What’s in a Name?

Two of the early Rebirthers in the ’70’s were Jim Leonard and Phil Laut, writers of the first REBIRTHING Book I read in 1987, but in 1990 they changed the title of their book REBIRTHING – The Science of Enjoying All of Your Life to VIVATION.

The first page includes an introduction to the term calling it a self directed, personal development skill that enables anyone to cause permanent resolution of suppressed sensations, feelings and emotions, regardless of their cause, intensity or for how long they have been surppressed “.

It goes onto explain ” the name VIVATION was made up by Jim Leonard in 1987. It is derived from the latin root ” viv ” for life. Because the name was made up, and it does not appear in any dictionary, we will describe its usage at the outset.” It goes on further to describe a Rebirther as a Vivation Coach or Vivation Professional ( . . . so far so good ) but the rebirthee was described as the VIVER, which frankly never caught on. I remember during my LRT Trainings we amused ourselves with “VIVING” ideas and notions. Yes, the word never caught on. It continues by example ” I was VIVING in the office this morning and I had a breakthrough about that project which was bothering me “.

See what I mean, it’s NOT sexy is it?

But REBIRTHING, at least the name of it, has always caused stress for those who think it gets confused with BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANS. I remember whole meetings of The British Rebirth Society (BRS) in 1990/91 being taken up with this conundrum of ” what will people think “.

In my experience the BRS has always had a low opinion of itself, which is why it’s membership has dribbled away with parochial attitude since then, and has never caught public imagination or increased membership in two decades. Something is wrong somewhere and as they say ” the only guru you need are the results in your life “. Rather than gain confidence in Rebirthing by creating trainings that inspire, they were more concerned about the neighbours, debating whether to call themselves BREATHWORKERS or BREATHING COACHES rather than Rebirthers. Scan the internet and you will find all kinds of names that practitioners make up to make breathwork more interesting.

My experience again, is that the RESULTS of Rebirthing Breathwork are far more interesting than the names made up. VIVATION practice & trainings may continue to thrive, but the name is still debatable. Having worked in Marketing & Design for over 20 years I can understand the value of rebranding a unique product but as the early Rebirthers discovered, when sibling rivalry took charge in the early 80’s, pioneers staked their process name claim in the breathwork goldrush.

Leonard Orr focused on Biblical doctrine, Nose breathing, Physical Immortality & rubbishing group breathes, (and still does), Sondra Ray focussed on RELATIONSHIPS and mouth breathing, Louise Hay went on to become a Millionairess with YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE merchandising with one of Leonard’s Rebirthing 5 BIGGIES  -” Thought Is Creative “-, but he was too busy living in the sticks by a fire, to reach out to the mainstream market. Jim Leonard and Phil Laut created VIVATION Breathwork, while Laut specialised in MONEY & PROSPERITY with a book called MONEY IS MY FRIEND. Books like THE SECRET have only borrowed this material, turning it into a marketing jamboree (without the Breathwork), while early Rebirthers like Leonard and Sondra borrowed from existing material and Eastern cultures in the 1970’s. Nothing is new, only the cover of an old book. That’s marketing.

I have never been bothered about the term REBIRTHING and still call myself a REBIRTHER.

When you have confidence in a craft, names are meaningless, while the connection to conception, womb space and the birth experience have been confirmed by present day science to be valuable in understanding adult patterning and healing disease of self. Well it worked for me : REBIRTHING healed a chronic life threatening virus in my body as I become the longest survivor of liver damage in the UK – all due to Conscious Connected Breathing (the old name for REBIRTHING).

Even Sondra has moved from Rebirthing to SACRED RENEWAL BREATHWORK in a bid to modernise.

You couldn’t make it up.

5 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. You article contradicts itself a bit. You say, “When you have confidence in a craft, names are meaningless”, yet go on to say that the word “Vivation” is not sexy enough, while saying “Rebirthing” can scare people away, while staying proud by calling yourself a Rebirther. Which is it? I am confused. Here’s my take:

    The name “Rebirthing” now has a very bad reputation, especially among healing professionals not in the breathwork community, because of the Colorado incident a few years back. I actually knew both Jim Leonard and Phil Laut very well, having trained under them for several years in the late 80s, and early 90s. Prior to my training with them I was a professional Rebirther trained by Sondra Ray.They started calling their work, “Vivation” in 1987 and for several good reasons. First, having extensive experience teaching both Rebirthing and Vivation, Vivation at the time it’s name was changed to that was profoundly different (and better) than how Rebirthing was being taught and practiced then among people who had *not* incorporated Jim Leonards significant breakthroughs in breathwork practice – namely the Five Elements. Secondly, Jim and Phil both saw first hand how having a name that is in the dictionary, means *anyone* can call themselves a Rebirther and get away with it. The tragic Colorado “Rebithing” incident brings this home in spades. And thirdly, Vivation, as is most breathwork, is not always or even mostly about birth trauma – it heals ALL trauma, emotional negativity, etc. Calling it Rebirthing sounds great and all, but clearly it’s not just about birth, and tragically the term now has a bad reputation. Try doing a Google search these days on ‘Rebirthing’ and see what comes up – it’s not pretty.

    1. Yes I am fully aware of the *Colorado* incident, that turned out to have NOTHING to do with rebirthing. Yes I fully support the notion that rebirthing breath work clears all trauma, not just the birth, but for the purpose of this blog, explaining why it was called rebirthing, it feels relevant. The Ray & Orr version of breath work is over, as is Vivation in my book, as moving forward with new philosophies, not just technique is essential.

  2. Hi Swarmite, liking the article. It’s funny I went through a similar process with the name myself and came to the same conclusion. The trouble is, while it certainly seems to reach the right people, it still doesn’t seem to of penetrated to the masses in England. Perhaps that is just how its meant to be.
    Also Leonard is coming over here for most of November. Let me know if you’d like to know any more

    1. Thanks Joe, Rebithing Breathwork is not reaching the right people because it is not marketed to an audience that could use it to change their lives. In my view, Leonard’s perspective has not helped and is only attractive to those already in the New Age, Alternative Energy belt, preaching to the converted, when the 95% market out there wouldn’t put up with him not turning up, or staying for one hour, which he is famous for, or his guru style teaching. I don’t believe you can be a Rebirther in 9 days or a 3 week training. I have met him, yes, and found him rather uninspiring compared to the aliveness he writes about and educates upon. He thinks we owe him something while he teaches unconditional love and personal responsibility. Give me a $.

      I found Sondra Ray much more alive to the REAL world, honest and open about her defects of character. I don’t disagree with a lot he teaches, the concept of Physical Immortality assisted me greatly in dealing with a terminal virus in the ’80’s but having given up alcohol, nicotine and all mood altering drugs for 28 years I am not prepared to just live on AIR or follow extreme doctrines of behavior. He repeats that group rebirthing is ” unclean ” in some way, which has not been my experience over a 2 decade period, it is only Orr students who follow this path, while other receive great joy and awakenings in group breathes all over the world.

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