The Profound Privilege of Suffering

Wow. I’m realizing in this moment that it has been almost two months since my last confession, er, post (raised Roman Catholic). By now many of you have figured out why I’ve been away: I’ve been growing two human beings in my belly. That’s right… after all that, we did it!

Despite that fact that I am deeply grateful and overjoyed, it’s not been the bed of roses that I fantasized it might be. I know it never is… but boy, howdy, did I get dealt some tough knocks those first three months. Having been an athlete all my life–waking up before school every morning to swim, practicing my fiddle with broken/bruised and/or blistered fingers, rowing crew where more than once we trained so hard running stadiums we puked–I’m no stranger physical and emotional grit; to what it takes to dig deep, then deeper. But this? This first trimester? This broke me.

Feeling better now and true to form, I didn’t let it slip by without really milking what all that pain and suffering was for. I mean, of course it was for the babies. But many women have easy first trimesters, or mild to moderate. And then for a few… well, for a few it can be, dare I say, traumatic—emotionally and physically. Sadly though, we don’t give room to talk about pregnancy-trauma in our culture… it’s too dark/taboo and pregnancy is supposed to be about glorious light and life, right?

I digress. Given the experience of growing babies is different for every pregnant woman, then any sacrificing can’t just be for the babies, right? After trying for so hard for so long, so much heartache and loss over the years, I wondered what my semi-traumatic* first 15 weeks of pregnancy was really for. I couldn’t help but feeling that having my “dream fulfilled” being so painful was for something other than preparing for motherhood; something bigger than me.
* I say semi-traumatic because mine was far worse than most but certainly less than the hospitalization, dehydration, and constant vomiting some women face for an entire 40 weeks.

And so, a week ago, when I thought I could not tolerate one more day of nausea, vomiting, headache pounding, mind-numbing, depleted, emotionally spent, complain-y me, I went to see a Shaman. That’s right. A Shaman. A native healer.

I drove an hour to “out in the middle of nowhere” (which happened to be gorgeous) and felt peace the moment I stepped from my car onto the land. She, the Shaman, greeted me warmly. She smelled of coconut and peace. My pregnancy- induced, super-powered olfactory senses drank her in.

We talked at first, nature enveloping us. I cried. Exhausted, depleted. Desperate. Desperate for relief. Desperate to be understood. Desperate to understand. Fifteen weeks — 24/7– is a long time to suffer and be in pain, yo. There, I asked again, in the presence of the Shaman, her guides and the woods–the most important question for me: What the hell was it all for anyway? By the end, I found out.

Upon waking from the session, I felt whole. Instantly back to myself. Head still hurt and tummy growling (I was on the table for a while and these babies need food every 90 minutes), I felt like “me” again. Hard to explain really. The best I can do is to say I felt all the little bits of me that got lost or torn away (like little mini-traumas) came back to find their home inside of me. I was restored. I wept for as long as I needed—I had really, really missed myself.

When I made my way off the table, finished my crying and ate a bit, she began sharing with me the journey she saw, the healing that took place. After an hour of listening, in awe and deeper understanding, the piece that I was most impacted by was this: The last 15 weeks were, as I suspected, not in vain. My first trimester has been a Vision Quest of sorts–according to the Shaman. A Vision Quest is done in service of receiving information about something greater than us. It’s often done for a purpose, in a tent, on a hill… fasting without food or water for 4 days. It brings One purity, clarity and messaging in the face of suffering, pain and isolation. It burns off what’s no longer needed and leaves us with a profound insight to what it is we are in search of or meant for.

Gratefully, before getting knocked-up, I already knew my life’s work was to be of service in ways that help women heal. However, because of my first trimester experience, I have an entirely new way of being, looking and thinking about my service/my work/my offering. I can feel there has been a softening in me, and a wisening too. I see it with my clients, my wife, my family, my friends. Soon, I’ll see it with my babies. I’m clear now, after these babies come, I will be of service in a whole new way to women, particularly those who are suffering in silence or isolation. My own private Vision Quest-like experience (aka: first trimester) changed everything from the future of my business to my ontology (my being).

In the end, I believe I had the profound privilege of suffering. I learned more deeply about what is called for in the world, who I’m here to be and what I’m here to do.

What Does All This Mean For You?
After all that settled in, I got to thinking…the Restoring Power Organic Retreat is just four weeks away. And while it’s not nearly as painful as my first trimester with twins or a traditional Vision Quest, it is similar in some ways; it’s meant to be in service of something greater for you and the people you care about. It helps burn off that which no longer serves you. It softens, brings clarity, insight and wisdom to your whole being. It leaves you feeling restored, replenished and powerful beyond what you thought possible. And most importantly, it’s an opening…not and ending.

If you are hungry, ready, waiting…I invite you to consider attending the retreat. Truth is, given my new life, I don’t know when the next one will be, or if it will even ever look the same ever again. There are a few seats left at the early bird price (which ends June 23rd). If you have questions, I’m here for you to speak with and check it out. It’s not for everyone… but for those that have felt the calling or simply knew it was right (even if terrified), it changed the trajectory of their lives—gently, but powerfully.

Lastly, I think it goes without saying; the women of this July 2011 retreat will get a different me. An infused, softer, wiser, more powerful me to care for you, guide you and lead you to the parts of yourself you have buried or forgotten. Restore, reclaim and love your wholeness.

As always, thanks for listening as I share myself—sometimes vulnerably. Without you, my community, I do not exist. You give me my place to be in the world; you give me my power.

Love, love,

One Trackback

  1. By Open Heart | What The Cluck? on June 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    […] A Cycle If you didn’t get a chance to read my blog post for Restoring Power, you may want to check it out. My take on the Privilege of Suffering the last few […]

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