Our Connection to theMotherEarth

One aspect I loved about working with Silent Rivers through the design process for this space, and I’m not just saying this because I am married to the owner, is that his team really took the time to get to know Willowsong and what is important to us, how we approach care.

One of the first questions they asked me was, “What does ‘Healing Passages’ mean to you and your team?”

And my response was simply, “it is a space where we as women ~ not only our Willowsong team ~ but ALL the women of our Village, hold space, guiding each other through all passages of life.”

Each passage is unique, bringing forth change, and thus opportunities for growth and healing: “menarch, childbearing, perimenopause and menopause”; our menstrual cycles: “menstruation, follicular phase, ovulation, luteal phase”; our pregnancies: “first trimester, second trimester, third trimester and fourth trimester”; our labors: “early, active, transition, birth” or “first stage, second stage, third stage and fourth stage”, and so on. I also noted that many of our deepest challenges through life, very much reflect what it is like to go through labor and birth.

At this point, the lead designer, who is also an artist at heart, reflected that all of these seem to be grouped in fours, much like the cycles of nature, such as: the seasons: fall, winter, spring, summer; the elements: earth, wind, fire, water;  the directions: East, West, North, South.

And I said, “Yes! Much of it is, if you look at it, and not only that, but all of our body’s rhythms are connected to these natural rhythms of the planet!”

Then we began to talk about the lunar cycle: new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter. And I laughed and showed him my MoonCalendar in my phone, because any good midwife knows the babies come around the new and full moons and that most women bleed during the dark of the moon (new moon) and begin bleeding between four and six A.M. ~ the darkest part of the day. This is also when women are most often, in the heat of their labors.

It is here in our conversation where the interior design of the building began to come alive.

As you move through the space, one will note that it is divided into four sections representing these passages through life. It was very intentionally designed. There are four metal posts that anchor the open section in the middle that were important for the designer to keep as a visual element. He wanted them to be there—- as a reminder of the four elements: earth, wind, fire & water.

This has tremendous significance because as we talk to women about personal challenges and healing and transformation, all of these elements play a part in our discussions.

For a postpartum mom, FIRE or heat and passion, for instance, is a very big component of her healing ~ like the use of the mother roasting ceremonies ~ it improves circulation and provides comfort for menstrual cramps. It sweats out our toxins.

WATER replenishing, it is our emotion. Used in birth to keep us hydrated and for submersion to open us to the experience. We cannot live without water and we recommend it for all healing.

We talk of grounding ourselves to the EARTH It is where we plant our roots. We bury our miscarriages into the earth. We bury our dreams as part of the surrender. All is held by theMotherEarth.

AIR or wind has this beautiful way of moving, as does water, moving in and out, flowing around objects, not allowing anything to really stand in its path. It’s very flexible and thus strong, like the Willow in Willowsong that sways in the wind, reminding us all to breathe.

willowy flower

Photo by ShariMillerPhotography from the new facility’s urban prairie

These metaphors are powerful and healing and women get it! Not only do they get it, they love it! They love being reminded of their body’s connection to the healing powers of the earth.

And that’s what this building represents. That’s what moving through the interior space feels like. It may not be readily apparent, but the intention of the design was very much to reflect this.

Allow us to take you through the new Healing Passages  ~ designed for the women and families of Willowsong using light, air, water, earth, fire, wood, clay, metal, and stone.

The entry, the front section inside, is where SHE enters, unique in all the world, having her own story, her own history, preparing to embark on a new journey. She moves slow, for it is all so new and very EARLY in her journey. She is shy and unsure. As she moves through theSpace, into the center where the light shines down from the skylight, she feels an openness, an expansion as she lets this new journey become a part of her.

She is sharing her story now and working with the care providers to gain knowledge and wisdom. Together we come up with a plan, a new path. She is hopeful and energized and ACTIVEly engaged in new possibilities.

Then the work begins. She is faced with her own struggles and challenges, her deepest fears. She feels the walls constrict as she realizes only she ~ as an individual ~ is capable of committing to this work, this personal transformation. She is in TRANSITION now, deeper into the space, a more private area ~ too far in to turn around, yet scared to go forward. She cries out that she cannot do this! It is not possible!

And then a door opens and she discovers a Village waiting for her in the community space. Waiting to catch her when she falls down, lifting her back up. Waiting to stand by her and hold her through her transformation as she screams and cries and doubts her ability. But with this Village surrounding her, she is able to PUSH harder with renewed energy and strength!

She is now close to achieving her intentions, close to the BIRTH of her vision. And then she arrives. She is greeted by the natural prairie out back as she rejoices in her accomplishment. She sees the interconnectedness of all that is living and the impact she has had, not only on herself but on those closest to her who have witnessed and held space.

seeds against building

Photo by ShariMillerPhotography taken from the new facility’s urban prairie

All of a sudden, she grasps how energy radiates far and wide. She feels her connection to the greater collective and the importance of her part within that collective in impacting the health of the community and the planet as a whole. Suddenly, she realizes SHE matters. Her soul’s purpose matters.

And this is when she begins to change the world….