A new friend recently asked me what my most unusual job has been. After running down a few odd positions I’ve held in my past, (did you know I spent a year as a Glitter Fairy?) I landed on the rewarding work of being a doula, or birth assistant. This doula work was a natural culmination of my life-long gravitation to all things baby. I had spent the previous decade working as a nanny, mostly of newborns and infants, and had also started teaching Prenatal Yoga and practicing Prenatal Massage. Many of my girlfriends were on journey of pregnancy and childbirth for the first time, and a few had asked for my help. Over the span of a few years I witnessed (and hopefully helped in some small way) twenty-six new, fresh baby beings enter into this world. Although every birth was its own messy, joyous and arduous event, after each I felt so extremely honored, to the point of tears, to have been there.
Through the years of teaching pregnant women safe yoga techniques, holding hands and wiping brows during labor contractions, and changing poopy diapers of many little babes, I never once doubted that I would experience mamahood for myself. Being a mother was all I ever wanted since I was a little girl, my biological clock was all I could hear. Recently, however, my inability to become pregnant and my ensuing infertility diagnoses has forced my life trajectory to turn 180 degrees. This year has been one of reconciliation; the path I always assumed I would take is just not available. So now I am faced with a giant black hole, a strobing neon question mark, an echoing plea to inquire into “Well then, what’s next?”
On the very first day of my RootEd Yoga Teacher’s Apprenticeship my beloved teacher, Jessica, pulled Goddess cards for each of her students. The card pulled for me was the great Hawaiian goddess of fire, Pele. The text read “Divine Passion; be honest with yourself, what is your heart’s true desire?” This resonated intensely for me. Now that the passion and drive to be a mama had to be relinquished I had a chance to see what else inspired me. Instead of gestating and birthing a physical baby, what else could I create to give to this world?
To discover my new creative force, I turned my inward gaze downward to my Second Chakra, which is also called the Sacral Chakra, Swadhistana, or Her Favorite Standing Place. The Second Chakra spins in the pelvic region, its orange light shining upon our reproductive areas, the fearful psoas muscle and the bony sacrum. It throbs the pulse of creation, taste, sexuality, music, water and emotions. It invokes conscious creation, versus habitual reaction. In our asana practice, it is governed by forward folds and hip openers.
Lounging in a Yin yoga version of Pigeon Pose (eka pada rajakapotasana) during my practice this morning, my mind was called to my 2nd Chakra via the deep aching voice in my outer hip. I recalled the high-fives given yesterday by my long-time chiropractor Jay. He had found sincere joy in the fact that my pelvis is finally moving correctly after years of SI joint disfunction. He had pressed me to understand that this shift was one of my own personal healing and growth, rather than a solely physical state. I also recognized the importance of getting through my year of heartbreak and healing, for letting go of the past is a way to purify Swadhistana. I acknowledged some grief for the dreams of motherhood that never rooted, and at the same time I reveled in my freedom, especially when it comes to exploring sexuality and sensuality as sacred practice. Finally, I felt the real need to nurture my creative energy and direct it into my calling as a yoga teacher and massage therapist here in my Denver community. Instead of leaving offspring behind in this world, my legacy will be how I serve my community with my healing work.
So, I could wrap up this piece on creativity, birth and the Second Chakra right here, and tie a tidy bow around it. Instead, I need to mention the pitfall of creative offering – the over-identification with the end result. Having lived in the world of art and artists, I fully know what ugliness can happen when ego gets overly entwined with creation. Sadly, the yoga world is not immune to this, either. So I remind myself as I employ my new creative energy to offer it up, to release my identity with the creation. Yoga Sutra 1.23 states “Isvara Pranidhanad Va,” or “by giving your life and identity to the Divine, Supreme Consciousness, you attain the identity of the Divine.” When I can co-create with the Divine I am no longer mired in the results of my creation. This takes ginormous trust in my new life path, and a profound release of perfectionism. As my teacher Jessica says, “When we offer it up, we trust. We let go of the need to worry, control and dictate. We know we will be held.”
Although my doula certification had long expired, this past summer I found myself, somewhat by accident, assisting at a beautiful home-birth in North Denver. I had been called in at the last minute to massage the laboring mother, a yoga student of mine. The birth process once again brought tears to my eyes, but this time there was no yearning to be birthing a babe of my own, but rather just my piercing passion for helping and healing the members of my community. With that memory I hear Pele calling from ‘Her Favorite Standing Place.’ Now, humbled and grateful, I am listening, creating, and offering it up.