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Collective Trauma

Oh wow. When I wrote this as a title I had no idea that I would be writing it straight off the bat after having completed a mini project about land trauma. It’s like I want to write you a list of all the individuated causes of trauma I have come across over the last few weeks and even years, so that you might get a sense of what collective trauma actually means. It’s a long list, some of which I have explored in a number of previous blog posts and I am sure at some point might translate into an E-Book or even a book, book. Some of the primary sources of personal trauma are land, religious, educational, economic, institutional, gender, race, sexuality. Yup it’s a shit show. As you will know if you are reading this as part of Feral The Systemic Healing Circle. I have defined myself as a Systemic Trauma Specialist. What that means is that I look at all the ways in which ‘The System’ creates trauma. How those traumas intersect and become amplified.

Each one of the above material trauma’s might form a more specific psychological manifestation of collective trauma. One facet of religeous trauma might be religious guilt or specifically Christian guilt, as a result of original sin. That as a result of being born of original sin you are inherently sinful (Yup it’s loaded). Even though we ourselves may not speficially experience the guilt of original sin, their are millions of people out their that do. Original sin and it’s emotional psychological implications is an experience known to many as well as being a belief that has been held intergenerationally and thus ancestrally for over a millenaia. When we begin to apprcaite the weight of such a concept and how long it has been held in the human field we begin to approciate the unseen power it might have over the collective field. This is collective trauma. Of course original sin is only one of thousands of internalised belief systems that might inform collective trauma. I wonder how many you can easily indentify within yourself?

Let me break it down for you a little more. You see we all carry trauma, intergenerational and even epigentic (trauma that is carried in our genes). For example many of us experience land trauma. We are dispossessd, do not live in the indigenous lands of our ancestors. We have no connection back to the roots that connect us to any of our ancestral lineages, where not raised speaking the mother tongue of or people of our clan. As a result many of us feel displaced or lost in the world, continually looking for a way back to ourselves. The reason of the disconnection can be multiplus from family fueds to, economic deprivation, famine, war and much much more.

Many of these events that caused the displacement and disconnection become point of cultural trauma for example slavery, the Irish Potaoe Famine, The Holocaust. These are historical events who’s impacts move through time and create historical trauma. As each of these event impact an individual, a family, a community, a national identity they become part of cultural identity, collective consciousness and thus part of our collective trauma. As it is up to each individual, family, community, nation to resolve this trauma, trauma becomes fluid moving through realtionship, generations, spaces waiting to be healed.

Other things too can contribute to collective trauma such as sexism and racism. Collective trauma can be so prevelant yet appear to be invisible. That it is something so obvious that we might not even fully recognise it’s impact like World War Two or in South Africa, Apartheid. Collective trauma can also extend to intersecting structures of ‘The System’ like Colonialism, Religion and Education. When we really take our time to get to know people community and places there are common threads of collective trauma that run through all our lives. This does not mean to to say that Collective Trauma affects all of us the same. Some people have recurring nightmares, others dysfunctional family sytstems, while many of us battle with collective trauma as part of a ‘mental health’ innerscape. Inequality also plays it’s part in sustaining collective trauma. It is not as straight forward as either cultural or strucutural trauma often collective trauma can manifest in the environments that we live in.

So to put it succintly and as far as I am concerned Collective Trauma is how we psychically hold Systemic Trauma. Yes I just said the word psychically.

This article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude to accompany Feral Systemic Healing Circle.


Creating Clan

Clan? What doe that mean. People freely talk these days about finding their tribe. How important it is to have a group of people that you can connect with. That support your dreams want to share in them and celebrate your achievements.

If your suffering from PTSD or any form of trauma that celebration could be a simple as staying alive for a whole year, much less thriving through it. There is so much n the healing circuit about how you should heal, that you can heal and that healing is a choice. It’s easy to say when you have a support system. A family that cares about you. A family that has the skills of listening and compassion. I know right? We cannot heal in isolation and if you are attempting to you are on an uphill struggle one excruciating day at a time. Loneliness is painful. In a world where the family unit has become secondary to economic activity, it’s easy for us to be lost and even feel bereft when it comes to conversations about family. Much less what our deepest needs are in familial relationships. How do we create strong human attachments when no one has ever shown us what is truly possible?

Creating clan in this time can be as much about family healing as it is about ‘finding your tirbe’ . I talk about creating clan as Scot someone who knows where my family roots come from and have direct geographic acces to the orgins of my family. For so many that isn’t possible. Creating clan in this time can be as much about family healing as it is about ‘finding your tribe’. One clear way to find your tribe is finding a way back to yourself. Understanding how you family system in funtioning or dysfunctioning as they case may be and acknoldegeing how you are contributing to that dynamic. You may even feel the need to step away from family connections for a while while you that. In the meantime you may find that you need to do some intense personal enquirey as to what you do want from relationships. Not just romantic ones.

Being able to identfy how you want to be treated in your friendships is an important pathways to discovering who you want to be in the world. Taking time to discover what your interest are and how you might want those to manifest in your life is equally important to discover who you will be sharing your life journey with. You got to know who you want to be and what you want to create in order to attract the people who share the same values as you into your life. Of course, you’ve got be willing to accept that everyone is human and that they are not there to exclusively meet your needs. To have loving, kind, supportive relationships you’ve also got to be willing to forgive a lot along the way. We are all on a human journey. You attract what resonates. If it’s not working it’s time to resonate something else.

This article was wirtten to accompany the Trauma Wise Circle, by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

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The Human Connection

‘You are born alone and you die alone’ It’s not true is it? And yet it is banded around as some kind of cure all explannation for the struggles of the human life. No doubt thought up by some highly evolved critic with a high victim consciouness. If only we could take a snap shot of the inside of their brain. If you are alive, someone cared enough to nurture you. Maybe not in the way that you wanted. Maybe not by a person that you would have chosen and yet as an infant they chose to keep you alive. Of course it’s really easy to see that someone may have kept you alive for there own selfish interests. Even if your care was an entirely selfish act you held enough value for that care to be continued. Lets face it children are expensive.

It probably sounds crude and uncaring to explain the human connection in this way. After all most of are searching for a place to call home. A place to fully express ourselves and just be. Yet we carry so much baggage, so much hurt, so much seperation consciousness. It’s hard to connect, especially when we feel abandoned by our closest family members.

If I am brutally honest I think given the world that we live in that knowing that we were cared for should be good enough. Just because you were born into this world it is not a god given right that you should be afforded the opportuntiy to survive into adulthood. It sounds pretty brutal doesn’t it? Given that I am writing this from a rural part of South Africa I can assure you that this is true. To be an adult human is a luxury. I know we should be aiming for higher and yet there it is the brutal reality. Also if you are living in South Africa it’s good to know that the average age of death is forty-nine. Yup so that’s me. I’ve got nive years left to live. Of course white privilge might tell me a different story about that. Yes colour is a factor…

Those of us living at the center of whiteness conveniently don’t have to think about that too much.

In farely recent history humans were breeding other humans like farm animals for means of trade and slavery. What must it feel like to be the product of a forced breeding programme? What must it feel like to be produced rather than created? How does that effect the psyche and epigentics? How all of this impacts systemic trauma levels in the human brain and body. Having been produced for profit how does that change the human story?

Of course in changes everything. It changes how we understand humans and humanity. It changes how we understand ourselves, where we come from and who our ancestors were on both sides of the fence. The enslaved vs the enslavours if you’re all baout claiming your European ancestry you are all about slavery if you are all about African ancestors worship you are all about slavery. The things torterous things that we do to one another, these are the ties that bind. Many of us spend a life time tryin to break family bonds while some of spend a lifetime trying to strengtne them. Often we have to seek connection outside family to move forward with our lives. Sometimes our best connections are those of friendship.

So you see here we are alive. Alive becasue of the pro-creation of other people. Alive because of human nurturance (even if it is just our own) alive because we were able to connect to the ever flowing and infinte abundance of the universe. The true connections that we have to create is the one with ourselves. The true connection is to that of our perfect place in the cosmos and the ability to manifest anything from where we stand. It’s true. You better believe it. You just have to learn to trust it. It is time to connect. It is time to fall so deeply in love with yourself that the universe brings you everything that you desire… its time to connect with the deepest desires of your soul and to know that this is exaclty what you were born to create.

This article was wirtten to accompany the Trauma Wise Circle, by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

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How To Be Human?

I first came up with the idea that we have to learn to be human about five years ago. The world wasn’t ready for that idea then and although human consciounsess seems to have moved on a bit (at least going by my insatgram feed) the world is still struggling. It doesn’t take much to apprecaite that humaness is not a given. That as a species we are not automatically kind or even fare. In fact that much of the time the odds are stacked against us by a system that prioritses profits and whiteness. That white people don’t even know what whiteness is. It’s a beautiful combination of systemic trauma and non-white prejudice. You can say it’s clourism or even racism and still it’s so much more than that. Whiteness is the exclusion of anybody that refuses to accept the standardised forms and systems of institutions, organisations, corporations and governments. Yes you can absolutely decolonise something.

I’m not sure exactly how I framed the idea of how to be human a few years ago. There was alot about connection. A lot about the miracle of life and guess what ? Earth the human paradise. It often still disturbs me how detached we are from our true purpose here in our human bodies living an Earthly life. Of course no one persons purpose or calling is the same. We are all entitiled to have and live a many varied life. There is no one size fits all answer to humaness. Would you want there to be. Diversity is everything. Expression is everything. Creation is everything. As I sit here on the very expansive edge of consiousness. You see Abraham Hicks has got a lot to say about the human experience and it would seems so do I. You see I look around and I think human life in very deep ways. I look at the facts and then I look at my feelings and consider what is true for me as I step into my own belief system. It’s clear that we we look at the vastness of space or the habitability of our nearest planets, that Earth is a very special place. That to have entered into consciousness here is an entirely unique and incalculable opportunity. That it would be a shame to waste it. I know that life isn’t easys. I know that truama can make the world a scary hostile place. I know that many of us are not born with access to the resousrces that would have been an innate human right not that long ago. It makes me wonder how did we get here? How did we come to be at this place? I look at the other options like jetting off to Mars for example and I know that is not my journey at least not in this lifetime and then I wonder… this is it I have incarnated here. There is nowhere else that I would love to be and that on Earth no matter how challenging it might be I have to opportunity to have to most amazing life. From where I chose to live from what I chose to do. There are countilless ways that I could be spending my life here on earth and that I do not have to settle for anything less than what I want. That the only person in charge of that is me. That I have to take full resonsibiltiy for myself. That although the environments and the family systems that I was born into can be tough there are ways to expand thoguh that pain into a better life and in fact that is part of the challenge. Part of the human challenge is connecting to ourselves and discovering exactly where we want and need to be.

Of course this article is written from the perspective of privilige. When I think about access to opportunity I know I have and unfair advantage. Even as I wrote this and I wondered about the idea of showing up as a way to break into opportunity I had to consider is that true? Is that possible? The truth is that even showing up can be an extraordinary challenge when we don’t have the resources. How can someone attend varisity when there isn’t the money to do so. How can someone attend classes when they haven’t got moenty to eat. How can the afford to stay in college when there are no jobs to help pay the way. Yes the world is unjust and unfair and although it may be true. I never want to spend any of my time accepting tha truth is acceptable.

This article was written to accompany the Trauma Wise Circle by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

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Now this is a big subject. No two ways about it. Where exactly do I start with this one? Did you know that the oldest know humanoid is on display in Huntarian Museum in Glasgow? That they were named her Lucy after The Beatles son ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’. A lot has happened since the supposed discovery of the ‘missing link’, not least the connection between psychodelic plants and the emergence of human consciouness. Of course that all depends on who’s version of history you believe and if you have watched that banned Ted Talk.

I suppose as a human myself it’s hard for me to write about the subject of humans with any real sense of perspective. All we have to go on is the stories that we are told and that we tell. Which draws me back to a museum installation and exhibiton at Freedom Park in Tswhane. What are our orgin stories? It’s clearly no coincidence that I am wrting this directly after The Emotional Journey where I asked reader to explore their own origin stories. That’s the thing though isn’t it? That we all belong. More importantly than that, that we all belong together. And if you really want to dive in we all belong to one another. That it is the way that we relate that makes us human. That we don’t have a story to tell if it isn’t in relation to another person. That even if it wasn’t another person we are able to transcirbe the experience of human interconnectivty on to other things like the moon, or a teddy bear. It’s pretty obvious, we are here to connect. Yet at this juncture in history it is clear that the connections are broken.

Our broken connections start with the interpersonal and end with planetary destruction. We have lost the profound value of interconnection of everything and between everything and that all things hold equal weight in the sacred cosmology that we live every single day.

This article was inspired by three things the concept of Healing Humans, The Free Buffet and a Trauma Wise Circle. You can click through to find out more indepthly what these three concepts mean to me. However the main thing that I want you to take away from the above ideas is that Healing Humans is at the very center of the survival of our species and with that the only thing that we have full control over is our own healing journey. Something that I like to term as Personal Activism. You can come join some fellow healing humans over at my Healing Humans Facebook Group

This article was written to accompany the Trauma Wise Circle by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

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The Emotional Journey

Victimhood exploded into my consciousness today as I wondered what that really meant for so many of us. Victimhood has become a dirty word. So much of what we are told to be outraged about is in fact inconvenient, uncomfortable and honestly best left under the carpet for most people. We just don’t talk about it. About our weaknesses about our fears. Nor do we take the real-time to identify their origins. It’s an ever-ongoing journey the journey back to ourselves. Most of our journeys start with trauma, whether it’s garden variety childhood trauma or something a little more dramatic. Trauma lies at the root of our emotional journey. Of course, not everyone might believe that, for me it’s certainly a larger part of my truth. Once we get to a certain point in our own lives we really have no other option than to take responsibility for our journey. We have to take responsibility for our choices and we have to stand in our own sovereignty when reaping the consequences of those actions. So many of us walk the tightrope of boundaries trying to figure out what is just the right amount of give and take. For me personally, I always lookout for the best in people and now as I get older I have truly given deep thought to what is the most compassionate thing I can do for me. That seeing the best in people and wanting what’s best for them is not necessarily what is best for me. That in a world where you could be anything being kind isn’t always helpful. I’ve been mulling all of this over for months now. All the flawed belief systems that I have been running my life on. Unconditional love, sacrificial love, guilt, kindness, compassion and trust (I was raised a Catholic after all). Of course they are great values to have however what I have learned is that I have to put myself at the center of that circle. Even more recently what I have learned is that in my early twenties I was actually doing a lot better than I thought. More than this, the world is a lot more fucked than I thought and even more interestingly the people that are trying to save ‘the world’ are the most fucked of us all. Like seriously I’ve figured out a lot and although in my fortieth year I think I might have bordered on becoming a bit more conservative I fully appreciate that now more than ever I’m more radical than I ever thought. More than this I am frustrated, bored and quite frankly over it. Over what has been dished out and served up like dog vomit for us all to willfully eat. The terrible thing is that nobody actually knows any better. Like seriously unless you are invested in deep listening. You are not even close to discovering or unleashing the answers to the world’s problems. The world is at a loss.

Wow. It really is emotional. What else did you expect when you were catapulted into a human life that is bookended by birth and death? Yes, the emotional journey is about everything in the middle from dropping your first ice-cream to signing off on your will. It’s intense in here, this human life.

It’s certainly not what we are sold from the family films to the bible or even something a little edgier. It is really clear that most of the narratives are false. Well at least from my perspective? Or are they? You see I’ve been sitting at the centre of the emotional journey for a while now. I’ve been alive for a while now and like most of you I didn’t start out with anybody talking to me about how I feel. How I should feel or indeed if any of my feelings were ok? From joy to dismay most of my feelings by most of the people I have met on this journey through life have been dismissed, overlooked, ridiculed, mocked, weaponised and ignored. As a result, I have suppressed, repressed and ignored my feels and along with it any sense fo self. To be clear I here I am only talking about my feelings here. I amn’t even delving into the more resonable realm of thought. When it comes to human conversation orginal thought can be treacherous if you dare to have and imagination.

You see there’s a lot of talk about the heroes journey about the predictive steps that you might take to self-redemption. The real kicker is that you have to lose everything to gain something and go to where the fear is. I know it sounds straight forward. However it really isn’t the case. Especially when we are hiding from our own fear. Have you ever hidden from you own fear? To be honest the best label that I have for that is anxiety. The truth is it is super difficult to step into your own power especially when everyone is telling you not to. You might find it super confusing to discover that many people don’t want that for you, especially when you are living a life with deep authenticity. You see it highlights all the things that other people are not and they don’t like that. It’s actually quite a mission to turn off the exterior chatter that dictates your process in your head. More than this detach from it completely. There are so many people who are willing to hold you back from your dreams, question your curiosity and even undermine your moral commitment.

In a world where many of us are engaged with the world through the filter of screens controlled by an algorithm, now more than ever it entirely possible to control what you witness. Scary on one side of things and an incredible opportunity on the other. Of course, I am not a sunshine and roses kind of girl. I am ultimately someone deeply aware of the thorns. Although we do have to face our fears we don’t have to stay witness to human tragedy and especially not our own.

It’s a problem. It’s a problem that our feelings aren’t considered valid. The real challenge that I present in this article is how do we present emotions as both necessary and valid? How do we get on the emotional journey? More than this how do we get anybody to share the emotional ride. I suppose at this point we might want to ask is what is the first emotion that we felt can we remeber? Do we know how we felt as a child? Do we know how we feel. For many of us this is the revelation that takes us onto the emotional journey as an adult. It’s recognising the way we feel now is often related to how we felt in the past. That often our emotional journeys as adults is the recovery of the emotional journey of our pasts. That understanding the emotional journey of the past is absolutely key to unlocking the emotional journey that we desire in the future. Often the emotional journey doesn’s always start well. It’s sometimes all about all the feelings that we don’t want, that we are emmersed in, that we can’t seem to get out of. It’s the point at which that we can no longer stand the ‘negative’ emotions that we feel that creates a trajectory of radical change.

Of course it isn’t easy stepping out on to the open road with all you vulnerabilty on view after all isn’t that what unifoms were for? If we all dress the same, act the same, speak the same, think the same , then how could anythign possibly go wrong? You are not the control sample of the universe. We are not the play thing of corporations and institutions. We have feelings, we have emotions and we are entited to have our thoughts, feeling and emotions respected. It’s a no brainer. Literally stop thinking about it and start doing the work.

More than this the emotional journey is not linear. Somehow in this wack world we are all told that we have to continually prove ourselves. To be honest I wonder sometimes what it would be like to coast for a while. Yet somehow that doesn’t seem to be allowed. We have to keep pushing for ever greater success and ever greater emotional upgrade. What if you just put either one of those two things down for a second. In recent years it’s become ever more clear that the work never ends. That our evolving emotional landscape is the journey. That we as individuals are there for all our emotional ups and down and unexpectd sideswerves. I feel like I am, of course, pointing out the obvious. Yet truly in a world where the term ‘Mental Health Crisis’ is banded about like a ping pong ball we have to start connecting the dots. As a species we are not well. As a species our mental and emotional health are impacting our lives, familes and communities. Our mental health is impacting the planet. What are the deep seated emotions that are stopping you from doing the right thing? What is stopping you from addressing this ‘Mental Health Crisis’? Where and how is poor mental health affecting you? Is this the intersection at which to start the conscious emotional journey.

This article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude to accompany the Feral Systemic Healing Circle

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Water & Sleep

I’m sure I must have written about these two things before. Yet these days a rarely mention them in conversation. Not least because my water drinking practices have become precarious, as in I have fallen out of the habit.

I intitially started writing this article from the view point of hydration. I’ve writteen about the benefits of drinking water for years now even though my own water drinking habits have fallen by the wayside recently. I still think that drinking water is important and we are all entitled to have a slump in our self care. Especially when feeling means healing. Especially when we have to give ourselve time to process what is going on and not just push through… that’s really important too not maintaining a routine that is destroying you emotionally. For many of us that dopmine hit is just a little to tempting…

I didn’t start drinking water regularly until I was well into my twenties, up until then water was just tastelss stuff that came out of the tap. I’d been raised on coca-cola and cordial. My teeth are proabaly still paying the price forty years on. Clearly sugar addiction was a formative part of my youth which could tell you a lot about almost anybodies health journey over the latter half of the twentith century. Even now I’m engaged in a period of sugar dependency. I guess a global pandemic and a bit of personal trauma will do that.

Water on the greater persepective is 85% of who we are. It is what we are made of. It is the primary composite part of the planet that we live on. It’s fuels the majority of life. Our relationship with water defines who we are, as it is what we are made of. It is our life force energy. We can’t survive without it. So when I write about water now it moves beyond how we consume water. It’s about how we relate to it. How we honour it. The moon moves the ocean as it moves us and yet these days this relationship is often treated and mythical rather than factual. We have become seperate from ourselves.

Sleep is caught up in survival, rest and trhiving. If you can’t sleep there is not way you can survive. My brain at least really can’t deal with the pressure. Sometime I wish it was different and then I think about the delerium, mania and dread that covers my days if I don’t get enoguh sleep. Being rested is far more important than being fed in my dreams of wellness. Where would I be with our sleep . Where have I been without sleep half mad, unregulated, strained and cracking.

General conversations about sleep these days too seems to be informeed by its scientific function rather than it’s ritual purpose. To rest, to sleep to dream. These day you are far more likely to read an article on the benefits of good sleep for productivity rather than for soul growth. Even in the bible dreams are highly referenced as both insightful and prophetic. That sleep is a powerful place in which to connect to our truth. To swim in our subconscious and find the answers to all that plagues us.

Sleep for me will always be one of the most direct routes to healing. I love to sleep, it feeds me in ways that I have only very recently come to fully undersand. Since I graduated as a Sangoma sleep has taught me the most about my spirtual journey and how the expectations of society have drawn me away from my calling as a dreamwalker. The we can move beyond and outwith this world through our dreams and find answers to our deepest questionings.

The article was written to accompany the trauma wise circle by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

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Maslows Hierarchy Of Needs

Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs developed from "A Theory of Human Motivation"

Whoop whoop I love it when the internet provides you with great visuals. That match your colour scheme. Thank you Good Therapy. I’m not usually and advocate for hierarchies being a socialist. However Maslow Heirarchy of Needs certainly provides us with a pathway back to wholeness. This is probably a good time to admit that I’d prefer that this was drawn as a circle with psychological needs at the center rather than a pyramid just so we all get the point. There are many ways to wellness. You’ve only got to do a google search to figure that out. There are millions of people advocating in millions of ways for our pathways to wellness. Yet with one look at the chart above it’s farely obvious that out root needs are physiological and without those being met. There is not much that can be done to deepen the human journey.

When I look at this chart I have to admit that I still struggle with the lowere segements of the chart. It’s hard to believe that at the age of forty. However that is trauma for you. Trauma depending on how it manifest can make you feel inherently unsafe. So even though everything looks good on the outside the internal landscape can feel very diiferent. This is one of the main issue surrounding trauma. That often it is and invisible illness. That scars and indeed wounds can not be immediately seen and even felt. This can be especailly tricky when we have have unmet needs. Especailly when we have repressed, supressed and denied our needs. Often we don’t even know what we need or how to meet them.

So yes Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs may give us a straight forward understanding of human needs it doesn’t give us a road map as to how to meet them. That meeting the needs in this chart can be complicated, testing and difficult depending on the environment that you live in. Many of us live without the resources we need to thrive. This is not our fault. It’s systemic.

This is article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude and accompanies the Trauma Wise Circle that happens every Tuesday evening.

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Your Needs

As you read the title I wonder if it is anything that you have ever considered before? What are your needs? It’s a farely straight forward question. However if you’re experiencing trauma the idea of your needs can be vomit inducing. My needs? I just want everybody else to be happy? I’ll do anything to help. When we haven’t had our needs met as children and even as adult the idea of having needs can be confusing, overwhelming and even disorientating. I know. Having needs can seem scary, panic inducing and fill you with guilt. It’s just awful that you should have any needs at all. What for? Why? Even the question can be unsettling. What do you mean needs? I don’t have any needs. We can get reactionary defensive, dismissive and even aggressive at the very mention of having needs. Having needs is dangerous. Asking for want you want is dangerous. So is it any wonder that maintaining not having needs is a good thing? That maintaining that you don’t have any needs is keeping you safe.

So this blog post is here to simply ask you and to get you to consider what are your needs? What keeps you safe? Even if that means maintaining that you don’t have needs. Depending on the environment that you are in, not having needs could be the best thing for you and your life plan. However is that healthy? Is that really serving you? Right now during a global pandemic our most basic need is threatening. The right to clean air, the right to breath. What would it take for you to be able to breath? What would it take for you to breath deeply? Air is the most basic need we have to remain safe. Is it any wonder the that in this time of global crisis that “I can’t breath” became the rallying cry of a whole generation screaming for the right for their most basic human need to be met. If the right to breath is under threat on a societal basis, what does that look like on the most personal level? Of course “I can’t breath” can be taken to metophorical to. We are being denied the right to expand into ourselves. We are governed by restrictive practices that deny us the right to express our needs. That asking for air is insulting. I just need some air. I just need to take a breath.

Beyond our access to air, water too is a basic right. Yet having access to water too seems a little far fetched at times. Have you got access to clean fresh water? Do you drink water? We have been trained in so many ways to neglect our basic needs. We’ve even been denied direct access to clean fresh flowing water as a result of the capitalist system. Water is now a commondity, it’s not a right. The governments and corporations that are running the world want to keep it that way. In a world where everything has to be paid for access to water can seem daunting especially for the most vulnerable.

Of course your needs may well surpass the right to air and water. You might need a safe place to simply be. A safe space to sleep. In this spaces that we currently occupy that is not necessarily a given. So here it it is. The question again. What are your needs? Can you name them? Is there a list? Can you gain access to the thing that you need? What if they are things that only somebody else can give you? Like love, succour, care? What if your need was just a little bit of tender loving care? We all have needs, no matter how meager or arbitary. What are your needs? They don’t have to be physical. They can be emotional or energetic. One simple act of acknowledgement. Stop hiding from your needs.

The blog post accompanies the Trauma Wise Circle.

*This article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

Process, Uncategorized

The Four Winds Red Tent

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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The article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.