Giving Birth (and Grapefruit Spoons)

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The spiral of life–pen and ink with wash, by me
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Today is G-day!

Today is G-day, another Great day in the A to Z blogging challenge.  At the end of week 1, I am already thinking of all the other, probably more interesting, things I could have written about so far.  But not for today, at least not until I hit the publish button!

I’m reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (ooh–another G!), who also wrote Eat, Pray, Love. I’m really enjoying it!  One of her chapters is about persistence.  She writes about how, over many years of writing, she began to see the patterns, the cycles, of her own writing.  For her this includes, for example:

“Ah,” I learned to say when I would inevitably begin to lose heart for a project just a few weeks after I’d enthusiastically begun it.  “This is the part of the process where I wish I’d never engaged with this idea at all.  I remember this.  I always go through this stage.” (pages 146-147)

I’ve learned to see some patterns in my own life, and it has been very useful to me.  Which brings me to the first part of my theme for today–Giving Birth.

 

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Giving birth–acrylic on canvas board by me

I gave birth to 2 amazing daughters, one in February 1991 and the other in February 1995.  They were both born at home and both were amazing experiences.

When Rachel, my first, was being born, I was well into labor when I came to a decision:

I changed my mind.  I don’t want to have a baby.  I am not going to have a baby.

Of course that’s ridiculous, and I knew it was at the time.  Sometimes it’s too late to change your mind and this was one of those times.  I also didn’t mention this to anyone at the time!

My midwife told me that I was in transition.  And an hour or so later, Rachel was born.

Four years later, I was in labor again.  It was the middle of the night.  I was alone in the bathtub.  They always tell you to try to rest during early labor–ha, ha! that’s easy for them to say.  The midwife had come and gone earlier in the day when we thought the contractions were five minutes apart. She explained that we’d been timing them wrong and left.  My husband (now ex) was asleep and I, as I said, was in the tub.  All of a sudden I had a thought:

I changed my mind.  I don’t want to have a baby.  I am not going to have a baby.

Then I remembered–this is what happened the last time when I was in transition.  So I just let that thought be.

My next thought was that I was about to have a baby and I couldn’t get out of the bathtub and I was alone.  I definitely had a moment of panic.  Then I did a little meditation.  I’d been meditating for many years at that point.

I had a vision of Avelokiteshvara, who is the boddhisattva who embodies the compassion of all the Buddhas.  I’d been working with him in my meditation for a while.  As soon as I “saw” him, a feeling of calm came over me.  I called for my husband a few times.  Eventually he woke up, came in, ran out of the room to call the midwife, came back as Gabrielle was crowning, ran out again to, as I later found out, call our friend/neighbor who is a midwife, and came back in time to catch Gabrielle, who lay peacefully in my arms until first our neighbor Noreen, the midwife arrived and then a while later our other midwife arrived.  Noreen still says that if she hadn’t stopped to brush her teeth, she would have arrived in time to help with Gabi’s birth.  Still, I was very happy to see her.

I’m glad I didn’t change my mind either time–my daughters have been a huge blessing and the source of much joy and love in my life.  They have been my best teachers.

It really helped that second time that I recognized the transition.  But here’s the thing, all sorts of creative endeavors go through transitions.  I have many times felt that way:

I changed my mind.  I don’t want to (fill in the blank).  I am not going to (fill in the blank).

With most other creative endeavors, it is possible to stop.  And sometimes I have.  Other times, though, I’ve recognized this as a phase and just breathed through it, maybe taken a break and done something else for a while (not an option during real active labor).  And eventually, it passes.  Nothing I’ve created is as wonderful as those two women, but it doesn’t really matter.  Persistence is important to me.  Creating is important to me.  Learning is also important to me.

Elizabeth Gilbert writes :

Here’s how I’ve learned to deal with my fear.  I  Made a decision  a long time ago that if I  want creativity in my life–and I do–then I will have to make space for fear, too.

Plenty of space.

I decided that I would need to build an expansive enough interior life that my fear and my creativity could peacefully coexist, since it appeared that they would always be together. (page 24).

While I haven’t said it so eloquently, I have come to the same conclusion.  For me, fear is part of the creative process.  I still get really nervous when I speak in front of a group.  I don’t do it very often, but every time I don’t sleep much the night before and I can’t stop thinking about what I’m going to say.  But now I know that that is part of my process.  I can’t stop it, but by letting it be, I’m not so upset.  And I know even when I’m nervous that once I get started, I will be just fine.  Because the truth is, I actually enjoy talking to people.  It sounds simple, but it took me a really long time to figure it out.

And finally, here’s part 2 of todays theme:  The Grapefruit Spoon

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It’s a late addition to my idea for today.  But to me, the grapefruit spoon is a thing of wonder.  Getting to use a grapefruit spoon is reason enough for me to eat a grapefruit.  I did a quick google search to see if I could find out who invented it, but didn’t find much.  But kudos to whoever did.  It’s an amazing invention.

I am a writer, handworker, artist and teacher (a WHAT!), and a mom of two beautiful daughters who are amazingly 17 and 21. I am working on getting my first book, a fantasy novel for young people, published and am busy spinning on my new spinning wheel. I have been a Waldorf early childhood teacher for 10 years now, and before that, I was a lawyer. Teaching is much more fun.

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