with you in this. We can help.”

Here is Abbie, who channels Grace and the magnetized the healing team to this group. A Beautiful lady, at a medicine wheel of Natosa’s, also a healing team member, north of Mt Shasta in the desert.

Tonight is the night that all the lovers of Mt Shasta party in support of the mountain, donating at a fun harvest dinner to preserve this glorious mountain and its pristine water supply from big conglomerates who wish to use it for their own gain. Its water comes from snow melt and drips through the rock of the mountain for hundreds of years, finally coming out at the base of a hill to become the headwaters of the Sacramento River, the sacrament, and water truly is. All go there to fill up their gallon jugs. It’s taste is spectacular. And even the city water is tested every week and found to be perfect. Nothing is put in the city water. How amazing is that! This water meanders through the fields and neighborhoods. That’s what I intend for the Community. Clean Pure Waters. Bless you waters of the world.

Headwaters of the Sacramento River, and playing bowls in gratitude for the gifts of water. This was my gift to run into this as I came to say good by to the waters.

Here is a special rock to you especially Noah! But it is way to0 big to pick up or bring you!

November 8,

I go up to the Red Fir Trees to drop off Garrett, who is going to camp as a vision quest, at 7000 ft, (when its 28 degrees at 4000 ft!) He said to me, “Why can’t we hitchhike on a starship? I want to go to Australia!” Why didn’t I think of that?

I drop him off and find myself drinking in the sun. It’s a practice I’ve been doing for about 2 years, and just heard in the healing group that it unites the Pineal and Pituitary glands, and when that happens we are able to tune to higher frequencies. So simple, it goes like this:

Sit in the early morning sun. Over and over again, pull the sun into your 3rd eye and into your whole brain. (Stay focused and continue doing this for 5 minutes without letting yourself get side tracked into the wonderful ideas that will come to you.) Be in a place of gratitude to the Sun, the giver of life, and to Mother Earth, the giver of the stage for life. If you see that the sun beams go to the side, simply ask to be aligned with the Sun and you will see it shift straight to your forehead.

Then do the same thing for another 5 minutes with the addition of bringing it down your spine and into the hollow Earth. As it gets there, see the hollow Earth fills with the radiance of the Sun. PHEW! Again, be in a place of gratitude to the Sun, and to Mother Earth.

After 10 minutes, relax and allow your self to space out and receive the Sun’s gifts of inspiration, all the good ideas inspired by the sun. What I’ve discovered is that each morning I see what is suggested and important for my day. ENJOY!

Nov 9

The name of the Community/ Sanctuary that keeps coming is: Farm Where Kindness Grows.

Nov 14

I am introduced to Nancy D. who invites me to ride from Mt Shasta and sit at their table at a luncheon for Panchamama next week.  Wow.  All roads are leading to Ecuador.  And mighty fast too!

Nov 19

I am in a huge warehouse in San Francisco that has been transformed into a space for a benefactors luncheon.  I sit at the table, as one of thousands, and as the pictures and videos of Ecuador come on the hugh screen on the stage, with the sounds of the jungle, tears start rolling down my cheeks, and there the slippery kind that don’t stop.  They keep coming and I don’t even care.  Something so deep is happening and I can’t put it into words.  I just keep crying.  With every speaker, they come again.  I know my body and know this is important.  This is so very dear to me but I don’t know what piece.  So I just stop my mind and take it in.

At the end I go up and meet 4 people.  The first two think I am nuts and up come all my doubts.  It really sets me back for about 10 minutes and I have to regroup and realize that it does not matter what anyone else thinks, this is what I am being called to do.  Finally I meet Lynne and am received with a hug when I tell her that I have dreamed this contact with the people of Ecuador.  That the dream of a Birthing Sanctuary is finally located because the “pods” I saw in 1998 vision look just like the pictures of what Pachamama has built in the jungle.  This is where it belongs!  Oh my goodness!  I also meet Belen, who speaks english, who knows I am serious because I am already coming.