Authenticity

Reaching Out

IMG-9382Today as in today I’m not feeling so great and I’m wondering what I can write that will best serve you. I want to work on something that will be mutually beneficial as a navigate a some lingering emotional turmoil and wonder what is the next best step? If speaking our truth is really powerful, and what really serves us, and grants other people the right to be themselves; is it my job to tell you what going on with me? Or is it my job to pretend that everything’s ok and not to bother you with my business? When the business of healing  and therefore healing myself is the business I’m in. It’s a question I keep asking myself. I like to belief that in holding space for myself I am holding space for you. That maybe, in my unorthodox approach you find some light relief from your own shit.

Reaching out for help is often one of the bravest things that we can do for ourselves. Talking about our shit, coming right out and saying it is often as little or as much as we need to say about a situation, our emotions or our thoughts. To remove the taboo. We can’t always be sure of how any one person will receive what we have to say. The truth of the matter is that we have the right to freedom of expression. It’s something that we often forget. That instead or being nice, kind or generous that we have the right to be honest. Honesty can serve us. Keeping up a facade hides us from what we want most. It stops us from being who we really are even if that might be perceived as ugly, inconsiderate or thoughtless. Other peoples feelings are not our responsibility. This is something that I often need to remind myself of as I pick away at the great puzzle of my life. That often I choose to be nice, kind or generous and betray myself in the process. That I don’t get what I want as a result and people don’t see me for who I really am. It makes me wonder if I am failing at being me and why I feel the need to protect someone from me. Aren’t all thoughts, feelings, emotions valid? I say all these things in safe spaces. Why not here? Why not now? Then I see that I am protecting myself as much as I am protecting the other person. That I want people to be kind to me, cause in some moments that is all I want to handle. That the person opposite me has their own struggles and challenges and we are all just doing the best we can as we work this deeply collaborative process called life.

Authenticity v Positivity

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From where I’m sitting within the self-development community Authenticity and Positivity seem to be the two pillars of personal growth.  Through my own journey I am witnessing my responses to these two bath and found that I have a very interesting inner battle going on. In my role as a life doula I really dig deep to engage with people. Us self-help types, I promise you are interesting and diverse bunch, largely because there are so many different ways to heal. From laughing yoga to detoxing your yoni, there really is something for everyone.

Quite often I come across super smiley types who I can’t easily be mistake for cuddly fluff balls they might want to be mistaken as. I find them unsettling and I think my f-bombs might flatten a few of them. Consciousness asks us to be aware of our thoughts, our words, our vibration and what it is that we are actually manifesting.

Positivity is for me very much about trying to alter your inner dialogues. Changing the way you think, banishing the bad and focusing on the good. It’s a great idea in principle however for many of us it can sap a lot of energy trying to uphold a representation of yourself that isn’t exactly you. Unless of course it is. For twenty years I’ve been observing my dialogues and wondering how much the words and thoughts that appear in my head influence my feelings and how they impact others. There is a lot that can be tweaked. From gratitude diaries, to saying thank you rather than sorry (Which is a mini form of gratitude). Or even switching your words round…. I hate Mondays, to I love Fridays. I don’t like coffee to I prefer tea. What ever we say or do it is a reflection of our inner world including a grimaced smile.

I do believe that there is a huge amount to be gained from having a positive and loving outlook towards ourselves and the world at large. However the positivity trap seems to be adverse to the reality of the world that we live in. There is day and night and we have broad vocabularies so that we can identify a multitude of thoughts, feelings,  ideas, theories, or even objects. No object is inherently negative, not even a weapon. It’s the ways in which we use or label our language, dialogues, thoughts, feelings, ideas, theories and objects that can be either supportive or chastening.

Positivity is a lot different from authenticity. Authenticity is where I am at.

Authenticity is about taking the good with the bad and not having any judgement about it. As far as I am concerned emotions are the magic thread that takes us to our deeper truth. The subtleties of how our emotions connect is a language that has it’s very own personal code and only you know what it is.

I, like anybody, have my dialogues. As I work this process I find it’s more like ironing, some of those creases just come right out and then there are the folds that are stuck right on in there, like they are part of the sheet itself.  We can twist it anyway we like, we can silver line it, re-frame it look for the gifts and it still sucks. What we want is a pristine flat white sheet. The fold in the sheet has absolutely nothing to do with the sheet’s purpose or it’s ability to fulfill it’s role of protecting our bodies. We even get disgruntled at the experience of a sheet protecting our bodies. That it ends up with stains or holes as the result of protecting out bodies. We deny a white sheet it’s very being. Instead we have projected ideas of cleanliness, purity and our own moral value and even work ethic in the appearance of a white sheet. When actually it acts as a beautiful canvas of our lives. When really there just ain’t no way round all those creases and stains other than to accept them and love through the process. That’s true.

It’s the same for us. We deny ourselves the right to be human. We can’t even get the sheets dirty even though we have orifices that leak fluid and we have to sleep 8 hours a day. I’m more interested in being able to shit myself accidentally in public without shame, than forcing myself to view it as a positive experience. In truth all experiences that force growth in the end have a positive up-spiral. Those experiences can  still embarrassing, painful and traumatic. We can own that.

I’m happy to cry in public and say thank you to the people holding space for me. I’ll also happily lose my shit in a particularly pressing moment and again be grateful to those who continue to hold space for me.  There it is again though in the quest for the authentic how many of you out there are willing to hold space for sadness yet not tolerate anger?

We all play dress up with our emotions and appearance. Where do we draw the line between real and make-believe.

Post-Wedding Anxiety

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Post-Wedding Anxiety, who the fuck knew that was a thing? Apparently it is and everyone who has been married has now told me so. Since I’ve got married I’ve been doing re-runs in my head and wondering what the photographer is going to come up with.

I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever experienced anything like it. The only thing that I can imagine that it might be like is an athlete at the Olympics, all that training all that investment, one chance, one winner and then massive anti-climax. Winner or not. It’s what all the great stories tell us isn’t it? That the goal was not really the goal, the growth is in the journey and what did the surprising twist at the end tell us?

Every since I trained as a life coach I’ve consider working specifically with brides. Really? Yes really. Now I am absolutely sure that that is not as frou-frou as it might initially appear. Being a Bride is challenging to say the least of it. People you have never met, never spoken to you, that don’t even know you, take an opinion on how to do your nails, how to do your hair, who should be your dressmaker. There are even points in the process where you might be discussing how exactly it is that you want your genitalia to appear. No jokes. I’d hate to imagine the day when a beauty therapist decides how to decorate your pubic area rather than doing exactly what you want. Brides are under a lot of pressure.

To be beautiful, look perfect, to be thin, to not swear, ‘act’ dignified, the perfect host, the perfect venue, the perfect setting for the venue, perfect perfect, perfect. And there is only one day in your life to glide elegantly like a swan through it all. Not saying a word, only smiling, happy and delighted at how wonderful it is. Whether we pull off perfect or not, the come down is dramatic and intense. In the blink of an eye it is all over……the happily ever after has begun.

The quest for authenticity is epic, wild and surprising. There are so many things that we hold onto because of societal programming. Even though we know they are there and that they act somehow as false prophesy, we can’t help but believe in the fairy tale.

That is if we work hard we will end up rich, that if we love deeply love will come, if we dare greatly surprising rewards will follow. That their is a predictable cause and effect with regards to the universe. There isn’t. All we can do is deeper our understanding and adapt our approaches, which is both liberating and terrifying. Which is exactly where the magic happens in this brilliant journey called life.

 

Flawsome

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When you work in personal development and especially as a Life Doula there is the idea of an invisible and imaginary line that separate your work from your personal life. As I get further into my own personal development, life journey and a deeper knowledge of self, that line becomes increasingly more blurred. I started out with a clear idea of what I wanted to write about, as the The Life Doula, themes that I wanted to explore. Now I know that our greatest learning is from our own direct experience of our own lives. It seems strange  trying to write at a distance about life with self-help references while in truth learning the most from the non-refracted processes that we experience daily. All the while wondering, what was that all about? Is it me? Is it my family? My romantic relationship? Is it the world at large? Is this reaction or response definitive or is it a phase. In fact could it be the stars? Could it be the moon? Do I really need to engage with all this to fully understand myself? Is self-development a deeply personal act or should I be following some kind of shared doctrine? Is religion a feature? Is yoga truly necessary? Is meditation a must? Are spirituality or faith key in all of this? There are so many quests towards personal truth and an infinity of experiences that can take us there. I have to embrace my own complexity and thus fuddlings in the quest for the authentic representation of myself as The Life Doula.

This blog is where life interplays with representation. Who we truly are versus what we present. The masks that we uphold and fake plasticness of a branded stereotype that fits or maybe confounds a business model of a polished finished perfection that has inbuilt imperfection to seem more real.

Why am I writing about all this now today? Flawsomeness it’s a thing? I just got married, more succinctly maybe hosted a wedding. . Even as a Master Life Coach I did not perfectly segway the last few weeks of working, to bride to be, to bride, to married in a smooth pre-planned perfectly coordinated show. I fucked up. I became overworked, overwhelmed, and even exhausted, I broke under the pressure and I failed to deliver both privately and professionally on the level I would have liked. Even though I knew it was a big deal, even though I had planned well. Even though I took time and even scheduled the minutia. Big moments can knock us of course and they are supposed to. Life changing events change our priorities, even though we my have already planned to be perturbed.