May 262017
 

JG-020-resizeI am a busy bee this week preparing to go on retreat. I have written and will be leading two ceremonies, making a drum in ceremony with Carolyn Hillyer, soaking in the deeply healing energy of my favourite Welsh Valley, and offering healing and intuitive readings to some of my doula sisters.

This is one of the highlights of my year, and every year I get better at balancing my profound need to retreat and my bone deep call to be of service to the birthworkers I call colleagues and friends. It was, in the past, all  too easy for me to spend my entire retreat time giving and thus, defeating part of the object of my attending, as I left little time for myself to rest, recharge and exhale.  This will be my fifth year at retreat, my fifth visit to the beautiful valley in Fachwen, and I’d like to think that this year I have strengthened my personal boundaries, reassessed how much of myself I give away – not to be selfish, but to ensure that I have more to give when I leave than when I arrived.

Offering a healing space is a part of my call to service.  I use my voice, my heart, my presence, my connection to All That Is, to create spaces that people can be brave in.  My ability to be still and deeply grounded, to manage my body and it’s biology, to ‘be’, is where that space begins.  I can then call on all of my experience and learning to support that person as they work through what they need to in order to heal.  I call my sessions Holistic Alchemy; the creation of a space that allows people to process and transmute their experiences through deep loving and careful holding.

Creating ceremony is also part of my call to service. Celebrating lives – elevating moments from mundane to sacred to mark the passage of our journeys this time around. I’ve spent more than 15 years standing in circle and every time I learn something new, because each circle is a world of its own. It has a spirit and a personality that is shaped by the people who come together that day. It’s my job to weave these souls together in sacred purpose, to protect them as they shift into that time out of time in circle space. It’s my joy to guide them through that liminal space, where the outside world slips away and magic and harmony manifest.

So, what do I get in return? Other than results being their own reward, I get so much from being in the landscape at Cae Mabon.  I will sing – especially this year, with the ceremonies, creating drums in circle with Carolyn and sitting in circles to lament and keen with Alexandra Wilson.  Singing fills me up.  I sing every day – with my coffee machine in the morning, with the extractor fan in the bathroom, I tone and sing and sway to my own rhythm.  I sing in my sound healing work, in a Symphony Chorus, and in circles of women who connect through song.  I am sinking ever deeper into my life’s purpose.  Creating sound with sacred intention is my place. It feels more like home than anywhere I have ever been.  I have sung all my life – literally.  I love the feeling I get in my body when I sing, and even more so when I sing in groups. The vibration and shared wonder in creating harmony together fills me so full I weep and spin and spirit overflows.  I will sit in circles with Birthworkers that I love and respect, whom I consider heart-kin, working together to change the world one birth at a time.  I love the very bones of them, and that is why I offer my service.

I go to retreat to fill my cup and also to fulfil my sacred duty to connect, reflect and serve – to nurture journeys and make everyday magic happen.

Jo Gough

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