As a mother the process of cause and effect is constantly being played out in front of me; for example drink in the lounge room results in wet stain on the carpet….sigh.
Much more significantly though, as women we play such a pivotal role in the creating the effect of the ‘survival of the species’, we are the vessels through which the next generation filter their first interactions with the world and as such we are simultaneously an effect of the system we are bound within, the cultural, social, medical and interpersonal influences on our minds and bodies (to name just a few), and the cause of many of the qualities our babies are born with.
What really “bakes my noodle” though is that as a collective, in today’s society, we don’t harness this power, in fact we very often give it away. We hand it over to medical professionals, to strangers who wrote books based on their own conditioning, quite often from a different culture, and to other people around us who we perceive to be experts in the area of pregnancy and childbirth.
We give these people our money and our bodies, in turn, they create the conditions into which our babies enter the world. Curious.
A realization that is unfolding for me at the moment is regarding the depth and breadth of the conditioning that leads women to birth their babies the way they do. Not just broad understandings of socialization, but right down to the little details of our upbringing, seemingly unrelated details, like if your grandparents slept in twin single beds rather than together in a double bed. Hardly sounds relevant to your approach to child birth as an adult woman years later, but the message understood as a 5 year old has had a chain of causes and effects linking it to the tension in your body during labour as a result of a sub-conscious fear that your husband won’t look at you as the same sexy, appealing woman after seeing your body this way…
After birth, as mothers, women very often neglect their own bodies (and minds) in favor of spending every waking moment looking after their new baby, keeping the home in order and making things right for their partner who has often been out of the house at work for a significant portion of the day. But regardless of how much attention we pay our bodies, we still carry around with us the experiences of the past.
It has been through the practice of yoga and meditating on the body that I have started re-connecting my mind and my body, re-establishing this connection has enabled me to understand my reactions to people and situations in greater depth, exposing previous conditioning and opening up the possibility for me to choose how to respond to a situation in the present rather than mindlessly react according to past programming; the same programming that leads to the tension in the back of my neck and resulting headache.
I believe that if women can find ways of understanding and being comfortable in their bodies, the very things that differentiate us from men, if we can feel safe and confident in our bodies, if we can develop awareness of how our bodies ‘show up’ and trust that our bodies are not only useful and capable but powerful and strong it will contribute to a greater healing in the world.
When we feel strong we will no longer feel threatened.
When do not feel threatened will will not be fearful and defensive.
When we are not fearful we can cultivate compassion and kindness.
When we are kind and compassionate we can develop understanding.
When we understand, we are aware, mindful.
With awareness, mindfulness we can be free.
Om, shanti, shanti, shanti.