Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Peaceful Hypnobirth

I love an empowering birth story and I particularly love it when I know the mother. A dear friend of mine and fellow child birth advocate recently birthed her third hypno-baby. Yep, three successful hypnobirths! Obviously this is not fluke of nature, Hypnobirth simply works! After the second one she became a Hypnobirth Educator. What a gift she is giving to the community women! Reading her baby's birth story thrilled me and reminded me once again how important it is for all of us to tell and share our stories. Inspiration, wisdom and empowerment are what it is to be gained. We no longer gather at the well to share our stories but at least we have email, right? After reading her story and mulling it over and decided to ask if I could share it here. She said yes, because she too wants to encourage and empower you with her story. So consider this our well, the well of this particular village and read on to hear this empowered woman's story. Drink deeply and let it empower your heart!

Just letting you know I am so blessed for the wonderful birth of our baby who was my third HypnoBirth- and the best birth I have ever experienced!After being up all night with my sick four-yr-old, labor began on Saturday morning with a bloody show and surges soon followed. I went right into the surge breath while timing each one. They were 12 minutes apart and then within 2 hours went to 6 minutes apart. I thought for sure this baby would be coming out by noon. I decided to eat breakfast and then take a nap to make up for the missed sleep from the previous night. I am not sure if I slept through most of the surges but the ones I woke up for were 20 minutes apart. Maybe this was going to take longer than I expected...

Well, by lunchtime I felt a constipated feeling and didn't really feel like eating. I decided to go back to bed and before long the surges began again, around 1:30pm. I was doing the surge breath and I read the affirmations found in the handout "Dear Little Baby." I felt most comfortable standing and doing hip swiveling, something my HypnoMoms know from the video "Birth As We Know it." My mother was massaging my back doing the "v"s when all of a sudden I felt a little pop and felt a little fluid rush out. I ran to the toilette, letting everything release and let go as I continued to do the hip swivels and surge breathing. I thought maybe this was my water breaking, but wasn't sure since the fluid had quickly stopped flowing. My mother was saying the birth companion's prompts from the sheet and my husband was timing the surges and I continued to labor on the toilette. By 3pm I said maybe we should go to the hospital, but I really wasn't sure I needed to go. The surges where a little intense but nothing I couldn't handle and in between them I felt like a regular person, laughing and joking around with my family. The only thing was, there wasn't much time in between each surge. They were lasting 1.5 minutes and 2.5 minutes apart!

My husband, mother and I quickly put some things together and went into the car to the Hospital. As we were driving there I kept saying the lovely affirmations, visualizing the rosebud opening and just letting my body be as loose as I could. When we got to triage I was sure my water had broken and when they checked me I was 8cm opened! The doctor said there wouldn't be much time. The birthing suite was beautiful, lights were dimmed just as we had asked and everybody was talking softly. I had an amazing nurse who believed in natural birth and said she would be with me for the remainder of my labor. It was 4:10pm by now. I felt pressure on my lower back as I was nearing completion and the nurse assisted me with hip squeezes. A little after 5 they told me I should push and when I did, they said, "There he is... he's looking at you, pick your head up!" I didn't believe them so I kept being in my zone but then everybody in the room said, "He's waving at you, pick your head up and look." I did and there he was, half way out of my body, calmly looking at me, his eyes wide open with one hand over his head giving me an introductory "Hello." I received my baby from my own body at 5:07pm on December 17th.

What a calm and loving environment it was. Mizmor litodah! My husband and I are so grateful for the many blessings in this journey! I hope this is encouragement or inspiration for anyone working on goals through positive affirmations and visualizations. I had been visualizing and affirming my dream birth for several months and thank G-d every thing I asked for came true! Keep on your own journeys and have faith that your wellspring of abundance will shower down too.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Red Tent Temple

Each New Moon for the past 10 months I have helped to erect a Red Tent Temple in the Philadelphia area. It is a traveling Red Tent, visiting the home of any sister who would like to make that space for the Temple. We have red fabric draped everywhere to give a physical manifestation to the Red Tent. There is often music softly playing in the background and a low hum of conversation. Often you will see a sisters sharing hearts in the kitchen, enjoying soup or other nosh that someone has brought to share. Other times you may notice another sister quietly coloring a mandala or reading a book. And other times you may just see her sitting on the floor with her head thrown back and her eyes closed simply feeling the peace the permeates the Tent.
The Red Tent is a drop in which helps to maintain the relaxed feeling and openness of the Temple. Women are free to come and go during the time the Red Tent is open. Later the women are called to an informal circle and Ritual begins. That ritual too is an organic creation of whatever the need may be for the month. Sometimes it's a time of sharing New Moon intentions. Other times a sister may share a poem or story of her own or one that has touched her. There have been sisters who have brought a song to share or a drum to lead us. There have also been times when tears have flowed and hearts were laid bare and broken. At other times there have been no words and all that is offered is a gentle touch or love filled eyes. And of course there have been many times of laughter and silly, joyous sharing.

Women who have begun their moon time (menstruation) are welcome at the Red Tent and we have had sisters as young as 15 attend. The ages of the women there seem fairly irrelevant as wisdom seems to be gleaned and shared with little regard to how many years you have been on the planet. We all have much to give and in the safety of the Red Tent all the sisters young and older are free to speak and share. And the Red Tent is a very safe place. Each sister is loved, accepted and free. There are no rules and there is no limit to what can or cannot be shared. Each one of us accepts upon herself the Sacred Trust of the other's heart and maintains the sacred space for her sister, knowing and trusting that she will do the same.

My part in the Red Tent is simply the contact person, the soup maker and the keeper of the red box of fabric, colored pencils, markers, sketch pads and other such sundries that all add to the sweet experience of the Red Tent. I help to maintain the space but those who attend are the ones who make the energy and sisterhood happen. Each Red Tent has it's own identity and mission. In the beginning I would worry about what to do or what would happen, but I soon realized that the Divine was indeed present and each gathering was an organic and free flowing event. With each New Moon I look forward to this gathering with the community of women that has formed and continues to grow because of it. We have even given birth to a sister Red Tent in Lancaster county which is maintained by another sister Wise Woman.
As we come upon the one year anniversary of the Red Tent, I stand in awe of it. What began in my living room with the impetus and energy of several 20something year old friends, still stands a year later traveling from home to home, through the devotion and quite honestly need, of the community of women at large. We have discovered how dearly we need this time together, to gather, dance and sing. We have discovered how dearly we need this time to love and share with each other. And we have realized that regardless of what may be happening in our lives, the Red Tent Temple will be up and the space will be maintained because it is just that important. You may not be able to make it this New Moon or even next one, but know, She will be there waiting to welcome you into Her Womb of Sisterhood and Divine love. If you care to bring a gift to the altar, bring your heart and bring your dreams...oh and chocolate is always good too.

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A love letter, to you

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open." ~Martha Graham

Martha Graham spoke these words from her Dancer’s heart. You are a unique expression of the Divine. A facet, if you will, of the Diamond of Divinity’s love for the world. You were born as a gift to the planet and the human race and it is your responsibility to express that gift. By being you, a free and wild human being, you gift the world with that Love. Your work is not to figure it out, or to encumber yourself with a label or persona, your work is to simply be you. You in all of your imperfect and wild beauty! The wildness of your self shines a light that is yours and yours alone. Consider the wild flower that insists on pushing herself through the cold suffocating concrete of a city sidewalk. She lifts her face up valiantly to the sun and allows her beauty to bless all who take the time who notice her. Does that seem too daunting a task, dear one? Do not let fear, an illusion, prevent you. The world is but an illusion because as the wildflower teaches us, even the ‘reality’ of cement did not stop her from blooming and sharing her light. You hard work is to be you, to burst through the cracks and be your true and authentic self. Search your heart and begin to see your own beauty. Do not judge yourself, that is not your job. Do not compare yourself, that is not truth. Find the wildness of your soul and begin to move! Begin to lift your face to the sun and dance your life, dance your Divinity and be the gift of love you were created to be.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Musical Monday-Peace

As a believer and a contributor to The (peaceful) Revolution, I was looking for preschool songs of peace to share with my children. I discovered this lovely gem written by two teachers form Scotland, Jan and Randy Prichard.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Musical Monday Part 2-In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King

Beats Antique pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, "Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better."

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Musical Monday- Tribal Belly Dance

Today's Musical Monday post contains tribal belly dance, or what I like to think of as my sanity maintainer. Truly, it matters not what kind of week I've had, or if I'm not feeling quite so dancey before I get there, the moment I walk into class and see my sisters I am well. The music starts and life just got a heck of a lot better.

If I am not dancing, another sure fire way to put a smile on my face is seeing these lovely ladies. Along with my own troupe Tribal Spirit, they are one of my top ten favorite troupes. Wild Card Belly Dance! I go absolutely fan-girl crazy over them! Their smiles, their skills, their transitions, the absolute joy of their dance and fun they are so obviously having assures a smile on my face and sets my heart aright every time!

Have a peak yourself and see what I am talking about!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, ISee Philly

Walking down 4th street on a break and I discover glints of light on an otherwise gloomy alley

Closer I venture to the building that turns into a stationary disco ball of sorts.

Beauty is hidden everywhere in Philly

Even masterpieces lurk in dark alleys and side streets.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012's Pep talk...or how I have finally accepted the Renaissance Woman I am

(Caveat: this is a stream of consciousness kind of post. In other words, I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go. You have been forewarned.)

I want to write and yet I find myself staring blankly at the keyboard.

Oh, I occasionally reach for the mouse and then before I know it, here a click there a click and I have found myself in distraction-land. Being a metaphor lady I am currently searching for the lesson in this. It is too simple to say I am easily distracted. It is too easy to blame it on lack of inspiration or the absence of old fashioned stick-to-it-tive-ness. Well, my friends it may be simple and easy, but facts are facts , I am too easily distracted, particularly when there is a task that I deeply desire to do.

One would think that if you want to do something you would simply do it. Not so, not so at all. It seems to me that simply wanting to do something is not enough. Deep desire does not seem to be enough. There must be something more that is the impetus that gets my feet moving, my hands typing, myheart creating.


Deeply felt passion.

You must find your passion and tap into that. Passion is the life force that moves you. Passion is the energy that finds its way from your heart and into your hands, feet, and voice, whatever it is you need to get moving. It will happen when you discover your passion. Your passion will not fail you. But like most fires it must be tended to. You must keep feeding it; even it is bits of kindling here and there.

You see, true passion never dies.


I know that may seem to be a ridiculous claim, never being a long time and all. But I tell you it is true. If you are truly passionate about a particular thing, it will endure even if you find the need to bank the fire for a while.

At least, this is what it seems to be for me.

I have several things I am passionate about. But wait, didn't I just write "You must find your passion (singular) and tap into that."? Can you really have more than one honest and true Passion. Can you divide your attention thus?

I have found it is quite acceptable for me to be polyamorous in this situation. In the past I tried to narrow my passion down to some singular love. At different points in my life, I have tried to be exclusively devoted to herbs, to childbirth, to art, poetry, fiber arts or dance. I tried because I thought I must stop this Jill of all trades nonsense and attempt to become an expert in something. But to be monogamous in my passions simply does not work for me.

Enter the Renaissance Woman.

Photo by Gar Travis/www.garphoto.com

The common term Renaissance (wo)man is used to describe a person who is well educated or who excels in a wide variety of subjects or fields

Does that really fit? Does it even matter?

In a way, it does because it gives me comfort in my way of thinking about myself. It allows me to cut myself some slack. The fact that I know a little about a whole hell of a lot suits me. I never really have claimed the title expert, but that is okay really. What does being an expert even mean?

An expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study.

Ok, so I am never gonna be the One. I look at my many teachers and I think to myself, “Man, she is cool. Wow, I wish I could be as cool as her.” Yeah, silly I know. A woman my age thinking things like that. Doesn’t programming suck?

Straight A's, Super Woman, Saint, all cursed epithets I have worn in my life.

Consider this part of my deprogramming.

I am me.

Me in my imperfections.

Me in my perfections.

I will never be Rachel Brice. I will never be Susun Weed. I will never be Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, or Tasha Tudor, or Emma Goldman and any of the many woman who I think are so damn cool.

I am simply the lady, who talks to plants, tells stories, plays with children, picks away at her mandolin, spins pretty decent yarn, and dances her heart out. I am the one jamming to my IPod on the El, skipping through leaves on South Street. I am the one who talks to every dog, smiles at most every human and still cries at every birth. I am the one who will listen and cry with you, stranger though you may be. Dream interpreter, believer in humanity, lover of the earth, and I can even shoot whiskey.

Weird and wonderful.

And you know what? I’m pretty damn cool.

Note: Guess what? This is you too. Just replace your name, your likes, your heroes and there you have it. You. A pretty damn cool human being who rocks this world!

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Musical Monday

I like Mondays. Not as much as I like Sundays, but Mondays are definitely one of my favorite days of the week. As I know many folks do not feel the same as way I do about Mondays, I thought I would help to cheer your Mondays up with a little musical joy!

Yeah, this video is just another hopeful reminder that there is so much good and beauty in humanity. Peace through music!!

Quoted from the video: "okay- what you are about to watch is a true new york experience. what originally started out as a typical nyc subway ride turned into an awesome performance by two people who have never met before. i captured the whole thing on video.

the singer continued with another great song after the entire subway car demanded an encore. her name is jessica latshaw- make sure to check out her music.

props to the conga player as well. check out his stuff- Quoom1.

filmed and uploaded by Matt Schwartz"

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Rose Bush Who Wouldn't Bloom (A Real Life Parable)

Once upon a time, as this we know dear children is how all good stories begin, in a land that flowed with blacktop rivers and concrete shorelines, there was a small and modest garden. The Garden was in fact a smallish incline of dirt, too small even to be called a hill, and was really more of a mound of earth that provided living quarters for fat wiggly earthworms. (These earthworms then in turn provided food for the rather greedy robins, but that dear children is another story for another time.)

At the top of the smallish hill, which was really a mound, grew a rose bush, or at least this is what the village wisewoman thought it was. She was never really quite sure, for it never bloomed all the years she lived in the cement forest. Each year she pruned it back, each year she offered it gifts of crystals and food and each year it did nothing.

Oh once, she thought it would bloom, when it grew taller than it had ever done before, and even shot forth one tiny bud!

''This is the year!'' she thought with glee. But sadly there never was more than a tiny green bud and it soon simply withered and died.

Another year, when she thought she would truly tend to the business of it's nurturing, she noticed tiny aphids consuming the rose bush's delicious leaves. She promptly consulted her books and concocted a wonderful herbal spray that was sure to rid her friend from the tiny green pests, but alas, nothing happened and all the wisewoman was left with were rudely chewed up leaves.

Now one thing dear children, that I have failed to relay to you, was that very near by the rose bush, in fact right in front of it, dwelt another bush, a rather large and not so very handsome conifer bush. The conifer was not a favorite of the village wisewoman, but as she was loathe to disregard any living being, she simply could not remove it.

When the young women of the village would stop by for a visit, or to admire her herbs, they would often encourage the wisewoman to rid herself of the unattractive and cumbersome bush, but she refused to entertain such a thought, instead trying to groom it occasionally hoping to shape it up some how. Even as she would wistfully look at her lovely lady lavender being crowded out by it's bristly green branches, she would not consider ridding her garden of it's presence.

Finally, after years of nurturing the Rose Bush that wouldn't bloom, the village wisewoman threatened it.

"If you do not bloom next year, I shall chop you down and be done with you!! What good is a rose bush that won't bloom! You are simply a bush of thorns!"

The Rose Bush that wouldn't bloom felt very sad. She knew the real reason she could not bring forth her true beauty, but she could not seem to make wisewoman understand. Just as the winter snow was about to blanket the cement forest for a long winter's nap, the Rose Bush that wouldn't bloom whispered a prayer to the heavens. "Please, show her."

Winter was long and cold that year and the snow deep. One storm was particularly harsh and lay such a blanket of snow on the earth that the conifer bushes branches finally buckled under the pressure of it all. When spring returned the village wisewoman saw that the conifer bush had split in half and that his branches were broken and lame.

"Oh dear," she sighed, "I suppose you've left me with no choice. You must go now."

Although she had grown accustomed to him being there, she felt slightly guilty because she immediately began dreaming of all she would plant in the space that would be left behind.

Some men from the village came by and removed the conifer bush and the village wisewoman bid him farewell. She immediately began to fill the space that was left with lovely purple flowers.

She looked at the Rose Bush who wouldn't bloom and said, "Is this the year we too part, my friend?"

Not too many days later she noticed her lavender seemed to suddenly stand taller.

"My, my lady lavender, you look lovely! Could it have been...?" she began to wonder.

As she pondered her thoughts she set her eyes to the top of her hill, that was really a mound and saw that the Rose Bush who wouldn't bloom seemed to be greening quite nicely.

"Hmmm," she thought to herself, "You have done this before old friend. For 10 years I have waited for you to bloom and for 10 years you have done nothing. You are simply a rose bush that will not bloom, you are just branches and thorns."

One day as she was returning from time in the village, she looked up at the hill, that was really a mound and could not believe her eyes! What was this? The Rose Bush that would not bloom was covered in buds! The village wisewoman excitedly ran over to examine her. She clapped her hands happily as she realized this could be the year!

Day after day, the village wisewoman would go out to her garden and check on the Rose Bush that finally budded, but nothing was happening. Was it yet another false alarm? Would the aphids return and devour the now tall rose bush?

One early morning as the village wisewoman went out to the garden, the Rose Bush whispered her name. The village wisewoman could hardly believe her eyes, yet there in front of her where once the Rose Bush who wouldn't bloom stood, was now the Rose Bush filled and filled with roses and buds!!!

The Beginning...

for the truth is dear children, that even wisewoman are daily learning and seeking wisdom, but the most challenging wisdom it seems for them to discover is the wisdom of themselves.

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