Following the publication of my book Painless Childbirth in 2008, I began holding workshops all over the world using the self-discovery tool I call the Nine Basic Human Rights and the Nine Chakras of Creation. An important lesson became clear from the very first seminar I ever offered: womb carrying humans heal through feelings (specifically gut /womb feelings) and through both physical and emotional support from other women (spiritual midwives). To my delight, women from around the world, including the USA, Australia, Japan, Italy, China, and other European and Indonesian countries, enrolled in my workshops, giving me a wide variety of perspectives. There were younger women who were either pregnant or wanting to get pregnant that longed to heal before conception, as well as older women who had never had children, couldn’t carry a child to term, or were menopausal. There were those who had terrible birthing stories of abuse and unwanted medical interventions, and those who had repeated cesarean births and felt deprived and hurt by their memories. There were doulas and midwives, women’s advocates, and therapists. Some had been attracted by the concept of having a conversation with a part of their body that either held physical or emotional pain, or had great potential to carry life in their future. Some desired to go on an inner journey to heal the self, discover or strengthen their life path. Whatever the different interests all longed to heal together with a group of supportive women.
In these workshops, we spoke about listening to our inner voices and we began the practice of having conversations with ourselves, the only condition was to speak to our womb-self as a caring and loving mother would. When it came time to listening to our inner voices some pressing questions arose: How do we discern the messages that comes from Divine, nurturing, and loving spirit from those that seemingly come from what might seem logic yet, they are colored with judgment and/or reproach, maybe something left over by an overpowering primary caretaker? In essence, how do we know if the gut feeling we have is something we should follow or not? To find these answers, we began looking at the different messages that we were receiving, splitting them into two groups. We placed in group one, those voices that seemed harsh, belittling, and judgmental. Group two was made of those messages that maybe seemed far-out, but were always exalting, loving, and caring.
We had to come together and define what our Divine Spirit was and how a loving Spirit would talk to us. If we imagined a celestial mother, or even Mother Nature herself trying to communicate with us, we would perceive Her as being loving and nurturing. From there, we began to notice that for some participants the messages came through as to-do list and for others a not-to do or –I don’t want list. We zeroed in on how this lists made us feel, and noticed that the anxiety of having all these things to do was again a possible transference from a demanding mother (or father-figure) to our concept of the Divine. We also noticed that if our energy was focused on all that we did not want we would only concentrate on what was negative, rendering us myopic in our vision of the future. Next we experimented with ditching the actual words we’d hear in our mind altogether and tuned into the feelings we experienced while hearing the messages. If the feeling we had was of a positive nature, we resolved that it must be coming from Divine inspiration. On the other hand, if the message would make us feel ashamed, belittled, anxious, or overwhelmed it would be something that might be from our past experiences, but not of Divine inspiration per se; it was our mind filled with a number of judges/shadows coming from past negative experiences. Let me give you an example:
One day a 50-something woman who was asking about her future direction, heard a message that said dance. Immediately a sense of joy came upon her, yet almost concurrently she heard a voice saying something like: “You are too old for that; you cannot be a dancer at your age. You are making a fool of yourself. You cannot make a living doing that; you will hurt yourself doing that. What a silly idea!” Her confusion was obvious. The message had a lot of logic in it, the inspiration was quite absurd, and when she tuned into the judgmental yet rational messages she found them disheartening. At this point we suggested she let go of all the words and simply delve into the feeling that the action of dancing elicited. If the feeling was overwhelmingly positive, we decided that regardless of the logic of it, dance was the one thing she would do. It was possible that through dance she would be inspired to discover even more about her true path. She changed her daily practice from meditation and yoga to dance, and began having deep and transformative conversations with herself, laughing hysterically at and with herself, chasing in her imagination after the wildest dreams, and allowing the sense of child-like wonder to come back into her life. She told us that one day, while dancing and spinning in a Sufi-like trance, she received a message.
Here is her story:
I was in my living room where I had removed some of the furniture so I could transform it into a dance floor whenever I wanted. My hardwood floor felt warm to the touch of my feet, and as I allowed the music to enter every cell of my body, I began spinning in place as I had seen the Sufi’s dancers one night, long ago in Istanbul. I was transported in the interior of the Tekke (a Sufi convent) where a shady atmosphere and the soft music of a flute and tambourines embraced me.
In the center of a circular hall, men clad in black and with long fez hats were bowing towards an elderly man with a white beard, seated with his back upright and his arms crossed. Slowly moving away, the Dervishes formed a large circle, while the music slowly changed rhythm with the sound of the Turkish flute, which filled the atmosphere with a melancholic and insistent cry. After a long meditative time the Dervishes got up, again forming a circle. Their movement was so slow and concentrated that I could hardly acknowledge that they had moved. Their expressions were so much out of this world that their eyes looked without seeing: it seemed like they were looking to the profundity of their own interior world, vividly aware of the moment, of themselves, and of what surrounds them.
One by one they removed their black attire, perhaps symbolizing the separation from the ego. Their white tunics shined with splendor. These tunics were white garments with a long sleeveless robe, on top of which they had a short jacket that was tied at the waist. Slowly, raising the right arm towards the sky while the left arm pointed to the earth, the Dervishes began moving very slowly around one another and around the center.
As they continued circling, I found myself in the middle of their circle. At first I began feeling afraid, but soon I could feel the wind their garments were creating and began allowing such wind to inform me. I heard myself begin a conversation with the wind, “I am here, I let go, I am ready.” A voice responded, “Yes you are and they know it, rejoice and spin as the Dervish do.” I kept spinning till I gently fell to the floor, and breathing deeply I knew somehow what my path would be. Shortly after this journey I went to research what I could about the Sufis and their practice and I learned that a Sufi’s way of life is to love and be of service to people, deserting the ego and all illusion so that one can reach maturity and perfection, and finally reach Allah, the True, the Real. I resolved I’d find a way of being of service.
Today, she is not only a wonderful dancer who uses that medium to meditate but she is a successful life coach and mentors teenager women on their career path. Dance and a willingness to listen to her inner voices have completely changed her life.
The idea of having a conversation with the messages that surface at different times in our lives, and following our feelings and not our logic, can lead us to gathering ideas for a different direction. These ideas then can be transformed into seeds that could grow into a life purpose, a life’s new path, or whatever you are ready to conceive.
However, how often do we get a glimpse at an idea, a desire, or even a vocation and forget to nurture it as a seedling, allowing it to grow and flourish? Why do we commonly silence the voices that are standing in the way of our heart’s desires that want to bring us down? Additionally, can we disinherit our family and tribe’s legacies filled with judgment, fears, and pain, and at the same time harness the good from our past while being completely independent individuals? Personally I pondered can we find or improve the way we give and receive love and begin gentle conversations with ourselves to stir us in the direction of that love? One woman at one of our workshops, who was concerned about her mother’s cancer legacy asked, “Can we change what seems an impossible task (our genetic makeup) and have the health and the body we want?” At times it seems that the more questions one asks, the more continue to surface. Instead of indulging in feelings of overwhelm, we could try to simply rejoice in the mysteries of life, and create the time and space to be quiet and listen to the answers that come whispering in our ears.
During my workshops I encourage women to choose the messages that feel good and positive, and jot them down in journals, gathering them as seedlings to be planted in a fertile soil; a place far away from our intellect and all the seemingly logical reasoning of why we couldn’t, shouldn’t, and wouldn’t do this or that? During this process of finding a safe place for our heart’s desires I came upon a realization: As women we have this remarkable organ, the womb! It can literally birth a new human being! So I began asking new questions: What if we place our seedlings in our womb and let them grow from there? Could we use our womb every time we wanted to create something new in our lives? Is the womb the place where these voices come from, is it the place where we can have these conversations? Excited, I went back to the drawing board to deepen my understanding of our wombs. Here’s a list of womb definitions from women all over the world.
· Our womb brings forth life on all levels of body, mind, and spirit. Within it there is a healer, a counselor, a confidant, a sage, a decision-maker, and an artist.
· Every face and facet of your being has roots in the womb, making the womb the logical domain for our healing process.
· Our womb is our defining difference that makes us have the advantage.
· Our womb is the seat of our being, our first creative spark, the place of absolute Divine presence and power, a sacred space, a gateway, and portal.
· Self-esteem and the womb are synonymous with one another.
· The womb is the perfect chamber to contain and transform negative or harming energies, with our monthly blood we can strip away negativity.
· The womb knows and understands the true essence of who you were born to be. It wishes for you to remember to connect with the Universal Mother. It rejoices in the eternal now of the Divine spirit.
· The womb is the source of a woman’s deepest strength.
· The womb is not only the seat of physical creation, but also of our creative expression.
· Ideas are born in our womb; it is our ‘gut’ feeling that tells us to do something, follow a particular intuition, change careers, or launch a new endeavor.
· If our womb/self-esteem is not healed the idea might come, but the action will not.
· Our womb yearns for healing love. It has known pain of various degrees. It knows that tender loving care is a catalyst for being made whole.
Inevitably when women began talking about their womb and what it meant to them in our workshops, sacred tears streamed down our cheeks. A lot of sorrow often surfaces in this work, and it becomes clear that there is a need to heal the womb and the pain that is associated with it. We need to begin listening and talking to our wombs. The time has come to take our womb’s power back through healing and understand its potentiality, as well as harness its ability to create and manifest the life we deserve and desire.
But first let’s meet our womb; the soul’s physical cradle. From the moment menses began your body has been calling your attention to this special place, anointing you with the sacred blood that makes you who you are - a woman, creator, holder, and nurturer of our species. Your monthly rendezvous with your womb has been designed to show you the phases of creation, nourishment, death, and regeneration that mimic the life and death cycle of the entire Universe. Your womb births children as well as a woman’s spiritual potential, personal healing, and the ability to relate at the deepest level of intimacy.