Birth is an Invitation

“You are the only one who can make it happen for you. Others can support and encourage you, but you have to find the energy and power within in order to step into the center of your own life and take charge.” – Lynda Field

Birth is an invitation. During labor, time and space are no longer relevant. Minutes are hours and days and lifetimes…

You exist as a portal between two realms. The spiritual and the physical world unite within you. It’s always been this way. That power has always existed inside you.

As your body opens, everything shifts into alignment with your spirit. Everyone in the room can feel the energy change. They follow your lead as you guide the way into the deep. You are the trailblazer. Even though you’ve never been here before your body knows the way.

Birth brings us to the end of ourselves, to the bowels of our being. Not one of us discovers the depth of our soul in the same way. And when we think we’ve pushed ourselves as far as we can go, we dig just a little deeper. One last time. To that final place. Where we find the light within that no other person can show us. Where we literally birth ourselves anew.  

The Labor of Birth

The work of labor and delivery most simply put is to ‘open’ and to ‘let go’.

Labor is an opening and birth is a letting go. 

What makes this process so different for each woman is what they’re opening to and what they’re letting go of. I’ll give you a hint, it’s rarely the baby. By the time labor comes around, most women are well acquainted with the idea that their baby will soon be here. Instead, the baby acts as a tool or a catalyst as the mother grows into herself and prepares to be born anew.

Some mothers open to the unknown. Some open to receiving help. Some open to their own courage. Some even open to the reality that they’re not in control, no matter how bad they want to be. 

Similarly, mothers experience a letting go of exactly what is needed for their own birth to happen. Some let go of self limiting beliefs. Some let go of fear. Some let go of unhelpful but well-ingrained thought patterns. Some let go of the wheel…

Women labor and deliver not just in their bodies, but also in their minds, in their hearts, and in their souls.

Give Thanks in All Circumstances

It is written, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is a funny holiday to celebrate, because we’re called to give thanks every day, in ALL circumstances. That means even when we’re in the dark, and we can’t see how God is at work, we give thanks.

Here’s a simple list to get us started. I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for, too! Let’s start with the small things, because truly, there is so much!

I’m thankful for waking up today.

For the ability to breath and walk and laugh.

I’m thankful for fresh air. That when I walk outside I feel safe.

I’m thankful for other people. Old friends with whom I share a history and strangers whom I have yet to meet.

I’m thankful that I can trust people, because I trust myself.

I’m thankful for clean drinking water and that I never have to worry about when my next meal will be.

I’m thankful that I have a warm place to sleep at night and a roof over my head…

Okay, your turn!

Stress & Transitions

Isn’t it fascinating how our capacity for stress increases with age? Think of your most stressful life periods. Almost always it involves some sort of a transition…

Moving to a new city, starting a new job, getting married, buying a house, starting a family, adding to a family, losing a loved one… 

Transitions always involve growing pains. 

And when we’re in the midst of one, it can feel overwhelming. But then we get to the other side and realize life goes on.

As we look back, things that used to be stressful are now something we can handle with ease. Our capacity has increased. 

It reminds me of what Tony Bennett wishes he had a chance to say to Amy Winehouse: “Slow down, you’re too important. Life teaches you how to live it, if you can stay around long enough.” 

A Story from The Costco Gas Pump

As anyone who gets gas at Costco knows, the wait is long and people’s patience often wears thin. I’m third in line now, with the two cars in front of me each pulling up to their respective pumps.

The first guy gets out. He’s young, black, and wearing a mask.

The second, I’m frustrated with because he’s taking much longer to get out of his car. I see his door open and two feet slowly touch the ground, one and then another. He’s at least 90 years old, white, and contrastingly, not wearing a mask. 

The first guy is noticing him too. He doesn’t exactly look steady.

Then the first guy begins emphatically waving down a gas station attendant. I know he’s seeking help for the older one because I watch him peek around the pump for an attendant and then quickly back to the guy. As we both now wait for assistance, he appears to keep his eyes on the older gentleman, as if standing at the ready, should he need some help. 

My own eyes start to well up. The first guy isn’t in a rush to get gas and get gone, like I am. He’s present, and caring for a fellow human being. He doesn’t care that the guy is white. He doesn’t care that he’s not wearing a mask. He cares because he sees a man in need. 

If I were a news journalist, perhaps my headline would be, “Young Masked Black Man Comes to Old Maskless White Man’s Aid at Costco Gas Pump.” 

But do any of these details really matter? In today’s times, yes. They shouldn’t. But because we’ve been so increasingly divided over the past 18 months, we rarely hear these stories. We see them all the time, but we barely acknowledge them, and we certainly don’t hear about them. Sadly, these stories don’t sell. 

I think they should, though. Because to me, this story is what America (and humanity) is all about. 

How Else Do We Bring Glory to God?

How else do we bring glory to God, 

if not by having hope in a world sown with fear? 

…If not by remaining calm in a sea of chaos 

…If not by knowing peace in the midst of uncertainty, 

how else do we bring glory to God? 

If we don’t offer kindness in a society full of hate 

…If we don’t act with gentleness in a world that pursues power 

…If we don’t call upon His name, sing His praises, and dance in worship, 

how else do we bring glory to God?

If we don’t use whatever gift we have, with all the strength God gives, to serve others, 

how else do we bring glory to God? 

Stillness

Learning to sit with conflict and uncertainty is a skill, much like riding a bike.

When you feel like you’re falling, steer into the fall. Lean into it instead of away, and you’ll be alright.

Have you ever tried making decisions when you’re upset or uncertain? It’s extremely trying.

Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to stop making decisions altogether. To learn to just sit and listen to the still, small voice that’s says don’t run. Don’t lean away. Take each day as it comes. One at a time. Lean into the not knowing. Carry on, because everything is going to be okay.

When You Start to Feel, Do.

Recently I have been reading, Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite passages from her book, ones that I find especially wise and/or inspirational.

The below is paraphrasing but I think her point remains.

“When you start to feel, do… When you start to feel unloved, go find someone to offer love. When you start to feel unappreciated, go find someone to appreciate and acknowledge. When you feel unlucky, make yourself write down two recent blessings.”

The point is, to not let yourself wallow. This strategy of, “When you start to feel, do” is fascinating and new to me. It seems to be based on the underlying premise that we’re all connected, a belief which I hold dear. It makes sense to me as a concrete and tangible way to sidestep wallowing and overthinking ourselves into despair.

When you start to feel, do.

Control vs. Letting Go

There are really two ways of going about our day to day lives.

Either we’re striving and trying to maintain control (a fruitless effort, by the way, which leaves us exhausted). Or we’re relinquishing control to God, and trusting that He will bring us what we need each day.

There’s a distinct and noticeable difference between how good our days are, depending on which mode of being in which we’re acting.

When we’re striving, the people around us can tell. It says to them that there is something more important which we need to accomplish. Something more important than being present with them and letting God work. When we’re trusting God with all of our needs and desires, we’re at rest. And people around us can see this, too. They wonder how we’ve found such peace within the whirlwind of our daily lives. We’re a living testament of what it’s like to know God.

What it really boils down to, is that all of our striving and trying to gain control, makes the statement: “I don’t trust God.” And that hurts Him.

He’s already proven to us His goodness, grace, and love. Why would we not trust Him to take care of us on a daily basis?

Life becomes so much easier when we learn to let go, and let God. With every single aspect of our lives.

If you want to write, read.

The number one advice I have for other people interested in become better writers, is to read.

I find it fascinating that whenever I’m going through a dry spell in my writing, I’m going through a drought in my reading.

The opposite is also true. As soon as I begin reading a new book, the creative inspiration and ideas begin to consume me in such a way that I have no other choice but to write.

The two activities are directly and positively correlated.

Reading serves as mental stimulation. It provides us with renewed inspiration.

As a general rule, we are readers first. And writers second.

So if you want to write, read.