When I was a little girl I thought I could do anything, be anyone, that I possessed limitless, magical powers, and anything I could conjure or dream, could be mine. The doorway to any adventure I could devise seemed wide open, available, and welcoming me to step inside. My small limber body, bursting to overflowing with aliveness could take on any form needed. It could jump and run, bend and twist, mold and form into any shape necessary to fit into and fill any place I needed to go. I could crawl effortlessly beneath tables, squeeze under beds, hide in closets, and build secret forts in even the smallest of places. I dreamed of slipping easily into the hollow of an old oak tree and how the wonderful coolness and woody scent would envelope and hold me. I was sure I could enter into the softness and flow of any stream, to commune with the fish, and be carried along with the waters flow. I thought of cuddling with soft, downy, newly hatched friends in the hollow of a bird’s nest. I had such an inner freedom that I was certain no matter how far from my reach, or how high off the ground, no place was beyond my keen and ever faithful imagination’s sweep or grip.
As the years scurried by, piling themselves one atop the other, I began to realize that my body had become large and cumbersome. I wondered at times how it might feel to shed this tired, careworn, and restrictive skin, to once again let go and fly with a ladybug’s colorful splash of freedom, or slither like a snake through the coolness of soft, young, spring grass.
Ripening into our days, we so often look wistfully behind, in awe of the grace and stretch of childhood’s trusting, and adventurous reach, surprised that we were once that pixie creature, and wishing we could feel and embody such an effusion of exuberance, daring, and liberation once more. As our expanse of years lengthens and our body stiffens into just so form , like a twisted tree carved and compelled by harsh winds, many never come to recognize that the jail we find ourselves in, is wrought full well of the fears we held dearly onto, the excuses we concocted, and refusals we forged against life’s adventurous invitations, choosing instead our to-do lists, self-imposed responsibilities, and struggling, straining efforts to control, direct, and contain life in a safe and manageable form, which only serves to shrink the size of our prison cell all the more. Burdened and bent with the weight of personally conceived and constructed goals and expectations, we never see that we ourselves are the very ones who have built the prison walls that constrain us, and too, we are the same ones who hold the key. We are the prison guards, having the ability to turn the lock at any time, with a simple choice to step beyond the bars, be here now, fully inhabit the wonders of present moment mindfulness, and say yes to life.
Within the confines of our cell we forget, or let go the need to maintain and deepen our relationship to the mystery of life. We need reminders that the place we feel most alive is at the very center of all that is unknown, all that cannot be mapped in advance, the trail we have not yet journeyed upon, the very eye of the storm of uncertainty and groundlessness. When the sureness of our footing is challenged and the very earth seems to want to give way beneath our every foot fall, if we can quiet our anxious and potential-peril- warning- mind, and slip all at once into the enveloping waters of the unknown, allowing them to carry us, without struggle, wherever they will, it is there that we will find our place of liberation, of rest, refreshment, exhilaration, and peace, for it is in so doing that we let go, surrender, accept, welcome, and say Yes to life.
In some ways, a doula is like that long lost, pixie child, still bursting with the knowledge of all you could be, all that can be yours, all that is easily in your grasp. We run ahead playing follow the leader, holding high the torch that illuminates the bold way through to the magic, mystery, and adventure we never doubt you will discover, if only you will be bold enough to reach out and take hold of it. Our hearts are forever waving you ahead, like a sprite of a girl calling to her mates, “come on, this way to the magic, just over this hill lies the treasure, just at the top of this branch, or the end of this tree limb, or this fallen log across the stream, is where all the riches can be found, if only you will trust me and follow on.”
We talk, laugh, tell stories, and watch for the gleam in your eye, that says, Yes! I get it, and alerts us that you are ready to enter fully into the mystery. With great and glorious joy unbound then, like two eager, conspiring, mischievous imps, we plot and plan, draw up our treasure maps, mark our x’s, gather our crew, raise our flag, and do whatever it takes to prepare for us to set sail upon the exotic or uncharted seas that will lead us to this marvelous land just beyond the horizon. A land that you have not yet seen, but one you can dream into being, one that you can journey to, one upon whose distant shores you can plant your flag of liberation, adventure, joy, love, and discovery. If only you will follow this treasure map that we help you to brainstorm and devise, and like laughing, pixie, pirate mates, stand upon the ships bow, faces fully to the wind, breathing in the fullness of the salt sea air, unexplored waters, and let go into the adventure of wherever our ship might sail, the treasure will be yours.
So what will your choice be, to stand wistfully and impotently wishing, but not reaching for the dream- come- true- times of that long lost, young and adventurous, fairy girl, with the keys to your cell sitting in your own pocket, unused,
to don the paper pirate hat, take up your tree branch sword, climb boldly upon whatever rock or fallen tree, or high hill you will imagine together as your ship, and follow its course to a land of your every birth dream come true? The choice is fully yours, stand back allowing fear to hide the keys and hold you captive, or let go, surrender, open to, welcome, and say yes to life, with whatever twists and turns it conjures along this wild, wondrous, and adventurous ride toward motherhood?
If you are ready, my fanciful, dauntless, daredevil, scallywag of a sea dog friend, then I too will be hornswaggled and happy to join yer crew, hoist the colors, weigh anchor, and set sail to the birth land of your dreams. ( And truly, if you can let go your imagination to dream and dramatize your glorious birth into being, its only practice for the headlong, hand in hand, mysterious, whimsical, legendary, and life- long exploits to come, with the one who pops from the fortune laden sea chest we unearth, your precious coconspirator in crime and joy, your beautiful baby girl or beguiling baby boy.)