Yup, it’s a new word. Innerscapes. Not sure if I made it up or appropriated it, either way, it was out there in the either and I grabbed it. Several years ago during a conversation with a friend when we were having one of those deep down and dangerous shares about how we really felt. When we cast aside the sunshine and rainbows and where we found our hearts and souls alone in a room. That’s the innerscape. It’s the canvas of emotions on which we build our lives. Let me tell you there are some beautiful interpretations of the human mood board on show for all of us to explore.
What I can say and let me use my own innerscape as en example here is that over the years is that my innerscape has transformed like the outerscape has looking out a train window. That depending on where or how you are sitting, and who you are sharing the journey with can radically alter your experieince. My own innerscape used to be painted with terror, despair, helplessness, sorrow and on better day mild melancholia. Only ten years on I frequently swim in elated, dance with happiness and delight in delightful. You see the words we say emit the feeling and now my innerscape seems to be underplayed by neutrality and curiosity rather than anything slightly more sinister. Of course, hurts rear their head from time to time and the pain and suffering are real. I no longer live there, those feeling are an interesting side trip on my life odyssey that added a little more adventure.
Innerscape to me can be experienced over time. Over a day, a week, a month, a year, decades of even life times. Small units of time are the building block of the innerscape. I know it’s epic. So how you feel on a day to day basis is going to underpin the landscape of your lifetime story.
From tired in the morning to invigorated in the afternoon. If we can write it down maybe we can begin to figure out the arc of the story. What’s draging us down or raising us up? What can be witnessed and changed? Loved into form or even nurtured into beauty. How we respond to the way that we feel tells us all we need to know about our relationship with ourselves. That if we can speak kindly, extend a compassionate outlook then maybe we can learn to accept what is. Extend the concept of gratitude and see where our emotions are guiding us. That sometimes our emotions are guiding us into the darkness and that is ok too.
If you want to discover more about your own Innerscape you can buy and download the Innerscapes Worksheet below. It’s $3.
Emotional Mapping is the name of a number of processes that I have created that helps us gain a better understanding of our emotional states. Where they come from. What there connected to and provides us with clues as to what might cause us to repeat the same patterns over and over again.
For years I’ve been concerned with the idea of Emotional Health rather than Mental Health. As ideas of Mental Health are linked to dysfunctional thought patterns that are all caught up in the idea of thinking our way out of our challenges or problems. Mind over matter. If we can control our thoughts we can control our feelings, that we can compartmentalise our lives and move forward without addressing how we feel. At large feelings and emotions have become demonised as unnecessary and frivolous parts of the human experience. In my humble opinion, that’s bullshit and it is symptomatic of the world that we have grown to accept. Thinking just can’t get us where we need to be anymore. We need to feel our way to healing. Guess what I am not a human-robot and you aren’t either. Nor do you have to be.
Of course, being able to control our emotions is important. Our emotions only become unmanageable if we have refused to feel or acknowledge them and devise way to act on their guidance. Feeling gives us a way out of many of what might be considered self-sabotaging or self-destructive cycles and even learned helplessness. Especially today when so many of the worlds ‘solutions’ are the source of the world’s challenges. Anxiety paralysis is very real and becoming a very large component of the everyday emotional environment. Are we helping or harming? We simply don’t know and so we falter.
Considering what we feel can give us a clear idea of what the solution might be. Our feelings are our personal life navigation tool. If it makes you feel bad it probably isn’t good for you. I for one am not a fan of yoga. I love dancing. All my friends love yoga and expose all the benefits for them regularly and yet I still love dancing. Dancing makes me happy. There is no one size fits all approach to health or healing emotional mapping helps you navigate what works for you. It’s all about you and nobody else because nobody else feels the way you do. We are all unique. As humans, that is our superpower and our feelings lead us directly to the personal gifts that we have to share.
To get the Emotional Mapping Worksheet, I have it on sale for only $2!
From a young age, I have always considered my life to be a circle that I operate from the centre of. This has informed a lot of what I do and how I behave in the world. Even before I became a Life Coach. You can imagine my delight and surprise that when I started out on my coaching journey, that one of the first tools that I came across was something called a coaching wheel. Coaching wheels help people learn and assess what is happening in their life. That by assessing your life as a circle can allow you to get an incredible overview of what was actually going on in your psyche.
If we are able to look outwards we are able to see what we have manifested. We get to decide if the picture we have created for ourselves matches our inward view. If there are things that lie in our hearts and minds that have failed to flow into existence. We need to ask ourselves why? What would it take to change that? Do I want to change that? Am I at the centre of a circle that I like?
It’s at this point we start to journey inwards. We are able to question ourselves. Question our thoughts, our words our actions. We consider what we want to flow. Then think about all those emails that you send. The things that you make tangible though all the communications that you make. You may be reading this and thinking. So what’s your point? That’s obvious. Yes, it’s obvious we make magic every single day by the things we think about, the things we communicate and the things we act on. It’s the winning combination. Why thinking is important. Why the intention setting is powerful. Why action creates change. Learning that we are the centre of that change. That what we create ripples outwards.
Over the years pens and paper have come to fascinate me as I understand that they create their own brand of magic. Whether it’s being able to fluidly channel your thoughts through writing clearing your head and heart to hear the language of your soul. Creating lists of manifestation. Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? What skills do I want to share? It’s a little bit crazy that marks on paper can totally alter the trajectory of your life. That the words we write cast spells that make the wheel of fortune spin in our favour.
So get yourself to the website and sign up for Your Life Wheel.
Globalisation and colonialism are permanent fixtures in my life. Living in Observatory, Cape Town I live in one of the oldest human settlements in the world. Quite literally the birthplace of the village and where hunter-gathers walked out of the bush to settle down. No agriculture, just a whole load of land to forage and some cattle to tend too. Fast forward a few thousand years and the culture and history has been all but obliterated by development, all as a result of the expansion of empire, first the Portuguese, then The Dutch and lastly the Britsh. The Khoi San seems to be a tribe lost in time to the trauma of colonialism and development. Even now what are protected Khoi San sites are under threat of development for the ever-present threat of the land developer. You see the land isn’t automatically protected and communities are not automatically awarded a say in how their place should be developed or not. Even when that land is the site of the oldest village in the world. It’s crazy, isn’t it? Add the strain of apartheid and the pressure to create ’employment’ and the unresolved trauma of the capitalist system that has been largely enforced on the world. It’s a global challenge and here I am as The life Doula sitting right at the centre of it. We all are.
As an immigrant to South Africa, I have been reluctant to take my place at the council table. There are so many more voices that need to be heard than mine. There is so much more healing that has to happen in front of mine and there is so much more growth that has to happen in front of mine. I take a back seat wherever I can and I think very carefully about what I have to offer. Where I offer it. Why I offer it and if indeed it is appropriate at all, given that I am in essence a colonialist. Only here as the result of privilege and the legacy of empire and of course love. I am a love migrant after all chasing the dream of a happily ever after.
Yet the Amazon is on fire and it feels like your rolling the dice on who you want to share the apocalypse with rather than the rest of your life. It’s not just the Amazon it’s everywhere. From Scottish Land Reform, Standing Rock, Botswana, Aboriginal tribes of Australia or protecting Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The challenge is global and there is nowhere left to run. We have gone full circle and land management, rewilding and human connection all lie at the centre of the solution.
Greta Thurnberg is crossing the ocean in a racing yacht to spread the message of being Earthbound. Yet here in Observatory tens of people arrive everyday soaring in with lofty ideas of ascensions and personal expansion, transplanting their own trauma on a place that has enough of its own. No matter where you are the human journey at this point in time appears to be the same. What we can’t fix we run from. That strategy isn’t working anymore and I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. About how my ‘business’ fits into this. That increasingly I seem to be moving backwards and forwards through my own timeline as much as anybody else. That I am deeply excited for the next 15 years of human evolution and yet so much of the progress lies in unlocking human trauma and healing humans. While recreating sacred cycles and circles. Moving backwards and forwards through time, recalibrating the past, changing the future. Getting to grips with systematic trauma. It’s real. We are the challenge. We are the cause. We are most certainly the cure. We can be human again. And although it’s a bit of a pun in the mindfulness game. Our challenge is to be here now.
This is the work of The Life Doula upskilling humaness witnessing the circles and the cycles and most importantly making the circle bigger while standing in its centre.
I have lists of good ideas, half drafted, that never landed. When I sat down to write about the idea I became stuck. The words never came. The idea never flowed and imagination never took me on the adventure I was hoping for. Since the New Moon in Leo at the beginning of August magic is manifesting. Ascension journeys have been both palpable and tangible within my friend group and clients. While the trauma trap plays havoc with others. Heart Chakras have literally been popping. Thinking has been made redundant, as we feel our way into the next paradigm. Manifesting everything we can touch with our hearts. Has this been happening for you?
The Aquarian full moon invites us to gain an overview. For me, my crown chakra has blasted open in ways I’ve never experienced before. My sleep cycles seem to be filled with dreams and revelation of other worlds. Imagination seems to be key in focusing on new pathways of being. That we need to go beyond ourselves and somehow we can’t think our way there. Only feel it. We have to imagine it, touch it with our hearts and breath in the colours as frequency. Bright, crystal clear, tangible. That what ever we can conceive we can achieve. We need a compelling future, to strive towards.
Trauma steals all of the above from us, as we rerun the past so that it becomes concurrent with our future. Trauma is tricksy like that. The nightmare is the dream. The dream becomes the reality. How do we forget when we live it daily. How do we breathe in something new when the past takes up all the space in our heads? How do feel something different when the expansion of love impels us with the swords of pain? Yes as the Three of Swords would suggest in the Tarot. The new paradigm calls. What if we can’t feel our ways there? It feels like the separation of heaven and hell. A thin line we dance and create ourselves.
I’ve been fortunate enough to suffer from severe depression in my own life. A regular Eyore, defeatest, lost, hopeless and even hapless. Where existential crisis of the human experience was tangibly pointless, heavy, a dead end. Now I seem to live in the polarity of that. The connectedness of it all. Then I considered triggers. Where synchronicity is now magical through the lense of trauma thier bombshells and an explosion into hell. The human experience is complex. Signs and symbols are gateways of meaning that we use to tell stories. Deeply personal ones. It may be a news flash to some that we are in charge of those meanings. We get to decide. The water in the tap can be something to be grateful for or it can be mass poison used for mind control. Our feelings dictates how we integrate the information that has been given to us. Trauma is a human hell that we can’t think our way out of. Where we flow and synchronise our pain back to us. Yup life can be that cruel. In these situations, we humans with the abilty to use connection for good need to learn the ebb of love. That there are some places that it can’t reach even if it can be felt. That’s why when we truly love we have to learn how to sit with people in the dark because the only thing they’ve ever loved are monsters.
The world is a mess. I stopped paying attention to the news a very long time ago. The point of my official disengagement was when Trump got elected. Though every so often Brexit gets the better of me and climate change alarms me. Then I remember how much of it is true anyway? What do ‘they’ want us to believe now? This has been something I’ve been playing with for a while. As a radical curator, I used to often think about news and global events in terms of a real-time existence. What is actually affecting me, in my now? What is real to me at this moment? This physicality, this moment, this day, this environment. It’s something that I have done my best to adopt over the last ten years. That the things that are upsetting us are constructs. When the things that we can impact with our attention are real and immediate. That’s how I got really into community building. That community building is the best panacea that I know, along with conversation and a good nights sleep. That in isolation most humans live within the reach of terror, with anxiety and depression as intimate friends. May we could only pick up the phone and call anxiety and depression? What do you think they would say? The things we have to reach into and delve in to face our own challenges.
For the largest part of my life, I felt isolated, removed from the collective. The more isolated I felt, the more isolated I became. That my inner landscape was reflected in the world outside of me or was it the other way round. I didn’t fit. Why is that? I don’t tolerate hypocrosy well.
That common sense dictated that our approach to our local environments were deeply flawed. That what we were taught in school and what we were expected to aspire to was contradictory. That although I was expected to have moral value I was to be squashed questioning the value systems of authority. That no big company I have ever worked for has been able to hold to its values. That NGO’s swim in emotional toxicity of the unresolved trauma of the people that run them. All along the watchtower people will sacrifice everything for financial security and a stable home. Imagine that. That those are the two pillars that keep people chained to dying broken system. That nobody wants to swim the moat if it means giving up emotional safety.
There it is humans are hard-wired for safety. Yet empirical structures have managed to isolate us completely in our search for that. That seperated they can control us through isolation and distance. It’s the basic principle of divide and rule. What if you realised we are all bordering on terrified? As dogma attached to exponential economic growth can increasingly be identified as a concern for human society and our only home planet Earth. One has to wonder when will we stop eating the poisoned fruit. Where do we realise our financial security is important and our emotional safety is a valuable resource. That self-healing can only fully be achieved in conjunction with a supportive community of people on the same mission.
For the first time in a very long time, I was off in search of wisdom outside of myself. Where I thought the answers might come from someone else other than me. This was a process that I started a few months back when I decided to undertake some Family Constellation work. During this process, I was fortunate enough to meet a pretty elusive creature in the realms of healers. A land healer who came with a massive piece of selenite, who low and behold had lived in Cornwall and learned her craft from an Englishman who was living there. Oh, the irony. Why are we all so busy trying so hard to fix somewhere other than here?
It was after this session that some strange channelling happened. (I’ve already told some strange things were going on in my life). We were talking about land healing, systemic trauma and the return of the light (that’s a thing) and how all the work that we do is directly connected to healing the Earth, when somehow Credo Mutwa came up and next minute he seemed to be talking to me (Yup I was channelling). That created the beginnings of last weeks mini-adventure and an intention was set that I/we might actually go to see him. As people within the group had already met and had contact with him.
Two weeks that intention was manifested at literally sonic speed that started with a phone call to one of my healer friends, who had continued to express an interest in going. The intention was set. Phone calls were made and from nowhere it was a potential fantasie to go. You see not everybody gets to see Credo, only those who are invited too. That’s what they say anyway. In the meantime, I felt like I was being energetically checked out. Yup, I’m beginning to really believe that that is a thing.
So just like that, we hit the road and never looked back. Then of course as always, it hit me. Narratives, language, the imaginary lines of state and the brokeness of us all. Including me.
What you really need to know is that South Africa is a complicated place. Far more complicated than most people can ever imagine and a road trip is just the kind of adventure that brings that right back to the fore again. For the most part I am lost in a sea of “white” people who live in fear, who have no insight into their own systemic trauma, of not fully belonging and spend a lot of their time writing off “Africans” for not being able to to pick up their own rubbish and the ongoing dialogue of plastic pollution, their poor education and of course underlying threatening nature when in uncontained groups. You think I’m kidding maybe? I’m not. It’s something you might term as “Systemic Racism” which is really just a way of talking about trauma in relation to race. Do you want to know one of the most fucked up things about South Africa or in fact racism? Is that race isn’t really a thing? In fact, skin colour strangely is not representative in any way of a cultural group. This is the fuck up of identity politics. Instead, people go around talking about “Africans” as if that is somehow definitive. Like white South African’s are actually European. It’s a weird idea, as many of them have never been to Europe.
Yet here we are off to expropriate wisdom from Credo Mutwa because we are unable to find it for ourselves.
In recent weeks I’ve recently started thinking about the idea of skin shaming as a term. It’s so much more accurate. There can be no dividing lines between humans. All humans are supposedly genetically 10% Khoi San, we are all from here in Observatory where I write this blog from. The oldest human settlement in the world. Yes, that. We are all one tribe.
Then for the 50 millionth times, I had to doggedly explain the impacts of trauma. That sometimes I thank my lucky stars that I am and “Indigent White” (another new term I’ve been figuring out) that understand how complex it is to be a bastard Scot, (Half English, Half Scottish) never mind anything else. Then I have to remember all the traumas of the empire. All the way back to the crucifixion and before that the idea that we have to use our own children as a human sacrifice to know god (Just a couple of ideas embodied in religious (Empire) abuse). The land grabs, the displacement, the exile, the colonialism, the oppression of culture, the loss of language, the forced labour, the concentration camps, the industrial revolution, the enforced education and removal of children. That very few people to this day have got smart to the idea of divide and rule. That very few people are able to see through the lens of their own systemic prejudices (even me), that often revolve around the importance of hierarchies and of course the fawning effect it incurs (which can now easily be attributed as a trauma response). For me, my trauma response has always been the railing against the existence of them. As I fall further and further down the rabbit hole of trauma. I’m single-handedly teaching myself not to be a human granade. How to remove myself, protect myself and love myself in the face of the insurmountable odds of all the traumatised people that engulf me. We are all fucked up we are all traumatised. Now its something many of us openly admit. Then you have to wonder what if we weren’t what if we all knew love, intimately? What if we all felt joy daily? What if we all were able to see another’s pain as our own.
So you’re probably wondering about Credo? A lot more happened on a life time scale than you might imagine for an impromptu visit with South Africa’s last Sanusi. I read that again and realise how strange it was to think that this meeting and the events round it might be ordinary. Personally, I’m more intrigued about Virginia his wife and why she uses an English name instead of her own? and why I didn’t write down the spelling of her real name so I could write it here unbastardised, honoured and witnessed. None of us are untouched by trauma, especially the great ones. It runs through us like great tsunamis of wisdom if we could only stay afloat in its torrents.
I keep going on about how the last 2 years have brought forth radical transformation in my life. Without telling you what is going on. Nor am I going to share here and there is a reason for this. Sharing isn’t always safe and it’s a privilege to hear my story, it’s going to be gritty and chewy and eyewatering when we get there, and still, I’m not there. I’m not ready to share and you know what that is totally ok.
In the meantime what I am truly finding out is how hard it is to actually share who you are and that people shouldn’t feel entitled to all of you. Yet they do. Like in my previous blog post when I talked about basically being utilised to do the admin work for community activism when it would have been far more beneficial to be put to work doing what I actually do. Which is healing trauma.
I can’t even begin to tell you how long it’s taken me to get here to the whole trauma thing. It’s an origin story of note, that probably started ten years ago. That started with a friend of mine called Cait where we sadly concluded that more people were suffering from trauma than we might even be able to identify. That back then we had no idea how we might tackle the epidemic. That we didn’t know what all the answers were. All we knew really was that people were suffering, even ourselves. We knew that symptoms of trauma tended to isolate people and that most people had no clue what to do when their friends and family were in crisis. That we were more likely to ostracise them for their behaviour, rather than include them out of love. That diagnosis was woefully unable to define the true human story behind the tears, the tantrums, the self-medicating, and the withdrawal. That even Eeyore deserved to be invited to the party. Yet what if the symptoms were more pernicious? What if the behaviours were more troublesome and asked people to question everything that we knew and understood? That the school systems was fucked and equated to child abuse. The corporate working world was nothing more than wage slavery, that made us complicit in a planetary tragedy. That governance was built on nothing more the imaginary lines in the sand and maximised on the idea of human separateness. That modern medicine was looking to kill us. That communities were deliberately under threat from the sickness of greed. That it all felt vapid and soulless and no one had the depth of character or will to dive into another’s pain, because they were totally unable to face their own.
Yet here I am tens years on and I’ve garnered some answers, secure attachment, trust, nurturance, time, and the old fashioned idea of succour. Succour, we even have a word for it, long since forgotten. We know how to heal ourselves, it all boils down to human connection, inclusiveness and of course love.
This year it feels like I’ve taken a crash course in all of the above. I’m also feeling pretty proud of myself in the process. For the first time in the history of my own community activism, I have refused to take on other peoples shit. True Story.
Emotional Labour is the work of me, The Life Doula. I create space, I hold space and I offer up time as if it is an infinite resource and utilising a lost healing magic that seems to have been long forgotten in the realms of 21st-century healing. You can’t hack everything. It is at the very moment we can become grateful for the ageing process, proud of the whispy grey hairs and that wisdom usually has to be earned.
The truth is that Emotional Labour is, for the most part, the work of women. The absorbing, the explaining, the understanding, the coaxing and sustaining of families and communities. It’s the care of the dying, the nurturing of children, the comforting of the ill and distressed and the perpetual maintenance of the household. It’s also the commitment to healing, healing ourselves to be of better service. Healing our selves to create better homes, stronger families and resilient communities and yet so little of this work are appreciated and honoured even though it is the very stuff of life.
These days as healers and let’s be honest here as women we now have to resolve to set boundaries for ourselves. We have to decide to take care of ourselves first, heal our selves first before we ever hope to have a deeper impact on the world at large, even though there is so much to heal. Too often now I have had the call to action. “Kimberley we need your help” and too often now I have learned that the help I have to offer is mistaken for something else. That somehow I can do the work for you. That by me showing up and listening to the problem at hand is a cure and that due to my caring nature I might be willing to solve the problem by taking on the role of community enabler. That I will be project manager, researcher, facilitator, admin assistant, fundraiser and counsellor. All for free of course.
The answer is I can and I won’t. The truth is my house isn’t in order. I expect too much from hurt people. The best remedy I have for this is, of course, is getting back to the drawing board and straight back into dharma. Chopping water and fetching wood, figuring out where the mix up happened and re-committing to healing myself first, loving myself best and serving reason from a cup that radiates joy.
The age of Aquarius is here. The divine feminine is on the rise and emotional mastery is calling to us. Nurturance is key and taking on the emotional labour of others is over. Nothing is disposable. The energy we put out into the world is the energy we get back. After all, it’s the circle of life.
Re-parenting has been a theme that has been coming up again and again over the last few weeks. When I very first started out on what we might call the coaching journey; which is an entirely different thing to the healing journey I thought I might advertise myself as a Self-Parenting Coach. Only now do I realise, one how ironic that is in terms of my own personal journey since then, and two how ahead of the game I was. Even now The Life Doula as a concept seems so way out there that only one of my clients so far has actually got it. (Hey ho) without me having to explain it. Re-birthing yes that too is a thing. Re-birthing as you can well imagine goes hand in hand with Re-Parenting or Self-Parenting as I have termed it.
So here we are talking about terms. What I really want you to know, is that although I might think up terms regularly, I do try to think about the terms that I use at great length. Especially what they might mean to people or make them feel. So, for example, the term Re-Parenting, though very valid, automatically brings up the for me a bubbling kind of resentment and shame. Filled in with exclamation points!!!! Like “For fuck sake, like being parented wasn’t horrific enough as it was without having to take on the actual role of my parents as well in order to gain insight into how truly fucked up they were.” After all, assaulting a four-year-old wasn’t bad enough as it was without having to relive through both parties. Yup, it’s full-on inside my head. Then I get to Self-Parenting and it lets me give out this resigned sigh of “Well I suppose somebody’s got to do it” as I look round the room for an imaginary adult that might be willing to take on the task. After all, wasn’t that what you were always looking for another adult that might help and then, of course, didn’t….. Yup, it’s a bit fucked up no two ways about it. The abandonment buttons are very real in this process. As well as that it also leaves a certain element of blame on the parents part, like they should have done better, known better behaved better. When in fact they are fucked up, still fucked up and very committed to the process of avoiding that reality. Oh well and to leave yourself with the role of re-parenting or self-parenting leaves bigger questions about the need for the do-over or the very real neglect and abandonment, that may never be answered or might indeed leave us more traumatised. It’s not our job to re-parent ourselves it never was and it’s a mild form of victim-blaming to suggest that we should have to take on that role for ourselves. So both terms linger within me with a mild toxicity. That seems to be corrosive over time.
So after all that and all that feeling and how I felt and how I thought other people in the same situation as me might feel I came up with the idea of Self-Nurturance, and I love it. Self-Nurturance seems light and fluffy and cuddly. It’s all the things you might want and need from a responsible adult. It’s all the things that you might want and need for your responsible adult, that makes me love it even more. It’s not as lofty unavailable as Self-Love nor does it seem as socially weighty and thus drudgingly boring as Self-Care it’s somewhere snuggly in-between. More than this it also signifies that its role is poised to create growth. That if we nurture ourselves we can have whole vibrant lives. That we are getting fully prepared for new adventures. Where lemon water is exciting and yoga can feel nourishing. Where we step away from what we are supposed to do, into what we want to do and that those things though separate in our head are exactly the same thing. It’s just no one ever told us. Do you know why? Because no one ever told them.