I’ve been re-reading Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. and was talking to a girlfriend about connecting to our place of inner power, our intuitive wisdom, and inviting the perspective of our inner knower and wolf more fully into our everyday lives.
In preparing for the rite of passage of giving birth a woman needs to focus on her inner power, as Clarissa Pinkola Estes said "A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving. Yet separation from the wildish nature causes a woman's personality to become meager, thin, ghosty, spectral. We are not meant to be puny with frail hair and inability to leap up, inability to give chase, to birth, to create a life. When women's lives are in stasis, ennui, it is always time for the wildish woman to emerge; it is time for the creating function of the psyche to flood the delta...It means to establish territory, to find one's pack, to be in one's body with certainty and pride regardless of the body's gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one's behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one's cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as we can." Birth as a rite of passage, is just like every other coming of age ritual in a person’s life. It is hard and intense but when you trust in the process you will came on the other side as a fully conscious human been, full of wonder, love and unrelenting curiosity.
Your first rite was your own birth when you had to leave your mother’s womb and slide down into dark tunnel with the promise of a reunion with your mother. It was a jump into the big unknown. The pressure to leave increased with every hour and every minute. The body of your mother was expelling you, guiding you towards the dark tunnel; you were either ready and eager, or reluctant and stubborn. You either came with ease and grace or with force knives or forceps. But you came and eventually were held in your mother’s arms and you were full of wonder, love and unrelenting curiosity.
From your mother’s bosom you looked around and explored the new territory with all its peoples, places and things, all the wonders you only imagined while in your mother’s womb. Then came the day where you wanted to go and explore on your own. You tentatively left your mother’s side and crawled into the unknown running back as soon as something startled you. Slowly you gained more self confidence and you raised yourself from the ground and stepped forward. From that moment on you were on a journey away from the mother and onto your own life experience.
From zero to three years old you lived in your first chakra, understanding the world from the tribal point of view of your family. Survival was your only goal, you depended on your mother for everything and you focused only on your small nucleolus, your home, family and your parent’s friends. From three to six you switched your focus to the second chakra; you needed to carve a place for yourself outside the family, outside your personal tribe. You slowly began to understand that things can be different even opposite of what you know. In this time you learn about relationships with others, it is around this time most of us begin going to school or frequent some other form of socialization. Here is when you experience the power of choice, be friend with this little girl and not that. Be accepted by this group and not that. You became conscious of the us (children) and them adults.
Between six and twelve you entered the realm of the third chakra: developing a sense of self, how you feel about yourself determined the quality of your life. Children between the ages of six and twelve years old don't grow as quickly as they do in their first six years; their bodies aren't changing as dramatically as they will during adolescence. The growth is more internal. You are becoming a self the ego has its first struggle to surmount, to win over your higher self.
Even though your thinking was becoming more complex, in this age group you still thought in concrete terms. This means you were most concerned with things that were "real" rather than with ideas. In the later part of middle childhood, you began to show the first signs of puberty. Your bodies began to develop the same proportions as an adult body. Your breast may have grown breast buds and your hips widened, which lead you right into the forth chakra the love chakra of the years between twelve and sixteen. In this phase of your life you discovered the power of emotions. At this delicate time you dwelled in the central powerhouse of human energy. The middle chakra mediates between body and spirit. It is a powerful rite of passage in a very confusing time of a person’s life. You thrived on arguments and discussions, your body was going through enormous changes, you needed to withdraw from your parents who you felt inevitably did not understand you. You reached the point where you would have to jump into adulthood and needed to rebel from the old familial ties in order to have the courage to leap.
As a young woman you were preparing to flee the nest and be on your own. Some of you did it early, in your fifth chakra the one that rules sixteen through nineteen years of age. The rebellion years the separation is dramatic, often exhibited in running away, angry, sad, forceful. This is the age of expression of demanding the truth, speaking your mind, establishing your voice in the world. The separation might also have been more subtle though through going away to college and never coming back. Still it had its dramatic stealthiest. Or you where one of those who left in the subsequent time between nineteen and twenty two were as you were dwelling in the sixth chakra where you had a vision, a glimpse of your future life. You chose the vision of your future life and left the nest often to follow a career a calling. Some of you waited a bit longer and left in full seventh chakra between the ages of 23 to 26 where your spiritual connection became strong, the connection with your higher self or the Divine. Some have done it gracefully, some just married and packed their bags with tears in their eyes, and others like me severed the cord painfully, crossed the great ocean and disappeared from their mother’s sight for four long years.
No matter when it happened or how when the moment came you needed to let a previous phase of live simply ”die” in its present incarnation and face with the next big leap of faith the unknown.
Finally giving birth is yet another rite of passage that brings a woman to full circle. In giving birth one experiences her own birth her own flight into the unknown this time from the other side. You face the unknown of birth, of your body taking over and bringing forth a new life, a life that is destined to slowly but inexorably begin its passage through you and away from you.
All rites of passage are intense and painful; they feel similar to jumping from one ledge to another of the Grand Canyon.
In order to jump to the other side one has to make a leap of faith. Words like trust, patience, come to mind as well as courage, strength and power.
But the two ledges we have to jump to and from sometimes feel like an impossibility, in order to jump we first need to walk back to have enough room, enough of a run up for the jump to succeed. As you run back through your life you must look around and find what did not work, let go of what weighs you down. Forgive, let go, rebirth a new self, mend heal. The work needed is to give you enough energy to run as fast as you can and jump as high. One cannot gather enough energy to jump from one ledge when distracted by the prettiness and comfort of the before, unwilling to prepare for the future not just in things but in self-exploration. At time one must be angry, courageous, and ready to run as fast as the wind will take her, and jump and land on the other side on her feet.
Often the people around you, providers, friends and even mothers try to distract you from your aim with woes of fear tales of pain, solution of drugs, promises of numbness, enticements of speed via inductions or convenient scheduling of cesareans. That’s when you must become like the wolf “robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving.”
So I say onto you let your child come into this world as he/she chooses, don’t be so consumed by what you can and cannot take, what you can and cannot do, do not feel complacent in her being in your womb in fear of what will be. Take a leap of faith in your ability to do what every woman was built to do (have a child) step back and take aim, let go of the ne-Sayers, the worriers, the ones who tell you or scare you with their story. Prepare yourself to run as fast as the wind will take you and jump from the ledge of womanhood onto the one of motherhood.
Giuditta Tornetta is a bestselling author (Painless Childbirth), doula, clinical hypnotherapist, CEO and founder of JoyInBirthing.com and the JoyInBirthingFoundation.org (a volunteer doula organization.) Giuditta has authored and has been interviewed in hundreds of magazines articles worldwide She teaches women around the world how to activate their womb power and manifest the life they desire.