Every morning during my Hana Maui yoga retreat (and sometimes afternoon too), we took a baptismal swim in the Venus Pools, known to be re-birthing pools. I don’t know how the pools came to be known in this way, but I can offer a few guesses based on my own experience.
For me, it was absolutely amazing to jump in and sink into the depths of the pool, totally submerged, to be virtually absent of thought in those moments and seconds of sinking and then rising back to the surface, body and breath suspended in space and time. I remember my first jump, perhaps most memorable of all my jumps.
Because I was scared, I chose to make the little jump off the bottom rock (keep in mind I had to clear a rock I could see below the surface). The jump, though little, was so very big, so incredibly exhilarating and revitalizing. I felt so alive. I squealed and hollered in glee, in ecstasy, after I broke the surface.
My “official” Venus Pools rebirth, the big contraction that gave way to my expansion, occurred during my emergence from the pool as I slithered and wriggled around, first on my belly and then on my back, head below feet, through what I affectionately call the “birth canal.” I laughed hysterically my first time through the “canal,” feeling so awkward and so challenged to get up and out of the pool. I wouldn’t have it any other way. To make passage through a canal in our adult bodies, to feel the awkwardness, the challenge, the effort it takes to be “born,” to emerge in this life as the fullest and most awake version of ourselves, is so very impacting and transformative, a real rebirth experience.
Reflecting back on my metaphysical rebirth in Maui is helping me to illuminate another rebirth I recently made passage through. I am sitting on the other side of contraction, resting in a place of spacious expansion. Finally. For many long and rather painful weeks I experienced all sorts of difficult contractions and felt the angst of an inner tension and turmoil. The big contraction, the mother of all contractions, has released and I notice that I can breathe easier, that my inner chatter has quieted considerably, that I feel more present in my body and my senses. I am so grateful for the internal shift. I told myself so many times during my contractions that “contraction gives way to expansion,” a concept of the Tantric yoga philosophy I study. Now I can speak to this truth.
We experience the pulse of contraction and expansion repeatedly throughout our lives. Every breath, every moment, every life experience, every life lesson is the pulse of contraction and expansion, an opportunity for rebirth, to give birth to ourselves. Our birthing of ourselves is our awakening into the fullest, most expansive, most vibrant expression of our Self, of our true nature, our essence.
Let’s consider the breath. Every breath is a kind of birth and death, a Samsara, so to speak – the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Some folks connect with a sense of their own mortality in that moment when the breath is suspended in space and time, in the pause between the exhalation and the inhalation. I see it from an opposite perspective. When we inhale our diaphragm contracts; it draws down and creates a vacuum effect that pulls oxygen into our lungs. When we exhale our diaphragm lets go and releases. This letting go, the release of the contraction, is the moment we give birth to ourselves, the moment we expand.
This is what I experienced in my own life. I let go. I was experiencing a multitude of contractions, many that were induced by my wounding. The biggest contraction was an attached, clingy, graspy energy living in me – my attachment to a desire, a longing for something. My protective mother, the Universe, intervened. First she said (in the form of a cosmic message), “this does not align with you.” And then, as if to reinforce the first message, she was like, “no, this is not happening.” And with that decisiveness, my clingy energy released and I started to notice a shift inside.
I started to come back online. I felt a remembrance of self. I reconnected with my journey – where I’ve been, what I’ve been through, where I am now, where I’m going on my path of unfurling. I began, once again, to touch in to my inner light. I felt reconnected to my power. I felt an inner freedom and peace. I felt expansive. In that space of letting go, my essence began to re-emerge. This re-emergence of self was a rebirth, essentially, a moment of giving birth to my Self.
Circling back to the Venus Pools, I offer one last insight. Taking the jump is also a letting go – letting go of fear, letting go of control. Sinking into the water, breath suspended in space and time, is a moment of touching into our death. When we rise back to the surface, we are reborn through our breath, a breath that reconnects us to life. On the other side of letting go is expansion and freedom and bliss.
Speaking of births, today, April 16, is the birthday of my beautiful friend Jessica. I honor you for your willingness to dive into the depths of your self and I so cherish our friendship! LOVE to you today and every day!! ❤ 🙂