I was in labor with Coleman, a hot sweaty day in August in our apartment in the artsy Boston neighborhood above the Puerto Rican bodega. I was scared – my first baby, all the unknowns – and trying to be brave and trying to prove something to myself, which was pretty much my unconscious modus operandi back then. In grad school. In relationships. All the time. So.Much.Proving.
Anyway it was kind of hurting in that stretchy way that labor hurts. And I was getting all uptight about it because I thought if I was really conscious or evolved I would be just gently flowing through the process.
My midwife sat down on the bed with me, afternoon sunlight coming through the window and gently asked:
“Could you just take this whole thing less seriously?”
Wow. What a great question.
We take ourselves SO seriously.
Each moment. Each strand of our identity. Each precious dimension of the roles we craft.
Each expectation we have for ourselves.
Honestly, its exhausting.
So I’m curious , whatever you are navigating today, what if you just took it a little less seriously?
Part of you may rise up sputtering: “But I have to work! Or parent. Or do ALL.the.things!”
I know you do love, and I honor that we live in the real world and you have adult demands on your time.
But sometimes we grip it just a touch too tight — straining ourselves in the process: diverting extra energy into squeezing life, when really it responds so much better to a light touch.
When we are present inside a moment it feels less serious:
there is more potential, more capacity, and more beauty.
It can be scary to live fully present in a life of so many unknowns. So the illusion of control is a nice strategy – but it gets in the way.
So today – what could it mean for you to take life a little less seriously?
Maybe you get to lay down your high-functioning overachiever and stretch beyond the voice in your head that whispers “if I don’t do it, nothing gets done…”
Instead practice participating with life. Feeling into what wants to happen. Playing your part in a larger unfolding.
So how did things end with Coleman’s birth? I wish I could say that I was able to relax in that moment. But after 3 years at Harvard I was pretty bound up in my head and out of practice with embodied presence. But his birth ended up an EPIC lesson in the power of surrender. He wasn’t positioned well so things took a long time and hurt more than expected. We engaged in what I now describe as the midwifery Olympics to get him to pivot around. This went on for a long time. And finally I just sort of gave up. This wasn’t going the way I thought. It was harder than I thought. I had to dig deeper for resources I didn’t know I had and stretch into an experience that was different than the one I wanted. When I surrendered into all that I could not control – things slipped into place and the labor started to progress really beautifully. He was born as the sun set and warm orange light streaked across the room — matching Coleman’s hair. (I want to insert a baby photo here but at 14 I don’t think Coleman wants me sharing them. Here is one from a few years ago when we lived in Nicaragua. He was at my desk pretending to be a life coach. He would be a good one.)
When we soften and remember not to take ourselves so seriously, our spacious Ennea essence, our deepest wisest self, can shine forth. This feels so much better. And gently and efficiently refills our inner energy reserves so we can enjoy more presence in our work and our play. Try it out and let me know what happens!
PS Thanks to those of you who shared a review or submitted your name to the raffle to help me celebrate the 3rd birthday of The Flourish Formula. Congratulations to Helen, Erika and Mary for winning the 3 signed books! If you would like to learn more about how to work with your Enneagram type click here to order your copy.
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