Rebirth: The Darkness & The Light
“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
This week has been over the top. I experienced something incredible that will forever change me. In a world desperately craving hope and light, i’m reminded that everything pales in comparison to this: new life. I became an aunt for the first time on Sunday. Welcoming a new precious little baby girl into the world has halted life as I know it and spawned a rebirth of sorts inside me.
I’m coming to you this week from the storybook hills, winding roads, and sun-dappled redwoods of Northern California, Mendocino County to be specific. That’s where my sister, brother, and new niece live. It’s lovely—a little isolated for my taste, but a welcomed change from the steady drip of burgeoning Nashville congestion and my recent time in LA.
Life and busyness have stood still in these enchanted hills for the past week in some ways. Torrential rains have flooded the area, throwing the roads and soil into whiplash on the heels of a five-year draught. The main road down into town collapsed on Tuesday morning, leaving us with no clear way out. No Target runs, no last-minute grocery store visits, no Netflix either. Due to all the rain, the solar power has been low in the house so we’ve had to conserve energy. Oh, so no hair tools either. I’m convinced God has a very dry, very witty sense about him…I mean come on…have you met me? I’m not exactly a “camper”.
In other ways, life has exploded everywhere in our hearts with the arrival of Estella West Brandon. She’s purely exquisite, a gift of beauty so magical and true—I get it now. She didn’t come easy though. In fact, witnessing her mother’s pregnancy journey and all-natural birth was a soul crushing battle at times. Lauren is stunning and strong beyond belief. She and Mother Nature were both forces to be reckoned with this week.
If you’ve ever witnessed, or better, had a natural childbirth, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever experienced complications in the midst of a natural childbirth like my sister did, you’re already a card-carrying MVP of the Badass Club. My hat’s off to you. There is darkness, hopelessness, exhaustion, and excruciating pain that comes before the light of life crosses its threshold into this world. It’s scary…almost violent.
This struggle is beautifully metaphorical for the spiritual and emotional renewal and rebirth we long to experience. I’m reminded of this as I observe all the changes and seeming inconveniences of motherhood. Quite simply, if we want to see change, things must change, and that’s painful. Here are some high-watt lightbulbs that went off for me this week.
Lean into the pain
Thirty-two hours of labor later, Lauren knew exactly just how much pain her body could endure. What I beheld, (yes, she let me stay in the room throughout), was this stunning dance with the pain. She didn’t run from it, avoid it, hell, she did’t even have drugs (???)—she leaned into the pain, leveraging its power. Mic drop.
Friends, this is for you and me! When we run from our pain whether through avoidance, busyness, or numbing, we actually prolong it. The fastest way through our struggle is not around it; we must journey into its center in order to find freedom. It’s a spiritual journey-one sacred beyond belief.
Teamwork is key
We’ve gotta build a team. I use the word “build” intentionally. This team doesn’t just appear overnight, we must seek it out. In Lauren’s case, there was a doula, a midwife, nurses, her loving partner, Sky, family, and a community of friends who had traversed the rocky road right by her side.
What does your team look like as you make the brave journey into the rebirth and newness you long for? A coach, a therapist, a mentor, a community group, a trusted friend, all of the above? If I’ve said anything on this platform worth repeating its this: we grow in relationship, not in isolation. Who’s on your dream team? Build it.
The thread of relief at every point along the way is our breath. It’s not talking, it’s not thinking, it’s breathing. This is so apparent in childbirth, it’s almost exaggerated. Incidentally, it’s the one thing that connects us to the present moment, allowing us to lean into the pain and not run away. Deep breathing is cleansing, calming, and healing. Our bodies physically can’t stay in panic mode when we’re tethered by the breath.
We spend far too much time in our minds, analyzing and escaping the present moment. If there is one practical tool that’s given me relief from anxiety and depression along the way, it is the gift of breath-mindfulness. Simple? Yes, of course—as are most things in life that really create lasting change. You’re smart though, and smart people tend to overcomplicate things.
I want to leave you with this thought: you are far stronger than you realize. Courage shows up in discomfort and discomfort always signals opportunity, rebirth. This week if you find yourself in a tight place, with waning hope and weary bones, take heart. I’ve never seen a darker night loom before the brightest dawn of new life as I did Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm. As my talented dear friend, Anna, always says, “You never know what a day will bring.”
You, my friend, are wildly strong and beautiful and I’m in your corner, cheering you on, big time!
Love & Gratitude,