The new year, the old year?
I stretch out my legs
And all alone have a
There is a sense of apathy or disconnect or inertia or "flatness" almost in some Zen writing that gets on my nerves!
This book really explored all kinds of things about consciousness, the nature of reality, the nature of the mind/brain/soul, physics, quantum physics, cognition, neurobiology, neurology, Indian mysticism/religions, etc., etc. It was kind of heavy read and took me a while to get through it, but it was very interesting. One of the ideas was that the universe and its patterns/fields of energy could be looked at as the mind/consciousness of God. (Another effective analogy he used in the book was of someone studying a TV screen at an extreme close up (like atomic level) and how you would only see random photons firing randomly, but as you move out and out and out, you start to form a theory that perhaps the photons *aren't* firing randomly, but perhaps there is a pattern. Then, you start to discern colors, and then images, and then realize is video of people performing a story, and so on. The analogy being that perhaps as little humans we can't get far enough away from "the picture" to see the whole of reality and the patterns of the universe/God/consciousness...)
With my renewed library enthusiasm, I checked out and read Husband-Coached Childbirth this week. I was interested in the book for "historical value" primarily, because Dr. Bradley made so many contributions to the natural childbirth movement and was really a pioneer in natural childbirth and birth education. I didn't particularly like his paternalistic attitude throughout the book and there was something offputting about his tone as well as many of the things he said (the whole "properly trained women" who know how to "conduct themselves" during labor and referring to women as "she was a good obstetrical athlete," as well as a weird section about the "chapped and brittle" vaginas of American women being the cause of tears and episiotomies...). Most of the book is written towards the husband and preparing him to be a good "coach." I recognize that this approach works well for some families. However, as I've referenced in this blog before when mentioning Bradley, it seems that this approach to birth has a very rigid set of "correct" birth behaviors and techniques (very specific side-lying position to labor in, etc.) and my own philosophy centers much more around trusting your inner wisdom, doing what feels good, and listening to your instincts (not your "training" and your "coach.")
There were a couple of things I really liked in this book though too. One was his recurrent use of the word "motherlike." He'd say, "XYZ might not be ladylike, but it IS motherlike...." Another was his reference to the "birth climax." We've been discussing the new birth film Orgasmic Birth on several email lists recently and I have reservations about the choice of title for the film (especially because apparently only one birth in the film is actually "orgasmic" the others are more like "ecstatic" or "joyful," not literally orgasmic). In this Bradley book he references "Helen Wessel's new  term 'birth climax'...subjectively comparing the feeling of birth with the emotional climax in lovemaking." On the email list I'm on, I wrote: Personally, I think birth is such an encompassing and tremendous experience in and of itself, it doesn’t really need orgasm mixed in with it to be powerful and exhilarating (though, its not like I’m opposed to orgasm. It just seems like separate types of happenings, though still on the sexual lifecycle continuum). I think the closest I could come (no pun intended, LOL!) is to “pleasurable” birth, but even though it involves the same body parts, it is a completely different type of experience to me than sex/orgasm.Then another CBE who had seen the film wrote about it (and the appropriateness of the title) as follows: "If you are not literal but figurative certainly orgasmic could be applied to each of these births....Orgasmic should be applied to something ultimately enjoyable, physiologically intimate and rewarding and I think these births fall in that category. Doesn't a wonderful orgasm make you feel good about yourself? Your body? The mom who says there aren't many times in your life when you can say you are proud of yourself ... and her eyes are welling up .... and enjoying birth isn't something we talk about just like orgasms aren't talked about in public .... that's an orgasmic birth."
Yesterday, I read The Childbirth Kit. This had been on my wishlist at Amazon for literally years, so I finally went ahead and bought it for myself (my husband bought a mini-amp for his guitar at the same time and we decided they were sort of like anniversary presents. Our tenth wedding anniversary is coming up in less than two weeks!) Anyway, The Childbirth Kit consists of a short book (interesting and concise. Some pieces felt "outdated" because it was written in 1994) and a set of 17 image cards. The cards are the reason I wanted the set. Each one has a colorful image on the front designed for a particular stage of labor (so like water drops on a leaf for early labor or a bright red-orange piece of intricate glass for pushing) and the back has a short visualization exercise to do, ideas of things for the woman to try during labor, ideas for the birth partner to help her, and a series of inspiring/contemplative words that are related to the image on the front. So, for example, one card has the words "Pathways. Mother. Growth. Fertile. Powerful" printed along the bottom (the image on the front is titled "Earth," but it looks more like a woven rug/tapestry). There is even a card titled "Knit." My mom would approve! It is a pretty cool set. The idea is that you practice with the cards, images, visualizations prior to labor and then continue using them IN labor as well (so, pinning on the on the wall to look at, or holding them, or whatever).
This week I also read The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood. This was actually the third time I've read it. I didn't really set out to read it again, I was looking up some stats for an article I was writing and got lured back in to reading the whole thing. It is a good book. We have it in our LLL library (the first time I read it, it was the previous edition and I got it from the LLL Group I used to go to when L was a baby).
This week, I finished reading the little book I'd been doing a short reading from each morning. Called Find a Quiet Corner: a simple guide to self-peace, the book itself made much less impact than the title did. The book's content and tips were nothing new or remarkable, but the idea from the title of designating a quiet, private place to myself, stuck. I had a sewing desk in our bedroom that was just a place for junk to pile up. so, I cleared it all up and put some of my special things on it and now I try to take a few minutes to sit there once a day and read a few pages from my next inspirational book, write in my journal, and walk my finger labyrinth. I started this about a month ago and it is nice.As a little "contest"--I'll be happy to mail this little book to the first person who leaves me a comment telling me why they'd like to have their own quiet corner!