A doula’s guide to the next step in your metamorphosis: Guest Post by Jess Larsen

June 14th, 2011

In giving birth to something or someone completely new, we have a chance to lovingly see our stripped-down selves, to meet the unknown with courage and agility, and to take a step along the path of our personal and spiritual evolution.

When we’re in the throes of metamorphosis – when change has taken over our body and whole selves -- there’s a very real temptation to disconnect from the inevitable mess and chaos.

After all, birth is messy. It’s a very human experience: humbling, disorienting, sometimes sensory overload. (We’re not speaking exclusively of childbirth here; all creative births lie at the center of a similar labyrinth.)

But as tempting as it is to try to escape the intensity of metamorphosis, it’s much better to dive deep into it. When you meet the change and agree to walk with it for a while, you also open yourself to the wisdom waiting for you and deeper self-knowledge.

So how can you be your own best birth partner? How can you be present and fully conscious for the birth of your next “baby”?

Embrace curiosity and not-knowing.

*  Who are you being in this moment? (This is far more important than outcomes or decisions.)

*  What does this moment ask of you?

*  If you were courageous and you did know what to do, what would your posture look like? What’s the next think you would do?

*  How are you bringing your love to this moment?

*  What do you know for sure, in your bones?

*  What’s one small thing you can do right now?

Find your body. Come back to your breath. It’s a practice: you’ll come back to it over and over. Be easy, steady, and have compassion for yourself all the way through.

Worry effectively. Identify the worries that follow you. Name them, dialog with them. Are there ways to avoid the things you’re worried about? If not, how would you like to handle your most undesirable scenario? Who can you reach out to for help?

Find a rhythm and ritual that work for you, and stick with it until it doesn’t work anymore. Your rhythm is yours alone. Find the routines and rituals that nourish and sustain you through times of change, and promise yourself to do all you can to stick with it. Then, when your rhythm no longer serves, let it go.

You might have to do things you didn’t want to have to do. The wider the variety of possible scenarios in which you can envision yourself giving birth, the easier you’ll find agility and flexibility needed to change in the moment.

The intensity that it takes to get your creation out may be more than you anticipated. Plan for more, not less. When you’re giving birth to anything new and powerful, you’ll necessarily emerge a changed person. Understand ahead of time that your own rebirth can feel like a small death – of an identity, a perspective, old stories and no-longer relevant dreams or wants. If you anticipate the possibility of mourning along with the joy of a birth, you’ll be more prepared for the grace of newness.


Jess Larsen is a birth doula, Birthing From Within mentor, and virtual assistant. She lives and works in northern New Jersey, adores small succulent plants and has one small tattoo in an undisclosed location.

9 Responses

Wow this was amazing to read, if only I had this knowledge a year ago. But you are right, it has to come from inside, I now love my rebirth and also it felt more like a BIG death, almost real death, I now feel like I have an even bigger life. Im not sure when I felt this happy, all I know is the old story is gone and Im writing this amazing new one. ” find your body, come back to your breath” I love that

thankyou so much


This is so beautiful! Love the parallels made between the act of ‘physical’ birth..and that of growth and re-birth. Thank-you for your wise words and advice!

Ah such wise wisdom and focus on practice. I posted a new poem this morning. It is about all of these birthing experiences. The words are different yet I can find myself in both transitions as I travel the path of liminality between creation and exhibition. May I share my “Uninterrupted Day” http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/uninterrupted-day as a link to my next step. Thank you Jess and Leah. Lovely post.

You might have to do things you didn’t want to have to do. Yes. Indeed. In spades. And the sooner you quit fighting because it’s “supposed to be *this* way, NOT that, the better off you’ll be. If only I could remember that!

[...] posted at the lovely Leah Piken Kolidas‘ Creative Every Day, June 14, 2011* In giving birth to something or someone completely new, we have a chance to [...]

@Sheree: You’re not kidding: there’s nothing more simultaneously freeing and heartbreaking than moving into a bigger life than you’ve ever known. Congratulations on your birth, and love and blessings to you as you write your new stories. =D

@Marcie: Thanks so much! I really do think that our bodies and souls go through similar transitions, and if we hone our birthing (or “birthing”) savvy in one area it’ll serve us many times over. xo

@Terrill: How beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom also. Love and light as you traverse the in-between spaces.

@Tammy: Yes! We have so many *plans* and daydreams, and it’s so humbling to watch even the dearest among them erode as life happens. My spiritual teacher is always talking about learning the grace of being present with “what is,” but I also find it a challenge. Thanks so much for your note!

I am glad I took a peek today. This was perfect! As I struggle with my creative self and my practical working self and all that goes with it, this post was really hitting the spot where I need to step back and breath and adjust my attitude. I have – and I hope no one minds – I passed this on to my Mother who is struggling with her creative life being put on hold to care for my Dad or rather worry about my Dad who has Parkinson’s. He is mobile and smiling but it worries my mother and she is putting herself on hold. At 84 that is not such a good idea and thus the struggle for her. with all this said, Jess’s words of wisdom resonated for both of us. Thank you.

Hello Jess and Leah
A dear friend, upon reading my recent blog post “Visionary Dreams: A Wise-Dame Myth” thought of metamorphosis and suggested I come and visit here. She didn’t yet know how this motif has been resonating for me since my return to my homeland after three months of journeying abroad, an adventure I framed as my vision quest, personal legacy, or deep dive into the U (Theory U, by Otto Scharmer). Since that first morning, when I awoke in my transitionary hotel room, with fog so thick I couldn’t see a thing outside, I felt myself to be held in a cocoon…the Mother’s soft place to give me some grounding before LIFE hit me square as I encountered painful family dynamics, and the news my job had been “abolished.” Since then I wrote about agani being cocooned by the grey clouds and rain, that has persisted for weeks, as I hosted a women’s retreat, and then met with my community of practice last week, and our theme was “metamorphosis.” All of this as I have had three hand mirrors shatter in the past year of intentional leave-taking to “move at the pace of guidance, to sense an emerging future.” Shattered illusions. A powerful portent. Throughout I have been process painting (a al Michele Cassou’s Point Zero method).
Thank you for the tender wisdom of this post, and for this month’s most resonant theme.

What a wonderful unique way to approach studying the creative process. Great post; very interesting wisdom & inspiration.

Kat :-)

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