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Spring 2022 Newsletter



The temperatures have started to ease; we are waking up, again, to the birthing energy of our Great Mother Earth.


Beautiful.


As her soils thaw and become more receptive to the energy of the sun, she awaits the seeds we have prepared through the winter. Each of us, having gone within, strengthening, and fortifying ourselves, we are ready to nurture the projects that promise abundant life over the next several months.


Although many around us have become accustomed to celebrating a new year just after the winter solstice, looking to nature, we can appreciate true signs of renewal that align themselves with the arrival of the spring equinox.  As the trees bud and the early bulbs push their way through frosty soils, we can feel a deep awakening happening in our spirits. This energy inspires us to recommit to ourselves, redefine ourselves, reassuring our minds that we can, in fact, manifest all that we require…and more!


What seeds have you gathered to sow into the soil?  What seedlings have you nurtured that are ready to be transplanted into the earth?  In a time where we have received so much messaging that creates instability, we can, with blessed assurance, rely on the cycles of the earth; the cycles of ourselves.


 At Elemental Birth Rights, we are nurturing our own seedlings.  Some of you may know we launched our Sacred Birth Keeper Practitioner Training Program in January and have been engaged in deep work, preparing our participants to share the fruits of their journeys inward with the external world as part of this year’s harvest.


As we enter a new season and a new cycle, we celebrate our creative centers as an ever-present source of energy and inspiration. Just as our beautiful Earth provides all that sustains us, we are able to access the ideas, creativity, and energy we need to manifest the truth of our deepest desires through our womb connections. What a divine gift! Intending the best for each of us as we begin to peel off the layers of all that is outdated to reveal the fresh innocence of our wombs, hearts, and souls.


For those who have traveled with us since our beginnings, thank you.


Happy New Year.


With Profound Reverence and Gratitude,


Elemental Birth Rites

  1. The doors are open! We LOVE to hear from our community and welcome participation!

  2. If you are inspired by what you read and feel moved to contribute to Elemental BirthWrites, please send your offering to rachaeljean@elementalbirthrites.com


FEATURED: Mothering from your Center by: Tami Lynn Kent


 This season, we continue with the insightful work of Ms. Tami Lynn Kent as she encourages us to seek the resource we need for the tireless tasks of mothering from our own creative centers. In this excerpt, we consider the spiritual nature of mothering in its essence and reflect on the role our children play in strengthening our devotion to Spirit.

Please be inspired!


Mothering as a Spiritual Path

Mothering is a true spiritual path in that it will expand your spirit, make painfully visible your personal limitations, and bring some of the greatest heart-opening moments of bliss—sometimes all in one day.  When you bring forth something new from the center of your being – giving life to a child or a creative manifestation such as a work of art – there is an intensity in this process, like the heat of a kiln as it fires clay. This creative intensity is generated by the immense task of nurturing a new soul while simultaneously becoming aware of one’s inadequacies to do so…


The Mother Place

The uterus is our direct connection to the Great Mother, drawing in the raw potential to manifest and tend our creations.  In Wild Feminine, I shared my experiences of working with the pelvic bowl and the surprising realization that women are typically lacking presence in their creative core. Modern women are generally unaware of how to access their own powerful root source of creative feminine energies, and this contributes to general ambivalence about mothering. Yet, mothering calls us directly back to the home and the center of ourselves. Learning to access the root energies for our mothering enables us to harness this core creative essence for making a soulful life with our children.

The womb is a sacred place, whether we carry children there or cultivate our best creative work.  Forming a relationship with the womb and realigning with this place of mothering are essential to activating the creative potential in all that we do.  Ponder your own relationship with your womb and mothering essence with the following exercise.


Exercise: Creative Essence Meditation

Imagine your creative essence, your mothering capacity.  What does it look like?  How does it feel?  Where do you access it within your body?

Reflect upon how you are presently using your female energy to create or sustain something in your daily life. What inner rhythms or guidance are you following?  Are you nourishing yourself as part of your mothering?  Is this how you desire to use your creative essence?

Ponder your creative desires. What do you love? How does your creative work seek expression?  How can this connect to your mothering?

Imagine a sacred place in the wild, or find a place to sit where you are in direct contact with the earth. Let your center respond to this vision or earth connection. What makes your creative energy come alive?  How does your body feel when you access this potential?

Remind yourself to connect regularly with your own creative wellspring. Garden, sing, or take an art or movement class.  You can even shape your whole day from this inner current.  Let your mothering come from within and take note of the beauty that arises.


Practicing Presence and Tending to Spirit

Within each day and every creative cycle, there is an energy current we can pay attention to and even synchronize with. In doing so, we discover our ability to tend spirit while also attending to the details of living. Trying to make sense of my days with my children, I reached beyond the idea of a schedule based solely on time. Instead of a rigid structure, our schedule was made from the flow of each day.  Any agenda or item on the to-do list could easily shift when a child became tired or ill or required extra comfort. Our rhythm also shifted from season to season or as we had more children and our family needs changed.  Together we moved through creative cycles large and small that evolved as they transitioned from babies to toddlers and to increasingly independent – but still profoundly connected – school aged children and beyond.

Practicing presence, by noticing the movement that infuses a moment or a particular aspect of life, we receive direct connection with the divine. Moving away from outer distractions and instead dropping into pure presence as mothers, we can access the greater energies that are always there to inspire and sustain us.  We begin to witness our blessings as part of our daily routine, nourishing the soul just as naturally as we eat or breathe.

What new rhythms have come in the presence of mothering?

How has your way of being been reinspired?


Embracing the Shadow

 Accepting the path of motherhood will not simply bring you to your place of joy or connection with spirit; rather, it often will reveal where you have blocks.  Like all spiritual journeys, the challenges you encounter will show the psychic debris that has accumulated in your energetic field.

With its rigorous and prolonged period of demands, mothering taxes the body, mind, and soul in a manner similar to a grueling meditation regimen.  On a spiritual retreat, participants often awaken in the early hours of the morning to meditate, placing the body in a zone of discomfort designed to clarify the spirit. Mothering does the same.  The children you attend will assist you in meeting your shadow and finding the obstacles that limit your spiritual growth.

In this process of transformation, the intensity of mothering reveals a woman’s roughest edges.  I thought of myself as a composed and compassionate person until I became a mother.  Then I realized that my thoughtful demeanor actually arose from my ability to control many aspects of my life. Similar to the spiritual seekers who live a comfortable life but then are surprised by the difficult feelings they encounter on a spiritual retreat, I came face to face with my own internal hungers. By entering the often nonlinear path of mothering, where my time was organized by the home-based needs of my infant, I had no choice but to face the stored energies and dormant needs of my spirit, which I had previously managed to ignore.

In mothering from the center, we can also encounter a more authentic self.  Living and growing with children who live entirely in the present moment, fosters authenticity.  Tending children, your world slows down just enough to invite a return to the core, which allows for a more authentic way of being. Be willing to meet the places where your spirit has gone hungry, and tend yourself as well.  Mothering from this central place – from where your children arise – takes you to the heart of what matters and reconnects you with the essence of life.

What mystery does mothering invite you toward?

How are you challenged and blessed by the spiritual journey of mothering?

How can you embrace a particular challenge to receive the blessing?


*******


How willing are we to be shown our distortions so that we may rise to the occasion of repairing them?


How committed are we to allowing our children to raise us as parents, all the while rising them as our children?


How gentle are we to their growing spirits?


How gentle are we to our own?


In this passage, we are reminded of the underlying work that is available to us each moment of our lives.  That we have a purpose as far greater than suggested by the world’s mundane messaging to which we are regularly exposed.  The full continuum of our earthly experience presents opportunity after opportunity for us to deepen our perception, expand our knowing, and exercise a greater measure of compassion toward ourselves and others.  Who better, to hold the mirror of our souls than our children who are pure reflections of our deepest fears and highest aspirations?  Sent straight from Source, they bravely cut to the core of who we are, stretching us to become more of everything we wish to be if we allow ourselves to respond to them in this way.


It can be particularly challenging for those of us who have developed routines to connect and communion with Spirit to gracefully navigate the restructured pace that comes with a new child. The long stretches, delving deep into introspection and reflection, are replaced with attention to a seemingly endless string of needs and interruptions. What if the offering is for us to develop greater focus; to steady our meditation, acknowledging Spirit as the bedrock for all of our activity. As the wisewoman Valerie Patroni says “we, ourselves, become the altars,” living tributes to the Omnipotent, and Omnipresent Mother.


“It’s not happening to you, it’s happening for you.” -Tony Robbins




BEYOND THE RING OF FIRE:

 

Please, On behalf of Our Fathers…


I am listening to a young father in my birthing community lament the trials of his relationship with his daughter’s mother. She is pregnant again, the communication is crumbling, and he is seeking…help?


Support?


From anywhere… to bring his family back into alignment; something he can recognize and resonate with.


I am listening.  Giving space to his moments of confusion, anger, loneliness, sadness, misunderstanding, and silence…all the times he has felt silenced by the idea that it was not his turn to speak. That he did not have the right to comment on an experience that did not include his body because he did not endure the pain of labor. And so, his labor was to yield to every and all that his partner desired without complaint or opposing comment.


Meanwhile inside he is dying. And the compassion that enabled him to love at all is trapped inside of an ever-hardening exterior. 

 

Where is the pressure release? 


Where is the balance? 


How can this be real? 


“Maybe it’d be better if I just left…”

 

Regardless of where or with whom we choose to give birth, we can, without question, recognize childbearing as a deeply transformative experience.  The over culture here, in the United States, conditions us to behave as though the role of our male counterparts, who ultimately produce the seeds responsible for our pregnancies, becomes largely insignificant once fertilization has happened.  Commonly, we (may) share the news of pregnancy with them but then proceed along our internal journeys toward realizing ourselves as new or expanded mothers only stopping to acknowledge “our non-birthing partners” when we are in need of some measure of support.


In the “care” setting, prenatal conversation is almost exclusively geared toward the birthing partner. Mindful providers may carefully use language that addresses both parents if they are both present, but the general atmosphere assumes the mother as the relevant party and funnels all information to and through her in preparation for the birth event.

And this is not without reason.  Our creative work as mothers, expanding into the fullness of ourselves, bringing forth a new thing requires quality input, honest reflection, nourishment, provision, support. We need this to safely and efficiently do our work; to fully rest in our creative capacity, building the inner and outer layers of a new person.  But what happens when, in receiving that support from the external world, we fail to acknowledge the very structures that made the experience possible? Overlooking the guidance and the needs of the scaffold that has lifted us to broader horizons?


I have witnessed the anguish of mothers, disgusted by the apparent detachment of their partners.


“I was in labor, and he was on Instagram!”  


I hear them, beside themselves with indignation, waving bright red flags of abandonment and I wonder when he, the partner in their relationship, began to feel abandoned; when the confidence in his ability to safely guide his new or expanding family began to be undermined? Was his personal connection to the pregnancy replaced in favor of Dr. Google? Were his feelings and needs pushed to the back burner by well-meaning family and community members who considered them irrelevant as they lovingly prepared the new mother for her child?  Was he witness to his own father’s voice being muted under a chorus of third-party views, his opinions and ideas taking a back seat to the knowledge of physicians, and news reporters, day care providers, random people in the grocery checkout, all external voices weighing in as more informed than his own? Was his father even there?


The thing about racism is that everyone is affected by it.  It’s unfortunate sequalae are not limited to the experience of persons of color.  The structural bias that kept the experiences of so many out of education and media meant that there was no opportunity for anyone to be inspired by acts of resilience that are the truth of our collective stories.  As such, we have all suffered.  The position we have taken with our fathers; that assumes their distraction, that imagines for a moment that they are not deeply engaged in their own transformation, navigating terrain that is just as nuanced and delicate as our own places us all on a dangerous slope. From that position, we place ourselves in a posture that requires us to partially disengage our internal, creative work and take on the tasks of navigating the external landscape creating resentment, mistrust, and exhaustion.  These feelings, then, become the ink that partially creates the blueprint of our babies being. Further, assuming our male partners disinterest not only allows, but promotes conditions that encourage his disinterest.  If we fail to engage our partners at the onset, allowing them to experience their own journey in a way that is free of our judgements about what that journey should look like, then we are creating conditions ripe for disconnection and disengagement that we will experience again, and again, through the childrearing process.


Expectation and Communication

I began offering private prenatal appointments to the partners of my birthing clients in response to an increasing awareness of how unprepared fathers felt they were to handle a birth at home. As I spoke with more fathers to be, I realized that I could easily spend an entire series of appointments assisting just them as they prepared for birth and postpartum. These men, assumed in many instances to be uninterested, had just as many legitimate feelings to work through, thoughts to work out, concerns to sort out, and questions, questions, questions.


…But no safe place where they thought they could ask and not be made to feel small, stupid, or inadequate for not having it all figured out. Just as with their birthing partners, I found that reminding them of their connection to the same Creation that made their babies possible was an assurance that they possessed the capacity to make critical decisions resulting in their family’s optimal wellness. Unfortunately for all of us, there is little messaging in the external world that reinforces that notion.


So, that leaves us. The mothers. That leaves us to do our internal work so that we stand in a place of unwavering trust as we bring our babies Earthside.  We, the mothers, must be clear that our partners are fully committed to their work so we can do ours.  It does not look the same because it is not the same.  They provide protection for us so we can safely open. Our capacity to open, receive and release is the activity that sustains us all. When we are unable to trust, we cannot open. We take on the task of ‘getting safe’ and it inhibits our true work, it disempowers our partners, and it leaves us more vulnerable than we could ever imagine.

How many of us are carrying anger from a birth experience filled with unmet expectations?  Let’s dig a bit deeper… how many of those expectations did we clearly communicate to our systems of support?  Ok, one more… How many of those expectations, upon closer inspection, were attached to conditions that were never under our control?

Bonus question: How much of the dynamic present in our current parenting or co-parenting relationship is a result of the anger we carry because of an unrealistic expectation for our partner to act or be a particular way around something that was completely beyond their control?


Communicating our needs in a way that offers clear choices for our partners so they can engage in our support requires clarity.  Acknowledging that they are individuals, working through their own challenges and have agency to choose how much support they are willing and or able to provide requires compassion.  Creating environments that foster a felt sense of safety for both partners to make meaningful exchange requires patience.  Willingness to observe ourselves, to be honest about where we are in our processes so that we can have authentic conversations with our partners requires self-empathy. We can bring tremendous healing to our fathers, partners, brothers, sons, lineages, with the tools of presence, personal accountability, and forgiveness.


Birthing women require communities of support that begin with the partners they are attached to. When we do not allow ourselves to receive the support we require from them, we disservice ourselves and our communities. As we build a new paradigm, let us move forward in trust with our partners, recognizing their unique and necessary connection to the children we grow within, acknowledging their beautifully distinct parental rhythms and flow.  Our babies have chosen us both and are endeared to both parents. Let us do our best to honor the wisdom of the Master Teachers we call our children.


What thoughts or feelings surface as you read this piece?  What experiences are you willing to share that relate to this topic?


If you feel moved, please share your thoughts, questions, or any inspiration you may have in response to this article with the EBR community.  Email your offering to rachaeljean@elementalbirthrites.com


Support for one another strengthens us all!

 

A WORD FROM THE HEARTH

There is a Golden Opportunity for women to make deep shifts in their state of health (for better or for worse) in the month following childbirth. This is why what is taken, regarding nutrition and activity, is so vital and important! We focus on nutrient dense foods that are easy to prepare and digest to aid in the process of recovery so that mothers can enjoy their vitality long after their childbearing years.


 Across all traditional cultures, keeping new mothers warm, secluded, and very rested is a part of postpartum care.  Unfortunately, these types of practices that support vital recovery and deep nourishment have not been valued or indorsed here in the United States.  The potential for us to have a culture that blends the best of what the world has to offer to support core vitality and thriving life in mothers, who literally produce the future, is discarded in favor of capitalism and consumerism.

 

EBR knows differently. We reach into varied traditions with reverence and respect, seeking the powerful wisdom of the culinary maestras! We know food is medicine. Our intent is not to appropriate, but to honor ourselves as women, as mothers, with ancient insights that have maintained Mamas and families through millennia. For those of us who do not have aunties and cousins, or in-laws that travel around the globe to be by our sides during the vital laying in, we may have an opportunity to rebuild ourselves, with the help of our communities after the birth of our own babies.


This season, we travel East for Rice Congee!




Rice porridge, also known as rice congee throughout Asia, is the #1 dish to eat the first few days after birth. Traditionally used in both Chinese medicine as well as Ayurveda, this simple dish contains all the qualities necessary to jump start your postpartum recovery.

Hot, soft, oily, sweet, and well spiced, this rice pudding is deeply nourishing as well as comforting. It not only soothes the nerves, but also nourishes the tissues, stimulates digestion, and rebuilds the blood. This rice porridge is medicine for mamas! Enjoy!


Course: Main meal for first 3 days after birth


Cuisine: Ayurvedic Postpartum



Ingredients

  • 8 C water

  • 1 C basmati rice

  • 1 1/2 C raw brown sugar or molasses

  • 1/2 C ghee or sesame oil

  • 2 tsp ginger powder

  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder

  • 3/4 tsp cardamom powder

  • 1/2 tsp clove powder

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

  • pinch of cayenne (optional)

Instructions

  1. Rinse rice several times until the water runs clear.

  2. Bring water to a boil and add rice. Reduce heat to a simmer.

  3. Cook with the lid off, stirring occasionally for several hours.

  4. When the rice begins to thicken, add sugar, spices and ghee.

  5. When the consistency is gelatinous, take off heat and serve hot.


Notes

Gluten-Free Vegan

* It is very important to cook this dish long enough that the rice actually breaks down and loses its form.

* Works great in a slow cooker! Decrease the water to 8 cups, add all ingredients and cook for 8 hours.

 

WELCOME!

Elemental Birth Rites would like to officially welcome of the babies born in the last season into our community! We hold you up and uplift the Mamas and Papas that made you possible. And we pledge our support as a community of safety, presence, and wisdom to guide you into a beautiful future.


 

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