Meet Maraya… Part One… Why I’m here

Welcome to my first blog article.  This is where I get to fumble and mumble and practice and introduce myself. This is where you and I get to start building our relationship.  

As a holder of space for women I will start with myself.  I will be courageous and vulnerable, I will expose aspects of my past and my present that I am proud of and aspects that make me feel a bit sad to expose. Here is the deal, if we are to connect here in this sacred community I believe it starts with each of us as individuals. Let’s get to know one another and be daring in our personal acknowledgments. Let’s hold each other in the light of our highest potential and let’s remind one another and ourselves that we have the instinctive knowing within us. So, with that, here we go….

 Beyond The Red Tent for me is a movement, a calling, a life of decisions and circumstances, experiences and passions that has converged in one place. 

I am a midwife…

I am a midwife by training, Yale educated and taught my the mountain midwives of the world, and I have been facilitating women’s circles for 12 years. When I think about my purpose on this planet, it is to bring women together, bridge our views of differences into illuminating our similarity and most of all I am here to hold space for women opening and surrendering into their full potential.  

I love attending births and have done so in homes, birthing centers, hospitals, domes, gardens, and beyond.  I have attended births in four countries and have held space for women giving birth to twins, breech babies, stillborn babies, miscarriages, abortions, and healthy thriving/breathing/heart beating beings.  

I love the moment when I women transitions from “I can’t do this” to finding her inner power and stepping fully into that force that is within her. This is why I am here.

As a women’s health provider, I hold space for women to step into a similar inner wisdom as I help them navigate menarche and sexuality, cancer and menopause, PMS…need I go on.

So, it all converges in reviving the sacred and historic menstrual huts.

I am a mother & a wife…

I am also a mother and a wife. This is the area in which I am proud of myself and I also need this community in a deep and intimate way. I often doubt my mothering and “wifing” skills. My parents separated before I was born, I had a less than stable upbringing and honestly can’t say I really know what love is- giving or receiving. I am working on this each and every day. I look to this community to help my journey. 

I am busy, just like you…

I’ve been wanting to write this self introduction for weeks, if not months and life seemed to continually get in the way.  

  • I am a mother of three children 7 and younger 
  • I am the wife to an entrepreneurial man
  • I have piles of laundry and dishes
  • The neighborhood kids are often here
  • My grandparents are moving into an independent living home
  • This week my good friend is needing my support through her abortion
  • I am earning my certification through the Institute of Functional Medicine
  • I often feel responsible for it all; the household, the children and the income generation 
  • I am dedicating much enjoyable time co-creating Beyond The Red Tent 
  • I run two businesses and life is full
  • There are emails and PM and text messages and voxer messages to check  
  • There are play dates to plan and school to pay for 

Yesterday, even my goldfish had a headache. 

I choose to show up…

I believe Robert Anton Wilson had it right, “The thinker thinks and the prover proves.”  

If I think I’m too busy to write this article, I will find all the reasons to prove it to be true, maybe even blame all those reasons. Life will continue to get in the way. I live a productive life as I’m sure you do too. 

The truth is that I blamed all the things to get done because I likely was not yet ready to look at myself, expose myself, really set aside the time to sit still and introduce myself to the thousands and thousands of women that will be readying this, including you.  

And, to be honest, my goldfish really didn’t have a headache, that was made up. So, I call BS on myself. 

Life will always be full. I either choose to show up and write this, think of all the spots in my day I can make the time and remember all the reasons to get it done, for myself and for this community, or I continue to justify my excuses. 

I am on a journey… 

My default is often blame. If I feel triggered, if I feel scarcity, if I feel insecure or unsure, guess where I go? I point fingers, most often at my husband, bless his heart.  I see myself doing it, and I am working each day on living more in Empathy and less in Blame; for myself and for others. 

I guess I was raised with the conditioning of hearing the words “should” and “could” all too often. I remember living in fear of my father (emotionally, not physically), perpetually blamed for who knows what, and this lead me to pushing the easy button of pulling away or disconnecting.

So, in showing up for this sacred community, I choose to operate from a place of empathy instead.  I acknowledge that I have a full life AND, I can show up with courage, I can have compassion for myself, for all of you and for that inner child within me. I can choose to lean in, hold myself accountable and choose connection. 

Side note: I hope you’re not wondering when I’ll attack you with my vicious blaming, I’m getting better.  

I share this more in the light of self reflection and accountability. Mainly my fire only gets spit at the loved ones that are closest to me, the ones that I know are “safe” and won’t leave me. 

I share this because I need this sacred community as much as any other women. I am on a journey of personal self-discovery and I hope to work on this area of myself. 

I am here to serve…

Somehow it seems hard to introduce myself, feeling like I want to write a list of things I’m proud of, but if we are going to create a trusting relationship in which you allow me to co-create the BTRT community, lead women’s circles and allow this community to rise, I also want to explain the why behind the what.  

So, give me a moment to squirm and then I’ll just blurt some things out…

  • I am a leader and I am strong. 
  • I am smart and I have a robust resume, having worked for a fortune 50 company in my corporate days and earned a Masters from Yale University in Nursing. 
  • Fun for me means taking on big projects, leading groups of people and feeling useful in communities.  
  • Fun for me also means sitting quietly near a creek, with a cup of tea and water color painting. 
  • Or, knitting in a chair in the corner of a dimly lit room while a woman labors her baby down and into this world. 
  • I have traveled the world, 20 counties I think, most of it well off the beaten trail.

I am proud of these accomplishments. I want you to know I can take on big projects and I can serve women.   

I struggle…

I also struggle with not feeling good enough, I question my decisions every day, I feel uncomfortable with crying and I’m not totally sure if I know what love is (how to give it or receive it).  I am empathetic and compassionate and I believe we are all doing our best, want to feel accepted and heard and we all want to feel loved. 

I spent my 20s and 30s perseverating on a painful childhood. 

Yes, there was crap like divorce and drug abusing parental figures, hypersexual exposure way too early and overriding feeling of not being loved or cared for.  

But, you know what, I’m a damn good person. That tumultuous childhood brought me here, to this exact time and space, writing this to you. 

For your eyes and your ears to see and hear that I care about you. I care about women.  I care about myself. I see you and I may even relate to your unique experiences of life as a woman, a daughter, a mother, a wife…

I am a holder of space…

I have been facilitating sacred women’s circles in physical body for 12 years and I am tickled pink to have the opportunity to hold space virtually for this sacred women’s group. 

I am a holder of the container, a holder of the space.  

As a midwife: I hold the energy of sacred and safe birth for mom and baby and family.  

As a facilitator of women’s circles: I hold the space of women finding their power, finding themselves, showing up honestly and courageously and holding dear the sanctity of trust.  

As a mother: I hold space for the beings my amazing three children were born into this life to become. 

As a wife: I hold space for commitment and communication, for sexual exploration and expansion, and for continuing to believe in the union that we started.  

As a women’s health provider: I hold space for individuals that identify as female finding vitality, energetic flow and for life added to their years as well as years added to their lives. 

I hold space for myself: That I may perpetually trust my intuition, my brain and my heart, that I may love the current version of myself and all the versions that have passed by in the 42 years I have already lived.  I hold belief in my intuitive knowing and my connection to spirit (you might use the word God) and it’s omnipresence in all things. 

I bring light and grace to a room and in general I am grounded and confident.  I also face the roaring red dragon of sadness and guilt and at times don’t feel worthy of being loved.  See, aren’t we all human?!

I am a woman…

I am a woman who loves the ocean and quiet, yet lives surrounded by beautiful mountains and loud children.  I love sushi and Thai food and I have traveled all around the world. I survived, well flourished really, in the corporate world but held onto my bold fashion sense, love for hiking and a consistent feminine approach in a masculine world.   I am short but a force to be reckoned with.

I am a lover of birth…

I am a midwife that has attended births all around the world, in many different settings.  I have given birth to three beautiful and vibrant and healthy children, all at home, all in grace and beauty and surrender.  

I can actually say that I have experienced ecstatic birth three different times, intense and powerful yes, and brilliantly miraculous.  I would love to give birth again, but those doors are closed. It’s time to move on to other ways of growing life and nurturing creation. 

I am passionate about bringing people together…

I was just having a conversation with my grandmother. I asked her what I was like as a child. She said no matter where we went, I knew everyone and everyone knew me. It has always been important to me to be the bridge, to bring people together, to help people see we have more in common than we are divergent.  

Passion surges through me when I think of putting together a summit on controversial topics like gender and vaccinations, bringing people together to see we are actually more alike that we give ourselves credit.

Many of the women’s circles I have facilitated have been filled with women of all ages, representing each decade from 20s to 80s.  Now I am here, holding space for women of varying backgrounds and philosophies, ages and beliefs, coming together in our common thread:  a desire to connect and up-level our experience of the feminine from a holistic mind/body/spirit perspective. 

I am a believer that there are many paths…

“Why has bridging different people together always been important to me?” you may ask.  Who knows, but it could have started in the Rashneesh home, or was it the New York Jewish Entrepreneurs home?  

If someone traveled from around the world to my small town and went to the city of commerce to ask for the “Rashneesh home” (you may know Rashneesh as Osho), they were sent to my home.  So, at my mother’s, there were many languages being spoken, lots of reds and purples everywhere, kundalini yoga and a spiritual quest. Maybe you’ve seen the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country?  I haven’t, but I know it must depict some aspects of my childhood because I spent a large number of weeks there on that Oshram.  

On the other hand, in my father’s home, he was a well known business owner in town. He raised me to celebrate the Jewish High Holy days and to have a good sense of work ethic and money management.  I worked and I saw my father work.

Growing up with so much variety, so many different ways of living, offered confusion and possibility.  

It seemed to me there were many ways and they could all be right. 

One step mother helped me to hear my spirit guides, another one helped me edit my scholarship applications.  One step dad brought me to AA and NA meetings, another one taught me about fine art. It was all OK and it still is. 

I am a co-creator…

I may have been called to co-create BTRT after seeing such dichotomy in my childhood. My parents separated before I was born and my father is on his fourth marriage, my mother on her third.  

In my formative years, in my dad’s home I was taught how to apply my make-up, get a tan in the tanning bed and enjoyed my press-on nails. I walked with a book on my head and prepared for my talent in the pre-teen pageant (in which I won Miss Congeniality of course). 

On the contrary, in my mother’s home I was out in nature, a Waldorf  kid, no make-up allowed, catching lizards and swimming naked in the pond after practicing kundalini yoga. 

I honor that we all have a story, a unique background, that has molded how we perceive our world.  

I am very passionate about bringing those perspectives together, to learn and to share, to build one another up and open each other’s eyes to the variety life has to offer.  

Maybe I’m here creating BTRT to create a space for women to vent and share their confusion, their pain, their questions and their journeys in a supportive place…because I can’t say I had that safe space when I needed it most. 

Melinda Gates had it right in her book, The Moment Of Lift, if you want to lift up a society, lift up the women within it.  So, I have dedicated much of my life to this quest and BTRT offers me deep fulfillment in living out my life’s purpose. 

January 21, 2021