Balance and Integrity. When you have one you have the other. These have been two words on my mind for the last 10 months and since this is where I share my mind (scary as that is) you are about to get to peek into my thoughts.
Some days both, my balance and my integrity (the rope supporting me) are off and I am sent down-down-down into the net. You know, like the circus net that the flying trapeze people fall into. It’s scary and thrilling at the circus, but in real life? Not so much. My net is God. With God in my life I have a soft net, else I would hit the ground so hard I would either die or be disabled. Who has time for that?!?!
In the moments after falling into the net, as I have doctored, mended and admired my bruises, I figured out that I must be on this planet for a reason. Since God has not allowed me to fall to pieces (and I’ve had plenty opportunity!) there must be a reason I’m here. What is your reason?
Here are three reasons I’m here. The first reason is to have relationship with Him, The God of the universe, through his creation, the plants, animals, and people He puts in front of me, and through His Son Jesus. The second reason is to experience His creation power and share my experience with others, like you. And to enjoy hearing your stories about your purpose and your exhilarating experiences. I love a good story. One of the most exhilarating creation experiences I’ve enjoyed is giving birth to my babies, my own three precious children, Andrea, Austin and Doug. This experience lead me naturally to want to share the wonder of birth, the moment of new life, in a supportive role as a birth doula. I feel like I am entering “The Holy of Holies when I enter a woman’s birth space. God is there. If you ever want to check your level of integrity try spending time with vulnerable, soft, beautiful, hopeful, strong birthing mama’s and brave scared-shitless daddies. I never want to let one of those precious families down by not being prepared, i.e., by compromising in any area of my life. I try to check my integrity before walking in that door. One definition of Integrity is the state of being complete or whole. I would say I try to be as whole as I can, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. A birth doula provides emotional, physical and informational support to families around the time of birth. So although I bring a deep well of experience and knowledge to your little ones birth day, I don’t necessarily want to walk in with my full cup. I have learned to empty my cup and allow for this birth, this new story, to unfold and to appreciate it and allow it to fill my cup. Birthing From Within author and mentor, Pam England, taught me about the “empty cup” practice as she often teaches through stories. “The Empty Cup” story lesson is If you truly seek understanding, then first, empty your cup!”
The Empty Cup
A wise old monk once lived in an ancient temple in Japan. One day the monk heard an impatient pounding on the temple door. He opened it and greeted a young student, who said, “I have studied with great and wise masters. I consider myself quite accomplished in Zen philosophy. However, just in case there is anything more I need to know, I have come to see if you can add knowledge.”
“Very well,” said the wise old master. “Come and have tea with me, and we will discuss your studies.” The two seated themselves opposite each other, and the old monk prepared tea. When it was ready, the old monk began to pour the tea carefully into the visitor’s cup. When the cup was full, the old man continued pouring until the tea spilled over the side of the cup and onto the young man’s lap. The startled visitor jumped back and indignantly shouted, “Some wise master you are! You are a fool who does not even know when a cup is full.”
The old man calmly replied, “Just like this cup, your mind is so full of ideas that there is no room for any more. Come to me with an empty-cup mind, and then you will learn something.”
So it seems contradictory to be a teacher, mentor, guide to birthing families and then show up your best self, holding an empty cup. I believe this allows baby and mama to teach me their birth dance, this is their journey, they are not on my path but I am on theirs. That brings me to the last reason, the third reason I am here, and the word, balance.
Look away. Look around.
Take a deep breath.
Balance is not getting stuck.
Balance is not getting sucked in.
Balance is floating.
Balance is freeing.
Balance is harmony.
Balance is not good or bad. It just is.
When I am going to a birth my highest intention is to be in harmony with the people present, the baby, the birthing woman. That doesn’t happen if other areas of my life are not also in harmony. Balance is not fake. I cannot pretend to be in harmony. This is a challenge like none other. It is a good kind of work, one that keeps me humble and leaning on the arm of God.
“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.” -Proverbs 11:1
♥ Next time I will be sharing all I have learned from attending many Spinning Babies workshops. More about BALANCE, the literal, physiological balance of mama and baby during pregnancy, labor and birth.