A Post Partum Poem

Snooze they said

Sleep when they sleep

Doze when they feed

In six weeks you’ll be doing the deed

Buy my book and they’ll

Sleep through the night

Newborn right?

Best stage to take a flight

Dream feed

This team is nocturnal

What do I need?

Nights are eternal

Bounce back

Put on a show

Personal attack

Goodbye Glow

I’ve traded you in

For a wigs worth of hair

From the plug to the bin

Can I come up for air?

In the a.m. I’m wired

Thank god the dawn came

By three we’re all tired

Perhaps I’m to blame

The hours of witching

Relentless and long

Just leave me twitching

On and on...and on

No returns

No backsies

No manual

Just me

Anxiety

This isn’t me

Pop a pill?

This can’t be

Elated one moment

Desperate the next

The world keeps on spinning

Rose tinted specs

So let’s slow down

Together discover

A baby was born

And so was its mother

By The Holistic Doula

[Please feel free to share with credit]

Power Full

The smile in your eyes

Belies

A faint disguise

You rise

The stories you hold

Told and untold

Behold

You’re gold

Goddess

You address

A dress

Divine, sublime

You’re mine

Compassion

After a fashion

The new era of woman

Bold

Behold

Be

Hold

It can rile you to see her

Shake you up

Believe her

A delicate dance

A trance

Entrance

A mystery

She

By The Holistic Doula

[Please feel free to share with credit]

What I learnt in 2018

At the close of 2018 I was asked to contribute to a collective of teachers for the Yoga Matters blog

Laura Swann, Doula and Birthlight Perinatal Yoga Teacher

My biggest take away for 2018  was ‘surrender’. In the way of the priestess, I believe the cycle of the year begins anew in the autumn. That time in 2017 I lost a parent that I had cared for through a terminal illness and in doing so also become the matriarch of my family. As 2018 began I birthed a son and began the transformation into motherhood. I tell all my clients and students that motherhood and babies are the biggest lesson in surrender. In parallel to this expansion I have also been working hard continuing to build my business. I now feel a deep sense of knowing that my challenges have called me to see that I am worthy of my dreams and in doing so I have had to set boundaries, love and believe in myself and at the same time hold deep compassion for others on their journey without needing to fix or rescue them from it. Our souls don’t always choose the easy path but I believe they choose the one for the greater expansion of all of us.

Full piece full of collective wisdom here: https://www.yogamatters.com/blog/what-we-learnt-in-2018/

A Non-Medical Intervention

I have been prompted into deep thought today following a discussion with a doula colleague regarding the subtleties of the birthing environment. Particularly regarding communication and language. 

How an opinion - well meaning - but not actual fact - which may not be hugely considered from the mothers perspective may influence and potentially undermine her delicate labouring body-mind. And how ultimately a lack of consideration for the language used or the energy it possesses could change the course of her labour. For instance a mother who feels empowered and confident about her birth could be led off course simply by being given opinion of her situation. Whether that opinion is correct or not, once given it thoroughly undermines her sense of herself, her instinct and ultimately her power. 

What exists in the labour room can be a real power imbalance. When a woman is moving through labour and thus in a totally different realm she is somewhat vulnerable. Her birth partners are there to protect that vulnerability whilst she gets on with birthing her child into the world. 

Equally we can consider how we might be able to use language to assist a labouring woman when things have not gone 'to plan'. Holding her space means to be carefully tuned into her needs and energy. From this place you are in a powerful position to recognise that fine line between, for instance, pain and suffering. In some cases a woman may have good reason to feel that she has something to prove and will push herself to her limits. I think most birth workers would agree that birth is not something to be conquered. It is in fact a deep surrender. Otherwise the only battle you are waging is against yourself. As a keeper of the energy surrounding birth you are in a very powerful position to hopefully recognise when she needs more support and encouragement. Also when she may need you to say that it's ok to ask for help. I've seen the sense of relief that washes over someone who has fought the good fight but is depleted. No (wo)man is an island. Preparing women to be fluid, adaptable and to take what they need when they need it is another part of this sometimes long and arduous journey. 

In birth as in life we can only truly respond in the present moment. Energy is wasted and fears govern when we look too far forward or backwards. Perhaps you have come across F.E.A.R (False.Evidence.Appearing.Real). When we are dealing with the subtleties of hormones as a governing factor of birth it is so important we stay present, focussed and bring with us the energy someone needs from us to in order to best support them...but that's another chapter...

'Words are the most powerful drug known to man', Rudyard Kipling 

 

 

The (I'm)Perfect Honour of Humanity & an Ode to our Temples

You Are Fluidity Encased in Stability

Your expansion and contraction have no end or beginning - they merely meet so beautifully that you could not possibly tell them apart for they are extinct one without the other

Your softness has edges but these edges through careful artistry of introspection can be dissolved to reveal yet further viscosity - they wait...whispering to you to peel them back like a thick red velvet curtain to reveal your secrets. Perhaps pain, or sorrow or a riddle...another gateway...another door 

Fragments of your histories lie nestled in the folds and creases, dormant until discovery like buried treasure...maybe you've been here before but now with new eyes, with new heart. Creating space, ease and compassion - your attention teases them into revealing themselves. Whatever you thought you knew may shape-shift into new understanding. These new elements of discovery enrich and grow you like fertiliser to the seed. The ever evolving cycles softly flow beneath a rigid encasement of imposed ideals. 

Self love enriches your experience so that you begin to see clearly your true interconnected reality. In the midst of dissolving your edges you become one with other - all boundaries disperse. You see all sides, understand every aspect.

Head or tail reveal in perfect symmetry - beginning begets end - tumbling together in a perfect stormy circle - ever flowing

To dive in, to experience, to get messy to be brave and fearless ... the choice my love is ALWAYS yours ...  

 

By The Holistic Doula

[Please share with credit]

 

The Crisis of Connection – A yearning for Belonging

On Christmas morning I got in the car and wound my way along the oddly quiet motorway to join a huge team of beautiful souls at the Deptford Crisis for Christmas centre. I had volunteered my time as a yoga teacher. 

Christmas can be a desolate time for those living on the streets. With the abundance of so many others highlighting a severe lack of money, food or company. 

I was welcomed into a group of amazing people who come together to share their skills, wisdom and stories with those who have found their way into the cracks of societies metaphorical and physical pavements. People who make the lack all the more bearable by simply offering their time. 

Crisis sets up centres all across the capital and beyond for the full Christmas period. This one alone blew my mind so to imagine many others just as vibrant and inviting was wonderful. There is every service imaginable being offered and to my personal delight – even Reiki.

The activities on offer provide an array of ways for homeless people to enjoy Christmas – whether its just simply to eat and share a Christmas cracker, have a chat, watch TV, learn a new skill, get some healthcare, to sing karaoke or have a massage. I had a lump in my throat witnessing what can be accomplished by some very willing and kind individuals. 

I was deeply humbled by those who came to participate in the sessions to practice mindfulness and meditation. For people who struggle day in, day out to have their basic needs met - it had the potential to be very overwhelming. 

If you have ever meditated in a close circle you might know how powerful that experience can be. That in the silence you can feel the energy as it settles, hear the breath of another person and in that moment realise just how beautiful, precious and magic life is. We shared our softly lit library space with a chap in a gentle slumber catching up on some sleep in the corner. I have never felt happier to hear someone asleep during meditation! 

Despite what I came to offer, my best memories are the conversations I had. Many of those shared moments will stay with me. In their simplicity they were so beautiful. 

As a yoga teacher it has reminded me more than ever how powerful facilitating and holding a safe space for introspection is. That anyone and everyone has an individual struggle which can be met without judgement or comparison and warrants space for unfolding, healing and peace. 

When you peel human experience back to its rawest form there is always a basic need for contact from other human beings. To feel a connection, a belonging, an implicit understanding.

During the day I was told on many occasions that the hardest thing to bear is feeling 'other'. At the very least we can all spare a moment of eye contact. Of acknowledgement. Better yet a smile. A tiny act of compassion can go a very long way. To quote a good friend:

"I see you, you matter, and you are not alone"

When I got home - I watched Christmas like an outsider for a few moments like a child looking at the perfect Christmas scene through the window in a Dickens novel. I've never been more grateful for what I have. I squeezed everyone a little tighter that night.

-------

On a very practical note - it’s getting extremely cold. If you see someone that is sleeping rough please contact Street Link: 

Street Link 0300 5000914 - 24 Hour Hotline http://www.streetlink.org.uk/ 

Thank you to Crisis for the gift of Christmas http://www.crisis.org.uk/ - And don't forget that a variety of volunteers are needed all throughout the year. 

http://www.crisis.org.uk/news.php/1050/crisis-at-christmas-2015-film

It's all good

Today I read this sentence about an abandoned and dilapidated building that was to be restored. I thought it was so beautiful “She will be renovated but her rawness, wear and history will not be erased, but instead integrated" I thought this was a bit like how we should practice and teach yoga - embracing who we are fully, that we need to acknowledge that we are perfectly imperfect. For our patterns and history all serve on our evolution to wholeness. Your story is unique and beautiful but you are also intrinsically treading the path meeting another of yourself every day... 

Yoga is your Journey

There is very little you need to pack - just a few essentials: yourself, an inquiring mind and an open heart.

Much like any journey you will encounter new experiences, you may have a few delays and lose some baggage. You will almost certainly pick up some new things along the way. Your perspective may be altered, perhaps your beliefs about yourself transformed. You may decide you don't ever want to return home, but by then you may have realised that home was in you all along.

So if you can remember to: play with the innocence of a child, inquire and be open to what comes along, leave judgement behind - the only thing you need to do is pay attention, trust the process and breathe.

Thoughts on yoga

Yoga is a practice designed to bring you towards your true Self.

With our modern lifestyles we find it really difficult to allow ourselves the space for transformational self development.

Meditation, breathing with ease and moving with awareness can allow this process to blossom.

A yoga practice is designed to get you into the realm of experience in your body (your body includes your mind). No matter what that means, good or bad (working through what comes up for you). It allows you to connect so meaningfully that you can be present and fulfilled with non attachment. We are beautiful beings given the choice and freedom to live. It's not a goal for a perfect external appearance but a quiet centered process of being in tune with your experience. It will continually challenge you to confront yourself, to remind you to be open and at peace rather than to struggle and grasp. By living mindfully and in touch with experience in its rawest form we are open to navigate life with 'open eyes' - an awareness that allows a more meaningful connection with everything and everyone.  

My dad has been a huge inspiration to me - as he puts it 'wrapping my sandwiches in a road map' - encouraging me to find beauty in every being that touches my path. They are part of the rich tapestry of the journey that informs who you are - and who you are is so much greater than your physical self. It is through the journey of experience of the Self that you realise the inter connectivity and beauty of what we are. That we share one collective consciousness. When you can get to the point where you can release your physical body from activity and turn inward, that is when the beauty of the subtle body becomes apparent

The answers you seek are within you

This is why it is a practice