Interview with Layla Verbance, Author of “Sunlight for a Rainbow”
"Sunlight for a Rainbow" is the story of how to live in trust with ourselves, climaxing with the ultimate surrender of natural childbirth.
Last year I received a Facebook message from Layla Verbance, as admin for the FB pages “Birth Into Being” and “Birth As We Know It." I believe she felt inspired to reach out based on the media and message of “Birth As We Know It,” a documentary on Conscious Birth and natural childbirth, which depicts unassisted ecstatic, orgasmic childbirth in nature. The film is directed by Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova, the founder of Birth Into Being, and a respected mentor of mine.
In her message, Layla shared about her new book, “Sunlight for a Rainbow.". She wrote,
I have just published a book about my unassisted pregnancy and childbirth in the Hawaiian Jungle. The book shares about the powerful lessons and challenges that arose for me during this sacred time, and the true empowerment that resulted from seeing beyond the limiting fears of my mind. In learning to trust myself and trust in the goodness of life, I received the greatest gift I could have ever imagined. May it inspire beauty and love in your life, and bring only good your way.
I could sense her tenderness as she held this new book, like a newborn baby. She handed it to me, and part of me softened into deep connection and trust to this person writing me on the other side of the FB chat. I could feel her soul, her openness, and her vulnerability. To me, these traits are very precious and beautiful gems in humanity.
Since then, we’ve cultivated a virtual friendship based on our shared resonance with a life of truth and beauty. I consider her a dear sister of mine, and we have not even hugged in the flesh (yet)!
Reading her words confirmed and reminded me of my own emotional journey to heal and release my wounded and self-deprecating patterns. Her description of her spiritual process helped me to integrate my own experiences, as if I was reading about my inner world in my own journal.
So, naturally, I reached out to Layla for an interview. Please enjoy reading it. I am grateful for her clear expression. When I connect with her energy, I feel my power as the transcriber that transforms my story as I write it. I wish you as a reader to find your own connection, through your personal channel of inner knowing, to the perspective Layla shares in this interview.
View Layla's book, “Sunlight for a Rainbow”, available on Amazon
Interview with Layla Verbance, Author of "Sunlight for a Rainbow"
Lily: You share with such openness and vulnerability in your book. What has been your experience being received by readers, those who know you personally and those who don’t?
Layla: There are many who enjoy and relate to the vulnerability shared in the book, and there were some who do not. For those who have related to it, there is a certain degree of honesty and desire within them that is, or has been, asking the same questions and noticing similar tendencies in their own lives. For these readers, there is often a deep yearning to be free of suffering or patterns or inner 'craziness', and the book points to a truth that addresses this. Not everyone realizes the extent of negativity or unworthiness that they carry around, but for those who are aware of it, the book has helped them to move forward, beyond these limitations that have been resisted and therefore prolonged.
Lily: Have you had any memorable reactions from readers, especially in regard to your unassisted birth in nature?
Layla: Some thought I was lucky. Others thought it was brave. Family said the only reason I was still alive was because they were praying for me so much. Friends trusted me and my decisions. Several readers felt inspired by the story. And of course occasional people were threatened and did not agree with my feelings or choices. Regardless, it was the way that was most comfortable for me and I would not have done it any other way. I am not necessarily an advocate of unassisted childbirth. But I am an advocate for women making a conscious choice around a way of birthing that is most comfortable for them.
Lily: Your story is inspiring for women all around the world who want to live in alignment with their dreams and give birth to their children and their dream creative projects. What advice do you have for them? What do you wish someone had told you when you started focusing on your dreams?
Layla: The only advice I could offer would be to trust oneself. We have been so conditioned to believe that we need a teacher, friend, therapist, or partner to support us and help us. There is nothing wrong with this, but it comes to a point where it is not enough. This is why people are drawn to this book, because it shares not only the deep longing to know oneself, and the desire to be free to live the most fulfilling life, but it also directs all efforts back to the source of ourselves. Being true to this, our personal vision aligns in the most satisfying way possible. What someone did tell me when I started focusing on my dreams was, "If you're going to live with yourself, you might as well enjoy it." This was the most enlightening advice I have ever received.
Excerpt from Layla's book:
“Fear, shame, unworthiness, self-hatred, and anger are all pieces of the ground that I embody. Once I stop creating these strata on top of my experiences, all protection and avoidance drop away, together with their grip on my wellbeing. Subsequently, there are no longer enemies or friends, just aspects of myself that I have either fully embraced or still denounce and suffer with. When I discontinue the tendency to disapprove of individual pieces, I reclaim wholeness. All aspects of myself, good and bad, simply come and go. I can see the connectedness of life and remain home as the motherly space that everything arises from and returns to.” - Layla Verbance, “Sunlight for a Rainbow” p 110
Lily: In your book, you impress how the reality we experience is a reflection of our inner world. Is this true all the time? My tendency is to accept my reflection of beauty and shift responsibility for heavy energy to others. How do you meet the darkness with the same love you meet the light?
Layla: I have noticed it to be true the majority of the time. I do feel sometimes there are unhealthy situations, relationships, or people that are not necessarily the most life giving to be around. This is where boundaries feel important. But it can get tricky. When is it important to see, understand, and forgive? And when is it important to let go, stand up for what one thinks is right, and move on? Only we know that. And if we run away from anything, it is okay, because we can be sure it will arise in another situation or relationship. This is what is unique about the book. There are very deep issues that are shared, that often go hidden or unaddressed in most of us...and therefore are recreated again and again. Why do we hide these parts of ourselves? Maybe we feel ashamed of or alone in our imperfections and therefore continue to dwell in struggle rather than choosing to move through and beyond the part of us that will never feel fixed, perfected, or good enough. I don't necessarily see it as meeting the darkness with the same love as I do with the light...but with the same integrity. The earnest drive to know what life is truly meant to be like, has been my encouragement. And, for me, honestly questioning painful thoughts often dissolves the whole concept of darkness all together.
Lily: What did it feel like to first know you were pregnant? Did you communicate with your child before they were born?
Layla: To know I was pregnant triggered equal excitement and terror. I share a lot about this in the beginning of the book. I had been wanting to be pregnant for a bit, wondering what it was like and totally intrigued by its mystery, power, and magic. With both children, I connected with them before they were conceived. With my first child, I had a near death experience and a dream about him 6 years before he was conceived. And with my current second child I similarly had dreams about her about a year before she was conceived. Both were completely mystical, intimate connections that are hard for me to even put words to.
Lily: Can you tell me more about your community network in Hawaii? Do you feel supported to live there in your chosen way?
Layla: Well, my main community network here is my growing family. We love to be together more than anything and we have beautiful friends, neighbors, and acquaintances here that make up our larger community. Everyone, especially our neighbors have deeply supported our decisions around our lifestyle and birthing choices.
Lily: You have another baby on the way. Did you learn anything from your first birth that you are going to practice differently for this baby?
Layla: Yes, she is expected any day now. I am excited to have a water birth this time. With my first child, at the beginning of my pregnancy, when I was trying to read books about childbirth, I ordered a water birth book. When I went to pick it up from the post office, I saw that Amazon had accidentally sent me a book about herding sheepdogs! Being the superstitious me that I was back then, I took it as a sign and did an earthbirth. We birthed him under a bamboo tree on our land. We recently made a bathtub out of the same bamboo tree, which I plan on birthing my daughter in. I feel this will make such a difference in the birthing experience. I also think that I rushed myself during my first birth. For this one, I plan on really taking time and being gentler in this sense.
Lily: Do you have a connection with whales and dolphins? What messages do they bring to you?
Layla: When I was a little girl I was pretty obsessed with dolphins. I still feel their power, but the relationship with them has yet to develop. The experience in the book that I share about swimming with wild dolphins is too surreal to try to define. They teach me about trust, the heart, and magic.
Lily: What is one simple practice that you want to share with people to help them live in alignment with their heart?
Layla: Anytime you are struggling, feeling stress, or inner tension, take a moment and ask yourself what it would be like to not have a story about 'you' right now. If we can really honestly 'be' without having a concept of ourselves there are no problems...nothing to fix, nobody to heal, not much to say, and all is well.
Lily: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Layla: Thank you Lily for your support, and all women and men who feel inspired to read Sunlight for a Rainbow. I would love any feedback and hope it only brings good into the lives of all who stumble upon it.
You are so welcome, Layla!