I came home from a birth early morning yesterday. Two hours from the first contraction to the last, its speed required me to be extraordinarily receptive to what was happening moment by moment. Timing was everything. The trust my client and I had in each other made it work. I had been with her for the births of her first two children and I truly knew her. I’ve been connected with hundreds of women in this way now. Invisible threads link us together in a fantastic web. Two nights ago, the thread with this client was taut and glistening; I had packed my bag, laid out clean clothes, done my yoga and gone to bed early. I was ready for her. Two hours later, her husband woke me. From my place to theirs, to the hospital parking lot, triage and finally the labour room, we moved with focus and calm. In a birth so fast, the intensity of what’s moving is immense and we had the strength to receive it.
Grace poured down. I did very little. My client didn’t need my touch or voice. We barely spoke. She already knew how to give birth. And yet she wanted me with her. So did her husband. Why? My feeling is that it was for the connection we have. She trusted it with her life. In the web of it, she was free. Real intimacy is generally absent in ordinary society and yet it’s essential for birthing and dying and any other time of healing. As a culture, we don’t understand this and so we set up barriers to it with the expectation that then we can’t hurt each other. In the “health care” system, the idea of “professional distance” only keeps us aloof from understanding and the compassion that comes from it. A similar situation exists in the yoga world. In flight from the authoritarian or manipulative guru, students still practice these same gurus’ techniques. Throwing away the relationship but keeping its dysfunctional container makes no sense. The abusive teacher is not a random accident but the product of the broken masculine paradigm s/he was created in. The paradigm is the root of the problem. Denial of life is in everyone’s background, so we all walk with wounds. Whether they bring us deeper into our humanity or send us further away from it, depends on our relationship with ourselves. When the feminine principle of receptivity is brought in, we have a complete container. Our integrity is guaranteed because we are whole.
Autonomy is the natural response to intimacy. At the most primal level of existence, this is true. Only after nine months in complete union with our mother, can we penetrate the world. Two nights ago, my client stood alone while we stood beside her. In her solitude, she did the most intimate thing possible.