A simple prayer for the pregnant woman.
May we honor your beliefs, your practices; May we honor your body, mind and soul; May we honor your baby, your family, your relations; the world from where you have come, the world to where you are going, the world through which you move today, with grace and gratitude, compassion and connection. May we honor this in and for all.
Pregnancy, birth, motherhood. Creating family, creating life, being life.
Let us view the birthing continuum as the Sacred Transformation it is.
Let us honor the Divine in it, in us, in everything around us.
Let us honor the spiritual within us, within this evolving wonder called life.
Finding the spiritual in everything you do.
Start by seeing. Deeply feeling. Then doing. Then being.
Be her now.
Where do we begin?
- Start with random acts of kindness. Remember back in the ‘90s, in contrast to the “Me” era of the 80’s, we consciously worked towards random acts of kindness? It became the hip thing to do. For good reason. Think about those reasons. Then give it a try. Do a random act of kindness. Start with once a week. Better yet, once a day. It’s easy. Get creative. Challenge yourself. Have fun with it. It’s contagious!
- Consider gratitude. This is an easy one to forget, and an easy one to appreciate when we do remember. Remind yourself. Get in the habit of appreciating. Keep a list of ten things a day you are grateful for. The more you see, the more there is. Limiting your list to ten becomes harder and harder to do.
- Find awe. Every day. In everything, everyone. Or at least something, someone, once a day. Maybe a sunset. A bird bathing in a downspout. A child dancing in the rain. A baby sleeping with bliss at the breast. A stranger holding the door for an elderly lady. It’s easy for me here. I live surrounded by the wilds. Nature is awe inspiring indeed! Likewise, I have a friend in New York City whose life mission is sharing the amazing stuff that people do every day. Simple stuff sometimes, like that person holding the door, or the grocer who passes on outdated food to those in need, or the regular guy whose daily practice includes picking up the trash he walks by. So it’s kind of like seeing those random acts of kindness. Then appreciating them with gratitude. Then feeling them, and the bigger picture from which they were created, with awe.
See the spirit within you, around you. In everyone, in everything.
Feel the stillness, for in there quietly rests the spirit.
Partake in the laughter. Is not the spirit singing there too?
Find the spirit in one single breath. Honor that breath. Then think about every breath you take. The miracle in this simple act to which we need not notice, but without which we do not live.
Open the spirit through sharing. Giving. Nurturing. Joining.
Maybe in the power of prayer. In practice, discipline, commitment, taking the time, making the time.
Look, seek, find, and celebrate.
The divine in me honors the divine in you…
Considering spiritual practice and spirituality.
For many of us, midwifery (as is motherhood) is a spiritual calling and thus a part of our essential spiritual practice. Our work, as is birth (and life), is a Sacred Transformation for which we are honored to witness and serve. Time and deeds are an essential part of our tithing, our giving, our offering.
One teacher reminds me, “Widen your gaze.” It’s about understanding. Everything on the planet. Without judgment, closing, or criticism. With an open heart and mind.
Be open! Explore! Expand!
I remind myself: Try… Experiment. Excavate. Find, then use what works for you and respect the space of others. Learn, try, be open to new things. Commit, practice, go deep in your ever evolving choices. And balance this with surrender, release and flow.
We are here ideally to understand everything. We can learn something from everyone. Find, create or adopt practices that bring expansion and inclusion – rather than separation and contraction.
It’s all about connection.
Spiritual practice is as alive as you are…and as essential as your breath.
Nurturing your spiritual self.
Let’s look at some ways in which we can, if lacking, nourish and nurture our spiritual self.
- Every day. Several times a day.
- Meditate and connect.
- Try chanting, mantras, breathing exercises.
- Reach out – go to a bible study or meditation group or volunteer with a religious organization.
- Go to church, temple, mosque or place of prayer.
- Find the spirit in the wind, the water, the sunrise, the moon’s silver glow.
- Join a church or religious group.
- Partake in a drumming, a ceremony, a spirit quest.
- Read and contemplate.
- Listen – to angels, inner wisdom, divine guidance.
- Sit in nature and commune with the trees.
- Do yoga. (the word ‘yoga’ means to ‘yoke’ together the spirit and body)
- Talk deeply with a friend.
- Express gratitude for you food, the water, the air. Your loved ones. Can you send love even to those you do not love?
- Practice lovingkindness.
- Find appreciation, express gratitude.
- Donate. Volunteer. Tithe.
- Live healthier. (your body is your temple)
Whatever you do, commit. Don’t just try it once. That’s not spiritual, that’s experimental, and that’s great too. That’s how we find what works for us – and opens us to what works for others. But to truly feed your unique spiritual self, one must stick with something. Like creating a lasting relationship. Like feeding the flowers to bring them to bloom. Follow through. Through the good times and bad times. I don’t believe in sticking with it and it being oppressive so you can’t grow or get out. So there is a fine balance there. Use your inner wisdom – you have so much. As long as it feels right – challenging, expanding, loving, connecting, growing – I think you’re onto something. Following practices because it’s what people before you did and the people you know do, well, that’s community, and that’s fine, but that’s not the true spiritual essence. Blind faith has its place, though perhaps more in bringing and keeping groups of people together. As long as that faith does not block others out, you’re probably doing well. As soon as spirituality (often from a prescribed religious practice) shuts others out, creates a sense of division or superiority, one may choose to question the truth and higher values. It might just be time to move on, rather than allow yourself to close off with the oppressive beliefs.
Remember, our spiritual self is part of our whole self. Our spiritual practice is an essential element of our being.
Spirituality and your child.
Finally, a reminder about your spiritual practice and the family you are growing. Spirituality in the family life is often overlooked, overshadowed, or considered unimportant. The choice of course is yours – how to you wish your family to be?
If you do feel a sense of spirituality is of benefit to your growing family, here are some things to think about:
- Practice prayer, meditation and yoga (or any spiritual practice) with your baby present.
- Go to church, temple, nature… where ever you connect, and connect together.
- Teach your child to meditate, pray, practice.
- Read to your child – a holy book. All the holy books.
- Pray or otherwise honor every meal.
- Practice giving – give as a family (donate, volunteer, tithe)
- Express gratitude – give thanks regularly, out loud!
- Honor sacred traditions, or create your own.
- Honor your body, mind and soul, and the body, mind and soul of your child, and the more likely the child will turn honor its own body, mind and soul.
- Honor the sacredness in all people and beings, and respect their personal religious and spiritual choices.
“Healthy families have a sense of a greater good or power in life – a belief that gives them strength and purpose. For some families these beliefs have a traditional religious base; for others they do not. Regardless of spiritual beliefs, in healthy families, parents give their children a clear sense of right and wrong and hold them responsible for their own moral behavior.” – from the wonderful book, Natural Family Living by Peggy O’Mara.