One of the biggest shifts I noticed through pregnancy and new motherhood was moving from practicing my spirituality to living my spirituality.
Practicing spirituality is showing up every day to a set of tools and rituals. It’s focusing on aligning my life with the forces and principals I believe in.
Living my spirituality means that the states I try to cultivate with these tools and rituals flow naturally through me.
While I was pregnant, I felt that I became the moon. Physically, I looked like the moon. Spiritually, I could feel her moving through me all of the time. Rather than following her cycles, I could sense the undeniable pull of each phase on my body and psyche. Gratitude flowing through me. Deep feelings come up to be felt and let go of. Dreams bubbling up to the surface. The tug of inspired action.
With Peter’s birth, I gained instant access to a fierce, gut-level knowing.
Each day as a new mother is a lesson in surrender, tapping into flow, and living in the present moment.
It’s not surprising, I suppose. Through our spiritual practices most of us seek to shift from doing to being, to know ourselves more deeply, and to connect with all that is.
This is exactly the experience of the new mother.
A shift from doing to being.
And it’s bloody uncomfortable.
Often I just want to tell Peter to “just wait a second.” I just want to finish scrolling Instagram. Or write this blog post. Or chop the vegetables.
But, of course, he doesn’t understand. And he just keeps pulling me into the present moment again and again and again. Demanding that I pause whatever I’m doing so we can just be. Together. Feeling. Expressing.
Often I’ve found myself missing my spiritual practice. The tools and rituals that act as a steadying anchor to help me make sense of the world.
That’s what’s so beautiful about the tools. They give us something concrete to hold onto as we tune into the present moment and our inner knowing.
But it’s easy to think that the tools and the rituals and the practice are our spirituality. Rather than recognizing that everything we need is always inside of us.
I miss the pages of my journal. I miss the reflective images of my tarot cards. I crave that blissed out stillness that comes from regular meditation practice. And already these tools are weaving their ways back into my life, offering their medicine just when I need them.
But in the thick of it, there was no time or space for anything other than a deep trust in my body and inner knowing.
Strong feelings and memories coming up to be felt and integrated allowed me to heal.
Deep breaths when I felt so overwhelmed I might burst, grounding me back into womb and my connection with all that is.
My gaze upon my little nursling as he fed became an active meditation.
In responding to Peter’s needs on a moment-to moment basis, I align more fully with the flow of my own life rather than trying to struggle against it.
In finding the primal motions that rock him to sleep I connect with every mama who came before me and every mama yet to come.
Our bodies know the way.
Of course we all have access to this lived experience of spirituality all the time. Honouring the rhythms of our menstrual cycles and the seasons is the most potent way I know how.
But for the new mama, the throws of this initiation become undeniable.
My tiny babe has become the ultimate guru. The spit up on my top and the bags under my eyes don’t make as pretty of an Instagram photo as a carefully styled tarot spread. But there’s magic to be found here, so slowly I’m learning to let go of my ideas of what a spiritual life should look like and just allowing this sacred unraveling to unfold.