Kala’s Full Lotus Birth

The inherent intelligence in the design of our genetic code and its concurrent reprogramming in line with recent explorations on epigenetics allowed me and my partner to see birth as one of the many points where change could truly begin. As I write this note our beloved Kala is celebrating her second week of life outside the womb, delivered so gently, fully in her amnion sac on January 27 at 10:32pm. Being able to hear her first breath, see her eyes for the first time and witness her adjust to sounds, gravity, breathing and feeding as days and nights pass by; being able to observe how she transitions to the human world with sophisticated intricacy, my heart swells with feelings of purity, of innocence, of lightness. Amidst the current socio-political reality peaking in its fascism and tyranny, amidst small personal circles entertaining insensible cruelty for trendy nihilism, amidst egoic paranoia and widespread confusion crystalizing as the proud neurosis of our time, choosing to be gentle, placid, and loving is a radical act.

When D and I knew that our inner fires passionately sparked a starting of a new life, we already had a feeling of what was about to come. We knew it’s going to be big for everything was in perfect alignment – my LMP was on my father’s birthday, the conception was on D’s star sign as the birth was on mine, and my reading of my childhood journal scribbled with a wish to be a mother at 25, among other things – all these birthed a huge feeling of guidance from my inner self as well as corresponding ancestral and celestial wisdom. They were all deeply present in me and I had nothing else to do but trust.

And this trust lead me to meeting Isa, my wonderful midwife and good friend, weeks before I knew about the pregnancy as well as finding an eco-village, an intentional community, that supports and encourages the kind of natural birthing that we envisioned. It felt like everything was already in place even before everything started to happen, quietly and instantaneously connecting the dots for our tiny family’s gradual unfolding.

Kala, too, actively sent signs as she spoke with me through dreams, revealing her gender and what planet and stars are ruling at the time of her birth. I had several visions of her sending me messages of how she wanted to alight on this planet which manifested quite beautifully. She made us mindful of days, weeks and months as we await her arrival. D once dreamt of her also, as a young beautiful woman, communicating that time does not exist in the realm of symbols (or some other, way beyond codes). So we named her Kala, the Sanskrit word for time, for she seems to be a timekeeper but also the dissolution of this illusion. She is Time (as in eternity), because she is also timeless.

Believing that this big shift in our lives is way beyond our lives, we wanted nothing but the kindest possible landing of Kala’s soul to earth. We chose to give her a Full Lotus Water Birth to give comfort to her process of embodiment in this plane.

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When I started feeling more intense prodromal contractions at 4pm of January 26, D and I partied to Earth, Wind and Fire and went dancing to Fleetwood Mac. After months and months of patient and careful waiting, at last, Kala’s arrival was already soon and we can finally meet our baby. At 8pm, D read me so quickly and initiated putting water on the pool as we laughed our nervousness away. We called Isa at around 10:30 and she came bright-eyed like the sun, thrilled for whatever we were about to experience together. In the first phase, I was too excited that I rushed Kala to come out, which tired me a lot, but I was able to sleep at around 3am of the next day and woke up around 6am to go into the active stage. The second phase started when I went out of the room, walked around and tried the standing position. Before this, I was in and out of the pool with D and constantly receiving relaxing massages from Isa. The water helped me drop into theta and delta brain states as I meditated to give allowance to the contractions. Every time a contraction surfaces I released its strong muscular tension through chanting, channelling really powerful feminine energy coming from the core of the earth. Very ardent and primordial sounds vibrated through me, strengthening my very center.

I labored the entire day until at 5pm I was already very drained. Isa, sensitive to energy, saw what was happening and intuitively asked our neighbour hilot to come over. Isa was out buying fruits to energize us when the hilot came. So sudden, she read my pulse and said that I will give birth at night. I told her how tired I already am and she just brushed it off with a remark “laban lang, ako sa panganay ko tatlong araw akong nag-labor” as she swiftly headed out. This helped me transition to the third stage as I transfer to my room because it came to a point that the water relaxed me too much. I felt that I needed to shift more to adrenaline production rather than oxytocin. The presence of the wise old woman and her symbol gave me strength to really fight for the birthing that I want, as Isa’s guidance held so much space for me to really own the process. At 8pm, I started bleeding and called Isa into my room. At 10:32pm, I gave birth to Kala not on water but on land. (In a sense she water birthed herself since she was in her amnion sac, she is the funniest.) D saw her kick her way out of the sac and into her first breath. After two more contractions I birthed Kala’s placenta.

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Meeting Kala the first time as she latched on my breasts for primal rituals, I’ve felt the most beautiful communion there could ever possibly be. As our souls meet each other, I cannot help but meet all others in the depths of her eyes. I felt more linked and united with mine and D’s mother, our grandmothers, the mothers of our grandmothers and so on and so forth.

The next day as my body was slowly recovering but my spirit in high festivity, I asked D if he was beside Isa when Kala slid out. But he said he was in front of me witnessing all of it in an intimate angle. I felt like the entire room was full of people until I got the message that everyone I love were all meditating, sending me good energies and were with me the entire process. In Baguio, a conscious circle was held at Paradise Project. At Tayuksidi and La Union, good babaylan friends sent prayers and thoughtful support. And just in our own earth village, all the people in our community facilitated an innerdance session to assist me energetically. Everyone was so present and conscious of both the seen and unseen, everyone was part of the birthing. It was such a beautiful, beautiful energy. Which made me realize that yes, it was in my body that Kala’s body came out from, but she was already everyone else’s baby right from the beginning. We all birthed her and I loved every single atom, cell, energetic information that were part of her birthing. This reminded me of Kahlil Gibran: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life longing for itself.” True enough, with the birth of every child, the universe chooses to look at itself with garden-fresh eyes.

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Lessons at the Baguio Public Market: The water cycle

Yesterday, I was sold the worst bundle of mountain tea for 50php. A few years back lush bundles were being sold for 10-20php. But in my luck, the stalks I got were very old, top leaves are so dry they can no longer be boiled and drank. I opened the bundle to take out the bad ones and keep the good stuff, a familiar act. After weeding it, I had to throw almost half of the herbs. I felt cheated by the market lady. Observing my feeling of being cheated, it made my heart heavy sending a storm of thoughts in my head. Disappointment rained precipitating from all past swindles and deceit. I bathed in it for a while, acknowledging the truth of being under its atmosphere, but I also saw who is really soaked: The one seeing the seeing sees that seeing the emotion is not the emotion, the observer of the observance of thought is not the thought yet the observer is not separate from the observed.

My feelings evaporated, realizing I was lucky to have the bad bundle to be able to process something like this. An opportunity to master attention and presence.

After I bought the bundle, my friend bought another one. Seeing that her bundle was so much better than mine, I felt good. The bundle I had was really for me, that all the other bundles available after mine were good and all buyers after me get the better ones. It doesn’t change the fact that the market lady is an ass for selling bad bundles for a very high price (this economic cycle needs careful and strategic confrontation to end, hopefully creating a new one that gives justice to exchange), but receiving the bad bundle with purposeful attention taught me something deliberate. It lessened the probable birth of an angry customer shaming a saleslady which could have created judgments from nearby salesladies, further affecting all the other possible customers of the stall, all possible customers in the market. If there were more people buying from her (she is not selling something bad for your body, it’s a local cleansing herb disregarded because of Lipton), there will be less possibility of bundles turning bad.

Deception is converted to abundance. Water transformed.

Sayaw ni Daniw

ni J. G. Dimaranan

 

Sa isang iglap nagdiklap

ang isang unibersong pangalan ay Tula.

 

Mula sa sinapupunan niya pinanganak

ang kabuuang imahen ng galak;

sa puso niya tunay na tumibok

ang metapora ng tuldok;

at sa kaniyang noo lumiwanag

ang ibig sabihin ng talinghaga—

nakataling hiwaga.

 

Sa pagpikit ng Tula

ang isda’y naging unggoy, lumangoy

paakyat ng mga uri sa mundo.

 

Sa malalim niyang paghinga,

siyang ina’y naging dalaga,

na minsan noo’y

di marunong mag-alala

pagkat abala sa pag-alala

ng mga nakalimutang alaala.

 

Sa unang kumpas ng mga kamay,

bumalik siyang muli sa pagtanda.

Pagkatapos ay sumayaw-sayaw

bilang isang hangal na diwata:

 

Sa pag-ikot ng kaniyang balikat at tuhod,

ang giting ng mga bundok ay lumuhod

at sumamba sa kadakilaan ng pag-anod.

 

Ilan pang tapik sa baywang

ang karagatang katawan

ay nagka-uwang…

at doon bumulwak ang init

ng kaloobang pinagkaloob.

 

Sa paggalaw ng kaniyang daliri sa paa

nabuhay ang mga patay

at napatid naman ang hininga

ng napakatagal nang nagluluksa—

namahinga.

 

Ganito isinilang ng Tula

ang kabuuang danas sa isang iglap,

parang lang malikmata,

(mula sa mata bumalik sa mata)

kung saan niya tunay na nakita

ang tumitingin sa kaniyang

sariling pagtingin, paningin.

 

Walang kibo.

Landscaping the Dream: Tapping into the people of Marawi

In a night of exchange with some friends about entanglement and the generality and particularities of universal experience in the language of science, I rolled a few leaves of sambong (local sage) for smudging as it felt right to clean a friend’s external energetic field by releasing negative ions around him after sharing his recent journey during the super new moon. The sound of last night’s heavy rains aided in this cleansing, as well as the smell of the earth breathing out the day’s heat. I tied the herb with thin abaca strings from the dried lei of camia I bought a few days back.

Like any ritualistic act, the one who does the cleansing and the one being cleansed are inseparable. Both subjects partake in observance as the space is shared in communion and unity – the one overseeing the cleansing is also being cleansed. After swirling the herb to my friend’s head, chest, back and limbs I put the rest in the corner of the room to fill the space with smoke. I swept the ashes and disposed them in our small garden, leaving them on the soil, back into the earth, as a kind of respect.

And so to its attainment, the sambong late that night relaxed all my dimensional fields and really put me in deep sleep. I dreamt, not very vividly, but strong enough to wake me up in tears. In the dream I saw myself in our old house in San Pablo with another girl who felt like a good old friend. She didn’t have a name, and the features of her face were undefined. I was being chased by the authorities. A silver car and an armored van smashed down our gates but before anyone of them were able to go down their automobiles, me and my unfamiliarly familiar friend had already sneaked and ran away. In my dream I was thinking of either going to La Trinidad or Palawan, but as I was strategizing our escape, my unfamiliarly familiar friend stopped to talk to a shadow person (who felt like a man) a few blocks away from my house. I waited for her a bit, but as I felt that the shadow was actually part of the authorities (a kind of military intelligence, a spy) who was distracting us from where we were unknowingly headed, I immediately ran towards her and pulled her close to run with me. We ran fast, long and tiring. And as I was running I felt my heart thumping hard, then I started crying. I abruptly woke up in tears with my chest carrying the weight of the Realm of Symbols.

And so as I breathe deeply upon waking, I know in my heart that the panic, terror and fright I experienced in my dream wasn’t just my personal panic, terror and fright. It is the kind of panic, terror and fright that the rest of our brothers and sisters in Marawi are also experiencing as we silently sleep in our little humble homes. In the dream world we all meet in equal presence, and I was able to tap into the collective mind driven by the mutual unconscious we all share. The self was a mere vessel, a cask of an experiential process that of which is me and beyond me.

I feel so very deeply, this national and global obstruction of information in the series of aerial bombings, psychological and geographic displacements, and unwarranted arrests happening in Mindanao and the rest of the world. So what is it that fuels this strong desire to control and hold things down to its inert state? In the universal capitulary, it has always been the modern capital-forming human laws that are truly athwart to natural laws.

So before I fell asleep after smudging, I was once again reading Jung as an exercise of looking back to better see forward. And so this aligned occurrence of re-view was not only supported by my conscious mind. Only this morning that I realized that my subconscious and unconscious minds were both allowing and equipping me last night with the tools to decode the dream I was about to experience. And as I type these words I am kept still, existing only in breath, marveling at how beautiful our minds work when we are aware. I reckon: we sleep so we can be awake.

On the spirit of language

Much has been said about the nature of language as a matter of socio-political construction that humanizes what is perceived; or in short: what is. Implications of its impurity in the translation of thought is allowed to form more, serving as a subjective brick for culture and human-centric evolutionary processes. It often times distorts or carry out in utter lack what is really conveyed, putting primacy on an ideal world of silent energetic transmissions built on the unsaid and the godliness of the ineffable.

But what is bypassed and overlooked is its power to suggest, its ability to present a present with surprising pleasure — when words are used not to communicate an idea but as tools to plant a wordless truth.

Makiling

ni J. G. Dimaranan

Para kay Banahaw

 

Tinipon ko ang maliliit

na punung-kahoy

upang ipanggatong

sa nilulutong pananghalian:

pinakuluang okra at talong

at ilang gayat ng karne.

Sinibak mo naman ang malalaki

at isinalansan sa tabi,

upang gamiting pananggga

sa bantang lamig ng gabí.

 

Nakadarang ang aking mukha

sa usok at singaw ng palayok,

at sa di kalayua’y tanaw ko

ang kislap ng pawis sa iyong batok.

 

Ganito katahimik ang ating mga umaga

mula nang itirik natin ang munting kubo

sa bewang ng kabundukang ito.

 

At kung tapos na ang pagtatanim

ay nauubos ang maghapon natin

sa kapapanood ng mga malhokang

may kakatwang apoy na buhok.

Minsa’y kinakaibigan sila

ng ilang mga balicassiao

na tila malalim na dagat naman

ang mga mata, balahibo at buntot.

 

Kung ano ang kulay ng mga ibong

madalas nating pagmasdan,

ay gano’n din ang kulay

ng ating mga gabi—

sa ilalim ng malalim na asul na langit,

paandap-andap ang kinang

ng mga bituing umakit at gumuhit

sa ating dito manirahan at manatili.

Kumut-kumot ang bisig ng isa’t isa,

ang mga puso nati’y kawangis ng sigâ,

mainit, panatag, malamlam, pulang-pula,

nagliliwanag sa ihip ng hangin.

 

At alam nating tayo’y mahihimbing na

kung marinig na ng ating mga tainga

ang kalansing at kuliling

ng diwatang paparating

na siyang magtatawid sa atin

sa mga ulap ng pananaginip.

Seremonya ng Lunas

ni J. G. Dimaranan

Para kay Pi

 

Malamig na batong ‘sing bigat ng áso

itong umaalulong sa ating mga puso

sa ilan nang salítan ng araw at buwan,

sa ilan nang pag-inog ng mga búhay.

Akay-akay sa maghapon

at sa ilang milyong taon,

mahigpit ang pagkakatali,

dala-dala sa bawat lakbay.

 

Ngunit gaya rin ng áso, ang bigat na ito’y

maituturing ding isang kaibigan—

inilalakad lamang at sinusuyo

hanggang ang mga ungol ay maputol

at ang ulol na mga tahol ay manahimik

at maging payak na mga lambingan.

 

Sa pagkabisa ng bigat umiinit ang bato

na integral sa paggaling ng kalooban.

Tulad kung paano gumamit ng mainit na bato

ang mga Intsik, mga Indiyano at taga-Ehipto

sa kanilang Seremonya ng Lunas

upang pasingawin ang mga kalyong-lamig ng kaluluwa.

 

Ganito rin ang panggagamot sa sarili:

Mula sa malamig na batong ‘sing bigat ng aso,

tungo sa isang pusong may init at gaan.

 

Tanging sa proseso ng panahon,

pagbibigay, paniniwala at pag-unawa

makaaalpas itong bugnuting aso

nang malayang malaya.