The Birth of Venus Sandro Botticelli
Recently I had a dream that I was very, very pregnant and going into labor. The labor pains were real and vivid, exactly how I'd experienced them in my waking life. If you have been in labor, you know what I am talking about. There is nothing that I have experienced physically, that approximates the pains of labor in the body. So, it was very interesting to experience them in my dream, almost seven years after last having a child. I'd completely forgotten the sensations.
In the dream I was hailing a taxi, and none of them were stopping. Finally a woman stopped, and helped me into the car. She didn't drive me to the hospital, however. She drove me to some sort of show, and pointed out a spectacle of a woman moving around in a spiral labyrinth.
Every time I had a contraction, I found myself leaning into perfect strangers--holding an arm for support, steadying myself by leaning into a body for stability--closing my eyes, but aware that I needed help, and not hesitating to ask for it. I had no choice when the pain became so intolerable. I needed help and I reached for it.
In between wake and sleep, the words came to me, you are birthing the Self. I sat up in bed, taking in the richness of having been swollen again with life in my dream. Only, this time, this birth was about the Life within me, that was me.
This dream's significance was easily recognizable, and has deepened in importance as I have reflected on my waking state.
For a long time now, I have been saying to anyone who will listen, we can't do this life alone, and perhaps we were never meant to.
A while ago, I had a thought come to me, that felt so profound and earth shattering to my world, that I wrote it down and hung it up where I could look at it daily. It reads: Maybe there are certain things we need others to give us, not in a needy kind of way, but in a letting in love beyond measure kind of way.
This thought showed me another world, where it wasn't just up to me to shape my experience, running myself ragged with trying to get it right. In fact, it might not have even been possible all along. I just might not have all the keys to the Kingdom by myself.
But something inside of me had to learn how to let others in--to let them see my naked fears, my shame, my vulnerabilities without me slamming shut as soon as they saw a peek--and not only my fears, but, my joys, my epiphanies, my triumphs, my clarity! How often had I apologized-- felt guilty or immodest for sharing the good parts?
I found that I could no longer exist in a perpetual mode of hiding either side of the coin. If I couldn't stand the sight of my vulnerabilities, then they held me captive. And if I couldn't share my joys, what was the point?!
Somehow in showing others my monsters, they became less scary and mostly laughable. And sharing my joys just got easier and easier, as it allowed everyone to come to the party! And the best part is I now had someones to laugh silly about my fears with me, and someones to voyage with into a new and vibant world with me.
Hands down, the most surprising thing is when we find out that we are loved despite our being imperfect, and when our experience is honored-- when we are told how magical, beautiful, and lovable we are.
It humbles me that I have needed something as painful as labor pains in my waking life, to open up my experience, to force me into opening up to others, and accessing a very different part of my experience--one where I reach out to be a part of something greater, instead of playing it safe behind safe familiar barriers, (which really just kept me slowly dying to life). These labor pains have forced me to connect with those around me in more than just a superficial way--in a real way. To create fertile ground together, for our new selves to flourish. These deeper connections have helped me to get clearer about who I am, what I want, and the what I can ask for. And they have cheered on the asking!
We've shown up together without all the answers, but with a whole lot of stories unique to us, and newborn faith, even weak hope--which has become stronger. We have been allowed by our togetherness, to hold our experience a little looser, cradled by the love surrounding our sharing, until we absorb what we need into our awareness, and we can let our stories transform--let it tell us secrets about ourselves, our desires, our purpose, our unique blue print, and what beauty within us that wants to be erected. And there is a wild celebration when the first brick is laid.
Or maybe we simply let our stories go--FINALLY! A natural letting go that comes from a surrender, a willingness to hold hands and focus into something new and possible.
In letting go there has been no loss, because something has long taken its place--and all the time we were birthing new eyes, so that we could actually see--and of course, it was there in front of us all the time.
I realize that without the pain, I wouldn't have had to stretch myself in new ways, learning to yield to parts of myself wanting to become braver--bypassing the parts that have begged to stay small and alone. I realize that without the pain, stretching me into new shapes, I would have remained blind and stuck in the womb.
Pain has this amazing ability to move us toward finding that which will most help us to thrive.