There is a moment in a Breathwork session when I realise that the sacred and mundane has met within the one I am witnessing. It is a gentle moment when I feel my own soul soften with the mystery unfolding, followed by the rising of a movement within me to bow deeply to the other, “I recognise you”. It doesn't always happen, yet often does.
I realise that the sacred and mundane are not dualisms. Yet the meeting point of each, the interstices where these move together, is recognised within me in a profound way. It is like the crossing over point of the infinity symbol. There, in that movement there is much and nothing. Words are not right in this space. The master is the breath. The body in front of me is the instrument. It is beautiful beyond words and very very normal. There is absolutely nothing to do.
This place is recognised by me also when I support women through labour and birth. Not always, but often. There is a time when the shamanic midwife in me bows to the woman labouring or birthing in front of me. There is nothing else to do. I am humble, I am not bigger than this process nor this birth nor this mother. I bow to her, and yet I am also bowing to the one who has arrived from within her.
I often wonder where these movements deep within originate from. It feels like a bowing to the unseen mystery, to the divine mother and to the emergence of life. Yet even more so it is likely a deep original recognition of the human relationship with the divine. The teacher is in the room. We are not bigger than. We take our place, and bow.
At these times I realise that the work we carry out as ‘midwives to the awakening of the soul in the other’ is just that – the midwife. We don’t know what is unfolding, who don’t know who is unfolding and we never know exactly when. We just witness and, at some point, we bow.
I continue to meditate with this (un)knowing in my practice, I stay with the mystery and I also feel held by it. I feel blessed that this is my work.
Becoming a Shamanic Midwife
Clients sometimes thank me for supporting their birthing or their personal transformation in a way that imagines I have ‘done something’. And it’s just not true. My wish is that I do nothing; that I continue to do my own work so that I am ready; that I witness; and that I sit with a sense of integrity and honesty and unwavering trust so that I can be truly open to recognise that which makes me bow. This is my work.
The work of learning to midwife birth and breath is a lifelong apprenticeship to spirit. It is not taken lightly. It is overseen by human teachers and the masters who have come before. It is rewarding- beyond words.
In 2015 in Canberra we have a new Doula student group who are starting this journey and soon I will start this journey with those wishing to midwife breath. I know deeply however that the ‘Training’ is just the beginning. In 2015 I have organised a number of breath retreats to take the work further and have agreed to mentor those who wish to continue the apprenticeship with spirit. I wish to encourage and support those who are called to midwife the awakening of the soul, to do so.
Those called may also wish to join a ‘village’ to support them. Here in Canberra we have a Doula community largely organised by the students and graduates who hold and support each other. In Breathwork we have various lineages and the umbrella of the Australian Breathwork Association – those who hold each other.
I support you reach out, participate and ensure that your apprenticeship is held and nourished and normalised – ensure that it grows you.
For further details, please contact me at email@example.com
www.risingvines.com and www.thebirthyurt.com
 Plato “The greatest privilege of a human life is to become a midwife to the awakening of the soul in another person”
Mirabai (Rachel) Vines is a Breathwork Practitioner, Shamanic Midwife and Holistic Psychotherapist .