Browsing Tag

midwife

Guest Posts, Self Image, Vulnerability

Becoming My Own Midwife.

May 29, 2014

By Celeste Gurevich.

Let me share with you what it feels like to be loved back to yourself. To your True Self.

To live each day with a partner who loves and values every piece of you–even the ugly ones. Not in spite of them, but through them. One who has the integrity to point out when my inner child, still playing with fire, tries to self-sabotage the woman I strive to be. Or the ways I play out the story of myself projected onto me by others. Toxic overlays. I shred them piece by piece, his mirror reflecting the iridescent shimmer of my soul beneath layers of soot.

I learned to survive by quilting myself with breathe, blood, bones, and stories.

Panel by panel, saturated remnants of all of the Celestes I have ever been. The stitches laden with the scent of early Spring daphnes, garden-fresh basil a licorice-y labor of loving hands. The eternal tang of salty Pacific Ocean air. In the warp and weft of fiber, the scars, each with its own tale to tell.

Listen carefully and you will hear the music that moves me. You will feel the boiling momentum gathering in my root chakra, moving through my limbs with the notes, up through my arms and legs. The release, exquisite, of muscles moved to dance. Of vocal cords thrown open in song.

Mine is an embodied body. A body that was abused, and is still in recovery, rediscovery.

A body that brought life into the world without a pharmaceutical fog to separate me from my Pain. A body that has walked barefoot, childtoes in love with mud- thick, warm Mother Earth juices.

Mine is a body in flux, at the mercy of the dialogue between estrogen and progesterone, the interplay of ovaries and uterus. A bodymachine heaving herself in fits and starts toward cronehood. And I.

Am.

Ready.

Arms wide open to this New Self, it is time to embrace my failings, see them anew. To honor them as blessed teachers. To reclaim.

From this day forward, I transmute into power being told that I should NOT read in class my very first day of school. Shamed by the adult in charge for teaching myself to read. The embarrassment, guilt for being smart at six years old.

I’ll take being sexually abused as a young child, in a family drowning in generations of Othering, neglect, and addiction. Growing up dirt poor, getting teased for wearing the same clothes two days in a row: bell-bottomed denim jeans with rainbows embroidered on the back pockets, hand-me-downs from my cousin, a few years older, but petite, as my mother’s family tends to be, so they were only slightly too large. Lime green t-shirt, the 3rd place prize in a Mother’s Day essay contest held by the local newspaper. I still have the clipping tucked away in my mom’s leather briefcase.

As of today, I recognize my value in my relationships. Off with the blinders of self-doubt. I see now that I was a woman desperately in need of affection, for someone to have my back, to hold me and say it would be okay. Settling for abuse or safe mediocrity because I couldn’t yet see that I could thrive, and not merely survive.

I reclaim my own experience of being a poor, struggling single mother in a generation of women who watched as socially guaranteed safety nets were yanked out from under our feet. Denying those of us who ached to elevate. Those of us who were willing to sacrifice, those of us who kicked and screamed against the System.

All we wanted was the opportunity to succeed.

I’ll take every shitty job, every small-minded, small-dicked tyrant boss.

Decades of working my body to chronic pain and injury for someone else’s profit.

I call to power my library and barstool education. I rose beyond the poor-ass school district I spent hard time in. Held my creativity close. Set my own curriculum. Pushed through being denied funding and support to continue my education. The thing I wanted most desperately.

I proclaim my diploma from The Global University of the Self-Educated and the Academy for the Ideal of Unlimited Potentiality.

I’ll even accept losing my mother, my twin self, my primary parent, in a car accident when I was 21 years old. She was 40 and ½ when she died (she always marked the ½’s, from her height to birthdays). I was suddenly a motherless child, with a baby of my own. My mother’s best friend fell asleep while driving 60 mph. Mom napping in the passenger’s seat, dreaming of waking to the majestic Grand Canyon. Her soul left her body in the Arizona mountains. Land of the First People. As she would have wanted.

I claim it all. Every piece invaluable. After all, until you fall enough, how can you lose your fear of falling?

It made me who I am today.

Healer, mother, writer, artist, empath, musician, wife, gourmet chef.

Grandmother. Matriarch.

Holding the line of my ancestors. Holding the line.

Heart wide open. Mind on fire.

There is wisdom, empathy and strength through suffering and pain. If you chose to look that motherfucker in the eye and not blink. To jump free-fall down into your stories is a courageous act, and they are the most crucial gift we have to give one another.

To say FUCK YOU to fear is the only way to creating new trajectories for ourselves. Away from abuse. Away from neglect. Towards loving ourselves as we are.

Knowledge, consciousness, and righteous outrage are my weapons.

Stretching, my mind and spirit are being pulled outward in every direction. Ocean size. To the nebulas. Far enough to hold the magnitude of abundance that is my life now. That is my love. Now.

Mind wide open. Heart on fire. Expanding, out and out and up and beyond, wide enough to hold all of the intensity and passion and pain and humanity and laughter and sex and joy and stories and stories and love and art.

 

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Celeste Gurevich grew up on the Central Oregon Coast and currently lives with her husband, Andrew, in Portland. After experiencing a trauma-induced decade-long writer’s block, she started taking writing and film classes at Mt. Hood Community College and experienced a literary rebirth. A Social Artist in training, her goal is to teach others about the transformative nature of sharing our stories with one another, and the collective healing that comes from revealing our deepest inner selves in community. Her work has appeared in: Perceptions: A Magazine for the Arts, The Manifest-Station Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak, and The International Journal of Gender, Nature, and Transformation. She is currently a member of the Dangerous Writers workshop with Tom Spanbauer, and is working on her first book. Her website, celestegurevich.com went live just in time for Christmas. She can be reached via email at urbangoddess70@gmail.com.

 She met Jen Pastiloff at a writing workshop in Portland called The Writer’s Voice with Lidia Yuknavitch and Suzy Vitello.

 Jen Pastiloff will be in Vancouver (Jan 17) and London (feb 14th) next with her Manifestation Workshop: On Being Human. Click here.
Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

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Guest Posts, Inspiration, Q & A Series

Guest Post by Christy Turlington. The Manifestation Q&A Series.

December 22, 2011

Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A. I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.

Today’s guest is Christy Turlington, my fellow Positively Positive contributor. What blows me away the most about Christy is not her external beauty, as you would assume. That’s a given. It is her mind-blowing internal beauty that humbles me and makes me want to be a better person.
Christy directing “No Woman, No Cry”

She has grace and kindness like no one else I know.

Her dedication to seva, to giving back, and to her family, continues to inspire me on a daily basis. I wanted to share her with you not just because she is a yogi, but because of the incredible work she is doing. She has created a foundation called Every Mother Counts. EMC is a five-year outreach campaign she founded in 2010 that is dedicated to improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality around the world by engaging the public, raising awareness and driving action.

Recently, Christy completed a documentary film titled “No Woman, No Cry”. From her Every Mother Counts website she says, “I hope that by bringing people together through the universal experience of birth, we can help create a mainstream maternal health movement that ensures the lives and well-being of mothers worldwide, for generations to come.”

I surround myself with people who live a life I admire and who lead by example. Enter Christy Turlington.

She is a divine source of inspiration and love for me and I hope that you will perhaps get to know her in a new light as well as learning about Every Mother Counts.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you the most proud to have Manifested in your life?

Christy Turlington: My family.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What was the most challenging aspect of making your inspiring short film ” No Woman, No Cry?” The most inspiring? Where can we see the film?

Christy Turlington: “No Woman, No Cry” is a feature length film. I decided to make this film after visiting an inspiring maternal health partnership in Peru in 2007 where they brought down maternal death in half in five years using really low cost solutions in low resource settings. Oce I saw how they were able to do this, I knew it was possible to make a bigger impact in other parts of the world. My film is the result of a personal journey which started after I delivered my daughter Grace and experienced a childbirth related complication that often leads to death. The movie premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2010 and made its television debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network last Mother’s Day. It is now available on dvd too, as of last week, on everymothercounts.org.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I am fascinated by your commitment to maternal health. How was Every Mother Counts manifested into being? What was it that said to you ” This is what I must do. This is my calling.” How was EMC born?

Christy Turlington: As we were finalizing the documentary it became clear that we needed a place to direct audiences who felt inspired to want to engage on this issue. Every Mother Counts is a global advocacy and mobilization campaign to educate and support maternal mortality reduction. We wanted to build a community and provide resources to people who wanted to take action on behalf of moms around the world.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?

Christy Turlington: My children are my greatest teachers. I learn from them daily. My daughter often reminds me that I only HAVE to do something when I really WANT to.

Jennifer Pastiloff: We all know that you are a yogi. What I love most about you is that you are not simply ‘doing’ yoga on the mat but you are a LIVING example of what yoga is. Of seva, of giving back. You are Being yoga rather than doing yoga. I know that you truly live your yoga daily, but do you still practice yoga regularly on the mat?

Christy Turlington: I practice asanas a few times a week these days. But I practice seva every day.

Jennifer Pastiloff: My father died when I was 8 and he was 38. He smoked 4 packs of cigarettes a day. It devastated me. I was very moved by your passion to hep the cessation of smoking after your father’s death and by your obvious closeness to him. If he was sitting here with us now, what would say to him?

Christy Turlington: I lost my dad almost 15 years ago now. He never met my husband or my children so I’d probably start with an introduction. There is so much I’d want to share with my dad, though I do share everything with him always.

Jennifer Pastiloff: My nephew has a rare genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome, which I am doing my very best to raise awareness and funds for research for. I know the more successful I get, the easier it will be for me to spread my message and to give back. I was able to get a sound bite about Prader Willi Syndrome in The Good Morning America segment I just filmed which thrilled me to no end (airing 12/26). It seems that you use your celebrity in such a profoundly positive way. You get messages out there that wouldn’t normally get out there. If there was one message you could convey to the world right now, what would it be?

Christy Turlington: The trouble is there are just so many issues and messages. The world is a very crowded place, figuratively AND literally. I wish there was a way for every cause to get equal attention but that doesn’t seem likely. All I know is that sharing an experience can be a powerful way to connect with other human beings and by practicing mindfulness and compassion we can make this world a place we’d choose to live in again.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I have a list of rules. A few of them are ” you must sing. out loud. even if badly.” ” do yoga.” ” have a sense of humor especially when it comes to yourself.” ” Forgive yourself for not being perfect, no such thing.” ” find things to be in awe of” What would one of Christy’s “rules” be?

Christy Turlington: 

Sleep deeply

Laugh deeply

Love deeply

Feel deeply

Give deeply

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who are you most inspired by?

Christy Turlington: I am endlessly inspired by all of the women I meet when I travel around the world for my advocacy work.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I make a practice out of being endlessly grateful. In fact, many of my yoga classes are taught to this theme. Who would you like to say thank you to right now?

Christy Turlington: Thank you, Jennifer for shining your light on mine.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What can we do to get involved with Every Mother Counts?

Christy Turlington: Visit everymothercounts.org and share it with your loved ones. If you have a voice you must use it because millions of girls and women around the world do not have that power. You and I do.

~~~~~~~~~~

Please support Every Mother Counts as they work to build a clinic for mothers in need in Indonesia this holiday season! Thanks to Mozilla Firefox and CrowdRise, they are entering a competition and If their charity raises the most, Mozilla Firefox will contribute $25,000!

http://www.crowdrise.com/emcchallenge/fundraiser/christyturlingtonburns

Just a month ago Christy was invited to travel to Indonesia to visit with an incredible midwife, Robin Lim. Robin had been nominated for a CNN Hero award and so CNN wanted to see her in action. Along with a small camera crew she was there a couple of days shadowing Robin, seeing her work and her very humane and loving approach to serving her community. At Robin’s Bumi Sehat clinics in Indonesia, one of the hardest hit countries in terms of maternal death, they provide free prenatal, birthing services and medical aid for all women.

Please feel free to share this and spread the love that Christy is. You can visit https://donationpay.org/everymothercounts/ to make a donation to Every Mother Counts.

Follow Christy on Twitter at  @cturlington @everymomcounts

You can get the amazing film “No Woman, No Cry” via Every Mother Counts. 

Thank you to Christy and mothers everywhere. I bow to you.