Guest post: birth, sex and death. Hellena Post

This post is a guest post from blogger, activist, rainbow seeker, artist and writer, Hellena Post. She normally hangs out over here at Spun Out and you can also purchase her amazing wool art over there.

From the moment we’re born we want to go back.  Back to the womb.  Back to our source.  Back to that complete and total feeling of oneness.  Back to the experience of being inside someone else’s skin, with them everywhere they go, hearing the noises they hear, the temperatures and environments, the foods and drinks, the thoughts and conversations, the fears and intense life events……on the inside, cocooned in a warm, salty liquid that cushions us from extremes.  The sense of connection with every event, sitting sleepy inside, gently bouncing round, the completeness of your being sparking off the surrounding world.

The critical experiential mass of the apex of the journey of life, from which we come, and which we all wish to return.  Young children and babies remember well the complete melting of two become one.  Or three become one.  And more are possible.  Serious little Spiral-Moon sitting next to me as a three year old, asking me all about how they cut my belly and where they cut my belly to get Balthazar out.  All the details of the amount of time it took, and how many layers there was between my belly and the world, and how they’d sewn me up again, and how both of us were allright now.  Till her questions had been answered and she seriously pronounced that if they could cut him out, they could cut her back in, and it was time for her to go back into my belly now.

And just the other week, as we sat around some time during the day, we were talking about the urge to go back into the womb, and even Griff the nerf gun toting 10 year old who loves to watch scary movies, had a kinda coy smile and could recognize that feeling.  And Balthazar has quite sternly told me that he needs to go back to my belly a few times now, since Zarrathustra has been born.  Unfortunately, the desire to go back to the womb can sometimes be associated with a bit of terseness with the newborn baby, that’s stolen the role of baby from the recently grown and moved over one.    Which is maybe similar to the terseness we feel as adults when someone or something is standing in the way of us and something or someone with which we feel connected.

The main reason we opted for a lotus birth with Spiral-Moon and Balthazar, was something more than the increased blood that the new born has access to with their cord and placenta intact, and the other physical and metaphysical benefits.  It was due more to the realization that from the moment the egg and the sperm meet, the union splits into two, and half becomes the baby, while the other half becomes the placenta.  The placenta and cord sits as twin to even babies that are solitary in the womb.  As provider, protector, pillow, plaything.  And when it was pointed out that many adults miss their placenta friend that was so quickly whisked away to die alone, and replace it with purses, glasses, bags, water bottle holders……anything that’s a desirable object at the end of a cord……..it kinda worked for me.  I’ve got a crocheted water bottle holder that I get slightly panicky about going missing.  It comes with me everywhere.

It was one of the most profound experiences of my life.  Being escorted through the sac, the umbilical cord, and the placenta, and how it would have all sat inside me and around her after Spiral-Moon’s birth.  Our escort being the amazing Rosey midwife who’d known when she was going to be born, and had travelled most of the 250km trip in her birthing packed car, before we even called.   And then over the next couple of days, watching the literal balance shifting between a baby who kept her eyes closed longer than any other baby I’ve had, slowly coming into waking, as the placenta she was attached to slowly died.  And the moment it all detached, she woke up completely to the world, ready to completely engage.

And her birth as my fourth child, was the first time I’d ever met one of my placentas, or the sac, or the umbilical cord.   They’d been whipped away quickly and the mess all cleaned up by the time I’d come down from my birthing high in my two hospital births with Jess and Griff, or my homebirth with Lilly.  I’d always been curious about them.

Funny how we like to quickly clean up after the great events of life.  Cut that cord and get rid of the placenta, wash up all the blood, wash the woman, wash the baby, wash the sheets and wraps and blankets and pillows and cushions that were birthed on.   Clean away all the smells and colours and textural remembers of birth.  And we clean up after sex, the milky substances left behind on sheets, and on our thighs, and the sweat and sex smell that permeates our skin, and then get nicely deodorized and sanitized before hitting the public again.  And we clean up after death, with the blood and bodily functions that have spilled and left the body just like the spirit, the breath, and the vitality of life have left.

Just like we try to clean up our emotions, and our needs, and our feelings, and our wants, and our complete and total inner desire to feel that oneness again.  The oneness of birth.  The oneness of sex.  The oneness of death.  Our cultural taboos, and yet the very events that shape us.  Connect us.  Remind us of the great oneness that existed before we were born, that exists when we connect with each other inside our skins through sex, and that we go back to when we die.   A reminder of the big cycles that echo constantly around us.  A process we see through the universe, through our seasons, through our life cycles, through our relationships, through our families, through our ideas, through our cultures, through our religions.  A process of pregnancy or seed planting, and then inner growth or building, and then the great pause and extremity of transition, before the birth of a person or thought, and then the vital life of interconnection, and the intense moments of sexual communication, and spiritual realizations, and the equally intense moments of great illness or mindsets, through the cycle to the death of the person or idea or group or period, into the uterine depths of seed planting and pregnancy or rebirth again.

A theme mirrored in the water that courses our bodies, and the fire of sex or spirituality that connects us, and the planetary bodies that dance their spiral dances, and the breath of conversations that take us on word journeys…….

So a fascination with it persists, even in the face of cultural taboo’s, and our great and enlightened culture that seems to thrive on separation.   But in an atmosphere of repression of our great connecting life mysteries, birth becomes a fraught event, be it in hospital or home, and fears come clinging to it like young children afraid of the initiation.  Sex becomes a possibly deadly affair that can leave you with fatal or uncomfortable diseases, and manifests instead as blond young women with shaved body hair bouncing merrily on assorted phalli, making a cacophony of unnatural noises and imprinting unrealistic and shallow messages on wistful hearts.  Or a tool used in hate and revenge.  Or to capture a person and keep them caged.  And death is a trauma, a wailing, a shudder of darkness at our shoulders, threatening to drag us into it’s eternally dark maw.

All events that we clean up after, and sanitise, and deodorize, and create polite conversations around.  Talk in metaphors and simplicities about the complexities that we don’t know how to express.  Hoping that if we follow the right rules, prescribe to the ‘true’ belief systems, and engage in the correct spiritual and metaphysical practices, that they will either go away and bother someone else, or wont impinge on our important life, of work and cars and mortgages and hobbies and homes and clothes and holidays and leisure and acquisitions.

How did we get so far removed from our instinctual, animal, spiritual, eternally cyclic, and deeply symbolic selves?  How have we journeyed so far that we can stand to see birth as a routine event, and death as an equally routine and regular occurrence on our televisions and media, while being horribly scared and avoiding of them in our real lives?  How can we bear to watch zombie after woman after man after animal being killed on our screens in horrific ways, and in our books and our stories, while we stumble all unknowing into the actual presence of death, stuttering and unsure.   How are we happy to vaguely allude to sex or only talk about it in extremes, and voyeuristically watch or read about other people doing it in spectacular fashions, while we sneak home to bed with our familiar partner, hiding our real feelings, and wishing there was a movie star next to us instead?  How can we be truly alive without the fullstop and renewal of death as the accent and boundary that makes it all the sweeter?  And how can we fully embrace birth as the gentle sundering of the oneness, and journey into multiplicity, when it’s been packaged and parceled as a scientific and potentially dangerous event that needs to be dealt with by professionals?

I think it’s been a natural process, as natural as a tiny baby growing to a huge human, and as a toddler testing the boundaries of those who care for it, and a horse checking the perimeter of it’s paddock, and millions of fine tuned balances within nature, without which life wouldn’t exist.  A process of expansion to the limits to find out where the end is, and then a making of sense of all that’s inbetween.

Many many moons ago when my love Currawong and I were courting, decked out in black leather and velvet, with extreme haircuts, haunting the suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne, as we did our best to resist an irrepressible urge to surrender to each other…….we went into a book shop.   Neglected in a box of books was a tome that had a huge impact on me – L. Robert Keck’s “Sacred Eyes”  In which he compares the evolution of our entire human span……to that of an individual.  When we were young, we were safe in the arms of the earth mother goddess, in tune with her rhythms and flows.  Then we hit adolescence, and pushed away our soft mother, and strode out of her embrace to the war gods and the fathers in the sky, who told us we were sent to domesticate and subdue all around us.  And now we’ve come to our collective Saturn Return.  Where we bring our mother and father together within ourselves, and without ourselves, and evolve.  It really worked for me.

Cause I feel like our whole civilization is poised on the point of implosion.  Of collapsing back into the source of ourselves and our interconnection.  Of having reached the outer limits of our explorations into science and religion and all those other outer things in trying to work ourselves out, and realizing that our connection and foundation is back where we started.  The great cosmic fools journey.  Like a massive solar flare that flung itself out as far as it could go, before sinking back into the sun from which it was born.

We’re currently at the extremity of our distance from our earth, from ourselves, and each other.  We’ve got about as far as we can go without throwing out the balance in a life exhausting way.  We’ve hit the zenith of total disregard for and fear of the events that shape us.  The path that we collectively struck out on, started in part by Descartes saying “ I think therefore I am” and sundering all the other living things on the planet from us humans, turning them into machines that had to be pulled apart to be understood.

The view from here is quite surreal.

In our avoidance of the alchemical mysteries and oxytocic adventures of birth, sex and death, we’ve strung it about ourselves in unrealistic and gaudy displays like Christmas lights, hoping we can wear it as a symbol rather than actually tread the subterranean worlds beyond the world that we all practically, sensibly and scientifically agree is real.  Sex has become a circus pony that we drag out to social gatherings to slap on the arse and force to perform.  And take home in the dark to subject it to our bestial and repressed desires.  Birth has become a feared nemesis to women, stalking their carefree moments with the threat of immanent pain and a cacophony of need.  Promising a life of duty and unappreciated work to it’s penitents.  And death has become the diseased corruption of a twisted society spending all it’s time and money in an effort to defeat it.  We hope to make sense of it by inundating ourselves with it, and have resulted in numbing to it, being afraid of it, and detaching from it even more instead.

We’ve suppressed our raw feelings and inner desires to the point that an unexpected outpouring of them can create horrific events where one of us will walk into a theatre late at night and shoot weapons into an unsuspecting crowd.  We’re so unused to the bittersweet pain of loss and grief that we can do things like take the lives of ourselves and our children.  We’re so bruised and maimed and still scarily hopeful about our sexuality, that we do things like force sex on innocent creatures, and children, and unwilling victims.  We’re so scared of untidy emotions that we’ve doped most of the western world on some form of pharmaceutical or another.  We send vast swathes of humanity into combat with each other, prepared to kill other members of our species over a political or religious belief, or a commodity, or an idea.   There are so many victims of so many things that it’s becoming more and more difficult to work out who suffers the most anymore.  Everyone has their cross, their secret, their shame, their pain, that they wear on their wrist as a curse.

And in a very real way, our sense of connection, our oneness, and our source is where it’s always been.  At our fingertips.  Elements of it sprinkled through every interaction we have.  The pregnancy and gestation of a relationship, that goes through the intense transition of hardship or fear, before birthing into a full bloomed rose of tangled and intermingled tendrils of love and hope.  And can also die, and then be reborn with another person in another time and place.  The birth of our babies, in which our sexuality plays an awesomely midwifely role in helping the baby out, through the intense transition and expulsion into life.  Which also holds a death.  The death of the family as it existed before the new babe, the death of the maiden to become the mother, the death of the ego as it learns to surrender to the demands of life.  The life that can be glimpsed from a tight knit sexual connection, that dips into the deeps of hunger and oneness, and leaves a whiff of sexuality, as a lens through which to see events with a deeper understanding.   And the death of our loved ones that leaves us with an unconscionable urge to be ALIVE!  To drum up the spirits and the sorryness and the fears and the memories, and let them float on the rhythm of the heartbeat of life, and remind ourselves of the things that only life can see, and hear, and feel, and touch.

In the great cycle of our civilization, we’re straining in the throes of transition collectively.  Many of the constructs and political, spiritual and community ideals are crumbling in decay, and we’re struggling to birth the love and connection that’s whispering to us through the decay.  Great and terrible tides are sweeping our collective conscious, and everyone I know is being affected by them.  Strong and archetypal constellations are lining up in a grand procession in the sky, heralding change, the death of old ways and healing of old wounds.   The largest peaceful protests that the world has ever seen are happening right now, and we’re being blinkered from it.  The war against our natural spaces has just stepped up to a level of global insanity, as mining companies strive to destroy some of the most magical places on our planet.  People all over the world are performing horrendous crimes against innocents and fringedwellers.  It feels like everything has been magnified.  My capacity to feel joy and love is increased magnificently, while my aptitude to sink into worry, fear and dismay is likewise fuelled.  I can feel like a high soaring prophetess and a low slung layabout within the same day.  Events that I could previously walk by unaffected, can pierce me with pain to my heart that totally stops me.

We’ve just got to hang in there, and keep focusing on the birth that we’re all trying to create, and in feeling this great pain and the seemingly endless array of anti-life around us, must know that we’re almost there.  This is as bad as it’s going to get.  We’ve reached the limit of the invisible cord that keeps us connected to life.  And we’re rebounding back into love.  Collectively.  All together even.  Back into a world where we can start making sense of ourselves and what we see around us.  Back into a world where the heart and the head and all our other senses are on great speaking terms.  Where we see all the countless reflections around us that mirror our internal cycles, and can feel at home once again.

It’s time for us to stop and really look at each other and ourselves.  To tell each other our experiences as they really are, rather than sanitized versions that keep all our real juice and gristle hidden.  To treat each other as if we really were parts of each other, until our combined experiences show us that truth.  To pull apart our life knowings and plumb the depths of our authentic experiences till we can really dance and gaze at the realities of birth, life, sex and death.

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There’s a group of Thai monks that meditate on death.  When one of their order dies, they’ll go and lay them out in a room, and sit with them as they meditate on the decaying of a human body they loved.  In Mexico they hold a day for the dead, when they celebrate the people who have gone on ahead.  There’s certain people who have made their study sex, and the positions, attitudes and worlds that are accessible through it.  And there’s whole cults to passionate love, and what that can mean in our world.  There’s also those that study birth, and the implications of it, and what that can teach us about ourselves.   Let’s search these taboos, and our learnings about them, and the stories that stretch between them all to show us parts of ourselves.  Let’s tell each other our stories without censoring the bits that we think other people might judge or not like.  Let’s help each other to realize how similar we are, by telling our authentic truths.   Let’s learn from everything how one we are.

And there’s an amazing book by A.A.Attanasio called The Sword and The Dragon, and the basic premise of the story is that everything in our universe was in the intensely dense and impacted oneness of a black hole, that had been sucking in vast tracts of space for eons.  And at it’s zenith, the black hole exploded into the universe that we inhabit now, and as it erupted, angels and demons were flung from the singularity.  The angels try to get back to the oneness through crafting belief systems and cosmic machines that may eventually take them back to the singularity, or the womb.  And the demons are so distraught at being severed from the one, birthed into a cold and dark universe, that they petulantly destroy as much as they can, devastated that they can’t get back to the source, and willingly destroying what they can with their tantrums.

Which could easily be a metaphor for us all.  Flung from the singularity and desperate to get back.

We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for, and the time for us to awake to our connection is now.  We can get back into the womb of oneness through empathy, compassion, love and respect.   Through seeing the mirrors of oneness in all of creation.  Through the peace we create when we accept all the parts of ourselves.  Through the harmony of love, respect, peace and freedom that we learn from our families.  Through the melting and surrender that we visit in birthing, great sex, intense life experiences and death.

The time is now.  And you are the microcosm of the macrocosm.  Explore yourself with abandon and set sail on the sea of connection.

Guest post: life learning with our children

Kristin from Joyous Learning writes on home learning with her son for the Natural Parenting blog carnival. You can see more of Kristin’s work, and meet lots of other Natural Learners at the Australian Natural Learners’ forums.

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We’re all home schoolers

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I am the mother of a six year old unschooled child. I am frequently asked to justify how and why I came to the decision that school was not the best choice for my son.

Contrary to the “prevention is better than cure” theory, over time I’ve come to believe that things are generally fine on their own, and intervention is only required to prevent or correct a problem. In light of this belief, I look at my child, who is growing and learning, gaining skills, and practising the art of relationships at home, and wonder why a change would be necessary just because he has turned five. When you think about it, we have always been natural learners! My son learned to crawl, walk, point, and talk without a curriculum. Babies and children are programmed to want to learn. They seek out opportunities to acquire and practice new skills. I don’t feel that there is an arbitrary point at which informal learning becomes inadequate. If school is preparation for life, is there any risk in skipping school and just cutting straight to the life bit?

Our lives are richly blessed with resources and opportunities. We participate in our local community, and with homeschooling and unschooling families around the country, through the Joyous Learning forum. Everything that we need, from learning opportunities, to networking, to social activities, already exists in our community. Tapping into this community provides a rich resource for informal learning.

Learning at home and in the community is something which brings our lives together, rather than unnaturally separating parts of our lives. Work and play are one and the same for small children, and participating in adult work is often far more interesting than “pretend” activities for my son. I have observed that, given the choice, my son would rather be with me, building something with a real hammer, than playing with a toy hammer. He can gain and master his hammering skills, I have an opportunity to interact with him in a positive way, we can work together as a team, and he’s actually pretty helpful in a lot of ways! My work and his play are one and the same. Life is learning, learning is life.

Being at home together also gives us both the opportunity to pursue our own interests. The focus is on each of us as individual people, rather than my world revolving around him. I would like him to have an appreciation that there is more to me than just being his mum, and that I am a person too. I hope that his witnessing my pursuits gives him some appreciation of how adults continue to grow and learn throughout their lifespan, once again demonstrating the overlap between work and play. This also gives him the opportunity to learn from other adults around him, as he has more access to adults than schooled children do. The idea of having adults in his life who become his friends and mentors in time is very appealing to me, as I do not profess to be the font of all knowledge.

It is virtually impossible to stop children from learning. It’s hard-wired into their DNA to be curious, inquisitive, natural learners. The main thing I need to remember is to keep out of his way and let him do it.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated September 14 with all the carnival links.)