Here are answers to some questions I am frequently asked by readers or interviewers:
Will you read my manuscript? Offer an endorsement? Give me publishing advice?
I am an avid reader. I love the work of other writers and believe the world can never have too many books, articles, poems, plays, scripts, recipes, love letters, and op-ed rants. If you are a writer, I hope the muse fills your sails and fastens your wandering mind to the page. We need your voice. People often ask me to review manuscripts or offer blurbs and endorsements. I am honored to be asked, but unable to do so. People also ask me about the writing and publishing process—how to organize a writing project, how to find an agent, how to publish. Please go to the Toolbox section of this website where I suggest my favorite books on writing and provide links to a variety of sites about publishing.
Your books harness the power of your own story. Do you find it difficult to expose yourself so thoroughly to your readers?
Yes, I do find it difficult. When people ask me how I found the courage to write so honestly about my life, I like to say, "The book made me do it." Having read so many spirituality and self-help books for work and pleasure, I have come to value books where the author talks about his or her own struggles and victories along the way. Personal growth is, well, personal. And without a storyline, spiritual writing feels dry to me, and preachy, and it doesn't grab me or give me much traction in my own life. Even in the ancient religious texts, the most important teachings are given through parable, through human story. When I first conceived of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, I planned to write about other people—people I met in my workshops, or well-known people who had suffered great loss, or friends who were going through big changes. But after only a short time of writing I realized that if I was going to help my readers learn "how difficult times can help us grow," I was going to have to tell my own story, because that is the story I know the best. Therefore, that is the story I could deconstruct to demonstrate some of the common pitfalls and terrors one confronts during difficult times, as well as the strategies and philosophies that can lead one out of the woods and into a happier, bigger, bolder life. So, I gathered up my courage and wrote about the dark times of my own life as a way of shining a light for others. I did the same when writing Marrow.
The hardest aspect of memoir is that it involves writing not only about me, but also about my family, my colleagues, my friends—none of whom asked to be characters in my book. In writing Broken Open and Marrow, I showed family and friends early versions and changed parts if they wanted me to. I changed some names of people. I stayed true to the story but left some parts out that might offend or hurt. Still, I am sure I caused discomfort for some of the folks in my life. But I did it for a reason—so that readers might see themselves in my story, and feel less alone in the common struggles we all face. I hope the good my memoirs have generated outweighs any discomfort I caused the people in my life.
Do you have any special writing rituals?
Yes—some practical and some of the magical-thinking sort. On the practical side, I try to write every day, no matter what. If I am not in the middle of a book or article, I will write a long email to a friend, or I’ll post something on Facebook, or I will jot down ideas for a new project. But I try to keep my writer’s muscle in relatively good shape all the time. It’s actually not that difficult for me to do this, because I need to write in order to think clearly. Another practical “ritual” I have is to disengage from the internet by using a software program called Freedom. Since I use my computer to write, and since I am addicted to email and other such things, I use Freedom to block my ability to access the internet for chunks of time. On the less practical end of things, I surround myself in my writing room with art, photos, inspirational sayings, meaningful tchotchkes, and books of all kinds that I turn to when I need a hit of insight or a refreshing pallet cleanser from the goop inside my head. I also keep a little singing bowl bell and wooden striker by my computer. When I feel restless and lost at sea (often) I will ding the bell and sit up straight and breathe more deeply. I’ll listen to the sound waves radiate out and dissipate into space. This often can settle me back down into writing. Perhaps the most effective way I have of changing my mood when I need to become more restful and open, or on the other hand, more awake and penetrating, is to listen to music that evokes different kinds of moods. I have playlists on my computer and on Spotify with titles like “WAKE UP” or “OPEN” or “CRY” or “DANCE.” Depending on what part of me feels stuck, I’ll choose some music, stretch out on the rug, or get up and dance, or just sit there, letting the music get me back in tune.
People talk and write about finding one’s “life purpose.” How did you find yours?
I have not finished this task by any means. Mostly because life is always changing. There is no firm purpose to find—no final destination. I try to stay open to what is around the corner because no one knows what will arrive tomorrow. I try to live lightly in each moment, with a curious mind and an unfixed compass. That doesn’t mean I don’t work hard and act strategically, but I am not one to have a five-year plan or to hold on tightly to a job or a role. I started out as a pre-school teacher, became a midwife and birth educator, got married, had children, started and helped lead a holistic learning center that turned into a large school and campus, got divorced, got remarried, raised a family, wrote about my work and personal experiences and became a published author, had a radio show, taught workshops, stopped teaching workshops, spoke at conferences, went back to writing, became a grandmother, spent a year taking care of my sister, wrote another book….None of this was planned. I gave each chapter all my heart and tried not to kick and scream too much when things changed. I find the hardest times for me are the in-between times, when I don’t quite know what the next phase will be, when I lose faith, when I feel lost. But I’ve been around the block now enough times to let myself squirm around in the unknown until the clouds part and the path is revealed. I find my purpose when I bring my full attention to whatever I am doing. If I can fully, richly, devotedly show up for any task, be it parenting or cooking or writing or exercising or sitting in a meeting, then that is my purpose at that moment. And I will learn by doing anything fully if I should continue in that line of work or play or service, or if I should make a change. And in the meantime, who I am will be my purpose.
Why do you like meditation?
Meditation works for me. It doesn’t appeal to everyone, but it has been my best friend on the spiritual path. It never fails me. But it’s always a challenge. The premise of mindfulness meditation seems simple enough but is actually difficult to pull off. You sit, close your eyes, remain alert, and observe whatever happens—to the sounds and sensations around you, and the thoughts and feelings within you. When your mind wanders, you use the rhythmic inhalation and exhalation of the breath to return over and over to the moment just as it is. Sometimes your heart feels heavy, or your mind races, or your knees ache, or your body tightens in fear, or you feel utterly bored and restless…no matter what happens when you sit in meditation, you simply sit there. You pay attention to what you feel; you consciously relax around the sensation; you return to your breath. Whatever emerges, you embrace it without judgment. You practice what the teacher Pema Chodron calls “unconditional friendliness” as you observe your experience. The more you practice meditation, the more you can take what you experience out into your daily life. When life is difficult, frustrating, or confusing; when s**t happens; when you feel helpless in your capacity to make the world a better place, you can shower unconditional friendliness on the whole mess. Peace is proclaimed in the kingdom of your head. The window opens. A fresh breeze blows in. A better attitude and new ideas sprout. And when good things are happening, when success comes, when love abounds, meditation helps you fully appreciate and know that you deserve the richness of your life. It helps experience the goodness without holding on too tightly.
My son, Daniel teaches mindfulness practices to teachers and children in school districts around the country. Here is something from a curriculum he has written for teachers: “Mindfulness is the direct engagement with the present moment, like you were bending down on one knee and literally getting engaged to this moment, and saying Yes!” I love that image: each moment arising as a marriage proposal. Will you take this moment as your one and only, through sickness and health, till the next moment arises? For me, the practice of meditation is all about saying, “Yes!” That “yes” unlocks creativity, openness, courage, and compassion toward yourself and others. There are many kinds of meditation, and I have written extensively about the practice in The Seeker’s Guide and Broken Open. You can also find more information in the Toolbox section of this website.
What do you mean by spirituality?
I define spirituality as a longing in each of us—the longing to be at peace, to be wise, to be kind, to be fearless, to be authentically ourselves, to be fully alive while being mortal and perhaps even peering beyond mortality into the afterlife. Spiritual practice—meditation, prayer, ritual—is a way of quieting down and peering within where the answers to our deeper questions await us.
Is technology, social media, texting, etc. an asset or a liability to us individually and to our culture?
I love email and texting and social media. I don’t think our gadgets are necessarily bad. It’s how we use them. I have to be very careful not to use my phone and computer as vehicles for escaping the people and situations right in front of me. But as long as I use my devices appropriately and moderately, I think social media, email, texting, etc. are grand inventions. It’s like anything—food, drink, work, whatever. In wise and grateful moderation, it’s all good. One way I know I am spending too much time online is when I feel myself suffering from FOMA (Fear Of Missing Out). This is a real, documented disorder. Let’s say I am scrolling through Facebook and I see that a friend has taken a bike trip through Spain. Suddenly I feel as if I’m a real stick in the mud and I enter a cul-de-sac of anxiety in my own head: I’ve never been to Spain! (And I don’t ride bikes.) Why don’t I get out more? Be more adventurous? How come my husband hasn’t whisked me away to Paris for the weekend? I keep scrolling and I notice that someone wrote a new book, or got an award, or their kid is doing such-and-such, or they moved, and I’ll start comparing myself and my family. Recently I’ve made it my spiritual practice when I notice those FOMA feelings coming up, to stop, breathe, feel grateful and centered in my own self. These little meditative time-outs help me remember that no one else’s life is what it seems to be on a Facebook profile. Everyone goes through stuff; there’s no gold standard on how to live; and no one is having that “normal” life we think we should be having. I saw a bumper sticker once that read, “Normal is someone you don’t know very well.” All those people on social media whose lives seem so much more “normal” than yours? The house? The family? The job? The vacation? You are mistaken! We’re all in the same boat: Everyone struggles, and everyone deserves joy. Remember that the next time you feel FOMA when you’re reading Facebook or looking at pictures of your friend’s vacation. See if you can take joy in their joy, and feel gratitude for your own life. It’s a great practice.
What do you think about taking prescription medications for pain, depression or anxiety?
Some people need and benefit from anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs. These drugs have been lifesavers for many. I have seen how they have changed people’s lives for the better. But I also think we have gone overboard in the way we use and prescribe anti-depressants and pain medication. Life here on earth is not easy for anyone. I don’t think the purpose of life is ease—I think we are here to learn and grow. Growth can be painful because you have to shed old ways of doing and being. It’s natural to resist pain, but that often keeps us from growing, and growth is what really makes us happy. Oftentimes people will go to a doctor or therapist in the midst of a difficult transition. Maybe they are pushing up against something that is changing in their life, or something that wants to change; maybe they need to confront a rut they are in, or a difficult conversation that needs to be had, or a relationship that’s stuck in a negative groove, or a difficult job or boss or financial situation. Or maybe just that classic nagging, disturbing feeling of time passing by and a deeper purpose wanting to be lived. And the doctor/therapist will prescribe medication to help dull the anxiety or mask the depression around the feelings. But this is not always the most helpful response. Again, sometimes medication is indeed “just what the doctor ordered.” But sometimes, inner turmoil is what the author Jeff Brown calls a “truth ache”—not a toothache, but a truth-ache. A truth ache is a messenger from the deep. If we medicate ourselves every time we feel a truth ache, we lose out on the opportunity to ask it what it has come to show us—about ourselves and about the world. If we medicate our children we stunt their growth and their capacity to learn from challenges. If as a society we are dulled to the real problems that need to be solved, we won’t work for justice, we won’t vote, we won’t care. We need to stop thinking that the purpose of life is to feel comfortable. It’s not. It’s to be fully alive, to make a difference, to work hard for what we believe in and to enjoy deeply and grieve loss and feel everything. Inner stability is what we want—the capacity to stay standing when it’s stormy. If things like meditation or therapy or exercise or friendship or making bolder choices don’t help cultivate stability, then by all means, seek help from medication. But give other kinds of help a chance, too.
Shouldn’t we be able to fix ourselves, by ourselves, without a therapist or a coach or a guide?
I am baffled by the belief that we should be able to solve the deeper questions by ourselves. I grew up with parents who doled out the following advice for all of life’s sticky problems: “Take a brisk walk and get over it!” But taking a walk or talking to a friend will not unravel some of our problems. Sometimes it’s just plain smart to seek professional help when the going gets tough. People don't think twice about having someone help them figure out their taxes, or fix their computer or car, or they don't question going to the doctor when they are ill, or to the gym when they want a trainer to help them get strong or lose weight. But when it comes to psychological or spiritual help with things like relationships, purpose, parenting, anger, anxiety, depression, etc., there's judgment or shame or squeamishness. As if it’s a sign of weakness or self-indulgence. In fact, I think it's a brave and a wise choice to seek help from therapists, healers, coaches, counselors, or spiritual guides. It’s good for you and its good for the people who live and work with you. Of course, it's important to find someone who is skillful, someone who comes highly recommended, and someone who recognizes when you have learned what you came to learn and helps you move on.
How can I find a good therapist?
Just as you ask around before hiring a plumber for your pipes or an accountant for your taxes or a tutor for your kid, you should do some research before choosing a therapist or a coach. First, try to get clear what it is you are grappling with. Life in general? Your relationships? Addiction? Anxiety? Depression? Read some books about the therapeutic process and different kinds of therapy; talk to friends about their experiences; ask people you respect about specific therapists in your area. Determine if it’s important to you that your therapist share specific core values (spiritual values, social values, etc.) But more than anything, check out a few therapists in person and see what your gut tells you—if you feel comfortable, safe, respected. Here’s a good site with in-depth information about choosing a therapist.
I have only one thing to add to the information on the site: many therapists have trained extensively yet are not licensed psychotherapists. I worked with a non-licensed therapist for many years. He had studied a school of therapy called the Pathwork that combines spiritual practice with psychological process. Although he did not have a degree that allowed him to accept insurance or prescribe medication, I trusted his wisdom and experience. I knew other people who had worked successfully with him. I attribute a lot of my personal growth and inner stability to the work we did together. A license—while necessary if you need to pay with insurance, or if you need the therapist to be able to prescribe medication—does not by any means guarantee that a therapist is skilled or a good fit for you. Interview all sorts of therapists and coaches before you make a choice.
Do you offer personal counseling or coaching?
No, I don’t. I’m not a therapist or counselor and I only dole out advice to people who don’t want it, like my husband or friends. I am primarily a writer. I used to lead workshops, but I don’t do that any more because I never got comfortable as a teacher. I suffer from thinking I have to fix everyone, and that doesn’t always make for a good therapist or teacher. Writing is the best way I know to offer healing or wisdom or support. I do sometimes speak at conferences and book events -see the events section of this website for details on anything that may be coming up.
Who are your favorite teachers and authors?
This is a difficult question to answer. I have met hundreds—maybe thousands—of spiritual leaders and healers and teachers and authors in my years at Omega. I am most inspired by people who have the courage to be real, people who aspire to walk what they talk. Not perfect people, but people who are trying to be true to their most genuine inklings of wisdom and kindness and grace. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” I find the older I get, the more aware I become that the only person I have influence over is myself. How it’s my job to live up to any spiritual or moral values that I may want the world to live up to.
I love authentically creative people—oddballs, iconoclasts, artists, mystics, scientists, out-of-the box-thinkers. I also am attracted to brave people who take a stand and risk being different. But above all, I value kindness. When authenticity, courage, and kindness come together in a person—that really inspires me and captures my interest. I don’t care if that person is famous. Famousness is way overrated. It’s kindness, courage, and creativity that count in my book. If that makes someone well known and revered, that’s great. But I have a problem with people who use their fame to express superiority or aggressive authority. That being said, I also have compassion for leaders or teachers or authors who are held to rigid standards of morality and enlightened behavior. Just because someone is a good writer about life or love or wisdom, doesn’t mean they are always wise, always loving. I think it’s important for people to take public figures off a pedestal. Everyone is a flawed human being, even the “great” ones. And if someone claims to have no flaws, I recommend you run in the opposite direction and look for another person to inspire you! Better yet, gather wisdom and healing from those people who inspire you, but realize that ultimately, you are your own best teacher, your own authority.
You are a cofounder of Omega Institute. How did Omega get its start?
I was quite young when we started Omega—in my early twenties. I was studying with a spiritual teacher who had the idea to launch a learning center. We didn’t have any money, nor did we have a background in education or hospitality, and we had never heard of things like creating strategic business or marketing plans. What we had was passion. Passion for a different way of living and learning. We didn’t realize then that we were in front a huge wave that would roll across the culture. Omega has grown into an institute of influence way beyond our early imaginings. We are now one of the largest and most trusted continuing education centers in the world. When we started out, our signature coursework—holistic health, natural foods, mindfulness meditation, humanistic psychology, yoga and other body-centered wellness practices, women’s empowerment, environmental sustainability, ecumenical spirituality, and world music, literature, and art—were far from the mainstream of American thought and practice. But today our teachers are featured in the press; medical schools train their doctors in the subjects we helped pioneer; and a diverse cross-section of people from different backgrounds, ages, and regions turn to Omega for direction. Our coursework is continually evolving, staying true to our mission, while also exploring innovative trends. As the times change, we have expanded into new topic areas, including environmental sustainability, new business and leadership practices, healing from addiction and trauma, energy medicine, sports training, and professional instruction. When our doors opened in 1977, a few hundred inquisitive participants walked through. Every year since we have grown, welcoming more and more people from around the world to form what we call the Omega community. Today, almost 30,000 guests attend programs at our Rhinebeck campus, our urban conferences, and at travel sites. We now reach millions through our website and social media outreach. Over these 40 years, we have produced more than 7,000 workshops and conferences, featuring more than 15,000 faculty and speakers, many who began their teaching careers at Omega and went on to become renowned in their fields. Here is some more information on Omega’s history.
40 years later, do you think the world still needs places like Omega?
There will always been a need for places like Omega, because humans need to learn and grow across a life-time, to feel part of a community, to put down their burdens for a few days and be nurtured, healed, helped. Forty years ago we named ourselves Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. Today, “holistic studies” are even more important because humanity’s survival depends on the understanding of whole systems. We are so connected now, and we live in a world of dwindling resources. The health of all of us is related to the health of each of us. For example, eating well isn’t just about one person’s health—it’s about how we farm; how we clean up rivers and soils and the air we breathe; it’s about climate change and equitable sharing of resources. We help the individual make changes for her own health and happiness, and for the health and happiness of all people, and the earth itself.
There is so much tension and conflict in the world today. Do you think we are in a spiritual crisis?
If you look clearly at history, you’ll see that humanity has always been in a spiritual crisis. In the past, when religions were more firmly entrenched in all aspects of society, it may have looked as if people were more moral or altruistic. But humans have always struggled with their capacity to love, to accept and forgive, to live in harmony with each other and the environment. There are many more people in the world today and a media that never quits—so the human tendency toward violence and greed feels amplified. It’s in our face all the time. On some level, this is a good thing. Because with so many more of us, with dwindling resources, and with powerful weapons, it’s critical that we evolve as a species. I think we will. We may have to learn our lessons the hard way, but I think we will. I know it's difficult to stay positive and hopeful these days. It seems that there's so much suffering—oil spills, global warming, wars, genocides, illness, racism, poverty. But I think it's important to stay hopeful. Not head-in-the-sand positive, but fully present and at the same time full of hope. Hope breeds happiness in everyone we touch. And happiness gives us the energy to engage with a world that needs us. Engagement breeds empathy. And empathy is the gateway to love.
What is "spiritual activism”?
Spiritual activism sounds like an oxymoron, right? We think of spirituality as something internal, receptive, silent, sacred. We think of activism as noisy, angry, passionate, worldly. How could they ever work together? But some of the most influential change-agents throughout history were spiritual activists. Think of Jesus turning over the tables in the temple to protest what he saw as corruption. Or Joan of Arc being a sacred warrior. Remember that Gandhi was able to change the course of history in his country by forcing the British army to leave India through the power of Satyagraha—nonviolent resistance. And here in our country, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took Gandhi’s principles to heart and turned an entire nation around to embrace civil rights. And the list goes on--Mandela, Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall, the Dalai Lama—all people whose courage to do good for the world is strengthened by their spiritual life. In fact, those whose impulse to serve humanity comes from their faith in God, or soul, or whatever they call their belief, are able to make a deeper and more lasting impact for the greater good. I think it is because they have a deep patience, a faith in the goodness of the world, a peacefulness. As Ghandi said, "We must be the change we want to see in the world." It's a lot easier to follow a leader whose very being is in consort with the message he or she is promoting. That's what spiritual activism is about—linking up your life with your word.
Why are you interested in women’s leadership?
While some empowered women will end up resorting to the old, fear-based, power-over style of leadership, research shows that there is indeed a female style of leadership that is more inclusive, less combative, and more communicative. I believe that when a critical mass of women joins men in the leadership arena (and by leadership I mean anything you do that involves taking a stand, making a difference, singing your own true song), there will be a better possibility of the eradication of violence as a way to solve anything. That we will see the creation of policies that help women and men balance the needs of family, children, and work. That the careful stewardship of the Earth will become a priority.
I am interested in women not just becoming powerful, but also in redefining what a powerful person looks like and acts like. Power and strength in the service of ego, with the fuel of pride and violence—this is a worn-out, old-world paradigm. With all the remarkable ingenuity of human beings—iPhones, organ transplants, space travel—I mean, our species has massive intelligence and imagination, but we have not applied that intelligence to the way we use power, to the way we define strength. It is the last frontier, if you ask me. Which gives women an incredible opportunity, even an advantage—as POWER-OUTSIDERS for most of recorded history, we are coming into our own strength at an auspicious time. As old systems of governing and leading break down, as the world becomes ever more interconnected, we have the chance to call what’s broken, broken, and to create something different—to lean in, in order to usher out a corrupted form of power and to give birth to the greatest of all human inventions: how to live together in peace and wisdom on our beautiful planet. To shy away from power now is to miss an opportunity to transform the way people live and lead. Every historical era has had its serious challenges, but we are living in a precarious time—the stakes are high when it comes to the environment, the way we solve conflicts, and the way we share resources. It’s time for women to lead the way in all these arenas.
Is there a moment in your life you are most proud of?
A recent one was watching my son Rahm care for his baby. He has been at different times the stay-at-home parent in his family. One day, as I observed him feeding his 4-year-old while holding his baby, I told him that he was being “such a great Mommy.” He corrected me. “I am not being a Mommy; I am being a Daddy. This is what being a dad looks like.” I was proud to have helped raise this kind of man, and excited for the future of humanity.
When people suffer a big loss—a parent, a child, a mate, a friend, a pet—shouldn’t they have more than a couple of days off from work to grieve?
In the old days, people would wear black for a full year after the loss of a parent or a child or beloved. Everyone would understand that the grieving person had entered the dark woods for a while and needed support and patience as he or she wound their way back into the everyday world. We’ve lost that important ritual. There is an art to grieving. It takes attention and patience and courage. But many of us do not know how to grieve. We were never taught and we don’t see examples of full-bodied grieving around us. Our culture favors the fast-food model of mourning—get over it quick and get back to work; affix the bandage of “closure” and move on. I am not a big fan of “closure.” It sounds so abrupt, so tidy, so final. I prefer old-fashioned words like mourning, lamentation, and grief. They suggest a slow and sloppy process—one that involves emotional upheaval, interrupted activity, and dark nights of the soul. Grief is messy and painful. But grief is also a tonic. It is a healing elixir, made of tears that lubricate the heart. When a friend or family member dies—or when the world loses one of its beloved citizens or suffers through a crisis—we should not hold back our tears. Our tears, and the sense of confusion and alienation that can follow a loss, are not signs of your weakness. Grief is the proof of our love, a demonstration of how deeply we have allowed another to touch us. Grief is often confused with depression or self-pity. While one can certainly go into a woeful tailspin during the grieving process, in the long-term grief is not the same as depression. If we gloss over our grief, then we might become depressed. Unfelt feelings and unexpressed grief have a way of dulling life. It is as if with every grief we do not feel, we stuff another handful of our vitality underground, until we are numb or sick or embittered. So, if you suffer a big loss, I suggest you call into work and tell them that you are taking at least a week off. Be a grief revolutionary. Model a different way of dealing with loss. If you must go to work (and most of us must,) at least talk about what you are going through with your colleagues. Don’t pretend. Wear your grief like a badge of love.
You worked as a midwife and childbirth educator. What did that teach you?
Early on in my career I was a homebirth midwife (what is now called a "lay midwife"). I delivered babies and taught couples how to handle labor and childbirth. I learned a lot about dealing with life in the process. The same things that worked during labor work during any challenging, exciting, painful, seemingly impossible situation. If a woman resists the pain of contractions, her labor is more difficult and complicated. If she can welcome the contractions as the natural process of what it takes to open and release her baby into the world, then her labor is quicker and less difficult. If she fights the pain, or reacts in fear, or loses faith, she causes more pain and slows everything down. The same goes for the crises in our lives. If we tighten in fear we hinder new life from being born. It’s not easy to relax into pain and to trust change and chaos. It’s natural to become frightened, to doubt oneself, to lash out, to give up. The trick is to stay open and faithful in the midst of the chaos, and to ask yourself, “What new life wants to be born?” The times we are living in now—there is so much uncertainty, fear, and change. It’s natural to feel afraid, to want certainty, to want control. But I suggest a different solution to our individual and collective anxiety—and that is to relax into the uncertainty. The more we fight with what is going, the more fearful and tightly wound we become. But if we turn and ask, “What wants to be born now?” we have a better chance of welcoming new life into the world. This is what I learned as a midwife.