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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Maps

My first assignment in a Women Studies class this term was to draw a map of the world without looking at one. Here is how it turned out:

After a very hectic day, I welcomed the idea of grabbing a big paper and some crayons and getting my brain into drawing mode. I knew it would be hard to be detailed with names and border lines of countries and really, "who cares about that stuff..... well, obviously, but what is important?" I asked myself. So I of course started with what is most familiar and drew the North, Central and South American continents. Then came blue crayons for the Arctic up top and then I couldn't remember if it was called the Arctic or Antarctica, so I made the one on the bottom the South Pole, which is older than the North Pole because I saw that on a animation of how the plates and continents have changes in millions of years. So then I started the other half of the world that I knew I was going to screw up, but I remember Africa's shape. It is familiar, it is "Origins," I call it, where we all started walking on 2 legs.... I couldn't remember the formation that New Zealand has but I knew it was off over in the corner above Australia and then, while we are on islands, lets put Greenland up there and start on Europe which I know I butchered as well. Russia, India, the middle east, and where is the Dead Sea? I was just looking at a close up map of this area where Israel and Lebanon and Iran and other Arab countries are in a state of perpetual war, religious extremists, lots of sand.... The beaches were incredible! Oh and the Himalayas!! The Buddhists! China who is invading and taking everything, it will be so interesting when they meet head to head with the Russians. Better not forget Japan, home of the Pokemon.
Then I started going and labeling places according to what I know about them from earth science classes, movies, news and where we live now and where I was born. In N. America we have grizzly bears and Sarah Palin in Alaska, a gold rush trail into the Cascade Mountains, the Rockies, the Great Lakes, the Appalachian Mountains. Lake Okeechobee in FL, a Pirate ship in the Caribbean. I drew trees for the rain forests in South America and mentioned it was only what is left of them, acknowledging their destruction, the Andes Mountains, so magical, another possible Origin of Man. On Africa I drew pyramids and pointed to S. Africa for having white people in power.  Europe, I circled for it's Universal health care and population of midwives, a smiley face because Denmark and Holland are reported to be the happiest places on the planet. I know there is great strife for the queer community in  Russia so I wrote, "No Gays Allowed" up there. China, where everything is "made in" and I drew a big red war circle around most of Africa, China, Russia, The Middle East and Japan. (I just realized I forgot Korea entirely) Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand so I pointed that out and the Great Barrier reef off the east coast of Australia even though I am not sure if that is where that is, but it has it's own clown fish named Nemo there. RIP Steve Irwin, I loved him. I also labeled Kangaroos, Koalas and deadly spiders and fish, (along with so many other things), in Australia. 
This was fun because even though I don't know names and boundaries, I could still picture some of the landscape and what kinds of cultures are places. I didn't have the room or artistic abilities to draw the Gods of European Druids, African Tribal villages, Indian women with bright fabrics and shiny Models of multi-armed, elephant headed goddess, Temples, Cathedrals, Ghettos and slums, hut villages in Haiti, the markets in Peru, the wall in Palestine, the wars, refugees, famine, diseases, love, learning, sharing, art.... The world as I know it is sooooooo vast, I couldn't hardly create an image in 2D on paper. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Beginnings of Dreams.....

Isn't it amazing how kids can come up with the most profound ideas and conversations at bedtime? Last night, Tiana when to bed crying about the state of the world. She is sick of people screwing things up and she wants to see some change, she tells me she wants to protest at the state capital. She is sick of people polluting, sick of trees being cut down, does not see how it is ok for us to kill those trees and wreck the homes of so many animals just so people can have paper and other things we throw away. She is sick of plastic everywhere, walking around town to have exhaust fumes in her face, people who are starting and participating in wars, poor people in the street that are sick and hungry while rich people drive stupid cars and live in houses too big, she doesn't want to live on a planet where no one cares. In order to give her hope, I asked her if it would make her feel any better if she knew there were millions of people protesting that right now.  She looked at me funny so I got out the ipad and pulled up footage from Occupy and Tahir Square and Brazil and talks about ending wars and poverty and environmentalists blocking machines. I told her she is hearing the voices of these people in her heart and soul and we are working very hard to pave the way for the work she will have to do in her life to change the world. She asked how come she didn't know this was all happening and I said people just don't talk about it to kids I guess, she said, "well that is stupid, I need to know what is going on, this is my world too." She said she was sick of people acting like everything is ok
http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs24/f/2007/340/b/8/the_future_of_pollution_by_scumdesigns.jpg
when she knows it is not and that people in schools should be talking about this to the kids because no one believed her when she tried to talk about it. She wants animals to have rights. She wants people to stop fighting over imaginary gods and resources that will run out anyway. Fossil fuels don't last forever. She had so much to say through her tears. I told her I hope she stays angry so she will have the passion needed to move through her life holding her values in her heart. It's the only thing that brings people to action, when they get mad....  I told her it is ok to feel scared and worried. After all, everything IS NOT OK. And if we keep acting like it is, it's gonna get bad a lot quicker... I love that kid. I am so glad she is aware and can hear the voices of our brothers and sisters in the streets around the world, paving the way for her generation to make things better. I told her, I may not be able to do much in my lifetime, but I am doing my best and the work I do will help to support her to do the work she is going to need to do because I know, her work will be harder than mine. Because when she is ready to make a difference, it will be my parent's generation, the ones who slept through it all, who will be calling the shots, the ones she will have to argue with in her 20-30's. Those are the ones who don't remember the ways and only have been fed lies and complaceny. It has to get better people. Our children are crying in their beds. They are demanding a better outlook. It is up to us to give it to them. If you do one thing today, make sure it is something that will make the world a better place for our kids please. Please.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It is OK to have orgasms when you are birthing

Another Facebook irritation coming your way.

Frankly, I am about sick of, no, I AM SICK OF women shaming women for birthing with pleasure. When you have a baby and you experience Hell on Earth, everyone is all, " OHHH hunny I am so sorry, Oh I know, I hooked up to the epidural within 10 minutes of getting admitted at 2 CM," like it is all sisterhood. But as SOON as you say you had a fun and exciting, even ORGASMIC birth, it is like you are the red headed step child of birthing and NO ONE wants to talk to you about it. They make you feel all weird about it, act like you are lying, tell you it is gross and inappropriate and get their panties in a bunch about the idea one would even want to have orgasms during birthing. So this natural parenting Facebook page posts this blog post yesterday and the whole waterfall of comments explodes with the same kind of mass shame attack of how in the world and "that was the last thing on my mind" comments. Funny, when my vagina is in pain, I think the first thing on my mind is going to be how can I make it feel better and when does it feel the best? OH YA!!! During orgasms!!! Wow!! Rocket Science!!! So here it goes, me trying to be diplomatic, which as you can see, takes a lot when I am irritated. So after you read the post in the link above that tells you laughter is the one thing to learn how to do to get orgasms during contractions, here is a little advice from me too... because I have had an orgasmic birth, before I even knew it was something that could happen. Ya, we were as surprised as you are...

"I find it so hard to believe that women who were empowered enough to birth their babies naturally, believing in the power and ability of their own bodies, would find it so weird or gross that women can achieve joy and pleasure through orgasmic feelings while getting their babies down and out. It is just as sad as hearing a woman say she is going to "try for a natural birth." Your body is meant to bring your baby out and it is also meant to feel pleasure. Have you never watched a cat purr as she is laboring to give birth to her kittens? When you enjoy sex or masturbation during your pregnancy, is it not the most amazing feeling to feel your huge uterus pulsate with pleasure? THAT is the key to having orgasmic birthing experiences, learning to enjoy your big uterus contract and pulsate during love making or orgasms by yourself. And then when the time comes for labor, your contractions build into a crescendo of orgasms, joy and pleasure at your contracting uterus, the intimacy of your baby coming through you. This is NOT SEXUAL. It is physiological, it is psychological, it is birth. If our bodies weren't meant to feel good, we wouldn't have all the amazing hormones that come with an undisturbed and fearless birth. It is OUR CULTURE that makes us feel as though we are meant to feel excruciating pain and it has been that way since the first telling of Adam and Eve. It is ingrained into your psyche that you are meant to break at the excruciating birthing experience, but the truth is, you are meant for more than that. Sure, there are painful experiences, sure there are scary ones, sure there are emergencies, but there are also orgasmic, wonderful, pleasurable births and NO WOMAN should be made to feel ashamed for experiencing those any more than a woman who had to have a surgical birth should feel ashamed things didn't go right for her and her baby's dance of birth. It is not weird or gross or inappropriate any more than using drugs to ease your agony for not knowing the secrets to pleasure and pain-free birth is. "

Feel free to quote me.....

Ladies, you have the right. And, guess what else? You have the right to tell your story of your awesome birth. And you have the right not to be ridiculed for feeling GOOD during birth and if more of OUR GOOD STORIES were shared, we would have more good stories to share because it is all about expectations and if you expect pain, every single twinge of sensation you feel will be processed as pain and if you expect to feel pleasure, your mind will process your sensations as pleasure.

WATCH THIS!!! It shows everything and it is amazing!!!

And here is the famous Orgasmic Birth footage that has been going through the web with an interview with the Mom who starred in the Orgasmic Birth Documentary. 


It was videos like these that helped me prepare for my pleasurable, present, active labor and deliver my baby so swiftly and joyously. 

Ina May Gaskin has been saying it for years and years and her and the Farm Birth Center in TN have a way lower cesarean rate than any other birth center or hospital in the USA. 

People. It is OK to have orgasms during birth. And it is OK to talk about it. It is NOT OK to be shamed for it. So.. you know the rule, if you don't have something nice to say.... shut up. 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

For the Future of Butterflies

Health Chess ABeCell's

14 September 2009 at 17:02
Art by Ally Way ( Juno Brown)
Art by Ally Way ( Juno Brown)

Health Chess ABeCell's

Full of our cells
We see our cells
Each A piece in a cosmic, political, and natural chess game of life, death, and health
Every cell is full of Aspirations, gifts, talents, and needs
Some hear A cell cry out for Attention, support, care, food, and other basic needs
Some think cells cry out for stupid, damn reasons: from pain or poverty, or A need for recognition, love, and An equal chance
Some Belittle the weaker cells, or Believe everything is ok as it is, after all some cells will always  Be poor, Be killed, Be homeless, Be weak, Be sick, Be hopefully gone from our minds and eyes, and Be gone from our ears and hearts
And if a black knight comes to help the damn cells  in distress
Many of the other privileged pieces say, "Let her Be whatever, we are the Best, we can't help every pawn, they will just have to learn, those damn cells that every cell can't have their basic needs met, this is A Be, C's for the Crooks of Capitalism and a D for Democracy to boot, forget socialism, it's a free and wonderful market place, not a free ride, don't they know? And if they don't have the money to pay for medical care or food, or a place to live, well then, they can just work for it, some cells will just have to pull them cells up by their boot straps, whether they have a job or not, what is wrong with those damn cells anyway, why can't they just get it together …....... "

and we do .....

Here's how it works in a butterfly

The Butterfly Metaphor for Transformation
by John Renesch




As we began the new year and welcomed a new U.S. president into office I was reminded of the metaphor of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly, befitting a time for transformation - new beginnings and paradigm shifts. The market crash offers a triggering event that could lead us into another aspect of a paradigm shift.

I first heard the metaphor from evolution biologist Elisabet Sahtouris who made the analogy between this miracle of Nature and the prospective global paradigm shift in which we find ourselves today. Sahtouris tells this story: “My favorite metaphor for the current world transition, first pointed out to me by Norie Huddle (author of Butterfly), is that of a butterfly in metamorphosis. It goes like this:

When a caterpillar has plowed rather destructively through its ecosystem, devouring up to several hundred times its weight each day, it gets bloated and hangs itself up to sleep. Its skin hardens into a chrysalis and then, deep in the caterpillar's body, tiny things biologists call 'imaginal disks" begin to form. Not recognizing the newcomers, the caterpillar's immune system ‘snuffs’ them. But they keep coming faster and faster, then begin to link up with each other. Eventually the caterpillar's immune system fails from the stress and the disks, becoming imaginal cells, build the butterfly from the meltdown of the caterpillar's body.

For a long time biologists could not understand why the caterpillar's immune system attacked the new cells, but recently it was discovered that butterfly (imaginal) cells carry a completely different genome. Apparently all metamorphosing insects acquired the second genome somewhere in their evolution and have lived these double lives ever since. If we see ourselves as imaginal cells working to build the butterfly- a better world - we will also see how important it is to link with each other in the effort and to recognize how many different kinds of imaginal cells it will take to build a butterfly with all its capabilities and colors.

I love this metaphor because it shows us why we, who want to change the world, are co-existing with the old system for a while and why there's no point in attacking the old system because you know the caterpillar is unsustainable. It's going to die. The question on which we can focus is “Can we midwife a viable butterfly?”

Patience and understanding is called for in this metamorphic transition. While many of us understand how paradigms change few of us possess the patience. In his book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, Greg Levoy tells a story that speaks to impatience, also using a butterfly metaphor. He writes:
In his autobiography, Nokos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek, described an incident in which he came upon a cocoon cradled in the bark of an olive tree just as the butterfly was making a hole and attempting to emerge. Impatient for results, he bent over it and warmed it under his breath, by which he succeeded in speeding up the process. The butterfly, however, emerged prematurely, its wings hopelessly crumpled and stuck to its own body, which needed the sun's patient warmth, not the man's impertinent breath, to transform it. Moments, later, after a desperate struggle, the butterfly died in the palm of his hand. “That little body," he wrote toward the end of his life, “is the greatest weight I have on my conscience."
As this butterfly story teaches, we have to learn to trust that all things happen in their own time when our lives are ready to receive the miracles in store for us.
Both of these stories can serve us as we weather this storm of the collapse of one economic system and hospice the old while standing ready to midwife whatever new system will emerge from the rubble. As Buffalo Springfield sang long ago,

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
…. Everybody look what's going down

"There is a poetic, a psychic quality about a butterfly, especially a golden butterfly, that should arrest attention, if not inspire the honeyed muse, and make even materialistic turtles crane their necks. It would serve an excellent purpose, if some one should strike right through our banter and reserve of sentiment and hold aloft this symbol of spiritual beauty"....June 23, 1905 Edwin Manners
I read this over 2 years ago from a facebook friend and fell in love with all it's meaning and knew this is the point of connection I have, we have, with each other. Understanding this principle is key to "midwifing a viable butterfly" and is the fuel that feeds my work, my sacrifice, my gifts to the world, to Earth, to humanity and what is left of life here. It is taxing, but it will be worth it. I also understand that I will likely not see the type of results I am looking for in my life time, but it will hopefully start the movement towards it in the life times of the babies born during my life time, my own and the others I will touch in my work, and my children's children and their work.

For the future of butterflies....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Community Birth Workers

Our Rainbow House attracted another knock on the door today from the cousin of my neighbors' grandson who walked her over to say hi and let me know how much she loves the house. Her and partner are expecting a wee one and was surprised and excited to know about my birth support services and network of lovely providers for her to chose from. She thought she would have to go to Alsea to have a home birth. This young lady was friends with several people that know of me, her partner's cousin is a friend of my son's.

Friends and family, sister birth workers, please talk to your neighbors about what you are doing, tell them about safe options in childbirth, talk about how important it is for mothers and fathers to be supported and informed so they know that there are people in their communities that are available to them to find the birth they want. To CREATE the birth they deserve. It is about all of us and we are all affected in so many ways by the system of care in which babies are brought here. If you are one of those people that think because you are finished having kids or never having them that birth isn't important, think again. Read this book: Childbirth and the Future of Homo Sapiens by Dr. Michele Odent.

Be aware, be a resource, know your referrals among your circle of friends and loved ones, Business partners and network circles.... You might be the link that makes all the difference in the world to that family.

In Lebanon, OR there are at least 4 Midwives, 2 student midwives, at least 7 doulas, 3 childbirth educators and people meeting regularly to learn and create more community among women and surrounding birth in particular.

Please have a look at some of the local Birth workers in my community:

Birth With Liz
Midvalley Birthing Sevices
Growing Family Birth Center
Makawee Birth Assistance (obviously myself)
Corvallis Doula Network
Gentle Beginnings Midwifery Care
Heart Of the Valley Birth Center

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Money

Many years of my life have been spent with short term goals in mind because the short term was so uncertain while being poor and having little resources to draw from. Days go by, weeks, months, without ever considering what will be happening in the next year, 2 years, 5 years, 10. After all, there is no way to even think about possibilities when you don't even know if you will be in the same house or town. That is how it has been for me since I was a young teen.

Someone recently said to me, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." I couldn't agree more. I realized several years ago that as soon as I spoke the words, my fate changed. As soon as I said," I'm going to do (insert clever plan on making money or improving my family's quality of life)," I could literally feel my insides changing to make it difficult or impossible. Even as I listened to "The Secret" on audio a few years ago and thought that she might be onto something and noticed the way I would challenge the Universe to provide my desires and changing my thoughts to make it seem like it was a success when things happened, I could remember all the times I spoke my thoughts and everything grew further out of reach. Do we live by the law of attraction, willing our desires and needs to us, creating our reality? Or, is it more like God laughing as he taunts us with close successes and dreams that never come to fruition as some kind of challenge to live harder and build us up stronger? Well, for me, it is neither because I believe in neither God or fateful Secrets.

The last few weeks have been filled with consuming thoughts of how I am going to make my goals work. How am I going to take charge and make it happen without relying on God or mantras? I am browsing pages of options and then thinking, while looking at train schedules and class schedules for classes I want to take more than a year from now, that it is useless to try to find this info because it will likely change before I have the opportunity to use it. Realizing you can't exactly make plans for 3-5-8-10 years from now down to the details of transportation and time management is defeating.

The harder I look, the further I feel away from my goals and desires. I have to challenge myself about responsibility and attachments and sacrifices, about letting go of old ideas and which ones are worth holding onto. I am sick of reinventing myself. I know what I want to do, but it feels ever so out of reach and it comes down to MONEY.

You see, if you have money you don't have to rely on other people to help you out of the kindness and convenience of their hearts, you pay your way to what you need and desire. If I had money to care for my needs, I could volunteer at any service I wanted to give and we all know, I live to serve my community and the mothers and children and families and even the critters, domestic and wild. Hell, I would tree sit and get arrested at demonstrations. I would camp out in front of the Capital and serve food to the homeless. I would do the gardening at CARDV and take elderly people to the park. I would be a volunteer midwife and serve birthing families as often as I could without any strings attached, if I could feed my own family and secure my own home and their futures.

I could be amazing.... if I had money.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Women Deliver

Activist and film maker, Janel Mirendah has many things to say and I agree 100%. Here is a quote from her today in response to this picture. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151459934551748&set=a.39121296747.52191.656566747&type=1&theater&notif_t=photo_reply





No where is the sacrifice of women to the alter of medical negligence (and greed and control) more of a problem than in wealthy America, where MORE women and babies die than in any other industrialized nation and even more than some very poor countries. The medical model of birth is FORCED upon US women and babies while right to access to physiological model of birth (of which midwives are the experts) that make birth safer around the world are denied. Midwives are villianized, criminalized, and brutalized in the US where MORE women and babies will die and countless others who survived are profoundly, permanently harmed. This is only because the rights of people to be born safely AND gently are controlled by the medical and legal systems.

The US medical model of birth is NOT safe and it is not kind. The US conquering, wounding male model of medical birth that squelches the feminine, intuitive, natural, physiological model of birth that brought humanity through eons, is NOT the answer to maternal health care around the world - No more than Nestle and Monsanto are the answer to feeding the world. These corporate monsters are a result of, exist because of, the willingness of humans to continue to ignore the truth about women's bodies and what babies/humans truly need. These corporations are the result of disempowered and violence imprinted humans at the most profound moment: birth and connection. These corporations exist, while we HAVE the resources but no the collective will, and not the collective authority over the resources, because of the willingness to continue for generations now to deny women's rights, baby's and father's rights; and, because of the willingness to routinely, profoundly disrupt and abuse women and babies in their most vulnerable moment. In the most powerful country in the world, this is where and how Monsanto and Nestle's control over the world begins.

Women and babies in Africa and in United States need what every human being for eons has needed: To be wanted, loved, and welcomed to this planet and treated kindly and as a being of value. They need good food, clean water and air, access to plant medicine and natural antibiotics (lavender, silver, etc), acupuncture, massage/touch, etc and access to the real "alternative", modern medicine, when needed. Childbearing women need not to work 40-60 hours a week. Babies need nourished, nurtured, loved, supported mothers for the first years of their emotional, mental, and physical development.

To do that on a global level, or on a mama-baby level, we must first see and know, and acknowledge, WHO the human baby is. See how every moment of development from pre-conception (health of sperm and egg) through infancy is a profound, critical continuum of development: emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, financially. Mothering and fathering need to be valued. The human infant and child needs to be treated as the greatest national resource we have.