I'm not writing about the game. I'm not using the game as a metaphor. I'm writing about limbo - the state of being. The definition being that space in between this and that. When you are leaving this and hoping to make it to that, and yet, you aren't quite sure what that is. It's the place where things are as clear as mud, but you know it's there waiting for you to discover.
Making a change isn't the simplest thing. We all know that. It's challenging for a reason. It's creating a new way of being. A new protocol. It is an agreement that what was will be transformed to something that serves you and others better. Breaking old habits of thinking and doing, requires stamina. It requires willpower.
Being in limbo takes Grace. Yes, I mean God's Grace. The grace to sit in a space where what is next isn't sure and how to get there is lots of hard work comes from faith. Having faith in the knowing that Creator is seeking to express through my life and my work, makes sitting in limbo possible. I fight the urge to reach out to every resource and make this time about searching for answers. However, sometimes the real search is for the grace to just be here right now in the midst of these growing pains without knowing the end result. The answers are within. They don't require searching for from the outside.
Not knowing what you are working toward exactly means that being goal oriented is not a strategy. It means that the process and the now is important. The result will only come of work and being open to new possibilities. The answers will come as I listen to the YUM. They will come as I open myself up to what feels right as opposed to what I think I should be doing or what I'm obligated to do.
Sometimes we can get into a rut, a resolute routine. The routine may have once felt like a calling. It may have been something that was dropped onto the plate unasked for, and as I determined to do the work well, it became more of a habit to say yes, rather than an innermost desire.
Limbo can be a time of celebration. Yes, it can. Though, I'm having a hard time believing that just yet. I enjoy too much having a plan, something to call myself, and meaningful work. In so searching for so long, I have failed to recognize that I always have all of those things. 1) My plan is - Be still and know that I am God. 2) My current something to call myself - sojourner, writer, and mother. 3) My meaningful work - myself, my marriage, and my children. Choosing to not search, or seek, but to be right here, right now will bring forth the great joy of the Divine.
The Hara: A Fire in the Belly
"Without the activity of the third chakra, a person lives as if in a dungeon. Life means nothing." - Yogi Bhajan
As a mother, realizing, accepting, and endeavoring to reconnect with and rebuild the power of my navel center is no small thing. In pregnancy, we are asked by Creator to completely devote the power of our third chakra to expand physically and mentally as we grow another human being. Our power is then pushed to the limits in birth until we relinquish control and become otherworldly in our ability to bring forth this life.
For months, perhaps years, our navel center is devoted to the development of another person. I remember my first postpartum experience, feeling the jelly like texture of my middle and understanding just how vulnerable my body had become. I hadn't grasped how completely my body would be changed. I hadn't imagined the impact on every cell of my being.
Balance is found when this center is active, because when life is dull and meaningless, we tend to substitute emotions, traumas, and problems to "spice things up". We tend to let things happen to us, rather than direct our choices in life, manifesting our own desires and will." -Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, The 8 Human Talents
My history with my navel center has been repeatedly tough since memory. Then, when I was set to give birth for the first time, I delivered my baby through a traumatic, unnecessary cesarean. I spent years working on healing myself from the deep ache that the surgery left. I researched and poured myself into helping other women avoid what I experienced. I worked from a place of profound compassion and intense anger. What I understand now is that the anger dominated my motivation. My second birth was a homebirth turned into a hospital transfer which ended in a necessary cesarean. I know now that I was approaching this birth with my fighting gloves on, and that was a mistake. No woman should prepare for birth by preparing to fight for the right to do so, or to try to prove a point. In 2012, I gave birth for the third time vaginally, at home. It was a triumphant moment for me, and the preparation I did for that birth helped me to rediscover my body and my capabilities. Yet, the very next day a dear person to me experienced a tragedy of her own and is still suffering. It was like a gray cloud hovered just above my glee, and again, I began to protect the space of my family and my friend.
It is no wonder that the third chakra is connected to commitment. When you become a mother you are immediately committed to the task. You will forever be someone's mother. When you chose to be a birth professional, you are committed to your clients, receiving their calls all hours of the night and showing up no matter what you must leave to attend them. In the two years since giving birth the last time, I have developed a reluctance to continue in the traditional way with my work as a doula. This is despite the fact that my business has never been better. I have felt too much stress surrounding my work, and sometimes felt it intensely even when things magically worked out. I have not, up until a few weeks ago, understood why.
The shadow emotion of the third chakra is anger. -Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa
I have been living very consistently in a state of fight or flight, and a large part of the manifestation of that state has been the result of choosing to be present in the current climate of birth that strips women of the innate power they have to know when, where, with whom, and how they should give birth. I have become tired of being present there again and again. I am ready to move forward with my own desires and will.
This knowing rests in the face of my belief that I have been called to be present for women in birth. I know I'm not going to leave birth all together, but I am opening myself up to a broader perspective. I'm opening myself up to the possibility of releasing the feeling of anger at the obstacles faced by the women I serve and have served. Releasing my frustrations around the obstacles I confront as a rural living woman. As Ana Brett says, "turn obstacles into opportunities". I don't know what those might be, but I'm endeavoring to find out.
In my Kundalini yoga practice, I am daily engaging my third chakra and feeling its power and gifts. I'm opening my heart to new opportunities and stepping more fully into myself as Creator designed. It is hard work, and some days I feel the anger so heavily, but I'm working to let it go. It no longer serves me. I'm excited to learn what a strong third chakra can bring to a life, and how I can be a blessing to others as a result. I'm learning to love the will. I'm learning to say "I can" and use it as a guide in my mothering, work, and relationships. I'm healing every moment of every day and will be doing so perpetually.
I have been every clothes size from 4 to 18 in my nearly 36 years. I'm 5'8" and have a large frame. By the time I was in 5th grade, I was just a few inches shy from the height I am today and I weighed 145lbs. I'm used to being a "big" girl. That is part of my genetic makeup and who I will always be. That is ok. What isn't ok when it comes to our size is how it affects our life. If being "overweight" creates for us an unhealthy situation and puts us at risk for disease, then we must become determined to change that reality.
After my second pregnancy, I lost over 100lbs. by taking back my health. I found the beauty of yoga and traditional foods. I became the smallest I have ever been since becoming an adult. At that time, my focus was on having a thin body and eating healthy food. It worked. I have come to find, I have tremendous willpower when I set my mind to something.
At this time, my third pregnancy (daughter) is two years old, and I am three pounds away from a realistic and reasonable goal weight. I couldn't believe it when I got on the scale yesterday! I have been working once again to regain my health because I have been experiencing some depression and other health issues. I had almost completely let go of my "healthy" lifestyle. Yet, what I have come to realize is that approaching our health and weight is as much a spiritual practice as it is one of making goals and working our tail off.
Since coming to learn and utilize Sacred Birth Work, I apply the same spiritual principles to all aspects of my life. What I have come to understand is that it is important to take literally the statement once made by Jesus the Christ, "Neither will they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21) There are a very many things that we experience on this earth that is completely our choice. There are yet other things that we cannot control, but we can put those circumstances into a context which will allow us to better deal with them. The amount of heaven we experience in this plane is reliant on our willingness to turn to God.
My motivation for losing weight now is a healthy body and mind that is better prepared to do the work of God. It is a healthy body and mind that is better able to raise confidence and strong young women (I have three daughters.). It is a desire to break a cycle of disease that is hereditary. It is a desire to be fully myself - my best self.
Along with my doctor, I picked a goal weight that was achievable and maintainable for my body type. I, then, began to approach my reclamation of health as a spiritual practice. For in regaining health, I am doing no less than seeking God more wholly and in turn an experience of heaven within. A body and mind in harmony or seeking to be in harmony will know God.
It took me awhile to find this knowing. When I originally undertook losing weight and addressing my health issues, I went about it like I always had. I quickly learned that my body is not what it used to be. And the exercise I had chosen exacerbated my problems. Sometimes though, we are dealt a heavy hand in order that we may fall back on the Truth. I picked my yoga practice back up (first, releasing all the excuses as to why I couldn't do yoga) and my exercise became a prayer. I re-embraced my traditional foods diet and do my best to imbue my food with love. The process became my worship of the Divine. The Divine in me. The Divine in my family. The Divine that is Truth.
It isn't the easiest process. There are days when I feel like I'm not up to par. However, it is a practice. It is a road that doesn't end. There is opportunity for more practice. In every practice, there are those moments when I feel God in, through, and all around me. I have let go of expectation, and have determined myself to practice. Then, I get on the scale, just to see, and I'm three pounds away from the goal.
Kelli Hansel Haywood is the mother of three daughters living in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. She is a writer, weightlifter, yoga and movement instructor, chakra reader, and Reiki practitioner.