The Four Winds Red Tent occurred to me several months ago and like all ideas, it needed time to percolate. An invitation at the beginning of this year asked for the concept to be expanded upon. Intially after having done my Red Tent Birth & Death Doula training I thought it would be great if we had Red Tent Doulas working in disaster zones, refugee camps or makeshift encampments or her in South Africa informal settlements. The world needs more doulas. The world needs more engaged women, like we aren’t all over worked already. In between that thought and now it became clear to me that I am a trauma doula. Central to the role of a Trauma Doula is the understanding that women particularly need safe space. That we cannot heal grow and reimagine ourselves without them. We need to build sisterhood, create alliances and global solidarities in trauma wise ways. After all we are literally getting killed out there.
If there is one thing that I have learned over the last decade or so, is that you can’t do it alone. We all need what is called a secure attachment in order to get anywhere in life. We need someone to believe in us. As a woman with CPTSD disorder a history abuse I know how important it is to have women that understand and care about us in our immediate circles. Personally one of my biggest challenges find the right people who were able to support me in unique ways in what at times has been an all encompassing journey. Where there was no way to run from the things in my heart and my head, particulary as an intelligent, loud, opinionated, outragious and traumtised women. Yes we are all traumatised.
We can only heal in community. Yet many of us aren’t even well enough to hold space for ourselves never mind others. So here I am figuring out all the ways that we might bring together a group of gobally disperate women isolated by their healing journey hoping to make their lives and the word a safer place to be in. You see creating safe space is central to any form of authentic being.
I’m here to pick up all the shattered, scattered pieces and put them all together again. To help people rebuild there lives from ashes and in the process help tham build back better. Get to grips with all that systemic trauma I write about. I figure out all the small ways that we might be holding up the system with beliefs, programming and behaviours that in the long term don’t really serve us or the evolution of the planet. More than this I am interested in working with women of diaspora. The women that feel caught between culture, language and worlds. The women that I get on with most seem to embody that paradigm. That they live at the crossroads. Always somewhere between who they were and who they want to be. Torn apart by the places they are from and the places where they live, endlessly wondering if this is where they are going to stay. This process can be hard, isolating and lonely, especially when we don’t have the right support systems. We are being asked to move through our lives without the ongoing support of our sisters, mothers, aunties, friends and relatives. We are asked to move forward without our clan. We live on our own, travel life on our own, marry on our own, birth on our own. It can be excrutiating. We have to find friends in the emost unlikely places and trust that another dispaced women can see us in our predictament and step in where no one else might. It’s not about business or work, it’s about the human journey, a womans journey, where so much of our struggle goes unseen. Beyond this as part of a diaspora our children are born rootless.
The Four Winds red Tent is about women of diaspora. Where do you belogn when you don’t belong. Who do you connect to when there is nothing to connect to? Moving to new towns or work places can be daunting. New countries and continents can be excrutiating. It takes about five years to build a new life. It does. With all the support systems, connections and help that we might need in order to move forward gracefully through life. It’s tough making new friends and finding a sense of belogning. More than this women and especailly women of any diasposra have some much more to carry. Marrying, birthing and mothering alone. Sure we could all do with a helping had or at the very least someone to cry to.
For the longest time I’ve know that land trauma is the cause of so many of our worldly troubles. People are endlessly forced out of places as a result of overpoputlation, polution, bad development, capitlaist expansion, industrialisation, urbanisation and climate change. More than this people are moving, moving all the time, for economic opportunity, for a better quality of life. Most people never looking back at what they have left behind and why. The truth is most of us are running, running from the impact of our choices, thinking that we can go it alone rather than sticking with idea of community. Rather than banding together in service of a higher cause that isn’t ourselves.
We were only a few months into this great reset when I started to ponder The Four Winds Red Tent. Before the pandemic I had a deep commint to physical geographies and how to change the world based on a sense of place, a geographic community. Now a year on we have moved beyond the geographical and quite firmly into the digital realms. We are living in a different time-space reality. I have to surrender to the fact that I find these digital spaces useful. It’s true over the last twenty years the opportunities that the internet have offered us have been vast. Opening up worlds that we could never have imagine both real and virtual it’s very hard for me to fathom where my own life might be without the advent of the internet. So now I sit in acceptance of the tools at hand rather than the perfect vision. I can’t be the only one who feels this way?
As someone with continuing issues with geographical belonging I know in my heart of heart I know that a connection to mother nature is central to finding Earthly balance. There are so many of us in the ever fluctuating state of diasposra, not knowing where we belong, where to go and who our clan are. However I have a challenge, every so often my life seems to blown me to The Four Winds and although my path is clear the way is lost (does that make any sense). I’m bored of having to rebuild my friend base from scratch the minute my geographic location changes. Yet I’m reluctant to build an online community that is disconnected from the time space reality of location. I have problems with the idea of the digital nomad. I have a challenge with the creation of an extravigant life style that doens’t account for true costings, expecailly when air travel is costing us the earth an yet here we are. We’ve been living in our pyjamas feeling all the feels managing complicated home lives with all the family together, with no place to go. In the meantime who do we talk to about how we really feel? So many of us are on the edge. Some of us are on the edge of our capacity. Some of us are on the edge of a life-changing shift. Some of us are beginning to realise that we are on the edge of a generational shift that we cannot return from.
I myself have been in very deep quandry about me and my local environment for several years. My lack of belonging and inability to stay has left me forever wondering do I have the right to speak in a place I don’t have a long term commitment too? I don’t have the right to take up space in a place that I don’t come from and I’ll tell you why. I’m not from there. First this was in Cornwall and now in my ongoing relationship with South Africa.
Only the other day I was having a conversation about the reality of life. The System and what our real-life choices are costing us and the planet all the time. Even me. I’m not here to preach because I am so very far from perfect and always learning. I am here to say what I know. Wisdom is something that is meant to be shared so we can all grow, learn and expand faster. I haven’t got a monopoly on it either my wisdom doesn’t supersede anybody else’s. I was listening to Oprah talking to Abraham Hicks last night where they both agreed that the wisdom that they teach is not unique that there are many of us out here doing it. It’s just all about who you connect to.
If I had the perfect life I’d be settled somewhere in the west coast of Scotland on a croft by a beach. That’s not what happened and I doubt very much of that is who I am anymore. Though I do have my fanatasies.
Yet now more than ever the pressing concern of our everyday environments and are geographical locations are in ever desperate need of some serious attention. More than this they are in need of some serious intention. We are the embodied products of systemic trauma, land displacement, capitalism, colonialism, religious indoctrination, political indoctrination, economic disenfrachisement, war and much much more. I struggle in my innerspace for land rites and ritual. I wonder if this longing will ever be fully achieved by me personally in this lifetime.
As I witness the imposition of European cultural practices on an African landscape or the apporpriation of other cultures to fill the spiritual holes left by our own. We are not honouring the land. We are not honouring our own ancestors. These lost stories, there lost practices. It’s a diconnect purpertuating the traumas of the past on a people struggling to belong, struggling to integrate with the fully formed cultures of land in which they live. It’s a form of cultural rejection far outwith the bounds of compassion that is bypassing the layers of complexity in the people and places that surround us. You see it took me a long time to learn I don’t have the right to tell anybody what to do. I definitly don’t have the right to tell anybody what to do in their space. Let that be a lesson for all of us. We have to be invited to make a difference, especially in a post-colonial setting. It’s completely inapproporiate for me to decide what might be the best course of action for anybody other than myself and I think that is really important. Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because although I might want to change the world, there is absolutely no way I can do that without first changing myself. Changing who I am in order to represent exactly who I want to be. What I can tell you is that it is a fucking long road and we are all in this together. You see as a result of my anxiety about my colonialist postion as a white woman in South Africa I have deliberatley held myself back. Personally I thinks that’s good thing. In an academic setting you might call it hyper-reflexivity. It’s about being deeply reflexive about our approaches to world building, who we are doing it for and why? I’ve spent a lof my life listening and ultimatley my main act of service is to those that aren’t heard, which includes me. We have to be able to listen to one another and beyond that really hear what someone else is saying. It’s the most basic underlying principle of respect. If you are not willing to listen to what someone has to say you don’t respect them. In the world of shadow work if you are not willing to listen, you don’t want to be heard yourself and that underscores an innate sense of lack of self-respect.
You see I’m interested in a systemic trauma. Where do I belong, who do I belong with have been questions that have haunted me forever. Though it has been a great relief to finally discover what I am doing with my life. You see Healing Humans sits at the very core of what I do and who I be. I’m healing myself one day at a time. One blog post at a time. One online event at a time. Knowing this has taken me to the very center of my very own personal liberation. If you know what you are doing then you know what you are going. The quest of healing has ulitmately only ever taken me inwards towards myself in a which is allows me the forward movement I want in my life.
The things that initially called me to The Red Tent was a calling to be closer to nature, to live within in the moon cycles and embrace mentruaction as added part of my natural force and flow. I’ve always found it kind of akward to bond with a lot of women because well I’ve never been fluffy. CPTSD will do that to a girl and even now I find it really hard to deal with the spiritual bypassing that accompanies many women-centred events that seem to replicate toxic masculinity pander to fragility and in the South African sphere uphold white fragility. Yup so fuck all of that. I’m also not keen on the cultural appropriation of healing modalities in order to fill the inner void of your own spiritual quest. Which is highly ironic given that I am now a Scottish Sangoma. I’ll go into that a lot more at some point in an article I haven’t written yet. The thing is that my real introduction to The Red Tent was through The Red Tent Doulas of which I am one. Where I trained in the portals of birth and death. If we are not able to get real at the two very big bookends of life what are we able to get real about? Birth is traumatic, death is traumatic as well as radically transformational and that is why I call myself a Trauma Doula. Yes, the cycles of Birth, Death and Rebirth. There are so many things that we have to die too in order to live. This life stuff is real and it’s time to wake up to that.
Women are the resources that other women need. We meet at the crossroads of birth and death on or around the full moon. Each moon cycle as way to reconnect with the celestial cycles of Earthly being. I’d really love to meet you there.
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