By Clare Gabriel
Everybody who rebirths has a quite unique and individual experience. And whilst there are patterns in the breath which may tell rebirthers much about their clients, essentially the experience belongs to the client, or rebirthee.
Rebirthers act as wise guides and companions, bringing their own experience of rebirthing and obviously their own individual skills, talents and training to bear in each session.
The deeper a rebirther is going in their own rebirthing journey, the safer a client will feel and the deeper they will be able to journey themselves. This is a journey of releasing old energies, old patterns and blockages and of becoming more conscious, more aware and ultimately more accepting of oneself. It has been described as a heart-opening experience. Rebirthing is both a therapy and a spiritual practice and rebirthers are expected to continue to rebirth as part of their ongoing care of themselves.
At her initial consultation, Fiona describes herself as wanting to “move on from hang-ups I feel I’ve been carrying from my childhood, particularly from my teenage years and in my relationship with my father. I feel I’m carrying a burden but I don’t know what it is.”
Fiona is quiet speaking, self-contained and articulate. She is 34 years old, an artist, living with her artist partner. She feels she disempowers herself constantly in her relationship and also doesn’t receive from her partner the acknowledgement of her artwork that she gives to his. This is very hurtful for her.
I ask her to describe her parents and family background. I also ask about family placement, i.e. Fiona is the youngest of five children born very close together. I note to myself that youngest children of large families can sometimes feel they have no voice and little, if any, influence on family decisions and events.
In rebirthing it is essential to hear how a client views themselves and their pasts. This provides me with a sense of the belief systems at play in the family and of what unconscious patterns may be playing out in the present situation.
At the end of the consultation, Fiona decides to come for 9 rebirthing sessions. Each rebirth will involve a period of exploration of issues brought that day, followed by the rebirth itself, where Fiona will lie down and breathe a full, relaxed and connected breath for about an hour. The session completes with a period for reflection and grounding.
During her first rebirth, grief and tears surface very quickly and as Fiona breathes, she experiences this as the loss of many close women friends that she has “abandoned” in favour of new relationships with men. She then feels a deep sense of grief and loss about her mother. As she continues to breathe, these feelings move through her body and pass, and by the end of the session, Fiona is feeling a great sense of peace. After completing the breathing part of the session, we discuss how Fiona felt her mother had “sacrificed herself” for the sake of the father’s ways (her parents are in business together, but her mother has single-handedly carried the responsibility for the family, whilst her father had affairs).
In the next 3 rebirths, Fiona continues to release grief from her body in each session, and it emerges that this grief is about being a woman in a family where boys are valued more highly and girls are expected to serve. Fiona realises she wanted to be a boy, and suspects that her mother preferred boys.
In the fourth session, the feelings that surface are about a sense of betrayal by her father towards her, during her teenage years, when he could not acknowledge her sexuality and cut off from her because of his own discomfort. This release and insight are very profound and bring about a radical change in Fiona’s view of herself. She is able to separate out her own feelings from her father’s behaviour and to feel compassion for him, whilst acknowledging her own hurt teenage girl. At the end of this session, Fiona describes herself as feeling “Very light, and bubbly and full of joy.” She says a great weight has lifted.
My most important work with Fiona as her rebirther is in validating the experiences she has during the sessions and in acknowledging her power and authority as a woman. In rebirthing, we consider it important that at some stage a person should be able to move into a place of completion and forgiveness of parents, siblings, etc. However, it is vital not to rush this process but rather to enable the rebirthee to first fully experience the feelings that have been suppressed for so long. And to feel that they are heard and validated. When this happens fully, it is natural for most people to find compassion in themselves for their parents’ imperfect humanness.
From the fifth to the ninth session, Fiona is now much more present. She is bringing current issues about her present relationship to the rebirths and strong affirming insights are arising spontaneously in her during her breathes. She experiences a great deal of pleasure and love in her body during these sessions. On my suggestion, she has been keeping a journal since the beginning of her sessions and comments on how empowering this has been. I have also given her positive affirming statements, particularly to do with her acceptance, acknowledgement and celebration of herself as a woman. She has been writing these statements and enjoying the feelings that they bring.
As with many clients, the final session is one where we explore endings and completions. Fiona has decided she will continue to rebirth herself and come for individual one-off sessions from time to time.
Fiona found the rebirthing process very easy and natural and the breathing for her was always quite easy. She lives close to her emotional life and for her to feel the feelings suppressed in her childhood was not a difficult journey. She was also, as she says herself, “more than ready to take the plunge.”
Many other people, when they first rebirth, find the full breathing quite difficult. This may reflect the earliest breathing trauma, i.e. when their first breath was taken at birth. It may reflect a lifelong pattern of struggle. How a person breathes tells rebirthers an immediate story. People who have a struggle with breathing, or who notice that their breath is very shallow may find rebirthing particularly healing. As the breath releases, it is as if a doorway opens to more energy in our bodies and a greater conscious awareness of our lives and ourselves.
British Rebirth Society
[boxibt style=”gray”]About the Author
Clare Gabriel trained as a rebirther in 1989, with Diana Roberts of Creative Seminars. She then attended a further 6-month intensive residential training with Bob and Mallie Mandel in Connecticut, USA during 1990. She has studied extensively the inner child, gender issues and archetypal psychology and has facilitated many workshops on these subjects, always combining them with rebirthing. She has also co-led rebirther training’s under the auspices of the British Rebirth Society.
Clare considers herself a perpetual student of the breath. She has maintained a daily meditation practice for many years and rebirths herself regularly. The ground of her work is self-acceptance, and the acceptance of our many selves, and towards this end she encourages integration rather than catharsis as a working method.
Before becoming a rebirther, Clare was involved for many years in a theatre company dedicated to personal and spiritual development through the use of theatrical arts. Clare is a grandmother and a writer and is currently General Secretary of the British Rebirth Society.
She has a private practice in North London and also facilitates ongoing rebirthing groups.
Clare can be contacted on 020 7722 8650[/boxibt]