Embodied Transformation & Evolution

Shaken & Stirred ~ Moving through the Birth Canal

Posted by on Oct 9, 2018 in Featured Writing, Lifeletters & Articles | 4 comments

Shaken & Stirred ~ Moving through the Birth Canal

Only what shakes me to the core leads me onward.
The rigidity breaks, growth follows.

 —Bert Hellinger

We human beings are strange creatures. We protect ourselves a lot, and try to remain in a  comfortable, familiar place. And we long for adventure, for the healing movement of unfolding and awakening. The impulse to defend and protect ourselves is very natural, and needs to be respected. And it can carry us into a place of real rigidity and isolation, where frozen pockets of energy can no longer flow in us. As the years pass, we learn to live with these frozen places. We can become quite good at working around them, finding ways to compensate for the parts of ourselves that we have left behind. Sometimes we don’t even know that they exist. We just notice a lack of vitality, an underlying sadness, or a loneliness.

And then something changes. We try, but we cannot carry on in the same way. The burden of what we are carrying becomes unsustainable, in our personal lives and also in the greater life that we share:

  • The latest findings from the ITPP on climate change.
  • The most recent reports of a two year old, separated from his parents at US immigration for many months.
  • The swearing in of Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice.

One after the other, the broken pieces fall. People speak these days, very openly, of their terror, rage and heartbreak. These deep feelings are melting, opening, bubbling up inside hundreds and thousands of people each day, as they witness what is unfolding in the world. In our culture. On our planet.  Whether you know of these events or not, your body knows. Your cells know. Your heart knows. Your feet know. Your breath knows.

The weight of this is heavy, because so many of us have been carrying it alone. We didn’t even know that we had another option. Sharing this with someone else, reaching out and asking for help, seemed impossible, forbidden, even shameful. The moment when we cannot go any further on our own is a moment of grace. When we find a way to bring these hidden parts of ourselves into the space of connection and intimacy, we begin to melt, just like a river in spring.

Moving water Pat Fleming

To allow this depth of connection is not a small thing. It penetrates me, it “shakes me to the core,” as Bert Hellinger says. Any moment of real intimacy transforms me, stirs me up inside. If I really feel you, see you, hear you, I am not the same afterward, neither are you. And the more deeply we connect, the more we become aware of the greater field of presence that holds us both, holds us all.

The key to making our way through this passage lies in our connection. We cannot face what is happening in our culture, we cannot discover a new way of living, unless we are shaken to our depths. The power of our old structures, our old wiring, is too strong. All of the chaos and turbulence around us is showing us this. Alone, we are powerless. We will simply struggle on heroically in the same way we have done for thousands of years. Do we have the heart to face this now? To feel how long it’s been, how deeply we have been conditioned to do it alone, to be strong, to hold our head high, to hide our vulnerability, our sorrow, our rage, our shame, our deep longing.

How can we find our way into something radically different? How can we lay down the heavy burden of our solitary path and allow ourselves to be held by each other, in this wildly turbulent time, by love, by grace, by presence?

I believe it’s time now. The signs are everywhere. This is good news. Let’s share it far and wide. And let’s share it near. We are in the middle of an initiatory process. Initiation is tough. It’s a birth. The birth canal is no easy place to be, not for the child or the mother. Being born takes real courage, and surrender. We cannot muscle our way through the birth canal. Courage comes comes from the heart. Courage lives in the love that holds fear, terror, rage, heartbreak, and brokenness like a great mother.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

 ~ William Stafford


with love,



Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Dania

    O Shayla!
    Thank-you for sharing so clearly about the elephant in the room.
    I can high-light every word, feel every feeling.
    Let’s birth ourSelf!

  2. Paul

    You are a brilliantly clear and insightful writer, Shayla. Beautifully written piece.

  3. Carol Stewart

    Just got a chance to read this, had it marked to read. I agree whole heartedly with both Dania and Paul’s comments above. I hope your book is going well..your words inspired and heal, because they both open one to both a higher and deeper ground of being and in that way point the way to movement toward something we haven’t even imagined…that is healing. Just love you and your work Shayla! Carol

  4. andrej

    thank you Shayla
    Once again your insights and illuminations find me in the nick of time (what a curious expression, neh?)
    For the rugged individualist in so much of me I find shelter and challenge both, in your illuminating our interdependence and the weaning-off of our so called courage for going it alone.
    Nothing feels like, Nothing nourishes like, Nothing creates more resilience than CONNECTION
    I am learning to hold so much AND to carry on with loving and timely reminders like yours here and along with my favorite poet William Stafford.
    bless you and your courageous being as a teacher,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *