As I write this, it is mid-February. New Years’ and its resolutions have come and gone. Winter gloom abounds. Here in Devon, non-stop rains have turned farmers’ fields into lakes and railroad tracks in junk piles. The dark days could be depressing, but the days are getting longer and occasionally the sun comes back out to remind us of what is possible.
In the light of winter, how do your New Years’ resolutions look today? Did you even set any? I’d like to talk today about how our goals and plans, like New Years’ resolutions, may run into roadblocks on their way to manifestation, and how these blocks may relate to our earliest history.
Many years ago, I took and then taught a course called DMA, later changed to Technologies for Creating. Through this course, I changed my life in many ways. Robert Fritz, the founder of DMA, had applied his experience as a musician to the phenomenon of creating what we want in life. He described three stages of the creative process: germination, gestation, and receiving. Years later, through doctoral studies in Pre- and Perinatal Psychology, I learned how our very early experience in the womb and birth can affect our ability to move through these stages. Lets look at how they may be affecting you.
The first step in changing anything is awareness. If we are unaware of the problem, we won’t take action to change it. With increasing awareness, our options multiply. In his book, The Path of Least Resistance, Fritz described how we tend to follow the same path repeatedly. In automatic mode, we take the path of least resistance, leading us to where we are used to going. To create something new, we need to establish a new pathway. This requires paying attention and making different choices.
My current mentor, Emilie Conrad, states “the nervous system is a pattern addict.” It needs to establish patterns to enable us to function in our world. If I had to stop to create new neural pathways for each word I write, this blog would never reach you! It reminds me a bit of my efforts to speak French with a friend this morning. After years of not traveling that path, it now seemed quite overgrown! I had to weed out my newer Spanish vocabulary to find the dusty French. My brain was quite tired after twenty minutes of sorting through the mess for every sentence!
Our lives can be a bit like this. We know we are not happy. We decide we want something different. We are determined to have it be different, but the path of least resistance takes us back again and again to what we already know.
In this vein, New Years’ resolutions can become too much work very quickly. They fall away as we continue down the old path. The question is, how do we do something else?
In Continuum Movement, we practice slowing down, which enables us to become more aware and make different choices. We even ask the question, “What else?” What else is possible here? If my body always moves in the same way, what else could happen?
We may make supreme efforts in our lives to be more aware, to make different choices, to take a different path, but we keep finding ourselves back where we were. We might give up and say, I’ll try again next January!
How might all this relate to our early history? I find it interesting that Fritz used the terms germination and gestation to describe the first two stages of creating. Germination refers to when we get an idea for something; we conceive of it. We may have abundant energy for it, bursting with enthusiasm as we begin down our new pathway. Some people, however, get stuck in their creative process right here at the beginning. They have trouble conceiving of what they want, of setting goals, of allowing themselves to even feel a longing for what could be. Fritz taught techniques for discovering your visions and defining them in practical, measurable terms. This can help us get over that first hump, but why does the hump occur?
We may have tried before to do something different and concluded after our failures that it isn’t possible. Some people, however, do not make this conclusion. I am reminded of holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, who managed a positive attitude despite all odds in a concentration camp. I don’t know what Frankl’s conception, birth or early life were like. Based on years of experience working with prenatal and birth trauma, I imagine he was a wanted, welcomed baby who enjoyed some healthy bonding within his family.
Where we have suffered in our first creation, coming into this life, our early imprints tend to express themselves with each new beginning in our lives. Planned conception is a relatively rare event. Most conceptions are unexpected, even if the parents want a baby. There may be feelings of ambivalence, questions as to one’s ability to parent a child at this time, thoughts of abortion, or abortion attempts. Conception may have occurred through rape or within a fearful, violent environment of war or mental illness. How we relate to new beginnings, including setting new goals in our lives, can differ, depending on if we experienced rejection or warm welcome when we were conceived, when the pregnancy was confirmed and our presence discovered, or when we were born.
Even if we were conceived intentionally, we might not sense ourselves being welcomed for who we actually are. It is not unusual for couples to try having a baby to solve relationship problems, to manipulate a partner into marriage, or to try to have a boy or girl if they already have a child of the opposite sex. Children are also wanted to ensure continuation of the family line, take over the family business or fill in some other kind of gap. Children born into this field of expectation may find it difficult to be themselves and determine what they really want.
The subsequent stages of the creative process, gestation, and receiving, can also reflect your early history. Gestation refers to the time after conceiving your vision of what you want, when you may not notice much progress, like the bump of pregnancy that is initially too small to be seen. At some point, there is a quickening, when you begin to realize you are making progress. If you did not feel held and welcomed when your pregnancy was discovered, or through your time in the womb, you may not recognize signs of progress toward your goal. Or you may be plagued by feelings of hopelessness, self-judgment, and worthlessness. Do I really deserve to have this? Or you may unconsciously sabotage your own efforts, as a way perhaps to avoid the kind of pain you experienced when you were rejected or judged as a little one.
This theme can continue into the third stage, receiving. This relates to the time of birth and just after when the baby is received. How the parents or family receive the baby is not always joyous. For example, I remember being told many times that my father looked at me and declared how ugly I was! Babies with visible deformities are often met by shock, rejection and judgment. A girl born to parents wanting or expecting a boy can feel like a failure and may never feel able to be or have what she really wants. Babies can also be conceived through a secret affair, to be revealed by how the baby looks at birth. Even if the baby’s looks don’t give away the deceit, the fear, shame, guilt, or dissatisfaction they represent may follow them throughout life.
How we are received can affect our own ability to receive what we manifest in our lives. The perfect job or partner or opportunity may present itself to us and we don’t notice, are too busy or don’t allow ourselves for whatever reason to take it in. Or, we succeed in reaching our goal and, instead of celebrating and feeling satisfied, we focus on how it isn’t quite perfect, or we don’t deserve to have it, or we move on to the next thing so quickly we never really take in what we have accomplished. Sounding familiar yet?
Dissolving the Blocks
A first step in dissolving this kind of block is to be aware of it. Taking time to consider your early history, asking your parents about it if possible, recording it for yourself or telling others about it as a coherent story can help you to recognize its echoes in your life. It can also facilitate acknowledging this as your past, rather than who you are.
It is important to differentiate what has happened to you in the past from who are and what you are capable of now. Having the attentive reflection of a practitioner experienced in prenatal and birth therapy can be extremely helpful in sorting your history out while establishing on a somatic, cellular level a different kind of relational field, where you experience being welcomed, supported, acknowledged, celebrated for who you are.
There is so much to explore in this area. Please stay tuned for my next blog entry to continue on the journey!