You are only born once. Never again will you make the physical journey from your mother’s womb, down the birth canal, and out into the great unknown called the world. But, during your lifetime, you may be mentally and or, spiritually, reborn many times. There will be times when the opportunity for change comes your way. The rebirth may take root in the form of a feeling urging you to do something, or a chance encounter with a friend or acquaintance who encourages you to move along a certain path. Whether you choose to accept the opportunity that leads to new growth is up to you.
The transformation may come through a religious experience. You may feel reborn after accepting a particular religious philosophy, or after having an unexpected spiritual encounter. You may be reborn after falling in love with a kindred soul. You may feel reborn after being forgiven by someone you’ve wronged be it a loved one, or a stranger. Rebirth is a chance to wipe the slate clean and begin the journey anew.
I received my Pranakriya Yoga certification on my birthday, September 15th. For me, it was a moment of rebirth… the start of something new… a transition from one stage of life to another. The idea of becoming a yoga teacher was conceived less than a year after I began taking yoga classes. When I enrolled in the Pranakriya Yoga Teacher Training program at Crofton Yoga, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I just knew I had to do it. I’ve been known to jump into strange waters without knowing what lies within them, if I have a strong intuitive feeling that it’s the right thing to do. I had that strong feeling. Sometimes I’ve acted on feelings and floated right to the top and crossed the finish line doing a breast stroke that would put Michael Phelps to shame… Other times, I’ve sunk straight to the bottom as if I were wearing concrete boots.
In the early days of my career in radio, I quit my steady paying job as an operations coordinator and leapt into a commission based sales job. Radio sales felt like the right thing for me at the time. So what… I had no sales experience and no savings. I would cross that road when I got to it, as the old folks used to say. I came across rocky pavement much sooner than I anticipated. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it may not have been my inner voice urging me to take the job. Maybe it was desperation to get out of my old boring dead end job. Maybe I was swept away by the idea of going to work for V-103, the number one urban station in Baltimore. I could meet stars and hob nob with the on air personalities. It might even lead me to a job behind the mic which is where I really wanted to be.
The glitz and glamor of working there was short lived. In my first few months at the station, I brought home less than half the money I was making at my last job. I rarely made budget and spent most of my time at the bottom of the list of salespeople. The sound of doors slamming in my face became as natural to me as the sound of my own breathing. I did get to meet a few stars… Jackie Jackson, Vanessa Williams. But, that means little when you can’t pay your rent. I was in the wrong place… on the wrong course. Nothing was going my way. I couldn’t close a single deal. I was so broke I could only afford to buy a new pair of panty hose every two weeks on pay day, so I would rinse my one pair out at night and the next morning, I would try to arrange them on my legs in a way that the half dozen runs in them weren’t too noticeable. I know my family would’ve helped, but I was too embarrassed to ask. The greatest lesson I learned from that experience is that not every voice you hear is your inner voice. As a matter of fact, for several years afterward I had trouble trusting my intuitive voice because I was afraid it might be what author Shakti Gawain describes in her book Developing Intuition as a “false cravings”. They are things we think we want but once we get them, we’re not satisfied and they do nothing to improve our lives. Eventually, I found my way, a road that would take me to a career on-air, but I ate a lot of canned tuna, beans and lunch meat as I made the painful journey through that birth canal.
On the other hand, listening to my inner voice has led me to some of my greatest transformational moments, my greatest rebirths. A coworker talked me into going on a blind date with one of her friends. I was more than skeptical. He was five years my junior and the ink on my divorce papers was barely dry. Then, after I agreed to the date and he showed up at my door, I almost didn’t open it. I looked through my peephole at a guy who could’ve passed for Play from the rap group Kid N’ Play. It was the early 90’s. He was sporting a high top fade with twists on top. I was hoping for a more mature looking man… a Denzel Washington type, suave, cultured. I didn’t want a rapper look- a- like. But, something urged me to let him in. I didn’t hear a gigantic Technicolor God voice like the one in the 1959 movie The Ten Commandments when Moses came down from the mountain. It was more like a light nudge that urged me to turn the knob and open the door. We were married six months later. We’ve been married now over 20 years.
No fetus has ever survived indefinitely in its mother’s body. There are rare cases like the woman from a village near Casablanca who carried a fetus for over four decades. Zahra Aboutilib was 26 years old and about to give birth to her first child. After a long labor, she was rushed to a local hospital and told by doctors that she had to have a c-section. While at the hospital she witnessed a woman die in childbirth. She was so traumatized by the experience that she fled the hospital. Zahra went home where the labor pain continued for several days, but eventually subsided and the baby stopped moving. In the years that followed, Zahra never gave birth to her own biological children. She adopted three children and became a grandmother. The pain she experienced decades earlier during childbirth returned when she was 75 years old. An MRI revealed a calcified figure that turned out to be the fetus that she never delivered and was essentially a stone baby.
Rebirths don’t come along every day, week or year. Sometimes they are few and far between. That’s why it’s important to seize the moment. Don’t hesitate so long that you miss your window of opportunity. If you don’t push forward and allow the rebirth to occur, the moment will pass and the opportunity will die, calcify, and turn to stone. Life must be brought forth and presented to the world when the time is right. Whether it thrives outside of the womb is up to you.