I feel very lucky to be midway through my birth doula training with Ancient Song Doula Services. I had first wanted to be a doula four years ago when I heard that Erykah Badu is a birth doula. My friend told me at the time that one time, after Badu had given an epic concert in a stadium to tens of thousands, she was about to head to the after party when she got a text that her friend's baby was coming and she got on a plane instead. I want this story so badly to be true that I realize that I never verified it. In my head it's part of my doula journey origin myth and I want to keep it that way.
Sometime, at the end of 2015, I was chatting with doula couple—one birth doula, one abortion doula—about how acquiring a sense of “doulaness” allows us to shepherd other beings across all sorts of transitions. I had completed my death doula training the year before, but I hadn’t put it in action yet. The death doula training was very mystical and humbling. A room full of sixteen people talking very actively and presently about death is in itself arresting in its rarity; add to that fact that all bar two of us had experienced firsthand the death of one of more loved ones, and the communion becomes very sweet indeed. At the time of the conversation with the couple I was on a break from the program because I had received word, through my own healing work, that I wasn’t really ready to provide that service at this time. Did this make me a “lapsed doula”? Was that even possible? I was discussing this with the other doulas and we sort of came to the conclusion that it wasn’t possible; it was my edge-dwelling tendencies that both made me such a good ferryman for others and brought me to the program in the first place. Once a person knows how to provide support as others travel from one energetic state to another, that never really goes away, I think.
My healing work makes me very attuned to something that Matt Kahn, one of the spiritual populists of our time, refers to as “ascension”—that mode when somebody starts to transition from a “setting sun” (to borrow a Shambhala term), scarcity, nihilistic, taking, destructive lifeway to a “rising sun,” regenerative, giving, “walk-in-beauty” lifeway. This ability leads me to the others and leads them to me. So it is for all others who live for the rising sun; they are like a ship headed to shore that, upon arrival, becomes a lighthouse for others to follow. I’ve yet to meet a rising-sun person who is not also a sign pointing home.
Ascension, to me, is roughly equivalent to rewilding—the industrial myth, whether consciously or unconsciously, starts to fall from a person’s eyes, and they long to commune with the earth on which they stand. All forms of ascension that I have seen have some element of that, and that is the element I hone in on to support those transitions when I see them. I suppose that makes me a “rewilding doula,” among other things, though the same medicine also works in reverse; I have learned, over the years, to spot a wild person who is struggling to adapt to “civ-life,” to the dismay of their family and friends, who at a loss as to why their friend will disappear for long periods at a time, or sit in communion with plants in nature, or live in places deemed “uninhabitable” by most, or have one or more really acute senses, or push their body to some sort of limit, if they are not already completely overwhelmed by the toxic chaos of contemporary life.
Earlier that day, before meeting the doula couple, my friend Victoria, one of the party attendees and a dear friend in this particular group of humans, texted me a dream she had had:
I had a dream last night I was in an airplane only it was an open airplane and the runway was positioned over the ocean and the sun was setting and I wondered if the plane was going to go down and the plane did go down, and I was falling in this machine
What does it mean?
I remember hitting the water but it was so slow
I projected this onto V’s dream, via text:
I would interpret thusly: industrial people will fall when industry falls. If you wed yourself too much to this industrial complex as-it-is you will be helpless as it collapses. There is no ground beneath the industrial person and no protection overhead; they are exposed and threatened by collapse at all times. The only protection is a petrochemically-powered metal shell, discomforting and dependent on a system that destroys nature. The only way to save yourself is to birth a new culture in the shell of the old; prepare for the secession or go down with the airship. Or get off the plane by the way things are there is no “off the plane” anymore. Nobody lives upstream anymore.
On a more personal level this could mean your relationship to your own body; if you pump it full of synthetic chemicals and cigarettes you are polluting your own corporeal resources, your only earth. Replenish and regenerate or perish.
P.S. The flavor of every movie made by this culture as-it-is is the flavor of your dream. This civilization is obsessed with its own demise which is forever imminent. It’s sort of like a Godard film or something.
V wrote back to me:
I love you
Can we dance soon?
The plane spiraled. I want out but I want into the water
The spiral/fractal is the shape of how all things grow on earth, our own bodies included. A spiral is also what happens when we “spiral out”—when we lose our connection to source and go into a feedback loop of negative reinforcement. It could very much have been your body processing out whatever chemicals you’ve ingested lately.
The ocean is the birthplace of all life on earth. We remember the primordial mother, both from in utero and genetic memory. And now industry is threatening her destruction. We long to be annihilated back into source consciousness but we have much more work to do here first. This is our Eden we just have to remember