Monday, April 25, 2011

Arise, and Get Thee Into the Mountain

Los Angeles Skyline, originally uploaded by Thing Family.

Last Friday morning I woke up and realized I had the whole morning free and was lying there wondering what I should do with it. Should I go surfing, or go to yoga? Such a luxurious dilemma is not one I face often. Being a single mom with two businesses and several books in progress doesn't leave me many full mornings. As I snuggled in bed thinking about all the possibilities, these words came into my mind: "Arise, and get thee into the mountain."

This is how God tells me to go to the temple. It's our little code language--has been since I read it in the Old Testament. That's what God said to Moses when he needed to talk to him privately and there was no temple. I realized I could make the 9:30 session if I got up soonish. So I luxuriated for 10 more minutes and then got ready. I have to admit that whenever God tells me to do anything, I always start to think about what the reasons might be. Maybe I'll meet my true love there today. Or, maybe if I go to the temple, he'll bless me with X. Or maybe I'll get the answer to that burning question. Of course, it is never what I think. But I can not help the thinking.

As I walked into the session, I studied the backs of all the male heads and realized there was no soul mate there. Then the thought came to me that I should have called the woman I visit teach and invited her to go. It would be nice to go with her--but she works full time, so she wouldn't have been able to come anyway. When I took my seat I looked over and there she was. Hmm. I waved. "I thought I'd see you here." I whispered. Did I?

When we finally got to talk at the end of the session, in the celestial room, she hugged me about 3 times longer than she normally would. It was then that I realized that something was up. This wasn't a coincidental meeting at the temple. It was for her that God sent me.

She told me she took the day off. She was weighing some big decisions, but she seemed happy and glowing. I chatted about the one or two things that struck me in the session and as I talked she just stared at me in kind of shock and awe. I wasn't sure why, but I kept talking--because she wasn't jumping in. Still that stare. Then I hugged her again--again, I got the not letting go for longer than socially normal, and I left her alone to meditate.

I have no idea what I said except a bunch of gibberish, but I realized once more that it was for her that God sent me and not me. On the way out I thought about a conversation I had just had with a friend about "being used." All friendships are mutual using, I once heard someone say. This is a cynical way of putting it, but is accurate if you just look at friendship from outside, without seeing the love. I considered this as I stared at a giant painting of Christ preaching near the sea. I don't mind being used by God, I thought. Although I know I'm being blessed in some unseen way, or already have been. And thank goodness others have listened and let him use them to be there at an exact right moment for me. This still happens almost daily, although I'm sure most of the people who are being used don't realize it, or would call it a blessing--like the several brave women who have contacted me about my most recent call for stories. I am so grateful. They are an answer to a prayer and I think they will help many women, but each has said it is in a way a blessing for them.

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this before, but every time I covenant to use all that God has blessed me with for the good of the church--I am reminded that that means my experiences, too--good and awful. I think it's funny that Satan, who thinks he's messing up the plan, actually gets used too, when God finds a way to consecrate even the worst trials for our growth.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Call For A Few More Necessary Stories

"Sometimes people need a story more than food to stay alive." - Barry Lopez

We are nearing completion of the book. So near. But there are a few stories that people promised that we haven't received yet. Probably because they are difficult to write, but as Barry Lopez suggests, they are so necessary. For some people. We are still looking for stories on the following subjects. All authors can remain anonymous.

Sexual abuse - How it affected your birth choices/experience OR how birth helped you heal from sexual abuse.

Abortion - What was pregnancy and birth like after an abortion, however long ago, for whatever reason.

Mental Illness - Mothers who suffer from mental illness.

Please remember that we are most interested in the spiritual angle of these stories. For example: How did you counsel with the Lord? How did healing occur? How has your relationship with God been strengthened? How did/do you see the hand of the Lord in this experience?

Please send your birth stories to or to

Thanks and love.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Inquiry on Maternity Care- 4 Questions and a Turnaround

In my work with pregnant moms, I often hear them express frustration about maternity care in America. I have expressed the same frustration at different times. Recently, I have been doing Inquiry, (also called "The Work" of Byron Katie) If you have never heard of The Work of Byron Katie, I highly recommend you check out the book Loving What Is or visit It is very simple, yet profound. It involves 4 questions and a turnaround. I often use it with clients, students, or on myself.

I thought it would be very enlightening if I shared a sample transcript of an inquiry on maternal care with you. This is a combination of several conversations I have had with different women, all of whom have given me permission to share while keeping their names confidential.

Pregnant Woman: Maternity care in America is horrible. I should get better customer service. What happened to service? They should take better care of me. They should care about my needs.

Me: Let's take the first statement. Maternity care in America is horrible. Is it true?

PW: Yes.

Me: Can you absolutely know that it's true?

PW: Well that is my experience and statistically it is worse than anywhere else in the world.

Me: Can you absolutely know that that's true?

PW: No I can't know about the whole world. But I know my experience.

Me: Okay. Let's take your experience. Is maternity care horrible? If you had to live with that answer for the rest of your life, is it true?

PW: Well. It's not always.

Me: Okay. Can you think of a time when it wasn't?

PW: Yes. (normally I would have her give examples. We'll skip that.)

Me: How does it feel, what do you do when you think that thought-- that maternity care is horrible?

PW: I get scared. I feel tense in my body. I want to cry. I'm on guard with the nurses and can't speak articulately to my doctor.

Me: Who would you be without that thought? And I'm not asking you to drop the thought.

PW: I wouldn't be me...

Me: Can you think of one stress-free reason to keep the thought?

PW: No.

Me: Who would you be without it?

PW: I'd be less tense. I'd be more open and trusting with my caregivers. I'd be more peaceful.

Me: Let's try turning that statement around to the opposite.

PW. Maternity care in America is not horrible.....

Me: Is that as true or more true?

PW: Hmmm. I see. At least as true. It's probably worse some places. And some people have good experiences...

Me: Let's try your next statement. "They should take better care of me. They should care about my needs." Is it true?

PW: Yes. They are in a service business...

Me: Can you absolutely know that it's true? Should they?

PW: What is the right answer?

Me: Well. What is the reality? Are they?

PW: No. They are not.

Me: So, if they are not, then that's the reality. When we argue with reality, we lose, but as Katie says, only 100% of the time.

PW: So they shouldn't take care of me?

Me: No, they shouldn't, because they are not. That's the reality. I'm not saying it won't change tomorrow. But they shouldn't until they do.

PW: okay.

Me: How do you feel when you think that thought that they should take better care of you and your needs?

PW: Angry.

Me: What do you say, think, feel in your body?

PW: I want to claw something. I feel really powerless. It's not a good feeling.

Me: Who would you be without that thought? And I'm not asking you to drop the thought.

PW: I'd be peaceful and enjoy my pregnancy more.

Me: Let's turn it around a few different ways.

PW: I should take better care of me...

Me: Is that as true or more true? When you are thinking about what they should be doing and it is causing you all that anger and tension--you are not being very nice to yourself are you?

PW: You're right. I'm causing all the pain myself by believing the thought. But...

Me: Turn it around another way.

PW: I should care about their needs?

Me: Is that as true or more true?

PW: No... Well, I guess if I birth the way they want me to birth and do what is convenient for them, then they would be nicer to me... But I don't want to birth their way. I want to do what feels right for me and my baby.

Me: Right. So if you left their office and found another care provider, could that be a way of caring for your doctor's needs... It sounds like you aren't his ideal patient...

PW: Oohhhh. I see. Interesting.

Me: One more.

PW: They should not take better care of me and meet my needs.... Right. Because they are not.?

Me: Right. And what happens when you argue with reality?

PW: I lose. 100% of the time. I get it.... I think you are right. I think I need to be more open with my doctor or switch doctors if I am going to get what I need. I need to take care of myself. I'm the only one who can control that.

The magic of this line of questioning is in doing it in order. You can't go directly for the turnaround or it is too harsh. First, you have to see what having the thought does do you. The fact is, we can't always control our thoughts. There is a part of our brain that generates distorted and untrue thoughts all day long--it is an old wiring for survival. (I can write more on that later). When we argue or try to drop the thoughts, they dig in deeper, but when we meet these thoughts with kindness and inquiry, the thought lets go of it's grip on us. Then we can think and see more clearly and almost always have more peace. That's inquiry in a nutshell. To learn more or watch Katie in action or work with a facilitator for free, visit


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