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The Big Real

Danielle LaPorte, a guru of mine, shares this story:

“Do you know the story about the two stone cutters? When the first man is asked what he’s doing, he replies, ‘I’m cutting this stone into bricks.’ When the second laborer is asked what he’s doing, he replies, ‘I’m building a temple.'”

The difference is a matter of perspective and intention.

How much do we do in a day, with our noses to the grindstone? Myopic, focused, making a list and checking it twice. Done. Done. And done. But what have we done? Really?

There is a Big Real behind everything we do. Sometimes it’s a negative Big Real. Sometimes it’s a positive Big Real. For example:

I’m not posting to my blog. I’m waking the truth in myself and my readers.

I’m not working on my book manuscript to have it to my agent by August 1. I’m writing a book that could spark people into true action, and it’s burning inside me and must be released. Just call me Pele, the fire goddess!

I’m not just hand-washing my clothes, I’m practicing being in the present moment and also making it so I walk into the world looking my best. (Okay, okay, so kneeling on concrete with buzzing flies around my head while washing said clothes proves I still need a lot of practice and I’m no Zen master, but you get my point.)

So midwives, what is the Big Real behind your work? Why do you do what you do? What has become rote or banal for you that is really part of a great dream or vision?

We see clients, day in and day out. We get up the second our phone rings— boom—out of bed in a flash at 3 a.m. We get up from dinner, a T-ball game, or sex to answer the phone—again—from the same scared new mama. We stay late or get up early to finish charting or review labs.

But what are we really doing? What’s the Big Real of midwifery?

Try to define the Big Real of your practice, or your work:

I am a midwife. I deliver babies…and mamas, and papas, and siblings and grandmas. And whole communities.

I am a midwife. I wake at the drop of a hat, I’m in ninja training to be responsive to the world’s calls.

I am a midwife. I hold space for many and I’m demonstrating loving kindness.

If your Big Real isn’t so positive, perhaps you can find a way to shift it, or to midwife the world in other ways.

“Zoom back from the tasks and see the holy weaving of your time and love and action,” advises LaPorte. “Make it matter. Because it does.”