“He not busy being born is busy dying”

Twice this week, I’ve been called a midwife by former coaching clients. Is sharing that the opposite of humility? I don’t think so. Sharing is what I do, it’s what I encourage, it’s why I’m here. To be a midwife to another human being’s own self-discovery and dreams is as great an honor as to help deliver babies.

For a long time, I debated what to call myself professionally. I do not think of myself as a career coach, though I do work with people around professional questions and transitions. I am not trained as a therapist, though I have studied Carl Jung and Alfred Adler and grew up surrounded by books about Freud and trauma, memory and identity. I am not a parenting expert, more like a mama in the trenches messing it up and making it up as I go along with the best of ’em. So, Life Coach has felt like the best catch-all title I can wear comfortably.

But maybe… maybe I could be a midwife instead. Hey, some of my best friends are midwives! Some of my best friends are a lot of things. Gay, straight, trans, black, white, Jewish, Buddhist. Other, all or none of the above. But I digress.

A Life Midwife. How about it? Too crunchy? I kinda like it. OK, it’s getting late, the rest of the family is sleeping, and you can tell I’m punchy.

I never cease to be amazed at the ebb and flow of our days, our capacity to roll with it, to adapt and make space, absorb shocks and find the openings where connection happens. It is humbling to watch people open up to their own lives, their own selves, to what is possible. We go around afraid of cracking, but it is the cracks that create access to so much buried treasure. I broke open this past weekend and realized that I need to keep mining my own riches, too. Bob Dylan said it best: “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

What is being born in your life, in yourself? And who is your midwife?

8 thoughts on ““He not busy being born is busy dying”

  1. Janice says:

    …it is the cracks that create access to so much buried treasure. Truer words were never spoken :-) Thank you for reminding me to quit trying so hard to keep it all together….


  2. Kelly says:

    I want to be a midwife but lack the drive to go through schooling to do it all.

    Maybe it will come about at a better time.

    Right now I’m busy being who I am and sometimes that seems okay.


  3. Meg Casey says:

    Your description of yourself reminded me of this post, and of why I have felt we have a shared mission…http://megcasey.com/archives/115

    “The very cry, the proclamation “I am” resounds and is held in the listening of the rest of the human family. At that moment one birth is all birth, one possibility all possibilities, one beginning all beginnings. We are here for life and we are here for one another, that is, to forward life and forward one another.” –Diane Connelly, All Sickness is Homesickness


  4. Rebecca says:

    Interesting post. I am working on developing my life coaching businesses. I studied Jung and Freud on my own and in a couple of psychology classes I took years ago. It’s interesting that you mention Alfred Adler because I just discovered him. In fact, I’m considering studying Marriage and Family Counseling the Adler Graduate School in Minneapolis, MN.

    I am not a parenting expert, but I’ve learned how not to parent from my parents and others. This is why I decided to transform life. If I have kids, I DO NOT want to make the same major mistakes that most parents make. It’s a cycle. Unless someone steps up and breaks it, the cycle will continue. This is not good for the family, community, or society.


  5. Stacy (Mama-Om) says:

    what is being born in me: the freedom to love unconditionally

    who is midwifing: me, my hakomi therapist, my husband, my children, insight meditation, nvc, countless authors and activists urging respect for children as beings with equal dignity and for all those who encourage self-knowledge and kindness… and last but not least, my parents, not the first in this cycle but my first, those who shaped me and gave me something to be born from, over and over again I grow.


  6. Beth Patterson says:

    You are a midwife, dear Jena. Just name it!

    I have been a midwife to dying folk, and I hope to have the honor of doing that again in this lifetime.

    Some of us are just catchers in the big baseball game of life.



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