Dance of the Womb by Maha Al Musa

Dance of the Womb Book Readings

These videos are from my LIVE Dance of the Womb book readings on Facebook. Each day I introduced one BellydanceBirth® movement dance chapter and went on to explain its immense benefits when practiced during your pregnancy and consequently during labour. Followed by a Q & A session. We covered the following movements:

Day 1 - The Circle
Day 2 - The Spiral
Day 3 - The Figure 8
Day 4 - The Cervix
Day 5 - The Hands and Arms
Day 6 - The Chest

 


[VIDEO 1]: A Short Pre-Reading Story (Why I Decided to Write the Book)


 

 


[VIDEO 2]: From “The Circle” Chapter.


 

 


[VIDEO 3]: From “The Spiral” Chapter.


 

 


[VIDEO 4]: From “The Figure 8” Chapter.


 

 


[VIDEO 5]: From “The Cervix” Chapter.


 

 


[VIDEO 6]: From “The Hands and Arms” Chapter.


 

 


[VIDEO 7]: From “The Chest” Chapter.


 

 


Learn more about Dance of the Womb and get your copy of the book here.



Why Belly Dance for Birth: 8 Benefits of BellydanceBirth® Which Practiced During Pregnancy Can Help You Prepare for a Natural, Non-Intrusive and Positive Childbirth

There are 8 videos to watch in this series of videos called Why Belly Dance for Birth.

*Note: These videos were filmed during my Birthday Flash Sale promo (which, unfortunately is no longer valid) but the information I share in each video is TIMELESS! So go ahead, dive straight in.

 


[VIDEO 1]: What is the blueprint of birth? Or as I call it "The Living Book Within" that is passed through the Mother line and reminds you that you are the expert of birth.


 

 


[VIDEO 2]: How can BellydanceBirth® instill a positive body image for mothers-to-be.


 

 


[VIDEO 3]: The importance of strengthening and releasing your pelvic floor (the muscles, tissues and nerves that support the bladder, rectum, uterus and other pelvic organs) for birth. And how BellydanceBirth® can release your lower back to relieve pain and create fluidity as your baby grows and your uterus expands.


 

 


[VIDEO 4]: How BellydanceBirth® allows you to slow down and release the feel good hormones to relax and connect emotionally with yourself and your precious baby.


 

 


[VIDEO 5]: How BellydanceBirth® gives you focus and an anchor during labour as you meet the birth contractions (or as I like to call them expansions).


 

 


[VIDEO 6]: How the BellydanceBirth® movements through the body creates awareness of the connection between your pelvis and jaw, cervix and lips and throat and vagina.


 

 


[VIDEO 7]: How can BellydanceBirth® ease fear and your dread of the pain of labour.


 

 


[VIDEO 8]: How can BellydanceBirth® help to move your baby into an optimal position using gravity with its head or bag of waters pressing down on your cervix.


 

 


Learn more about BellydanceBirth® and join the program here.



BACK TO BIRTH BASICS

A reflection

A part of me, as an independent childbirth educator, founder of EmbodyBirth for the past 22 years, really feels we need to seriously re address- back to birth basics - and what drives our mammalian instincts for birthing. How a woman's body opens or closes in relation to the environment she is in - and the people who are in this environment - how do these basics of physiology and psychology affect a mother and babies ability to birth with a sense of surrender, safety and security or fear, tension, anxiety.?

These are the foundations of understanding how birth works and seem to get lost in translation.

 

How and who we birth with, is also a very subjective decision when we self inquire and ask ourselves "what brings me a sense of safety"? Ten women may give ten different answers that will also have an impact on the fundamentals of the back to birth basics principles.

A good place to start is to predominantly get out of our heads and intellect, soften into our own bodies and hearts and look through the lens of birth as woman/baby centered.

Are we doing everything we can to create a climate of compassion and care that is not ego or vested driven?
Are we looking after mothers in a way that they feel secure?
What drives birth?
What drives women's choices?
Who defines the care???

The hierarchical paradigm that many women are assuming (that is governed in domination by the system) is not at its core the way of the feminine - we need to remain in service to the sisterhood - part of the problem is the societal view of birth that escalates fear states in women's bodies during pregnancy which is the antithesis of what is needed for birthing in love and with grace.

 

When and how can we unite in the field of discernment and acceptance for women's choices and then provide equal maternal care that is not coming from a bullying energy but a deeply committed understanding that Birth is about Love at its most fundamental level?


What The Birth World Needs Now

We have a very triggered world and nowhere does it show up more vehemently than at the molten core of human experience- Birth and Beyond.

It can look like this -

When we see a mother birthing in her autonomy without the reliance on an external authority and/or a mother happily breastfeeding her 8 year old, there are some people, who cannot tolerate absorbing these kinds of Love states.

Herstory-birth-body

It is commonly and sadly those, whose unresolved issues around their own birth where attachment, bonding, love and connection were not fully imprinted, who are quick to to enlist a cold, stark response to those whom are living those very felt experiences. These "less than" birth imprints reignite  deep, unbearable emotional losses which harbour the inability to be guided in to a celebration of the beauty  that they witness unfolding before them.

The witness, unconsciously, becomes the abuser whilst the grief is suspended within their body like a dark relentless abyss, swallowing whole the object of their contempt. So deep and so wide is the pain that they cannot separate their despair with the delight of another.

The worst part about this reaction is, that when people whom work within the birth field; maternal clinicians, get triggered and hence embark,  without any self reflection, on a process of enmeshment with the emotions of resentment directing them, often brutally, toward the mother who is displaying her maternal alliance and ease with her baby we have a problem. The mother who made choices to birth her baby, in her self referenced autonomy or breastfed her child on demand or made choices inherently navigated from her flowing intuitive fountain. It is she in her purity, that becomes the target of a seething authority built upon shaky foundations. 

To the triggered and traumatised  “care” provider this joy and ease expressed by the radiant mother, feels and looks like an assault on their very existence. The incongruous nature of their bitterness sits in a space between what their psyche knows should have been their own loving birth/mothering experience to what actually occurred when they were innocent and powerless babies. This then prompts what I refer to as the birthing battle ground where an aggressive posture takes hold and inflicts damage through the gateway of  interference, cruel words, diminishing the mothers experience and severing her instinctual responses to her baby. These spiteful tactics wave the flag of injustice whilst all the while the person inflicting this kind of behaviour cleverly veils their insurmountable hurts.

What of a Solution?

Perhaps there could be a compulsory unit in the education component of clinicians training asking of them to look at their personal birth imprints  as a means to get honest about what potential barbs they may throw into the birthing field. It would require attention and attentiveness with authenticity to work through finding resolutions to firstly unearth the existence of these negative birth imprints, and then engage in refined practises that would ultimately set the clinicians free from their behaviour- freed from the tyranny of unconscious projections landing in the hearts of mothers, babies, families, communities and Humanity- perhaps once and for all these could be addressed.

So then Free Birth would certainly take on  several meanings

Free Birth - a place where mothers could reclaim birth and place it rightfully back into their hands and hearts with their babies for the sake of sanity. When mothers cannot trust a distrustful system that spends energy intentionally blocking their inner birth wisdom what choice do they have?
For eg taking away women's access to independent midwives sends a message that personalised care is not valued. So mothers own their value and go about the nesting process by creating birth spaces that support their right. By Freeing up the birth space. mothers can excavate through the gateway of sovereignty and reach great spiritual depths distancing themselves from the tyranny of tell tale imposed trauma.

And then we have Free Birth as a philosophy and practise where maternal clinicians, whom are stuck in the muddy waters of their embodied trauma have the opportunity to free themselves so they no longer remain hostage to a festering grief of shackled wounding. Free Birth so they are supported and loved through the experience of the first gaze, a mother's bond, experienced as a somatic process within a healthy love laced container.
In these places clinicians can release their unhealthy projected patterns so that they can be faced and released - here the floodgates of a more spacious existence not crippled by fear and aversion to beauty and love can be felt.

SO YES
It’s time to get honest.

Let’s face it, an educational degree or medical label is not a ticket to
"do as I please, say what I demand,"
with the hallmarks of bypass behaviour going unchecked.

Free Birth Bad Behaviour is not a free for all nor should it give you the right to violate or  be inhumane.

In my world, honesty is a quality that should set the scene for conscious leadership steeped in emotionally intelligent skills as an example of what empathy, self awareness and relationship management looks and feels like.

Mothers and babies deserve nothing less than our concerted efforts, truthful dialogue and pain staking inner resolution. Maternal Care Revolutionised is the key to this approach.

What The Birth World Needs Now Is Your Truth.

Mamaste !

Please Look out for my presentation in the VBAC online summit addressing

Valuing

Birth

Awareness For

Change

Exploring How Emotional Intelligence within maternal care systems can effect change.

Maha Al Musa

Founder EmbodyBirth since 1997.

www.mahaalmusa.com


Melbourne Doula Conference 2018 - Maha speaking in panel discussion

Melbourne Doula Conference 2018 - My Experience as a Panel Speaker

On the 25/26th March, 2018 I attended the first Doula Conference in Melbourne. It was a wonderful chance to meet so many women whom I had known on social media but not face to face!

I was placed on a panel to discuss the topic...

Trauma, coercion, obstetric violence and rising intervention rates in the birth space.

What are the influencing factors creating this, and how do we help to reduce its incidence?

Melbourne Doula Conference 2018

I had a window in which to share my thoughts to this question and received an enthusiastic response to this, my perspective.

"This is a huge subject with many pathways so I want to address a few things that I see occurring after my 21 years working as an Independent Childbirth Educator. I don't want to go down the road of misogyny and white male supremacy as I feel there is another view that is often not acknowledged and is of importance."

We need to ask a vital question here in relation to what is influencing the rise of birth trauma and violence and that is to seriously ask of ourselves, what is birth's purpose?

And then depending on our answer to that question we will either reduce or see the escalation of trauma and violence.

So let's ask ourselves - what is birth's purpose?

  • Is it a medical event?
  • Is it an illness?
  • Is it just a process of getting a baby out of a mother's womb?
  • Or does it have the potential to be a sacred, potent rite of passage experience? One to be exalted and honoured and one that can raise Love consciousness for Humanity.

When we see maternal care from the perspective of birth as a medical event with its rules and regulations, we become slaves to the system and birth will look and feel very different to seeing birth as a place of reverence. I worry about this constant reference to trauma that becomes the ingrained dialogue and which women believe will, by default, be a part of their experiences.

On the other hand if maternal care providers see birth as a dynamic, unfolding excavation into the deepest exploration of who we are as women - where our psychic nature and connection to the ancient feminine lineage gets accessed in birth and the gifts we are here to bring gets activated - how different may birth be?

Unfortunately most women don't get the opportunity to touch these places and that is a real shame!

I would like to see birth's purpose elevated so we can begin to address it as a potent rite of passage experience on the spectrum of a whole woman's life journey. In my vision, I clearly see that if all maternal care providers were on the same page in seeing birth as a mother baby centred experience with Love sitting at the helm of the birth ship and not one where the authority is in the hands of another, we could change the trauma experienced in one generation. And we would change the kind of care women receive as well.

Melbourne Doula Conference 2018-Maha with Angela Gallo and Katrina Zaslavsky
Maha with Angela Gallo and Katrina Zaslavsky
Melbourne Doula Conference - Maha with Jojo Hogan
Maha with Jojo Hogan

So, we must stop with this dilution of birth's potency which not only serves to severe a mother from her instincts and create an inner distrust and struggle but also gives the hierarchical model unbridled control, usually with vested interest, to assume power over.

This strangles the birth experience.

Interfering in the delicate art of the heart that is birth sees mothers in a demoralised position of externalising her experience.

It is ludicrous that we have got to a position where a mother seeks permission or in fact begs to follow her mammalian instincts and be told yes, no or maybe.

Perpetuating this idea that an authority is all knowing over a mother's sovereignty shows that we have a birth culture lacking in emotional intelligence! This can never work and plainly it does not work.

I would sincerely like to say to obstetricians...

Its time to hand birth back to mothers and babies.

Let the mystery of birth's longing to show itself in her truest Nature be released for the benefit of humankind. This is the antithesis of obstetric violence, trauma and power over.

You cannot take an expansive experience that is birth and box it in limitation. Let birth find its freedom.

Set birth free.
Set women free.
Love our babies.

Stop saying I empower you rather say...

"I inspire you to find the power within yourself."


science-studies-birth

Are Science Studies for Birth Really What They Are Cracked Up to Be?

Call me old fashioned...

Birth has become an industry where women are in a twilight zone – a commodity, a vessel and an experiment. I have been teaching my form of EmbodyBirthTM childbirth preparation for almost 21 years now using the ancient language of birth that has always been and will always be. The language of instinctive, intuitive movement and dance that is self-referenced and sourced from one's instincts in connection to one's baby.

I am in a dilemma.

I see birth workers often applaud the evidence base and scientific literature including randomized studies that tell us how a woman’s body behaves before and/or during labour, then make firm conclusions that comes from this or that particular study looking at how a mother, her baby and birth unravels.

The instinctive studies are not well received because they are generally anecdotal and have not been approved by a medical organization to be deemed legitimate. For me they are of greatest value because we are not just looking at birth from a physical and physiological point of view – we are energetically and emotionally attuned to feel the depth of birth awareness that unfolds from a more organic point of view. Taking into account many factors that are not set up to prove a particular point that is conducted in isolation.

 

This morning, I was reading a study on whether placing women in a hands and knees posture and pelvic rocking exercises from 37 weeks gestation if baby is in an OP position will make any difference to the OP position when she enters labour.

The following are the results and conclusion from the study.

RESULTS:

1046 women in the intervention group and 1209 women in the control group remained in the study until they went into labour. No significant difference existed between the groups for the incidence of occiput posterior position at birth: 105 (8.1%) women in the intervention group and 98 (7.8%) in the control group had a baby in a posterior position at delivery (difference in risk 0.3%, 95% confidence interval -1.8 to 2.4). The incidence of fetal transverse arrest was 3.4% (44 women) in the intervention group and 3.0% (38 women) in the control group (difference in risk 0.4, -1 to 1.7). No differences occurred between intervention and control groups for induction of labour, use of epidural, duration of labour, mode of delivery, use of episiotomy, or Apgar score.

CONCLUSION:

Hands and knees exercise with pelvic rocking from 37 weeks' gestation to the onset of labour did not reduce the incidence of persistent occiput posterior position at birth.

 

Personally, with the work I do, I found this study to be very limited and the pervading conclusion to also be misleading. There is much more than just placing women on hands and knees and pelvic rock at 37 weeks that will or will not encourage her baby to align into a “normal” position in her pelvis. There are so many factors that are too numerous to list that will influence a baby's positioning, not just hands, knees and rocking.

I am also curious to know what were these mothers doing through their pregnancy in terms of prenatal positioning, their emotional states, pelvic mobility, pelvic shape, exercising or not and the fact that some babies no matter what we “try” to do will remain in a certain position because that’s just how they want to be born and no matter what we “do”, that’s their mode of expression.

The other criticism I have is that when trials like these are done there is an artificial set up that is required to get the “data” on the studies that are not in alignment with how instinctive birth unfolds.

Emotionally if a mother knows that she is part of a trial how does this affect the “primitive” brain? How can she completely relax when she is being instructed and directed as opposed to primal and instinctual free form? I do feel that it would be more beneficial to look at these kinds of studies with a sense of curiosity rather than the be all and end all conclusive set in stone data we are given.

Doesn’t hurt to ask further questions ourselves and look a little deeper.

 

I also worry that we are so adamant that we need studies to prove theories when giving birth is not a theory but an organic living alive process that cannot, at its core, be randomized, controlled, watched and dissected to fit into studies to prove anything much. They are interesting and give us some indications of what birth looks like under “a study” limitation in an environment that is usually not sympathetic to what birth needs.

I hazard a guess as well that the mindset of those around conducting the “study” when a mother is in third trimester or in labour will also influence the mothers body and her ability to open and/or close, release and surrender or tighten and resist.

Birth is 90% energy based. Can we measure energy via studies??? It must be felt not calculated with manmade instruments of Science. It needs a soft landing and room to breathe. If we perhaps were less sterile in our studies and more thoughtful in our approach I believe the “conclusions” made would take on a very different perspective that makes more sense for women and their babies in childbirth.


Birth worker frustrations

Frustrations as a Birth Worker

Briefly and completely spontaneous answer!!

The loss of Heart and Humanity and understanding the true nature of the sacredness of birth...

Birth has become a business in a hierarchical model and many birth workers have bought into this (whether midwife or independent educator). By turning birth into a business we have boxed it so it no longer roams freely, organically and intuitively.

You cannot limit an expansive experience that is "Birth", lock it in chains and then expect mothers and babies to birth within this limitation and cage where the "body" is oppressed and suppressed by rules and regulations. This is the antithesis of the birthing essence!

Fear and trauma are the catch cries of birth now where it used to be love, sacredness, spirituality, ancient wisdom, feminine knowing and more...

We need to return to back to the basics of birthing because we have intellectualized the process to such a degree that so many are in terror and tension.

My work in EmbodyBirth™ of the past 20 years has emphasized the possibility of birth as a spiritual practice/rite of passage rather than a fearful disabling experience...

I keep asking birth workers, midwives etc.

"Why is it we have MORE education available to mothers and worse outcomes???? Ask yourselves this question and ponder upon its answer?? How can we make real change ??"

First and foremost, it must come from within...

Women/men must self inquire and live the way they want to see this change in birth.

How do you navigate your life? Birth is not separate from life. Don't box it. Let it breathe.


Embodybirth-overview

An Overview of EmbodyBirth™

The EmbodyBirth™ program was conceived out of a need for women to have another perspective and pathway of childbirth philosophy alongside the medical model. The basic tenement of the program is to view birth within a compassionate and understanding framework where mother and baby are at the centre of the experience.

EmbodyBirth™ invites a woman to come home to her own hands, heart, womb and baby. Aligning with the feminine language of birth ensures that we will see birth as a rite of passage – a pinnacle journey that women embrace and NOT fear. Here we have an opportunity for growth and transformation where feelings can be faced and experienced in an authentic way. A wonderful precursor to the initiation that is motherhood.

When we can view birth as a deeply embodied, loving experience that accepts all we are in every unfolding moment, we heal birth. EmbodyBirth™ chooses to hold a woman in this love essence so she can experience every emotion that arises in a safe space.

The program encourages us to nurture and accept with non-judgemental inclusivity, a woman with her baby, so she can be all she needs to be in every unfolding moment. There is no greater gift we can offer as care providers than to create environments where a birthing mother can genuinely be seen, heard and understood in her authenticity.

The secret of birth is that when we hold a woman in love, her body will more easily open.

So, EmbodyBirth™ pre-natal classes are designed to provide a sacred, safe space for women to connect deeply with their emotional, physical, spiritual and energetic bodies to know that all they feel and who they are is valid. When a woman can feel herself with her baby in this place of autonomy and safety, she is more likely to birth with confidence, inner strength and self-reliance.

The pathway to truly EmbodyBirth™ in Maha’s program, is through the ancient art of BellydanceBirth®.

 

Click here to learn more about Maha's EmbodyBirth™ program.

Interested in sponsoring an EmbodyBirth™ Teacher Training? Click here to get in touch with Maha.


Change the world

Changing the World from a Woman's Perspective

There is always a lot of talk about how we can change the world and specifically how we can do this from a woman's perspective? So many wonderful ideas and thoughts shared, looking at where change can happen. I wholeheartedly support discussion and action.

In my eyes, a woman's voice must always be placed on the round table of discussion. I have been saying this for a very long time.

"Women are half the population and need to be heard."

And not heard speaking the hierarchical language of the masculine, they need to be heard speaking from their own point of view that does not necessarily take the stance of being defensive and aggressive in manner.

I do understand that frustration causes us to, at times, lose our composure and that is okay! Still, can we speak a woman's truth whilst staying within integrity and centred calmness sharing how things are for women from our perspective. Not in search of approval and acceptance from the other sex in search of equality and balance.

What I clearly see with discussions around how we can change the world so a woman's perspective, needs and wants are recognized and a given, is that pregnancy, birth and mothering as a continuum, one that has a wide berth impact on Humanity's evolution, is mostly left out of the equation.

I cannot understand how one of the most important aspects of a how we are born is not placed in reverence and in a prominent position to be addressed on this topic. Many birth keepers, like myself, are doing so much to bring light to the importance of this time, this rite of passage, yet I ask;

"Is this reverberated as a global consciousness?"

Birth MUST be taken seriously for the sake of all of Humanity.

So then, I ask how can we elevate the birth arena where society can understand that birth truly matters?????On a global scale??

So that birth is revered and mothers and babies are at centre.

Mothers are autonomous and retain sovereignty without the need to be cut down and disabled?

Through birth, a mother's voice is activated and those gifts that come from this are shared in the world and further recognized as having an impact on how we can achieve the coming together of great minds and Hearts.

This alone could make a revolutionary change to women's lives globally in a very fundamental way. We are all connected through the lives of women. We do not live in isolation from Her.

This also does not take away from those who choose to not have children, as womb wisdom carries the energy of birthing many things - new perspectives, new ideas, old ways, ancient lineage, creativity, expansion, evolution, clearing and so much more.

A woman's voice is essential and her contribution to the world essential to create balance.


Reduce birth trauma

Reduce Birth Trauma - Heal and Support Mothers

I want to share an insight with you all as an Independent Childbirth Educator, that on my 55th birthday has called me to reveal as a concern of mine. It may be challenging as a point of view due to it being  a very emotionally delicate topic, yet I trust it needs to be raised as food for thought and a legitimate lens of inquiry.

With sensitivity, let's address the trauma pathway being played out in the birthing field that has accelerated at a fast pace. Everywhere we turn it seems that another trauma discussion and dissection is taking place. I see this progression increasing having been teaching and involved in birth for the last 20 plus years.

 

Trauma Talk

 

There is a constant stream of what I call "trauma talk" that has developed out of women's horrific experiences in pregnancy birth and beyond.

There is no doubt it does need to be addressed, and women need to be honored,  with places for mothers to reveal their deep grief in the most sacred time of their lives. In saying this, I am also concerned that the intensity of this trauma landscape is becoming lodged into the psyche of many pregnant mothers where they believe this has to be the norm. This "norm" outlook may be clouding other pathways of possibility for how pregnancy and birth could be.

My concern is that while we are placing a lot of attention on birth trauma and rightly so, could we also be unconsciously fueling another industry reliant on this sorrow?

An industry that may be compounding the problems without seeking to address solutions and change?

That is dignity in maternal care for mothers and babies?

All I am asking of us all as birth keepers, is to bring awareness to this contemplation so we are not tarring so many future birth conversations with the trauma scenario to further keep imprinting these neural pathways of fear for new mothers.

If so, we will only be painting a one dimensional picture of birth, where new mothers think that the trauma route will inevitably and unfortunately be a part of their birth experience. This leads to entering the birthing domain in defense and protection, the antithesis of oxytocins calling. I am merely posing this as a reflection and opening dialogue to hear people's thoughts.

 

Acknowledgement is important

 

No doubt, we must acknowledge that there has been and unfortunately until we see radical change, will continue to be, maternal trauma against all our wishes.

Birth trauma exists, this we bear witness to, yet at the same time how can we offer a parallel pathway to pregnant mothers that seeks to highlight possibility with positivity for birth.

My concern again is that if, as a collective, we allow ourselves to become submerged under a tidal wave of traumatic birth talk and drown in this terrible tsunami without becoming conscious of building uplifting birthing platforms, then we are implicit in creating difficult roads to walk and won't easily see the light of change.

 

Hold our vision

 

I would like to extend my hand and invite all of us as birth keepers to hold our visions.

A good strategy is to focus on how we want to shape the birth climate staying steady in our convictions as we create this visionary landscape. This imparts to mothers that there are more options available to them and we trust in mothers, we trust in birth and so too birth trusts in us.

Birth trauma is, as mentioned in my opening, a very delicate subject that must never be denied and should never happen in an ideal world. Mothers should always be supported after being left carrying a deep wound of traumatic birth and MUST have access to services to address this shocking experience.

As birth keepers we must remain grounded in our work so we can continue to forge ahead and stand up with our voice intact against violence, remaining steady without falling into despondency that thwarts our motivations.

I know this too well and must always self reflect and ask myself,

What is my intention?

What is my vision?

And hold this to my heart. Women and babies need us in our full capacity with eyes, ears, hearts and our wombs open and cleansed.

 

In a nutshell and in summary - hold your creative vision, work toward it whilst at the same time offering care around traumatic and unresolved birth wounds.

We all have placed our hearts in compassionate places that need to be constantly invigorated and acknowledged. Be courageous and keep seeding circles of optimism and that which we desire for the purpose of raising Love consciousness through birth and beyond. We owe this to our children.

 

**Disclaimer: This is not designed to upset those who carry birth trauma. Birth trauma is real and prevalent and this piece does not take away from any woman who has experienced it and is working through it. In this blog I want to address something that has been progressively playing on my mind for the past couple of years.