Tuesday Tidbits: Creation and Distraction

“I have discovered nothing more stunning, nothing more emotionally stirring, nothing more intriguing than a woman as she creates life.” –Patrick Stull (in Evolve)

August 2014 085From the Celebrating Motherhood book I’ve been using for an intermittent series of posts, comes this thought about creativity from Meinrad Craighead:

Images are like children. Children come out of our bodies as distinct creatures with their own life form…They have come out of us, but they have their own energy separate from us.

Women create—we all create—out of our bodies…The creativity in women’s bodies, the potential in our bodies for making children from our many eggs is, I think, no different from the potential for making imagery from our many eggs…It is very important for we women to understand that whether we are creating biologically or metaphysically from those eggs, it is all the fruit of our body, the fruit of our creativity.

–Meinrad Craighead, from Sacred Stories quoted in Celebrating Motherhood (p. 43).

After quoting Craighead, I remembered I’ve quoted her previously and so I went looking for that quote, which was:

“Come into my lap and sit in the center of your soul. Drink the living waters of memory and give birth to yourself. What you unearth with stun you. You will paint the walls of this cave in thanksgiving.”

–Meinrad Craighead

This quote was used in the context of a post I wrote about my last computer-off week and “defragmenting” my brain, in which I eventually came to the conclusion:

I always have “too much to do,” technology or not. It is kind of how I’m built. I am packed with ideas and plans and goals all the time, so are my kids, so are my parents. I think it is genetic. Also, this makes us interesting people albeit perhaps not Zen enough for some as well as for my imaginary conception of how my life “should” be.

via Mental Defrag computer off week reflections | Talk Birth.

This post led me to another one musing about the “distractions” of technology:

I have to say that when I read content decrying technology as negative and lamenting the abundance of children on their “devices,” part of me hears: “these new-fangled kids driving cars instead of good old horses and buggies!” This is reality. In my specific family, technology and screen-time built my family’s financial security and our literal home. My husband made a living for years off of screens—eight hours a day in front of one in fact. I use one now to support my family and to, get this, be with my children. Using a computer (ipad, etc.) is how I teach, how I write, how I communicate, how I interact, how I earn money, how I sell my creations. My mom was on the phone a lot when I was a kid. I’m on the computer a lot. Maybe Idealized Mythical Past Mom was in the cotton field a lot, or washing laundry for others, or working in a lace factory, or milking cows, or shelling peanuts or making paper flowers, or keeping up the house, or taking care of younger children, or, or, or. Moms have never “not worked.” And, they’ve never been non-“distracted,” just the mode and texture of this “distraction” shifts with times, contexts, roles, activities, and availability of whatever. Perhaps it is all just life and living?! I am as interested by mindfulness and present moment awareness as the next person and yet I always wonder: “can’t I be typing this blog post in the present moment?!” Can’t I be thinking about my to-do list in the present moment? Can’t I be smelling this rose in the present moment? AND, can’t I also be sending this text in the present moment? Why does “present moment” have to be synonymous with no to-do list and no technology? I can very presently us both…right?!

via Tuesday Tidbits: Blogging, Busyness, and Life Part 2 | Talk Birth.

And, I’ve been thinking about the snappy feeling I have this week and how I can be both controlling and flexible, good-humored and humorless, happy Mom reading books aloud and crabby Mom saying, “get that out of my face,” on edge and content, often within the same day and same hour. This reminded me of a post I wrote quite a while ago about “dualism” and how we are received, perceived, and experienced by people can all be true:

And, I started to reflect that I guess I am all these things and how people experience me and my writing is in part up to me and in part up to them. Just like in real life. I can be gentle, kind, and nurturing. I can be critical, judgmental, and harsh. I can be helpful and I can be selfish. I can be patient and impatient. I can be friendly, I can be preoccupied. I can be energetic and enthusiastic and upbeat and I can be exhausted and defeated. I can be a fabulous, fun mother and I can be a distracted and grouchy mother. I can be funny and I can take myself too seriously. Different people, relationships, and environments bring out different expressions of who I am. Sometimes I really like myself a lot. I like who I am, I like how I move through the world, and I’m impressed with my own capacities. I have great ideas and solid values and principles and the ability to articulate those in writing. Sometimes I actually hate myself. I see only the bad parts and I wish I could just be better. I feel hypocritical and over aware of inconsistencies in my own thoughts/beliefs and my expression of my values in the world. I often want to be better than I am, but in rare moments of grace and self-compassion, I realize that I’m pretty good already. And, in some moments of self-righteousness and superiority, I actually feel better than some people in some areas/some ways!

via The dualism of blogging and life | Talk Birth.

I hope I can remember to extend enough compassion and grace to others to realize they are the same way and not write someone off based on one experience or encounter!

(Isn’t it convenient that I’ve already had all these thoughts already and can just go back to my blog to mine for them, rather than starting from scratch all the time? ;) )

Returning to creation and motherhood though, I think this etsy shop (Shaping Spirit) has the most amazing and best driftwood sculptures of all time:

Reserved for Gillian, I Will Remember, Driftwood Sculpture by Shaping Spirit, Last PaymentAnd I wanted to share a new picture of our cesarean birth goddess design that we re-worked slightly and re-cast recently:

September 2014 030I thought of her as I read a beautiful article about why grieving for birth is selfless and not selfish (shared via Summer Birth Services):

Women grieve stolen birth experiences very deeply, but their grief often remains private because modern birth culture maintains that a healthy baby is the one and only goal. The roots of “the healthy baby lie” are found in the reality of birth, that the outcome is unknown and one potential outcome is, quite undeniably, death. But to women, birth means a great deal more than being alive afterwards. Birth is the introduction to their baby, it matters a great deal.

Mothers spend many months imagining birth, sometimes many years. They imagine feeling more love than they ever imagined when they set eyes on their new baby. The reality is that sometimes things go awry – women are not so stupid that they can’t grasp that – but when they reach out to tell their stories they are often told one of two things; that they should focus on their healthy baby; and that they had unrealistic expectations of birth. But it is not unrealistic to expect that you will feel joyful when you give birth…

via Grieving for Birth is Selfless Not Selfish – Whole Woman.

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“These are her endless years, woman and child, in dream molded and wet, a bowl growing on a wheel, no mud, not bowl, not clay, but this becoming, winter and split of darkness, years of wish.”

–Muriel Rukeyser (quoted in Celebrating Motherhood, p. 47)

Illinois Trip

Last Wednesday, we got up at 4:00 in the morning to leave for a trip to the Chicago area to visit Mark’s family. We haven’t seen them since 2011 and it was high time for a visit! We originally planned a longer (and more expensive) trip in July that included some sight-seeing (and American Girl shopping), but ended up re-scheduling that trip due to my being in Kansas for my nephew’s birth and because we’d made some foolish decisions in choosing the July dates for the trip in terms of the end of my school session with paper grading work, etc. Luckily, I’d gotten 100% refundable train tickets in July and all of our other reservations were easily cancelled too. This revised trip was solely for visiting relatives rather than rolling a mini-vacation into it. It turns out that train travel in September was only $250 for all five of us, rather than the $450 we’d paid in July! (Good to know for future travel dates.) We took Amtrak from St. Louis to Chicago and then walked to the Metra station which took us to Mark’s family’s town in the Chicago-area suburbs.  We opted to travel with backpacks only to make the walk and the train ride easier and it was a good choice that proved we could do backpack-only travel (we actually packed more than we needed and could have traveled even lighter!). I did end up buying a heavy sculpture at a cool store (Ginger Blossom) and things like new shoes for the boys at a $5 Below store and thus having to borrow a duffel to take home, however (this was optional though and I could have chosen not to buy them or shipped them to myself instead). We hadn’t realized when booking the trip that the Metra connection back to Chicago on a Sunday morning didn’t start until after we were supposed to be at Union Station and so we ended up needing my father-in-law drive us to the city on Sunday morning, which was a hassle for him and I felt bad for making him have to do it! However, in general, we are big fans of train travel and I’d recommend it to people with little kids (and husbands with back problems that make long drives really, really hard on him). I always feel very capable and adult when I successfully pull off a trip—especially when it includes walking with three kids for a mile in downtown Chicago!

The kids got to meet two cousins for the first time—Mark’s sister’s son and Mark’s cousin’s little daughter. It was funny to see how much our little nephew looked like Lann when he was little! And, he has the same face shape and smile Mark had when he was a little boy. No one took any pictures that had me in it, so it looks like I wasn’t even there! This is one of those in-lieu-of-scrapbooking posts and so below is a brief gallery of pictures from the trip. If you click one, it will open up larger and you can see the captions.

I am leaving again in ten days to go to Kansas for the Gaea Goddess Gathering. I really don’t like the revved up/gotta catch up feeling of getting home from a trip (and getting ready to leave on another one). Today I have been snappy, irritable, and tense and my mind is racing with various to-dos. It is hard to feel fast-forwarded through the first part of September, when there are so many things to take care of at home, for my classes, and inventory to prepare for my booth at GGG.

I’m 33 weeks pregnant today and feeling kind of physically “weighted down.” I don’t know how much I actually weigh anymore because I kind of don’t want to check! It is hard to get up and down and I keep sleeping on my back involuntarily and waking up with a seized up feeling in my sacrum as well as round ligament pain. I feel like I’m having trouble eating enough of the right foods at the right times. It is something that I neglect until I am low-blood-sugared out and crabby and headachy. I have this issue when I’m not pregnant too, but I feel like this pregnancy has been the most difficult for me in terms of getting enough to eat at the appropriate time, rather than when I’m desperate and kind of freaking out. I have loads of practice contractions, I swear every 15-20 minutes all day long, and the baby has been doing short stints of practice breathing as well as lots of bumping and jumping. I still occasionally feel like it could possibly be twins (why do I continue to have this weird neurosis, I wonder?), because of a couple of things that feel unusual about his movements—like hiccups being in two different places or dramatic movements/”rolling” limbs sort of sensations—as well as how lumbering I feel in general. Only one baby though!

I miss my Sacred Pregnancy class, because it was the thing I was doing to connect to the baby and to being pregnant. Now, I’m back to feeling more like he is a “deadline” than a new person! It is unbelievable how many things there are still left to do and take care of before he is born. Today, I found myself ordering birthday presents, planning Lann’s 11th birthday party and trying to squeeze the party in somehow between my GGG trip, my mother blessing ceremony, and my aunt, cousin, brother, and sister-in-law’s visit at the end of the month. These are all good things, but I kind of just want to run away into the woods and sit on a rock. Other than our fall women’s retreat, the end of my classes, and a work party at our house, I have most of October blocked out as rest time and primarily unscheduled for anything much else. I have had to work hard to maintain this boundary and say no to other potential scheduled activities in October-December. And, handily, I’m almost completely done with Christmas shopping already!

Time to pick back up our work on new and ongoing projects and also getting inventory prepared for our upcoming booth…

September 2014 008

Celebrating Motherhood: The Wild Woman and Sacred Business

August 2014 052I am wild.

Wild Woman. When women hear those words, an old, old memory is stirred and brought back to life. The memory is our absolute, undeniable, and irrevocable kinship with the wild feminine, a relationship which may become ghosty from neglect, buried from over domestication, outlawed by the surrounding culture, or no longer understood anymore. We may have forgotten her names, we may not answer when she calls ours, but in our bones we know her, we yearn toward her; we know she belongs to us and we to her.

There are times when we experience her, even if only fleetingly, and it makes us mad with wanting to continue. For some women, this vitalizing ‘taste of the wild’ comes during pregnancy, during nursing their young, during the miracle of change in oneself as one raises a child, during attending to a love relationship as one would attend to a beloved garden.

As sense of her also comes through the vision; through sights of great beauty. I have felt her when I see what we call in the woodlands a Jesus-God sunset. I have felt her move in me from seeing the fishermen come up from the lake at dusk with lanterns lit, and also from seeing my newborn baby’s toes all lined up likea row of sweet corn. We see her where we see her, which is everywhere.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves, quoted in Celebrating Motherhood by Andrea Gosline and Lisa Bossi

The very last assignment in my Sacred Pregnancy class was to write about sacred business and whether or not we have a sacred business. My answer is, yes, I am absolutely living it. In the last year, my husband and I have poured out hearts and souls into our co-creative business, Brigid’s Grove. We make our pewter birth art and goddess jewelry and clay birth art goddess sculptures and we just finished publication of our Womanrunes book and card set (based on the divination system by the late Shekhinah Mountainwater). Our whole lives center on our sacred work and the integration and shared focus of our efforts feels extremely powerful.

Here’s what we’ve been focused on recently…

After a lot of failed attempts due to tiny-baby-arm detail that causes difficulty getting a good cast, we finally have a very limited amount of Mama Goddess of Three pendants available. She is particularly sweet and I’m very pleased with her! We also have a limited quantity of mother-of-one pendants and mother-of-two pendants as well as a single, lovely mother-of-four pendant.

Additionally, if you’ve been waiting for a bargain on one of my birth art sculptures, today is your lucky day! We’ve listed quite a few new pregnant and nursing mama sculptures and each one has a flaw of some kind (don’t we all!), so they are all discounted–some significantly and some a couple of dollars off the usual price. (We have other seconds available here.)

As I noted above, Womanrunes book and card sets are also finished and ready to roll! Huge project!

“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”

— Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D Women Who Run With the Wolves

(via Tuesday Tidbits: More Wild Woman | Talk Birth)

Be wild; that is how to clear the river.”

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes

(via The Ragged Self | Talk Birth)

And, I wanted to share a quick recent funny mothering moment:

Alaina was sitting on my lap snuggling her head into my neck. “Mama, I feel the baby kicking me in your neck.”

Me: “that’s just my heart beating. See, you can feel your heart beating in your neck too?”

Alaina: “how is the baby kicking both of us through our necks?!?!”



Tuesday Tidbits: Science, Mother Blame, & Postpartum Psychosis

“There is nobody, out the other side of that sort of strong birth, who is not better prepared to meet the absolutely remarkable challenges of parenthood. When the power and trust is transferred to the mother, when she delivers her child, rather than ‘is delivered’ when she chooses, rather than ‘is allowed’, no matter what sort of technical birth she has, she is stronger, fiercer, and better…”

–Stephanie Pearl McPhee (The Yarn Harlot)

August 2014 019Just a short Tidbits post for today…

Over the weekend, I appreciated reading this article about an unusual topic: postpartum psychosis.

Two weeks previously, Jessica was in perfect health, enjoying a career as an actress, comedian and writer and at the end of a straightforward pregnancy with her actor husband Matthew Bannister.

“I describe Albert’s first weeks as ‘peace and war’,” she says. “The birth was gentle; I delivered Albert myself in a pool in our dining room. I remember looking down as he was born, seeing this baby blinking up at me under the water, and feeling such love. Then came a tidal wave of terror.”

The first days of parenthood were the blur of joy and shock common to most. “It was a time of epic contradictions: you’ve lost so much of yourself and you’ve never been more whole,” Jessica explains. Yet by day three she began to display symptoms of a rare illness affecting one to two in every 1,000 UK mothers…

via Postpartum psychosis: How Jessica Pidsley was driven to the edge by the rare illness – Features – Health & Families – The Independent.

I also read a significant article about epigenetic research and motherblame:

So why is it that the complex science of human development, in particular, is so readily distilled into this single, unhelpful message: “It’s all about mom”?

Of course, science is influenced by values in all sorts of ways: in the questions we address, the conclusions we prioritize, and the applications we pursue. But when dealing with complex causal processes and the assignment of causal responsibility “it’s the mother!”, values can affect the conclusions we draw from science in an especially pernicious way. That’s because we think of causal claims as simple descriptive facts about the world — as value-free. But a growing body of empirical work shows they’re not. In fact, the way we make causal claims depends a lot on how things normally happen and on how we think they should happen.

via Using Science To Blame Mothers : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

This in turn reminded me of my own past post about asking the right questions, which I shared on a friend’s Facebook page in response to all of the recent media attention being paid to newly developed date rape drug detecting nail polish.

We MUST look at the larger system when we ask our questions. The fact that we even have to teach birth classes and to help women learn how to navigate the hospital system and to assert their rights to evidence-based care, indicates serious issues that go way beyond the individual. When we say things about women making informed choices or make statements like, “well, it’s her birth” or “it’s not my birth, it’s not my birth,” or wonder why she went to “that doctor” or “that hospital,” we are becoming blind to the sociocultural context in which those birth “choices” are embedded. When we teach women to ask their doctors about maintaining freedom of movement in labor or when we tell them to stay home as long as possible, we are, in a very real sense, endorsing, or at least acquiescing to these conditions in the first place. This isn’t changing the world for women, it is only softening the impact of a broken and oftentimes abusive system…”

Asking the right questions… | Talk Birth.

And, while not completely related to the topics at hand in today’s post, but absolutely relating to quality mother care, I wanted to share a link to a fundraising project from my doula, Summer:

Who's <br /><br />
Your <br /><br />
Doula?” width=”365″ height=”490″ /></a></p>
<blockquote><p>“…Smyth comments that ‘the role of mother is not immediately intelligible to those who find themselves inhabiting it’ p. 4. This is certainly borne out in the confessional writing and memoirs of young feminist women, who try to make sense of their experiences as a new mother. They write of a crisis of selfhood, feeling undifferentiated in ‘a primordial soup of femaleness’ Wolf 2001 and of experiencing a gendered, embodied and relational self for the first time Stephens 2012…”</p>
<p>via <a href=Tuesday Tidbits: Story Power | Talk Birth.

August 2014 044

Sacred Pregnancy Week 4: Honoring, Sealing, & Postpartum Care

“I am the strength of all women who have ever birthed a baby and I am ready to join that tribe.”

–Anni Daulter (Sacred Pregnancy)

August 2014 055Me to my husband last night: “so, I know I might look like I’m just dancing around with flowers in my hair, but I’m really getting certified.”

<Mark wisely refrains from wide-open joke opportunity>

Yesterday, I finished the last assignments for my Sacred Pregnancy class. While I primarily took this class for personal reasons and am glad I did because I truly think it was the absolute BEST thing I could have done for myself to get ready for Tanner, to spend some time focused on my pregnancy, and to get ready for another mindful birth and postpartum experience. I have also completed all the work needed to be a Certified Sacred Pregnancy Mini-Retreat Instructor. On October 1st, I start the Sacred Postpartum training program—again with a dual purpose of personal enrichment and professional development.

I completed some of the activities out-of-order and finished the silk painting and honoring crown from week 3 in conjunction with the postpartum and “sealing” work of week 4.

I chose to use my drumstick as my stick around which to wrap my silk, since the drum is one way I express myself. Bringing the words painted on the silk into my drumming seemed like a logical companion. My silk power was bold fearlessness! Zander and Alaina also worked on small pieces of silk with me.

I’d delayed making the flower crown I thought because I’d told myself that I’ve already had several flower crowns at different ceremonies and so making another one for “no reason” felt kind of redundant. However, after I finished my second silk painting, I looked behind me and saw some wildflowers and I realized I did want to make a crown and I wanted to be with real flowers and not artificial. I’d been going to do artificial since I have some and thought then I could at least check it off the list. I don’t like fake flowers though, I like real ones. As soon as I realized that there were enough wildflowers scattered around the yard that I could make a real one, I got excited about the idea. My daughter helped me find and cut the flowers and then we put it together. And, then took some picture with my new silk and the crown together.

“The first few months after a baby comes can be a lot like floating in a jar of honey—very sweet and golden, but very sticky too.” –American College of Nurse-Midwives

I love the idea of a post-birth sealing ceremony SO much. This is similar to a mother blessing, but it is held postpartum to help “seal” the birth experience and welcome the baby and the mother into motherhood (or mother of however-many-children-hood). Absolutely wonderful. I also love the song Standing on the Edge from the Sacred Pregnancy CD. I identify with it so much as I prepare for my next birth as well as to welcome a new baby who I wasn’t expecting to have. As I’ve noted often in recent blog posts, I’m working very hard to wrap up a variety of projects so that I can cocoon with my new baby and give him and me the time and space I know we will need after birth. I have gotten better and better at taking care of myself postpartum, in asking for what I need, and getting very, very clear with my support people about what is most important to me.

We actually made the flax pillows for the sealing ceremony at the beginning of the week and then used them on Sunday (Alaina and I made the PPD tincture together the same day as the pillows). My husband tucked me in with the flax pillows and scarf and draped the silk painting across me as well. I lit my pregnancy candles and listened to Standing at the Edge. I spoke aloud the things I celebrate myself for–all the projects and children I have given birth to.

As I was setting up my wrap and pillows, my almost-11-year-old son had said he’d like to do it too. So, after my own sealing experience, each of my kids in turn got sealed in the scarf with the flax pillows. And, then they went and got my husband and we sealed him too! For each, I offered a blessing: “I’m glad you were born. I’m glad you are my son/daughter/husband. I love you. Thank you.” I placed my hands on different parts of their bodies as I spoke and then ended with kiss on the forehead. They all loved it and were very calm and contemplative. I think it was good for all of us and was, in its way, a “sealing” of their births and our relationship.

While I always have had a mother blessing ceremony before the baby’s birth, this time I’m going to make sure to do a postpartum sealing ceremony as well. The birth I actually sealed most consciously was the second trimester birth-death of my third son. On my due date with him, which also happened to be my birthday, I did a ceremony outside by our little labyrinth and the tree where we buried him. I spoke aloud, “I am not pregnant anymore,” and took time to hold and honor the powerful, honorable, birth and release I’d given him.

I’ve written a lot about my own postpartum thoughts, experiences, and feelings and they are grouped under the appropriate category on my blog here.

I also want to share a picture of my new mother-of-four goddess pendant! This pendant, too, has been part of my personal emotional preparation to integrate the new baby into my maternal identity. It took a long time for us to get the cast right for this sculpt and I’m so happy to have it to wear now.

August 2014 073

 The Sacred Pregnancy online retreat training experience was a very positive one. Lots of personal benefit as well as professional development! I’m so glad I decided to go for it!
August 2014 070Past posts in this series:

Sacred Pregnancy Week 1, Part 1: Sacred Space

Sacred Pregnancy, Week 1, Part 2: Connecting

Sacred Pregnancy Week 3, Part 1: Fears & Forgiveness

Sacred Pregnancy Week 3, Part 2: Empowerment and Self-Care



Sacred Pregnancy Week 3, Part 2: Empowerment and Self-Care

I told you I had a Sacred Pregnancy weekend! On Saturday of last week, after my fears and forgiveness work, I moved on to some empowerment and self-care exercises.

I had been trying to find time to do the silk painting since Wednesday and kept feeling disappointed to not be able to make room for it. On Saturday it became Priority 1! I decided to modify the exercise for my whole family to do as a collaborative “welcome” wrap for baby Tanner, rather than tearing it up to wrap onto sticks as we were supposed to do. I’m going to do the tearing and sacred stick making on my own another day using a different piece of silk.

We listened to the Sacred Pregnancy CD and all worked together outside on a hot, hot August Saturday. It was a lovely, sacred, shared, collaborative project (with a touch of a chaos and a sprinkle of yelled, “don’t spill it!”). Very fulfilling and much fun.

Later in the day I also did my sacred bath and self-care day. My 3-year-old daughter and I made a special salt scrub for me to use using sunflower oil, sea salt, and gentle baby essential oil blend (made by my mom). After the empowerment silk painting (which was part of my self-care too), I set up a special altar in my bathroom, turned on Nina Lee, drew a Mother’s Wisdom card and meditated on it, and then did my salt scrub on my entire body, followed by a refreshing shower. I really took my time with the scrub and thought about how often I rush through or “don’t have time” for lotion or other personal care treatments after showering. I felt nice and “buffed off” afterward! (I tend to very dry skin.) I also had two cups of Caramel Bedtime Yogi tea that I’d made in a jar in the sun that morning. I “run out of time” for iced tea often too. So, this time I didn’t!

These next photos aren’t related to the class work, but they are very related to my own Sacred Pregnancy creative process! In addition to the Womanrunes book, we‘ve been working overtime lately to develop an improved production process for my birth goddess sculptures so that we can actually have them available on a regular basis. While still not perfect, we’ve gotten much closer during the last week and hope have four different designs ready to list in our Etsy shop over the next two weeks.

Sacred Pregnancy Week 3, Part 1: Fears & Forgiveness

On Friday and Saturday this past week, I took the time for a Sacred Pregnancy weekend. I did many projects from the class and it was a fulfilling, fun time. Reflection, art, and self-care, for the win! These types of projects are exactly why I wanted to take this class during my current pregnancy (I also went ahead and signed up for the Sacred Postpartum training, which begins on October 1st, and is therefore perfect for the month I am due).

The fears exercise for this week of training took me a while to finish. I wrote my list on Monday morning, but didn’t burn them until Friday afternoon. Interestingly, I continued to add to the list during the week, so I guess I wasn’t finished after the initial song portion (Grandmother by Nina Lee on the Sacred Pregnancy CD). I actually found myself waking up each morning over the whole week with the Grandmother song in my head. Anyway, after writing the list I tore it into individual strips. I waited until I had some time alone in the afternoon while my kids were visiting my parents and then I used the little bean pot I use as a burn pot/Kali pot to burn them each after reading them aloud. I had to play the song twice to finish them all! Most of them were connected to the development of my business this year, but some to my pregnancy/birth as well.

Anyway, when I got to my fear of being “too much” the paper flared up hugely and I dropped both it and my phone on the floor! Luckily, I hit the picture button as I was dropping it! (flare picture below) I found this significant and when I then moved into the forgiveness work the theme of being “too much” was actually what my Mother’s Wisdom card related to.

Mother’s Wisdom deck meditation

This was a powerful exercise also. I picked Oshun and got a much different message from my own interpretation of the card than the book interpretation I later read. I listened to the Standing at the Edge song on the CD while I journaled about empowerment immediately following the fear release and before looking at the book. You can see what I got from the card in my journal entries below. The actual card meaning was about balance and harmony in one’s family and life which is actually a timely message for me too, as was my own intuited message from the card.

As I explained in the class work online:

My husband and I have a creative business sculpting and pewter-casting and making jewelry together. We’ve really grown this year and have been pushing ourselves hard on our co-creative endeavors (hoping to wrap up development of some important stuff before our new baby is born in October). Our most recent was the completion of our first joint book project. I did all the writing, which was an 18 month intuitive process, and he did all the illustrations, design, and layout. We couldn’t have done it without each other! It was a perfect collaboration of our strengths and skills. However, we’ve been working and pushing so hard to get it finished and ready that our family had somewhat fallen out of balance and harmony! (So, the work has been in harmony, but the rest of our family needs have been getting kind of pushed aside!)

And, I know it is an overused analogy but working on a big creative project is similar to giving birth. My current pregnancy is very entwined with my current work and I was really interested to see how both my fears and forgiveness exercise work this week related to both my business and my pregnancy as creative processes and birth endeavors…

After this work and after my kids got home, I worked on my forgiveness tree. I didn’t include a picture of the one with the names filled in–just pre-names and post-colors. It was a good exercise too. I listened to Nina and did the card meditation (above) and then started on my tree and worked on it throughout the course of an afternoon. I’ve done most of the exercises for this class with the company of my little daughter (3), who is entranced by this kind of work. This time she did a painting of a goddess-fairy while I was working on the tree. I’ve never used watercolors before this class, so I’m not very good with them, but having fun anyway! Process, not product, after all…

*You did not miss Week 2. I haven’t made any posts about it yet. Just week 1:

Sacred Pregnancy Week 1, Part 1: Sacred Space

Sacred Pregnancy, Week 1, Part 2: Connecting