Friday, June 19, 2009

a practice in introspection

yesterday i joined a group of 10 or so pregnant ladies and two midwives at grace cathedral atop nob hill. our purpose? to walk the labyrinth as a group at the stroke of noon.

it was a perfect sf day. the sun streamed down, making the square block flanked by the Mark and the cathedral shine in exuberance.

i was feeling pretty good, too. i sat on the steps leading to the cathedral, and took it all in.

soon ladies following their bellies appeared, and we all entered together. it was awe-inspiring. i never tire of the ornate stillness that surrounds me when i step into an old church. the labryinth was awesome: front row and center; the nucleus of the knave.

we convened in a group, and my yoga teacher (also a midwife) unfurled some green string that each of us handled so that we were all connected in a circle. she explained how we would enter the labyrinth at our own speed and once we reached the center, we could leave when it was right for each of us. we then each cut a piece of the string so that we'd have a symbol of the greater group with us as we walked. another midwife stood at the entrance, asking each of us if we wanted oil for our mind or our heart. i chose mind.

upon entering, i was flooded with emotion and immediately began to tear up. but then i calmed and began my walk. we were a noticeable bunch: 10 or so pregnant ladies walking slowly, some gazing down, others, like me, noticing my surroundings and taking it all in. i held my string on my belly. it just remained there as i touched it and stroked her sweet movements as i moved along the curves.

a woman appeared with a small child and stood watching outside the labyrinth as those of us with babies on the inside walked. the next time i saw her, she was standing at the entrance, holding her baby. after a pause, she began walking. she was the only person outside of our group who entered with us. at times her child cooed and cried and yelped, and all of us smiled.


jini said...

i love the image of women with babies waiting to be born walking with a woman holding her baby in her arms. what a cool experience!

pattie said...

"ladies following their bellies". I like that expression.