Before I was born, my mother had some kind of "brain episode" which left her paralyzed on her left side for a period of several weeks. The diagnostic tools of the mid-fifties could not determine the cause, but she made a full recovery. A result of this episode was weakness in the muscles on her left side. So at my birth, I got stuck. The obstetrician had to reach in, hook his fingers under my arms and pull me out.
This story about my birth has been a metaphor for me. But I've always seen it as a negative one: When I get stuck in a tight spot, I'm always waiting for someone else to pull me out. Making big changes is too difficult for me. The change has to come from outside, pulling me along.
But now my thinking has changed. Call it a revelation, or an epiphany. Crossing thresholds is always difficult and always involves many folk. It is a community activity, of a sort. I have to push, but it is not about my efforts alone. Others must push and pull to get the job done.
We think we know everything about the universe. Before birth, it is all warm and watery and dark. Sounds are muffled. But then the space gets very tight, then tighter still. Our world, as we have known it, ends. We are squeezed into a very tight place, all the water goes away. Suddenly it becomes very cold and noisy and bright. We must start breathing, crying, moving. New sensations. A wild new world, completely different and scary.
Birthing is like that. We come to know all about this new universe, and then things get very tight. Things change again. And again. And again.
Still, with the crossing of every new threshold, it takes the help of others to bring us through.