What do you do when you are in a period of darkness? When the old is not working but the new is not yet here? When you have outgrown places, people, relationships, ways of being but are not quite into the new yet? Maybe you don’t even know that something else is possible.
I had this thought the other day, that babies initiate their own birth, that is to say, they out grow the space they are in and so they begin the process of their own birth. Does a baby know where it is going? Does it know what is coming next? Is there a guarantee that what’s to come will be better than what is?
No, all it knows is that the space it is in is too small and it needs to move.
Staying in a too small space can become dangerous to our well being - like a baby who doesn’t want to leave the comfort of it’s too small space - staying would kill both baby and mom.
Once it’s too small, you have to get out.
I have been working with this picture for myself.
I felt the increasing pressure that the life I was living, the roles I was in, the partnership I had picked as a 19 year old, were too small for me.
And so, without even consciously knowing that this was what I was doing, I initiated my own birth and started to move myself into the birth canal. Readying myself for something new.
What’s interesting is that I have felt this ‘birthing myself as an adult’ experience to be really triggering to my wounded child, who doesn’t wish to relive my birth experience.
During my first birth, I was given up for adoption and so, according to my wounded child, I was abandoned and not welcomed into the world. My wounded one is afraid that if we do this again, there will be no one there to meet us, again, and we will be cold and alone. This was an excruciating experience for her, one she would do anything to avoid repeating.
So, what does doing the work look like for me?
It looks like conscious work to support my wounded child though this re-birth experience. I do that by talking with her, listening to her concerns and telling her why this time will be different for us.
One, she now has me, which she didn’t have the first time around. I will not leave her.
Two, we have a community of support, we are not unresourced as we were as a baby.
Three, we have tools to help us - we know how to receive support from the world around us, be with our feelings, dig into our story and re-write the narrative.
I have felt the tug of my little one who would rather stay in the safety of the womb, even though that would be deadly for us.
I get it.
It’s hard to leave the safety we know, even if it is too small, to head out into the unknown.
But, we are not that abandoned little one any more.
We can do the work and birth ourselves into the world.
I can give my little one everything she didn’t receive the first time around, changing her experience so she learns she can trust the world.
I do this while cleaning my house to sell, having hard conversations, writing, journalling, making food, dreaming about my future, asking big questions and connecting with friends, family and the world around me. I consciously take her with me. I invite her to be part of the healing of our story. I keep going.
As we grow, our unfinished business will come up for us to carefully tend it.
We know this is true because we can have reactions that are bigger than the situation requires, and sometimes we have a little nudging from our insides that there is some unhealed material here.
Our early experiences shape our lives until we do the work of healing them and writing a different story.
Messy, just like birth, but not impossible.
Staying present through this process and welcoming my little one into the world is a great gift I can give myself, and her…and ultimately the world. By healing ourselves at the deepest levels, we become more whole and thereby more alive, more able to be present and to participate more fully in our lives.
What needs to heal in you today?