Acts of Labor: A New Year Dawns!

 The more you sense the rareness and value of your own life, the more you realize that how you use it, how you manifest it, is all your responsibility.  We face such a big task, so naturally we sit down for a while.

– Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi

The burden which is well borne becomes light.


 It is Twelfth Night, the Twelfth Day of Christmas; tomorrow Epiphany begins.  Epiphany is a season in the Christian calendar that’s about proclaiming Good News (“Go Tell It on the Mountain”).  And there is good news to tell:  the Holy Child (cosmically and symbolically) arrived once more, the days are lengthening with the sun’s return, and we have moved beyond 2012, into the time beyond the Mayan Calendar.

The Sun, Guatemala City - 2011

A new year dawns!  And yet….

 In more than a few spiritual direction sessions this past week, I sat with clients who were expressing fatigue and fear toward all that needs to happen, seemingly all at once.  Can you relate to this?  2013 feels positively pregnant with importance – personal resolutions, community requests, brittle economies, work demands, business unfinished and choices to make, all of it is so important and it can feel so stress-fully pressing.


When? Where? (Lauren explores Tikal, Guatemala 2011)


The metaphor that keeps appearing for me is a birthing room.  And while I have never been the one physically birthing that fragile little one, who seeks freedom and liberation, I have certainly attended women in labor.  And all of us have been midwives for our own ideas and projects that so desperately wanted us to birth them into being.


Baby Sylas, 2007

And, OH!  Oh, what a sacred and focused effort birthing is!







This is the thrill, the blessing and the challenge of bearing our True Nature in the world.  So often, that which we most love and want to bring forth is accompanied by the fatigue and fear of uncertainty.  Think of it right now: that part of yourself that you wrestle with – perhaps you are ready to bear it for the very first time, or maybe, you’ve done it countless times before but, ever-reliably, it successfully still sets you SMACK on “your edge.”  And so, thrashing and obedient, enticed and terrified, we allow the contractions to happen.


Somewhere, in the excitement, in the urgency, in the discomfort of it all, the one who is laboring realizes that, in order to withstand what’s being asked of her and her body, she must find a pause, a still place to breathe…even as it is happening all around her.


She Who Waits (altar give-away, 2006)


And in my conversations this week, my clients and I spoke of this.  How will we remember the simple, radical act of inserting ourselves into the perceived quickening of this time?  Making real our True Nature, giving birth to ideas, to healing, to projects, is important.  And to do it well, with the care, wisdom and support of others that we so rightly deserve, invites us to do what midwives have instructed through the ages:  Exhale.  Soften.  Notice.


And then, right there, in the messy-middle of it all, the burden becomes light.   Joyful, reverent blessings to you in these first days…Happy 2013!