I grew up on the west coast of Scotland while Thatcher was in power. Being born of that era shaped my political beliefs as a socialist. This statement may sound very different from the usual opening lines of someone interested in empowerment, yet I feel it’s crucial to state where my opinions lie. My life is informed by a view that everyone is equal, everyone deserves a chance in life and nobody should be impeded from gaining access to resources or opportunities due to lack of funds or ability.
When I grew up I wanted to be a gypsy. It was the Cadbury’s flake advert what done it. It made perfect sense that I would wander the world in a beautiful handpainted caravan a horse, a dog, a cat and some live aboard mice. If I’d known who Esmerelda was she would have been my person. Then of course the adults got involved and I was abruptly informed that I couldn’t be a gypsy, you probably have to be born one. This was where my confusion started.
I like to think that I grew up in the wild. It wasn’t far from the truth old growth Scottish rainforest, bluebell clearings, rugged coastlines filled with rockpools, ruined castles and pet cemeteries (yes there was more than one). My days and early evenings were filled with all the wild things that you might imagine living there. I grew up in nature.
During childhood I became aware of the enviromental movement, that seemed to come hand in hand with the developer rolling in to my village. The usual protest were made but it wasn’t long before the concrete invaded and the pathways fo my youth were blocked by several new housing estates. It was only much later on that I discovered that I had experieinced land trauma an apparently necessary evil of the modern age.
As a young adult I became one of those lost, globetrotting, creative types trying to figure out what to do with my life. The intensity of that emotion dictated to me by my monthly moon cycles.
I started to make the connection that it was hard to say where cultural identities stopped and began. Through long conversation it became harder to play the blame game. As individuals no one was responsible for our collective histories. As individuals we were all responsible for our collective futures. Local problems were global ones. High speed transport, technological advances and communication changed everything. We were the Generation X that became Generation Y? Rebranded as Millennials who went from waiting on the corner, to round the world trips, to Whatsapp in 15 years.
My Scottish heritage and dyslexic brain gave me an interesting and expansive view point of being both the colonised and the coloniser. I went to university and gained a B.A Honours in the History of Modern Art and Design. The vapid consumerism of the arts world that chose to reward collectors, not makers, soon pushed me into community work. I was driven to make a difference, so I got involved in my local community, developing action groups, creating fundraisers and challenging local government, with quite a bit of success. I took incredible inspiration from the people that surrounded me, living self-sufficient, carbon-neutral lives. It was here that I woke up to the fact that we don’t have to wait for permission to do what we want and create a world that we desire. I became an anarchist.
I lived in a squat with a madman for a while, with his help and my own beautiful brokenness I had a nervous breakdown at 27. Life became crystalline. I then lived on a boat for a year. Through this experience, I learned the profound truth that as humans, we live totally disconnected from our natural surroundings and place within the universe. It really is one of my cure-all personal pieces of advice. Live on a boat, slow down, stare at the horizon, and just wonder at it all.
It was this experience that lead me to enquire; What is really going on with us humans? Why is that we feel the need to destroy our environments? Why are humans forced to live out of sync with both family life and nature?
Over several years I built a life while seeking out supportive friends, funded therapists and private healers to help me in a process that I like to call ‘self-nurturance’ and learnt late in life how important it is to have a functional support system. I’ve been adding to this process ever since. I moved to South Africa to be with my life partner and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
In 2015 I manifested another piece of the puzzle and started training to be an ICF (International Coach Federation) Life Coach with Inner Life Skills. It was more than I imagined it could be and gave me the words to understand my own thoughts and insights, and the skills to start sharing them. In 2016 I qualified as both an ICF Life Coach and a Master Coach. It was followign on from this training I became interested in trauma-informed methods and worked to develop my own. In 2018 I discovered systemic trauma as my true calling in life. How do we unfuck ourselves in a fucked up system? It’s not you it’s the system.
Divorce and a pandemic offered me a massive upgrade in 2019 -2021 I trained as a Hardwires Coach, Birth Doula, Death Doula, Celebrant, gained a Masters of Research in Human Geography at Hogwarts (University of Glasgow), graduated as a Sangoma (Zulu Shaman) and became Gogo Water Star.
I now run my own private practice consult as a systemic trauma specialist, collaborate with the Red Tent Doulas as their trauma doula trainer and play an active role in my Sangoma family training other Sangomas.