Birthing / Deathing


By Kathy Kinkaid //

When my mother died, I felt as if she had birthed me again. Being a care-giver to aging parents can put you in a strange place.  I had in many ways become the mother of my mother right up until the end of her life.  It was in that process that so many life experiences appeared to be weaving together in a mysterious way.

This is something women have done for many years – cared for the dying / birthed new life. I’d often wondered if death were not a sort of birth / birth a sort of death.  I mean, when we are born, we are immediately in a strange land. We had been so comfortable as a water creature only to find ourselves now breathing air.  This is a repeating pattern in life. When I married, I changed my name & realized I was no longer who I had been. The shift was an inside job, mostly & felt quite surprisingly drastic.  We do the same type of thing when we take other vows & receive names, I think. And after this New occurs, there is no going back. (When my son was born, my young daughter who’d waited so long for his appearance was not so pleased with how loud & demanding he seemed & said: “Mommy, I know I said I wanted him here, but can you put him back?” …… no).

Birthing actually happens many times in life.  With each new chapter there is death & birth. When I left my long-time home in Texas to move to SMC in January, my experience was one of death / birth.  These things I call Tragic Liberations: the Language of Love.

One thing birth & death have in common: you know they’re going to happen, you just don’t know when. You can plan & prepare all you want—the time of this awaited event is not up to you.  And when either happens, it feels surprising. This not only happens with such extreme events as birth or death.

There is another commonality between birth & death.  As part of my life practice in both mothering my children & mothering my mother I learned that this process of mothering strengthens all of us so we can all let go—of each other in the ways we’re accustomed. An unspoken vow.

We seem to be going through this en masse these days.  We are birthing a new era. We seem to be preparing for something, we just don’t know what it is.  Similar to my move to Colorado, I can imagine we are birthing ourselves—in an all new way. Perhaps it will be discovered in hindsight.

New always needs time to get its land legs.  Old hangs around, sharing needed hints & suggestions to help New.  Until, finally, New stands on its own. These long-term changes take place over time. There’s a gestation period where magic happens.

At times, I sense something within me guiding me with clear “non-worded” language. As I age, I am learning to trust its mysterious directions gently nudging me along in a new way. Nothing dramatic, really, but something that may come up in hindsight.  A Knowing. An A-HA.

Birthing is laboring… messy… painful. Perhaps our world is just developing new ways of seeing.  Looking over what we’ve been over-looking. I can feel the birth of something on the way.

I live in Shambhala Mountain Center folded into its history, landscapes & sweet nature. Working with programs, we birth events & clean up afterwards only to prepare for the next round of programs.  Weaving in & out of my experience is the humbling realization of just how much we need each other for all the deathing & birthing going on.

As I see what the change of seasons brings here in these mountains, I am reminded of the way I have been seasoned through the years.  I am grateful for this ordered mystery. I can’t say I have many answers, but I am comforted in the process of mothering that continues in the absence of my own mother.

Yes, life is tragic liberation: the Language of Love.

We all must be mothers of god
for god is always needing to be born.
~ Meister Eckhart

About Kathy Kinkaid

Kathy is so grateful to be here in the Rocky Mountains. Having come from the Shambhala sangha in Dallas in January of this year, she is thrilled to be a part of the Programs Team at SMC. Mothering 2 (now) adult children, she realizes they have been 2 of her greatest teachers.


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