Process

Process, Uncategorized

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 Higherarchy of Needs may give us a stright 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. Mnay of us live without the resources we need to thrive. This is not our fault. It’s systemic.

This article accompanies the Trauma Wise Circle that happens every Tuesday evening.

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

Process, Uncategorized

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.

If you’d like to join The Four Winds Red Tent please pay here

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

Process, Uncategorized

Punk Attitude

Years ago someone once asked me if I was “a hippy or a punk?”. The way that someone might ask you if you prefer cheese or chocolate? I pondered it over sensing that there was something much deeper underlying the question than I fully understood at the time. You see I had fantasies of being a hippy but my lived reality was very far from sunflowers and flares. What was even more terrifying was that as History of Modern Art graduate was that I wasn’t to sure exactly what was meant by the question and realised I might have missed something big in my understanding of the two movements.

You see I’d never given the punk movement much attention. It wasn’t pretty it didn’t make me feel good and although I love the Sex Pistols and everything they stood for I wasn’t ready to own that level of explosive dissent. All that rage was ugly. Why can’t it all be the higher ideals of love, peace and non-violence? I’m a libra. I answered the question. “I’m a hippy.” I was met with “Kimberley you are so a punk.” and just like that the reality of my own self-perception was thrown out the window and turned upside down by a rather impressive activist who had been collaborating with Platform for a while. Maybe this could be pinpointed as where my shadow work began. Then it was explained to me that in essence I was willing to take imperfect action and I wasn’t into spiritual bypassing (before that was a thing). To be clear at that point the cultural movement that I belonged to didn’t have a name yet. We were the generation that wished that we “were punk rockers with flowers in our hair, we were born too late to a world that doesn’t care.” We were proto hipsters searching for authenticity, meaning and belonging in a very fake world (‘they’ even monetised that). Apathy was the word of the decade after the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq War where 100,000 people marched for a cause and a call that has never been answered. Tony Blair and George W. Bush are war criminals in case you didn’t get the memo. There’s no justice for the powerful (take note). President Trump at least was only intent on radicalising his own country. Trump and Boris are the just desserts of any person not engaged in the political capital of there own community. So there it is.

I was and am somebody willing to take imperfect action, get pissed off and get involved. It was always clear to me that there was no other path other than social responsibility. You see ever since I can remember we’ve (that’s society) have been fucking up people, families, communities and the environment at a staggering rate. It was and is shocking. Yet nobody cared. That was the way of it. That was progress. Our parents were more concerned about fitting in with a society that was destroying itself than taking action for the natural world we clearly belonged in. The parables were endless and yet still progress pushed on. For those of us who chose to sit on the sidelines, disengaged from the destruction it was agonising, exhausting often excruciating to witness. The self-destruction that emerged through political engagement was tangible. To be an activist was to be poor, disenfranchised, marked out and criminalised. The ongoing critique of our approaches was endless. With more people questioning why you would choose your own personal annihilation over doing the right thing…?

There were so many causes to fight for, so much to say. There wasn’t enough time. We just had to do the best we could with the resources we had and the odds stacked endlessly against us. There’s a reason why Greta Thunberg became the activist of this generation. A child all alone. All we could do is what we could, and what we can without the slick resources of the greenwashing and societal gaslighting that we still didn’t have a word for yet. Anxiety paralysis came to rule as we balanced self-care with what is now termed eco-anxiety. In the end, for me it became a choice between the subtle art of inaction and the ability to authentically produce. If I waited until it was perfect, if I waited until it was ready to be accepted by the establishment, it would never be ready and neither would I. I had to be willing to take my rage to the world if a little sanitised. I needed somewhere to take my unresolvable feelings blog writing became that place. It became my safe place to figure out me and the world simultaneously. I’m on year thirteen of this journey. Still very few are reading cause I’m not presenting it in a way that’s easy to digest that doesn’t fit into a highly curated mould for easy consumption. It’s deliberate. It’s here to highlight your prejudices. It’s here to make you think about what’s acceptable behaviour. It’s here to get you to think differently.

I’ve had too many conversations about. If you just tweaked this. Or if you just did that. Meanwhile, I am actually trained in curation. You see it goes beyond slick marketing and getting the message out, these blog posts are an artistic creation. I’m questioning the system not answering to it. I’m anti-aesthetic for a reason. These are messy for a reason. What I have to say is of value no matter how it is presented, like the homeless person, the black women, the guy with the speech impediment, the dyslexic writer. Fuck you and your judgement. Fuck the system. Do you know why? All previous perceptions are leading to our extinction. Time to get down with your shadow self people. Remember the only people who are upholding the system are the ones who benefit from it.

So if you want to know why these blog posts are messy, unedited it’s because I made a choice to get started with a punk attitude and hippy ideals.

Today I was offered a breakthrough moment of how to create context by Thrive With Me who wanted to collaborate rather than control… and inspired this whole blog post by asking me to provide a little context. I hope you enjoyed this unexpected sidenote.

If you want to find out more about what I do and get to grips with systemic trauma you can learn more by signing up for Feral Systemic Healing Circle.

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

Process, Uncategorized

The System

I get asked all the time what do you mean by ‘The System’? If I was a full-blown academic maybe I would have found a succinct way to conceptually replicate exactly what the system is? Maybe I’d be able to neatly package the systemic? In the most accessible version, it’s all the false realities that we are ‘forced’ to live with. It’s that thing we might collectively call bullshit. It’s all the things that we were born into that we didn’t consent to. All the things that we appear to have inherited as a result of human attachment to time and form. It’s all the systems that have been slowly fucking us collectively since the industrial revolution that are being caught out by the all-encompassing reality of climate change. These are the broad strokes of understanding the system.

It’s the nationalism you ascribe to cause you were taught it in the country you were born into. It’s the linear thinking that you embody because it both functional, productive and conducive to the capitalist system you were expected to exist in. It’s both the price and cost of religion, that believes that redemption is monetary. It’s money and the faulty economics of exchange that capitalism is based on. It’s the sickness system that you are paying to die into due to the industrialisation of food production. It’s the nutrient-poor land that we’ve been poisoning to eat. It the claustrophobic apartment you call home with no outdoor space. It’s the air you dare to breathe and the fresh clean live water that you cannot source to drink. That is The System.

You see it is often said that the only thing that survives us is love as and as an Art Historian what I know for sure is that objects and structures both the physical and the imagined can survive us too, usually with a far deeper sense of everyday meaning. Ideas can survive us. Yet for some reason we get all caught up on this love business. That is not to say that love doesn’t survive us. However what is that you really remember of your great great grandparents? You see more and more it becomes ever clearer in my reality that there is a great rouse going on. That somehow despite all the evidence. (That at this point might include the evidence submitted for Trump’s impeachment) We seem to believe that the society in which we live is built on higher ideals; that of truth, love, justice and honesty. It simply isn’t true. The age-old narrative of good vs evil is still alive and well with us today and we would be fools to believe that it isn’t an ever-present reality. Yet we do. Even though it tells us in all the great stories old and new that the corruption of power is central to the human narrative.

Conspiracy theories are abounding constantly asking us to question our truth. Yet so many of us don’t want to look at what is right in front of us. From the clothes, we wear to the food we buy and the media we consume. What is true for us? What is acceptable for us? Right now we live in a world of deep polarisation. Yet it has always been this way. The haves and the have nots. Have you noticed that we have one month of the year allotted (By fucking who?) to black history? That means black history only matters one 12th of the time. If you don’t understand whiteness then there is your queue. How is it the black history only matters one 12th of the time? It’s not that you are necessarily being lied to. It is that your narrative is being controlled. You are being told who you are and what to believe to serve an agenda. An agenda that is highly vested in maintaining the status quo and controlling power.

The narrative is off. It isn’t about them out there. It is about us in here. What is going on in your soul? What do you want to see for yourself and your family? Your life span? How is that rolling out in your life? And if not why not? Also, how is your agenda impacting others? Where are you holding onto control? It is often said that we live in an abundant world and that love is the most important thing, or indeed the highest value. If that’s true why are you scared? What are you scared of? If love is running the world why hasn’t everybody got enough to eat, clean drink water and a safe place to eat? For me when it comes to these big question we simply have to look to the system. If we were free to live then why would any of this be an issue? You see understanding, recognising the system is all about acknowledging all the ways that you aren’t free. That on day to day basis we come up against barriers that prevent us from living the lives we are capable of as a result of somebody else’s need for control. Who gave them the control and why? It asks us to question ourselves our way of life.

You can’t buy your way out of the system. You can give your way out of it. If you sitting in a shit whole or even better a shit stom you’ve been planted and like a tree you alone get to decide how you are going to weather the storm .

This article accompanies the Trauma Wise Circle.

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

Process, Uncategorized

Emotional Health

Wow, I totally missed this… How that is, is a bit beyond me. My non-linear mind has just cracked open to the idea that I can write retrospectively. Why on Earth Have I not written about this before? After all Emotional Health and Emotional Landscape have been at the very center of my work for a very long time and yet I have never wrtiten a blog post about them. Isn’t that strange? Maybe not. I’m continually saying that I find it hard to keep up with the thoughts that I generate in my head. I’m sure we have all had moments when we couldn’t see the woods for the trees. My moment just seemed to last for five years or more. Finally this seems to be changing as my emotional wellness seems to be on the rise.

Anyways what’s more important that the acknowldegement of Emotional Health? Not much I reckon given that it is where everything positive starts. However there is probabaly a little more to this than might meet the eye. Why wouldn’t I write about emotional health for so long? It’s everything to do with my emotional landscape. It didn’t feel safe to do so and I’ll tell you why. In recent months and even weeks I’ve been beginning to understand all the ways that I have short changed myself by not being brave enough to speak my mind. You see I am what many might term as a dessentor. There are alot of things that I don’t agree with. And although you might find me in a pub near you having a very long rant about many or my beliefs and even insights, sometimes I find it difficult to put my money where my motuh is. Not because I don’t believe in what I am saying but like most people I recognise that what we put on the internet can have a life of it’s own. We never know when the thoughts that we post might sprout legs, get taken out of context or terrifyingly go viral.

So me saying things like I don’t agree with the term mental health open me up to all sorts of critism that my poor white priviliged fragile self may not be able to cope with and thus derail about a decade of healing. At the same time I have to be brave.

The thing is I don’t always agree with term mental health. It implies that everything that is wrong with us is in our minds, that our brains have gone a little wonky and all we need to do is change our thoughts, or our brain chemistry and we can change out lifes. Clearly for many cases this absolutley true and I would never peronally question any one person’s mental health history, mental health story or even journey. If your on medication and that is working for you then you are absolutely doing the right thing.

However it’s not always true especially when you look at mental health from a trauma informed perspective. That is my story and that is why I am sharing it here. For a long time I was written off work with Anxiety & Depression back in the day it was a cover all low impact diagnosis, that allowed you to be wildly off you head without having to deal with any, long term tricksy permenant diagnosis.

Now what I know is the Anxiety & Depression are symptoms of trauma and that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) are resposive illness rather than disorders. In other words there is every thing right with you. More than this there is increasing evidence that CPTSD is a systemic illness rather than a personal one. In short there is evidence to suggest that the systems within whihc we live can make us very sick in some very extreme ways. What I have come to discover is that it is all about feeling our emotions and recognising the states of my emotional health was key to that. What if we were to understand fully what makes us anxious or depressed? I know in my life that much of what I feel has either been supressed or repressed. Hence this very late article. All the things that I couldn’t say because it was not safe to do so. The more I deepen into this work the more I become fully aware that this is common. Most of us have not been allowed access to the full depth and breadth of our emotions and then we wonder why we are sick? If we aren’t experiencing our emotions fully then who are we really? So many of us are pretending, mainly pretending that the system in which we live works for us. That the parameters that we are given within which to live our lives is totally accepatable. That we must all enjoy our souless jobs, that we must all be grateful for our enslaved lives working to maintain the power of the elite. Obvioulsy it’s not as simple as that and your emotional health might be tied up in very different unmet needs like being able to eat. Ultimately though our collective emotional landscape as a species is really far out of wack and our emotional health holds all the keys to fixing that. What if we were to deal with our emotions first? What if feeling what is worng in out lives was the first step to healing the system? If we aren’t willing to look at what feels wrong in our own lives then how are we supposed to address what feels wrong in society. Emotional health has everything to offer us a a way to understand ourselves its also the key to embodying a more humane way of living

This article was written to accompany Feral Systemic Healing Circle.

Process, Uncategorized

The Matrix

Our reality is constructed and the great news is that you are a co-creator in our collective reality. Now a lot of people think that the above statement is indeed bullshit. You are entirely welcome to continue to believe whatever it is that you want to believe. 

What I’m here to ask is is that belief system making you happy? 

To be clear I have no idea what you believe, why you believe it or indeed why that might be important to you? There are lots of reasons as to why we come to certain conclusions in our lives. That are broad, varied and nuanced. They can be everything to do with collective consciousness, impressing your parents, proving you worth or indeed what it is that you need to feel well. If you grew up in a hostile environment, as many of us did, it’s easy to accept that anxiety is normal or self-protective actions are primary. That being financially secure is the primary source of your emotional wellness. All of these beliefs absolutely serve a purpose and if what you believe is working for you, then you are absolutely right and taking the right course of action for you. 

Right now just because you are still reading this is I am asking you to step beyond what you already know, once again. 

I fell out of The Matrix the minute I bought that boat (the one that I was living on in My Lostness) I didn’t know it at the time. I thought it may be the source of a summer adventure not a complete and radical alteration of my understanding of life itself. I had been asleep most of my life and hadn’t fully noticed. I had and an inkling that my dissatisfaction with life itched at. I didn’t see the point of school, often time even books, I wanted to experience life. I had had those moments on holiday, stoned at a festival, post-coitus oxytocin hits. Where the world had been sublime and it felt like I was living life chasing those hits. Like the girl in the red dress. 

Life on a boat for a year change that entirely every day was like being in a blissed-out connective state. The boat moved with the tide. The tide moved with the ocean and the ocean moves with the moon, The moon moved with the seasons and the seasons change with the  orbit of the sun. We all know this. It’s all standard geography 101. Few of us have experienced it. Even though we live on planet Earth. These are the deep underpinnings of earthly existence long before humans ever turned up. The cycles seem to be to focus on our earliest worship beyond our daily water gathering rituals. So much of what we are deeply connected to has been forgotten. Overlooked as we starred at progress and lost sight of the real balance and wisdom that are Earthly presence has to offer. 

Progress as The Great Pause is teaching us has enforced our disconnection which goes against human programming. We are wired for connection beyond the digital. 

This article has been written to accompany the Trauma Wise Circle

Uncategorized

The Abyss

My journey into the abyss started long before I actually realised I was in it. In fact I think most of us born into this 3D reality might feel like we were born into varying shades of grey never mind darkness. Even the deepest black can have tones and shade.

I remember where I was when I heard the term The Abyss without is actually applying to some deep-sea adventure or that 80’s film. I was standing on the balcony of The Boathouse a pub that is no more. In fact, it seems like quite a good place for a story about The Abyss to begin. I do believe it is the only pub that I have regularly drank in where I never made and actual friend.

Which might make it the loneliest bar in Falmouth (no wonder it closed).  I did instead though get the thread to the very beginning of this story. 

I was having a hard time. One of those times in your life where you are doing everything you can and nothing is working, when you begin to start to feel yourself slipping. You see it’s a subtle feeling to begin with at first. When you begin to break into proper adulting. Get a job, pay your bills, start to make a life, mix it with some adventure and hey presto. Then you realise that degree you worked so hard for wasn’t the solution to everything. That the jobs you are doing are still shit. The office politics is more toxic than the social dynamic of the bar you used to work in and well adulthood is not everything that is cracked up to be. The things you’ve been running from and too seem to be collapsing in on themselves and no amount of sunshine and beer seems to be able to stop it. The dragging was beginning to feel like drowning and relaxing beers were becoming relentless. You wanted to slow down but if you stopped it felt like your life might run you over with the car your were driving; that you would be a mile down the road before anyone had noticed you had been hit by a moving vehicle. Things were out of control and there was no way of stopping the hamster wheel of hell that you had become trapped on. It was no longer the case you had to keep up, it had become an extreme sport of holding on, as one by one each limb broke it was rapidly replaced with a new one. Life was moving at a terrifying pace which was both unfulfilling and fractus as you tried to hold together some kind of idea of what life could or indeed should be like. 

It was here in the beginning of this realisation that I met Steve Martin and old school music producer who had moved to the sticks in need of some respite. As he spoke to me and I disturbed the somewhat fragile peace of a beautiful summers evening in a Cornish pub. He leaned into me to listen more intently. ‘Oh’ he says as glimmering of insight settled into his synapsis. “You are in The Abyss, it’s only The Abyss and the only thing you can do when you are in The Abyss is to keep on swimming. You just have to keep on swimming” it seemed so off-hand so impenetrably deep and simultaneously mediocre that I wasn’t sure if I should have bothered speaking at all. Of course curiousness got the better of me. “We’ve all been there” he says as he turns to another punter mate next to him. “The Abyss Pete you been there” and they both rolled off their own version of the infinite darkness that they had occupied in there life for somewhere up to the 10-year mark when the booze, the drugs and the darkness were just a bit too out of hand. That usually ended in some kind of spectacular radical mindset change. “All you got to do is change your mind”  Some likely local chipped in and it was there that I felt the depth of The Abyss for the first time. That this was not the end of my painful journey, that in fact it might just be the beginning of the dull ache fo belonging that might never go away, judging by the characters that surrounded me. That maybe this was just a capacity test, to measure your pain threshold, commitment to resilience in this life. That we all ached and even burned with the desire for something better, something different to the crushing system in which we were forced  to operate, live breath and play. I didn’t get it then. It would take me a good while longer for it to finally settle in, for now I was in The Abyss and so was everyone round me and we were all in it swimming, insight and out of reach, waiting for a brand new dawn in the murky sinister darkness that enveloped us all. That dominated the innerscape that screamed for the T.V and exploded in the Friday night drunk. All the beautiful ingenious radical people chained to the wheel that was breaking them. If you were awake, the pain was a privilege, the awareness a gift. A happy alternative to the anodyne numbness to the blindly complicit and the toxic destruction that fueled most if not all commerce. It was sickness, nauseating and crippling and yet here we were, standing up sitting down and eating the shit we were selling all for the price of our souls, begging to be broken. 

This article was written to accompany the Trauma Wise Circle

Uncategorized

My Lostness

There is always a sad story to begin with…

As far as I’m concerned everything begins with a story and before that it begins with a feeling. There is always a beginning before the beginning. Like the story of your parents and the day that you were born. There is always a before. That is why we are still unpacking the big bang theory and searching the great mysteries for ever more information. There is always more than one truth and here is where I offer up mine. 

For me the fall out if the 3D reality started on a boat the only place where I could stop from running, residing in a place that was designed to move. That boat “The Yacht Samara” was the first place I ever lived that gave me permission to stay. You see before that I had always been running. I didn’t know how significant that realisation was until right up until this moment. You see healing isn’t linear, nor is life our even time. As many have said before me “The lesson will be presented again until it is learned”. Nothing is unbearable and the real trick in life is to learn to bear it. 

I was swimming in a fog of changemaker addiction; experience consumption. I was running from my feelings the only way I knew how. Sef-medicating through co-dependency hoping that someone might make me feel good about myself  and continually thinking that there was somewhere else that I belonged. I have often said that in life I wasn’t spoiled I was ruined. I grew up in the west coast of Scotland exploring bluebells woods, talking to fairies and playing in ruined castles and as someone once said about my village “That to live in The Firth of Clyde was to live your life drenched in beauty” I grew up surrounded by magic it was imbued in the place where I at that time belonged. Until along came the bulldozers, the concrete, the badly built houses and the poorly planned developments and life and I were transformed forever. I moved from there to Glasgow (where I learned that a life of beauty was far from a given) then to the west coast of Canada, New Zealand, then Cornwall where everything was at best underwhelming. 

Something was dead in me. It was only as I stood on this boat feeling the gentle rhythm of the water beneath my feet and feeling thoroughly panicked for what had seemed like an eternity I realised that it was me that was lost. That if life on a yacht could not ease the aching of my gipsy soul what could? It is here that my journey inwards and the true quest for internal answers began. Lost in all the mess that the modern world could offer. No money, no job, no love, swimming in the carnage of unprocessed emotions about all of the above. That no amount of active fixing could solve, that the hamster wheel of hell would not allow me to quench. I was sick in my soul and I knew it. I had nowhere to run, nowhere to run too and no one to fix it. It was down to me to face this invisible beast that seemed to dwell in me and although it disturbed me that I would have to start here where everything had gone so badly wrong there were no other options left. 

They say that we find our fate is the road we take to avoid it. It was true of me maybe it is of you? That is where my story begins, lost on a boat, tethered precariously to the land on the precipice of becoming.  

If you really want to know why this offering is called The Free Buffet we have to go right back to this moment where for a spell I was so poor I literally used to hope that people would invite me round for dinner so that I could eat. Poverty is humbling. It breaks you in ways that most things can’t. Of course at this time  it took everything I could to contain my rage, which of course used to spill over into public view at the most inopportune moments. About how the poor were mistreated and how only those that were deemed viable were ever offered a seat at the table of opportunity. I lived in a place where potential and the future had been aborted for a chance at survival. That the gift of giving is reserved for those that were able to service somebody else’s needs. Even now the discomfort of that knowledge channels through me with the seductive allure of vengeance. 

Eco-Anxiety didn’t exist then. Trauma was a word reserved for car crashes and the growing dis-ease of humanity was an elusive whisper in the undercurrent you couldn’t find. That still needed to be drowned out with drinking and the delusion that any form of action and all forms of solidarity would help. Then adrenal fatigue set in,  which wasn’t a term either. I was exhausted by the insanity of the system. Broken by ignorance and silenced as a result of my speaking. And so I retreated into the world of social isolation. Where the solace of living in human form was a dreary groan that encompassed everything. It was sad time all in the prime of my life. Time was lost and the gains where small. It used to amaze me when I arrived in future.  

These days I do feel I am at the very least ascending. One slow upward step at a time, as me knees ache and grasp tightens. I can’t tell you that they ground beneath my feet is solid or the path ahead is assured. I still sit down on the steps and grasps for breath as my feet slip. It’s ok for the moment. It’s all ok. I have learned to speak to myself gently, encourage myself deftly one step at a time. It’s just for this moment. Everything changes. My inner scape is friendly, my own presence is kind. Rage and hurt only come as visitors. Teachers to be questioned and played with on the eternal path home.  It’s a soft persistence I work with now, like Japanese water torture. The intention is set the seeds are sown and I’m witnessing the growth of an acorn. You can’t see it yet, that force of nature and it’s still there. Writhing, pushing, expanding like an unborn thing waiting to take form. It’s ok to be lost you don’t know what or who you are yet. It’s ok I don’t know either. 

Please click through if you would like to join the Trauma Wise Circle

Process, Uncategorized

Emotional Landscape

Hmmm I would have thought that I had written this one already. It seems not. How it missed it off of the top 100 of The Life Doula usable phrases I have no idea. How it has failed to make into blog post noteriaty is beyond me, given that it is one of the core tenants of the work I do. Maybe it’s because it so close to emotional mapping I didn’t think it was necessary. This morning I have already been writing You Are Here, about where you stand on the map of your life and where that relates to Trauma Wise. What you need to know about what surrounds you in order to make more powerful better informed choices. Not sure if I explained the power of You Are Here as succinctly as I did here. Note to self. Anyway I referenced emotional landscape a lot in that post/article and I thought I better follow up on what it actually means. As I am sure references to emotional landscape in pop culture are at best rare. You see it’s been a journey this blog itself is called process because I don’t always know where I am or where my emotional journey might take me. How can I when I don’t know where I am? In fact writing gives me the greatest opportunity to discover where I am and that is why I do it. The process laid bare. How are we supposed to know where we are if we don’t think or talk about it? That’s my vibe.

You see as humans we are constantly and continualy dealing with the unseen. The unseen can be expressed, understood, suppressed, repressed, invisible, ignored, incommunicable and even preverbal. The unseen realms are all about feeling. What can’t be felt lives in the unconscious shadow. In recent years there has been an explosion in shadow workers and now more recently trauma practicioners (of which I am one). I didn’t start this journey knowing I was either. All I knew is that I wanted to help people feel and talk about emotional health rather than mental health. That emotions were the key to feeling and healing everything.

That to me, is what emotional landscape is. It’s the place where you reside within your soul. The landscape that no one else can see, that only you feel, that often acts as a barrier to conecting with others. You see our emotional landscapes often don’t look like the ones you see on T.V. (who watches T.V. anymore?) The emotional landscape can be dark, confusing, cloudy, messy and most of all unnamable. We dont know how to talk about our souls unless someone gives us language to do so. The language that we are taught quite often doesn’t match the langauge that we have. We think love is scary or family is safe. The beach is happy or that clowns are funny. Each of our emotional landscapes is highly unique to us and can often feel non-translateable. Until of course we find that painting, that song, that film that somehow expresses the unsayable for us. More confusingly every day, every moment is different as life is fluid. We can be on the edges of bliss one day and exploding with anger the next. We can be dancing with excitment and wrestling with peace at the same time. Our emotional landscape is caught up with oximorons that can make us feel insane. The world is supposed to be structured and finite, not random and fluid and yet it can be both sumoultaniusly. No wonder we get confused or feel lost, lonely isolated a lot of the time. You see we haven’t understood our invisible emotional landscape and until we do we are never going to find ourselves, where we are and head in the direction we want to be going.

It is so interesting, in writing and re reading this I feel a return. Although I do specialise in trauma this has taken me back to my an orgin story of sorts. When I first realised that healing was all about feeling. The world wasn’t ready for that message then and even now as we journey though our monumental collective shadow. I wonder how ready we are for that work now. With all the name blaming and shaming going on I’d say we are living the polarity like a very well oiled high jinx game. Where I’m wondering when we get to turn the board over? You see my journey through my own emotional landscape has led me to a far deeper understanding of the caves and swamps that lie within it, not just the personal ones but the collective ones too. This is where I began to appreciate that ther might be something such as Collective Trauma and that beyond Collective Trauma it’s root cause is Systemic Trauma. That our emotional landsacpes are filled with the narrative of systemic trauma. That there is no one to blame. That we have simply been living in the after math of orgnisational Trauma Bombs that can devastate lives, wipe out whole city blocks, rip apart families and destroy any sense of community or resillience that we have. The onslaught of the system on our emotional lanscapes in continual corrosive nand deadly unless of course you are willing to comply and well as we understad it it’s taken us to full scale environmental collapse. It’s easy to beleive that understanding you emotional landscape is a soft fluffy option for vegan friendly militiants trying to solve the chickpea problem. The truth is chickpeas probably aren’t going to help us either because you know biodiversity is important. The truth is we have to look at where the challenges begin, that’s with you and me and all that pressure we seem to be under.

This article is being writen to accompanying reading for Feral Systemic Healing Circle please click through if you would like more information.